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Dharmasastra (A Link Between Tradition and Modernity)

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Item Code: NAU607
Author: Dr. B. K. Swain
Publisher: Chaukhambha Sanskrit Bhawan
Language: English
Edition: 2003
ISBN: 8186937498
Pages: 252
Other Details 9.00 X 6.00 inch
Weight 410 gm
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Book Description
About the Book

This book contains many a serious topic on Dharmasastra. Conspicuous among them is on Smartavarnasrama Dharma and the law of welfare relating to the very aim of Hindu social life. Another interesting topic is related to development of Dharmasastra highlighting Orissan contribution to the Dharmasastra tradition. Caste-system Vs casteism is a theme where varnadharma and jatidharma are discussed. A serious researcher would not be disappointed if he goes through the topic "Indian Identity : An analysis of its anatomy" where stress is given more on Cultural identity than political identity. "Socio-political philosophy of Manu" is of many sided significance which basically supports customs and rituals in smarta tradition. Besides these, two other articles viz. "Lokatantra in Mahabharata and its present day relevance" and "Significance of Lokacara" are discussed with a comparative approach made by different law makers who have established the necessary link between the two seemingly different aspects, tradition and modernity. In a nutshell this book is a significant contribution to the field of Dharmasastra and its present day relevance.

About the Author

Professor Dr. Braja Kishore Swain teaches Dharmasastra in Sri Jagnnath Sanskrit University, Sri Vihar, Puri for more than two decades. He is credited with the authorship of twenty two books and forty research papers published in National and International Journals. At present Prof. Swain serves Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University as Professor of Dharmasastra and Directo, Centre of Advanced Research in Sanskrit. Under his able editorship reputed Journals like Puri Orientalist, Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University Journal of Indology (Sri Jagannatha Jyoti) and Digdarsini (Quarterly Sanskrit Journal) are being published.


The Cultural heritage of the mankind owes to our Indian tradition quite significantly. The distinctive culture of synthesis of our great nation has been built on the contributions made by different races and peoples who have enriched our civilisation. However, India is proud to have her own sons, the great thinkers, philosophers and religion is a way of life, a life experience, an exaltation of one’s personality into the plane of the universal spirit, a direct awareness of the eternal values. Various religio-philosophical developments in India throughout the ages have amply demonstrated the fact that all endeavours in this regard have been consistent striving for establishing a link between the past and the present, between tradition and modernity.

As the repositories of Hindu culture, the Vedas explain mainly the two great objects of human life viz-dharma and moksa enabling a person to lead a happy moral life finally leading to attain liberation. Dharmasastras dealing with both secular and religious laws regulate human life from the point of view of religion and morality. Manu and other Dharma- Sastrakaras like Narada. Yajnavalkya, Gautama, Baudhayana and Apastamba have laid emphasis on the conservation of social order. The society has been treated by all of them as an integrated whole and all the Dharmasastras have dealt with the social-cultural topics in an uniform and analytical manner. Social customs and practices have been treated as not static but studied by way of continuity.

Professor (Dr.) Braja Kishore Swain of Shri Jagannath Sanskrit University trained both in traditional and modern methods of research has been giving due attention to many branches of Indology including his own field of research i.e. DharmaSastra. Earlier he has successfully edited Naradasmrti and Kalmadhava with his own sanskrit commentary and translated Manusmrti and Niladrimahodaya into Oriya with brief notes from well known commentaries in relevant places. A peep into Dharmasastra and History of Dharmasastra in a Nutshell are two of his known contributions introducing Dharmasastra-studies with a view to popularising them in the English-knowing world.

Here in this anthology of papers written in English Prof. Swain’s studies are on Dharmasastra, most of which were earlier published in various All-India journals. I have gone through most of them with pleasure and satisfaction and found them most rewarding. Conspicuous among them include his first article on ‘‘Smarta-Varnasrama Dharma and the Law of Welfare’’ relating to the very aim of Hindu Social life i.e. to accomplish happiness and welfare; ‘‘Development of Dharmasastra in Orissa’’ highlighting Orissan contribution to the Dharmasastra tradition; ‘‘Caste-system vs casteism’’ where Varnadharma and Jatidharma are discussed on a separate footing; ‘‘Indian identity: an analysis of its anatomy’’ where stress is given more on cultural identity than political identity; ‘‘Manu: A scientific analysis of his socio-political philosophy’’; ‘‘Customs and rituals in Smarta tradition’’; ‘‘Vedic concept of Dharma’’ analysing both its aspects based on rituals and contemplation; ‘‘Role of Kalinga in the Mahabharata war’’ where Kalinga’s bravery is extolled by highlighting same facts like (i) Kalinga had inaugurated the Mahabharata war (ii) Kalinga had provided necessary protection to the Kaurava-captain Bhisma and (ii1) Kalinga demonstrated her valour, courage and loyalty till the end etc. Besides these, two other papers viz. ‘‘Lokatantra in Mahabharata and its present day relevance’’ and ‘‘Significance of Lokacara’’ are discussed with a comparative approach made by different law makers who have established the necessary link between the two seemingly different aspects, tradition and modernity.

It is now my pleasant duty to congratulator the author, Professor Swain, for his significant contributions to the field of his special interest, Dharmasastra and its present day relevance. I have my every confidence that like his previous publications, the present collection of papers on various aspects of our Indian heritage will be met with great reception it deserves. I pray Lord Jagannatha for all success of the author and his future undertakings.


I am happy to place before the readers this present creation DharmaSastra: A Link Between Tradition and Modernity Containing selected articles acting like hyphens between traditional values and man’s excursion to modernity or the mistaken one as pointed out by some eminent sociologists The collection is diverse, embracing not only customer (acara), behaviour (vyavahara) and ethics (prayascitta), but also nationality, social philosophy and plant ecology. Some of these articles have already been published and some new additions have been made to give this work a concrete shape. The tradition-based articles have been scrutinized with comparative materials dealing with their modern ramifications. Articles related to modernity are studied and presented here in varied types. However, the collection presents the nature of Indian identity as it is a burning issue at present not only in India and abroad.

Naturally it will be a great pleasure to me if the book is welcome by the readers in its real spirit. I am grateful to Prof. A.C. Sarangi, the Vice-Chancellor of Sri Jagannath Sanskrit University, Puri who has very kindly written a purposeful ‘foreword’ to it. I am also thankful to M/S Chaukhamba Sanskrit Sansthan, Varanasi for their timely effort to bring out such a book in a nice manner.

**Contents and Sample Pages**

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