Dharmashastras, the Sacred Law Books of Hindus
The Dharmashastras (or Dharmasastras) are the ancient law books of Hindus, which prescribe moral laws and principles for religious duty and righteous conduct for the followers of the faith. They also formed the guidelines for their social and religious code of conduct Hindus in the past where Hindu rulers enforced the laws as part of their religious duty. However looking to the heterogeneity and complex nature of Indian society from the earlier times, it is difficult to say how seriously these laws were enforced by the ruling classes among all sections of society. However, the Dharmashastras throw considerable light upon the social and religious conditions of ancient India, family life, gender and caste based distinctions, and principles of ancient jurisprudence. We can find in them rudiments of many principles and practices of social and religious aspects of modern Hindu society.