Bṛhat-parāśara-saṁhitā

(‘A big collection of verses of Parāśara’)

Medieval, and even modern, Hindu practices depend much upon the dharma-śāstras, works that generally deal with ācāra and vyavahāra, personal and social conduct.-

One such work, though not an ancient one wielding greater authority, is the Bṛhat-parāśara-saṁhitā. It appears to be a recast of an earlier work, the Parāśara Smṛti.

Said to have been imparted by the sage Parāśara to Suvrata, it contains about 3000 verses divided into 12 chapters.

The subject matter contains the following topics: the sphere of the āryas; the six daily karmas like bath, sandhyā, japa, worship of gods and honouring guests; the Gāyatrī mantra; the duties of the various varṇas and āśramas; forms of marriage and connected topics; on gifts; śrāddha or after-death ceremonies; prāyaścittas or expiations; rites for propitiating deities like Gaṇeśa and Rudra; some aspects of yoga like prāṇāyāma and so on.

See also DHARMAŚĀSTRAS and PARĀŚARA.