Mahamuni parasara, Husband of Satyavati and the father of Vyasadeva. Maitreya was Mahamuni Parasara's diciple, so Vyasa and Maitreya were very close friends.
He was present also during the time of Bhisma’s death. He was spiritual master of Maharaja Janaka and a great devotee of Lord Siva. He is the author of many Vedic scriptures and sociological directions.
Authentic scriptures are compiled by personalities like Vyasadeva, Narada, Asita and Parasara, who are not ordinary men. All the followers of the Vedic way of life have accepted these famous personalities, whose authentic scriptures conform to the Vedic literature. He mentions in his books of religiosity: aham tvam ca tathanye... "we--you, I and the various other living entities--are all transcendental, although in material bodies. Now we are fallen into the ways of the three modes of material nature according to our different karma. As such, some are on higher levels, and some are in the lower nature. The higher and lower natures exist due to ignorance and are being manifested in an infinite number of living entities. But the Supersoul, which is infallible, is uncontaminated by the three qualities of nature and is transcendental."
He also manifested to the people living in the Kali Yuga his blessings in the scripture called Parasar Smriti.
In the Parasara-smrti, the great sage and father of Vyasadeva, stated:
ksatriyo hi praja raksan
ksitim dharmena palayet
"The ksatriya's duty is to protect the citizens from all kinds of difficulties, and for that reason he has to apply violence in suitable cases for law and order. Therefore he has to conquer the soldiers of inimical kings, and thus, with religious principles, he should rule over the world."
Considering all aspects, Arjuna
had no reason to refrain from fighting. If he should conquer his enemies,
he would enjoy the kingdom; and if he should die in the battle, he would
be elevated to the heavenly planets whose doors were wide open to him.
Fighting would be for his benefit in either case.
Smriti created by sage Parashar and known by his name as 'Parashar Smriti is the most benevolent for the modern Kali Yuga. Parashar has himself said:
KRITE TU MANAVO DHARMASTRETAYAAM
GAUTAMO SMRITAH ||
DWAPARE SHANKHALIKHITAA KALAU PARASHARAH SMRITAH ||
Meaning- Manu Smriti was most relevant in Satya Yuga. In Treta, Smriti created by Gautam had most relevance whereas in Dwapar, Shankh's Smriti was mostly recognized. But in Kali Yuga, it is Parashar Smriti that by and large shows the way to the ignorant people.
Parashar Smriti endorses all those ideologies of human life which are capable of improving the life of common people in the present fourth age. Paradoxes are the main feature of human life in Kali Yuga irrespective of region, culture and society.
INDICATIONS OF KALI YUGA
Sage Parashar was the father of Vedvyasa. In the first chapter of this great treatise, Maharshi Vedvyasa requests his father to create such an ideologically and morally sufficient discipline that will help the people in Kali Yuga to overcome their woes.
SARVADHARMOHA KRITE JATAH SARVE
NASHTAH KALAU YUGE ||
CHAATURVARNYAM SAMAACHAARAM KINCHIT SAADHAARANAM VAD ||
Meaning- All these religions were created in Satya Yuga and would be destroyed in Kali Yuga. Hence, kindly outline some ordinary religious norms so that all the four classes could run their lives in a religious way.
Sage Parashar too was fully aware of the attenuation that religion would suffer in future on the basis of his deep knowledge, that great sage contemplated on the problems which he thought would imminently afflict the religion in Kali Yuga. Change is the only thing that remains constant in nature. Religion is also no exception to this rule.
In twelve chapters, Parashar Smriti
preaches its whole moral discourses. Conduct and expiation are the main
subjects of contemplation here.
This chapter describes the conduct and do's and don'ts of all the four classes.
KALPE KALPE KSHAYOTPATYAA BRAHMAVISHNU
SHRUTI SMRITI SADAACHAAR NIRNETARASCCHA SARVADAA ||
Meaning- At the time of re-genesis after Pralay, Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh appear and decide about Shruti (Veda), Smriti (religious text) and moral conduct.Kalp is regarded as a single night of Brahma. As the night changes, similarly, Yuga also changes. Therefore, religious norms are also subject to change.
KRITE SAMBHAASHNAADEV TRETAAYAAM
SPARSHNEN CHA ||
DWAPARE TVANMAADAAYA KALAU PATATI KARMANA ||
Meaning- In Satya Yuga, a human being would be defiled just by conversing with the sinner. In Treta, a mere touch of sinner was enough to defile a man. In Dwapar, eating the cereals given a sinner defiled a man. But in Kali Yuga, man is subject to sins by his deeds alone. Thus, a curse used to realize in an instant now takes a year to show its effect.
CONDUCT SUITABLE FOR A CLASS
Conduct as per the class increases in the religion for that class. A person engaged in the conducts as per his religion is never at fault. But in Kali Yuga, irreligion is more powerful than the religion. Hence it is even more necessary today than ever to abide by the path of religion.
(Conduct of Brahmin)
SANDHYAA SNAANAM JAPO HOMO DEVTAANAAM
CHA PUJANAM ||
AATHITYAM VAISHVADEVAM CHA SHATKARMAANI DINE DINE ||
Meaning- Six routine tasks like three times bath, prayer at dawn and dusk, recitation, Homa (offerings to sacred fire), worship of deity, treatment of guests and offering sacrifices for the deceased ancestors are mandatory for a Brahmin daily. Through these actions, a Brahmin gets free from the sin he commits unknowingly.
A guest arriving at the end of these daily routine tasks is a means to provide a place in heaven. Hence, such a guest deserves respect no matter whether he is a friend or a foe, a fool or a savant. A cordial welcome should also be extended to such a guest like the ones already present. Even the guest arriving after dining is over should be welcomed with honour. Such a pious conduct of a householder today ensures his right to a place in heaven. A guest should not be asked to reveal his caste and creed for it indents the religion. Smriti also tells that a guest should never be insulted nor should one let a guest go dejected because then the deceased ancestors of the host starve for fifteen years.
ALMS AND DONATIONS
Recitation of God's name and making donations and giving away alms constitute religion in Kali Yuga. Donation is the only intact support of religion today. Hence, it is the moral duty of the common householders today that they should recite God's name and make donations within their powers. Character of donation has also changed completely today. Sage Parashar says:
ABHIGAMYA KRITE DAANAM TRETAAYAAMAHUYA
DWAPARE YAACHMAANAAYA SEVAYAA DIYATE KALAU ||
Meaning- In Satya Yuga, the donor used to visit the home of the beggar to make donations. In Treta, the donor called the beggar to him, In Dwapar, the donor made donations only when demanded but in Kali Yuga, donor demands service from the beggar before making donations.
But one should take care that the donation must be made for good deeds and to a deserving person only.
SUKSHETRE CHA SUPATRE CHA HYUPTAM DATTAM NA NASHYATI ||
Meaning- Sowing of seeds in a good fertile field and making donation to a deserving person never go futile. Making donation is an easy and divine measure to ensure success of life in this world and in another. This dictate of sage Parashar is still being followed faithfully even today.
Giving Alms: Like other religious actions, there are certain evolved norms to give away alms. First of all, pour water on the palms of the ascetic and then give him alms. According to Parashar, alms given away in such way are as inexhaustible as the Mount Sumeru and the whole waters of the ocean.
If a beggar arrives when a Brahmin household is offering sacrifices for the solace of his deceased ancestors, the Brahmin must divide the cereals in two parts and should reserve one to make offerings and donate the other as alms to the beggar.
VAISHWADEVKRITAM PAAPAM SHAKTO
NA HI BHIKSHUKRITANDOSHAANVAISHVADEVO VYAPOHATI ||
Meaning- The sin committed unknowingly while offering sacrifices to the dead ancestors is done away with by the beggar. But, a crime committed against a beggar at such a moment is never done away with by the offering of sacrifices to the dead ancestors.
Offering Sacrifices to the dead ancestors: Offering sacrifices to the dead ancestors is one of the five great Yagyas. During this ritual, a Brahmin should make offerings to the sacred fire. Then, he should use the remaining cereals to offer to the dead ancestors and also to the animals and birds. If a Brahmin does not perform this ritual, he is bound to suffer severe torments in hell and take reincarnation as a crow.
Norms for Dining: A Brahmin should dedicate his food to God first. Then he should take it as a pious giving of God. While dining, a Brahmin should not cover his head, should not face the south and should not put his hand on the left leg. These are all deeds characteristic of demons.
CONDUCT OF KSHATRIYAS
For the people of Kshatriya caste (warrior class), sage Parashar says that they should wield the arms and preserve the subjects and punish the culprits to keep them within the religious path. Defeating the enemies and preserving the earth, which contains seven oceans and great mountains are also duties of the Kshatriya.
NA SHRIH KULKRAMAJJAATAA ||
BHUSHANOLLIKHITAAPI VAA ||
KHADGENAKRAMYA BHUNJEET ||
VEERBHOGYA VASUNDHARA ||
Meaning- One doesn't get wealth in legacy nor it is hidden in the jewels. Brave people win it with the power of their sword and enjoy it because this earth is enjoyable only by enthusiastic brave people.
Continuous vigilance is the price for complete independence. And one gets real pleasure only in independence. In Panchatantra, Vishnu Sharma writes-
UDDYAMEN HI SIDDHYANTI ||
KARYAANI NA MANORATHAIH ||
NA HI SUKTASYA SINHASYA ||
PRAVISHANTI MUKHE MRIGAH ||
Meaning- Only by making efforts, desires are fulfilled and not by thinking and thinking alone. Even, a deer doesn't enter the mouth of a sleeping lion though the lion is the king of beasts.
Preserving of his subjects is the greatest expiation for a king. A king is in fact the true servant of the people. Like the duties of a servant, duties of a king are also very difficult. Literally, being a king means being an ascetic. Country is the only friend of the king and his family as well. A king has to constitute a governing body for the preservation of his subjects. Kautilya says-
SAHAYA SAADHYAM RAAJATVAM ||
CHAKRAMEKAM NA VARTATE ||
Meaning- Governance is a combined process. It cannot run on a single wheel. Sage Parashar dictates a king to realize a little bit of revenue from each of his subjects in order to meet the expenses of governance. Parashar also describes the glory of a warrior and an ascetic that both of them are able to benefit the country.
CONDUCT OF VAISHYA
LAABHKARMA TATHAA RATNAM ||
GAVAAM CHA PRATIPAALANAM ||
KRISHIKARMA CHA VAANIJYAM ||
Meaning- Economic give and take, sale and purchase of gems, rearing of cattle, agriculture and trade are the occupations of the Vaishya.
Sage Parashar regards agriculture as the prime profession of Kali Yuga. Such thinking is absent in other Smritis. Agriculture is stated to be a duty of the Brahmins also.
CONDUCT OF SHUDRAS
In the opinion of sage Parashar, the first and foremost duty of a Shudra is to serve the Brahmins. Faithful discharge of this duty guarantees success of a Shudra's life.
SHUDRASYA DWIJASHUSHRUSHAA ||
PARMO DHARMA UCHYATE ||
ANYATHAA KURUTE KINCHIT ||
TADBHAVETASYA NISHPHALAM ||
Meaning- Serving the Brahmins is the first duty of the Shudra. All the other actions of a Shudra other than this bear no fruit.Besides, serving the Brahmins, a Shudra may also carry out activities like selling salt and honey.
In the second chapter, Parashar Smriti describes the norms to be followed by the married people of all the four classes. Here again, agriculture has been given prominence.
Apart from the six routine tasks, a Brahmin must also supervise agricultural activities also.
SHATKARMNIRATO VIPRAHA ||
KRISHIKARMA CHA KAARYET ||
It seems that as if sage Parashar had an anticipation of the population explosion of Kali Yuga. Hence, he had put this responsibility as an extra burden on the Brahmins. Sage Parashar states that agriculture is the excellent job for the people of all the four castes.
This chapter considers the purification of the people from the effects of birth and death occurring in the families.
JATE VIPRO DASHAHEN DWADASHAHEN
VAISHYAH PANCHDASHAHEN SHUDRO MAASEN SHUDDHATI ||
Meaning- In the case of birth, Brahmin gets purified in ten days, a Kshatriya takes twelve days, a Vaishya in fifteen days and a Shudra takes one month to get purified.
Similarly, in the case of death, the same principle applies to all the four classes. Of course, in the case of death of distant relative, people may get purified in three days.
This chapter describes the expiation for the sins arising out of evil deeds. It regards suicide as an abhorrent crime. Even those who carry out the cremation of the person, who had committed suicide, have to expiate for their sin.
DUTIES OF A WOMAN
Regarding the duties of a woman, sage Parashar says that a woman, who doesn’t serve even her disabled husband faithfully, turns the family into a hell.
DARIDRAM VYAADHITAM MURKHAM ||
BHARTAARAM YAA NA MANYATE ||
SAA MRITAA JAYAATE VYAALI ||
VAIDHAVYANCHA PUNAH PUNAH ||
Meaning- A woman, who doesn’t regard her poor, diseased or ignorant husband, becomes a serpent after her death and faces widowhood again and again.
After her monthly periods, a woman must crave for intercourse only in the company of her husband.
RHITUSNAATAA TU YAA NAARI BHARTAARAM
SAA MRITAA NARKAM YAATI VIDHWAA CHA PUNAH PUNAH ||
Meaning- A woman, who does not dedicate herself after her periods to her husband, goes to hell after her death and faces widowhood in subsequent births.
DUTIES OF A HUSBAND
A husband, who does not accept the desire of his wife of having intercourse after her periods, commits a crime equal to killing an unborn child.Sage Parashar asserts that, killing an unborn child is more severe sin than killing a Brahmin. A sweet relation between the spouses is the key to a successful social life. Hence, they should help each other with dedication at the times of emergency. Husband should also respect his wife and behave accordingly even if she is a disabled person.
This chapter describes the sin related to biting by the animals and the ways to expiate this sin.
SAVRATASTU SHUNADASHTO ||
GHRITAM KUSHODAKAM PEETVA ||
VRATSHESHAM SAMAPAYET ||
Meaning- If a dog bites a person
during his fast, the person must observe continuous fast for three days
and consume nothing except ghee and juices of the grass. When purified,
he should complete his original fast. If a dog bites a woman, she may get
purified instantly by sighting the moon
This chapter describes the sin involved in the killing of birds and the ways to expiate it.
KRONCH SAARAS HANSAASCHA CHAKRAVAAKAM
CHA KUKUTAM ||
JAALPAADAM CHA SHARBHAM HATVAAHORATRAH SHUCHIH ||
Meaning- One must observe a day’s fast to get purified from the sin of killing a heron, crane, swan, geese, cock, hen, duck and grasshoppers.
Killing of peafowl is even severe sin. One must worship Lord Shankar to get free from the sin of killing a peafowl.
This chapter deals with the matter of purifying water bodies. In the opinion of sage Parashar, purification of ponds etc. can be achieved thus.
VAAPIKUPTAGESHU DUSHITESHU KATHACHAN
UDDHYATYA VAI KUMBHARAATAM PANCHGYEN SHUDDYATI ||
Meaning- If a small pond, well or tank has been soiled somehow, take out one hundred pitcher full of water from them and add cow’s dung, urine, milk and curd, ghee and honey to purify the water.
This chapter describes the expiation for the sins committed unknowingly. It asserts that such sins should not be hidden because such a practice only adds to the sins. If a cow or an ox dies while tethering or yoking, expiation is necessary because those animals were under the honour and assisting him. Religious polymaths say:
SACHAILAM VAGYATAH SNAATVAA KILANVAASAA
KSHATRIYO VAATH VAISHYO VAA TATAH PARSHADMAAVRAJET ||
Meaning- To expiate for the sin, a Kshatriya and a Vaishya must take a bath fully dressed silently and appear as such before the jury. If the same is suspected, sage Parashar dictates that it must be expiated for leaving the food.
In this chapter, sage Parashar writes about the expiation for the sin of killing a cow.
RODHABANDHAN YOKTRAANI GHAATASCHETI
EKPAADAM CHARET RODHE DWAU PAADAU BANDHANE CHARET ||
Meaning- If the cow or an ox dies due to forceful enclosure, tethering, yoking and killed deliberately, a sin equal to killing a cow results. One must observe a fast for a quarter of a day if death of the cow is due to forceful enclosure. For the death due to tethering, fast for half a day is required. If yoking is the cause of death, fast for three-quarters of a day and for deliberate killing, fast for a full day.
MUNDAN (shaving of head hair) : During the fast for a quarter of a day, removal of bodily hairs is required. For the fast of half day, shaving of the bodily hair, moustache and beard is required. Donation of a bull is required for the fast of three-quarters of a day while donation of two cows is required for a full day fast.
DONATION: One must donate a pair of clothes- (dhoti and kurta) to a Brahmin to complete the fast of a quarter day and a saucer of bronze to complete the fast of half day.
The tenth chapter describes the expiation required to wash the sins of having illegal carnal relations with women other than the wife. Sage Parashar, it seems, had known that it would be a characterizing feature of Kali Yuga. Hence, he says
AGAMYAA GAMANE CHAIV SHUDDHAU CHAANDRAYANAAM CHARET ||
Meaning- A man who has relations
with other women than his wife, can get purified only by observing Chandrayan
Vrata (a fast devoted to the moon).
Those Brahmins, who have illegal carnal relations with the women of low caste must observe a fast for three days and three nights continuously. Then, he must get shaven of his head hair including the normal tuft of hair left otherwise. And ultimately, he should observe to Prajapatya Vrata .
Sage Parashar has prohibited the intake of polluted food and cereals of Shudras. Provision of expiating the sins related to these two activities has therefore come into practice.
AMEDHYA RETO GOMANSAM CHAANDAALANMATHAAPI
YADI BHUKTAM TU VIPREN KRICHCHHAM CHAANDRAAYANAM CHARET ||
Meaning- If a Brahmin consumes the food polluted by the flesh of a human being, cow, latrine etc. he should voluntarily observe Chaandrayan Vrata.
There is a provision of half of this expiation for the people of Kshatriya and Vaishya classes while a Shudra must observe Praajapatya Vrata to eliminate the sins of eating polluted food.
Similarly, regarding intake of Shudra’s cereals, sage Parashar says:
SHUDRAANAM SUKTAANNANCH HYABHOJYASYANNMEV
SHANKITAM PRATISHIDDHAANNAM PURVOCHCHHISHTAM TATHAIV CHA ||
Meaning- A man must expiate for
the sins of eating cereals of Shudra, Sutak, downtrodden, of suspicious
origin, forbidden otherwise, or defiled food. There is a provision of Krichchha
Nightmares: According to Parashar Smriti, nightmares are akin to the sins and require proper expiation by taking a bath.
DUHSWAPNAM YADI PASHYEDWA VANTE
VAA KSHURKARMANI ||
MATHUNEY PRETADHUME CHA SNANAMEV VIDHIYATE ||
Meaning- If one has a nightmare in which he sees himself vomiting, getting shaven, having intercourse or sees smokes rising above a cremation ground, one should get purified by taking proper bath. Taking a proper bath, ill effects of a nightmare are removed.
AGNYAANAAT PRASHYA VISHMUTRAM
SURASANSPRISHTHAMEV CHA ||
PUNAH SANSKAARAMARHANTI TREYO VARNA DWIJAATAYAH ||
Meaning- If someone of Brahmin, Kshatriya and Vaishya class consumes urine or wine unknowingly, he must begin his consecrations afresh. In the purification rituals, one doesn’t have to wear buck’s skin, waistline, stick, fast etc. Prajaapatya Vrata is sufficient to get free from such sin. Bath: Five types of bath have been identified.
SNAANANI PANCHA PUNYAANI KIRTITAANI
AAGNEYAM VAARUNAM BRAHMAM VAYAVYAM DIVYAMEVA CHA ||
Meaning- Five types of bath like Agneya, Vaarun, Braahma, Vayavya and Divya have been described as sacred by our great sages.
Smearing of whole body with ash is Agneya bath. Bathing in water is known as Vaarun bath. Sprinkling of water on the body is known as Braahma bath whereas exposing the body to the dust rising due to impact of cow’s hooves is known as Vayavya bath. Bathing in rainfall under the sun is Divya bath.
STUDY OF VEDAS BY UNDESERVING PEOPLE
If a Brahmin doesn’t make offering to the sacred fire regularly, doesn’t pray every evening and morning and doesn’t study the Vedas, he is more a Shudra than a Brahmin. Such a Brahmin is powerless and Smriti allows certain flexibility to such a Brahmin for the study of the Vedas.
TASMAAD VRISHALBHEETEN BRAHMANEN
ADHYETAVYO APYEKDESHO YADI SARVA NA SHAKTAYATE ||
Meaning- If complete study of Vedas is out of power, a Brahmin must necessarily study a part of Veda.
PROHIBITION OF SHUDRA’S CEREALS
A Brahmin has a glory equal to fire. If he consumes cereals of a Shudra or lives in the company of Shudra, his glory is tarnished.
JAPATO JUHATO VAAPI GATIRURDHVAA NA VIDYATE ||
Meaning- A man, though healthy and sound because of eating Shudra’s cereals, cannot meet fortune no matter how much he studies Vedas or makes offering to the sacred fire.
NORMS FOR EATING
If a person, who has resolved to dine silently, speaks or has to speak during his meal must get up at once. All the people dining together must stand up together after finishing their meal.
ASNAATVAA NAIV BHUNJEET HYAJAPTVAAGNIMAHUYA
PARNAPRISHTHE NA BHUNJEET RATRAU DEEPAM VINA TATHAH ||
Meaning- It is not proper to dine without taking bath, reciting the name of God and making offerings to the sacred fire. One should not eat on the reverse side of plantain and without proper lighting during the night.
NORMS FOR EARNING MONEY
One should not take to just any means to earn money. Wisdom is said to be earning with due contemplation on religion and only as much as is required to raise the family.
ANYAAYEN TU YO JIVETSARVKARMABAHISHKRITAH ||
Meaning- Religion is earning money by just means to preserve one’s soul and foster one’s family. One, who runs his life by unjust means stays away from the pious deeds. Unjust means add to irreligion and irreligion leads to loss of life.
DECISION OF EXPIATIONS
The sin of snatching the land from the powerless people cannot be washed away from digging hundreds of ponds. Drinking water directly immersing mouth in the river is also forbidden.
VIDYAMAANESHU HASTESHU BRAHMANO
TOYAM PEEVATI VAKTRENA SHVAYONAU JAAYATE DHRUVAM ||
Meaning- If a stupid Brahmin drinks water directly immersing his mouth in the river despite having hands, he certainly takes birth in a dog’s incarnation.
One should observe a fast for a day for having eaten cereals of a characterless Brahmin. If a woman comes in menses within eighteen days of the previous one, she can get purified by taking a bath. A Brahmin, who has stolen gold must go to the court with a mortar and confess his crime before the king. He is purified now, whether or not the king hits him with the mortar. Thus, Parashar Smriti shows the people of Kali Yuga, the way of religious conduct. And the people follow the dictates of this Smriti with respect.