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Widows are not allowed to wear colour sarees and are not allowed to participate in functions, they are also prohibited from touching certain plants.

What is the exact reason behind this and can anyone point the exact scripture that explains these rules?

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    In this answer i have cited few such rules to be followed by widows.Those rules r attributed to Maharishi Vyasa. but I am not sure which r the Scriptures that contain them..May be one of the Puranas(which r all composed by Vyasa) contain the rules or they r in the Vyasa Smriti.. – Rickross Dec 12 '16 at 6:21
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Which scriptures deal with rules for widows?

The Dharma Shastras prescribe rules for widows.

Verses from various Dharma Shastras below:

Parāśara (4.29).—‘If, on the death of her husband, a woman remains firm in her chastity, she obtains heaven, on death, in the manner of the Religious Students.’

Śukranīti (4.4.57-59).—‘On the death of her husband, the chaste woman should either accompany him or observe the vows; she should not go to other houses; she should maintain chastity, control her passions and give up personal adornment.’

More verses from the Manusmriti:

The good wife, desirous of reaching her husband’s regions, should never do anything that may be disagreeable to her husband, alive or dead.—(154).

Well might she macerate her body by means of pure flowers, roots and fruits; but she should not even mention the name of another man, after her husband is dead—(155).

Till her death, she should remain patient, self-controlled and chaste,—seeking that most excellent merit that accrues to women having a single husband. (156).

Many thousands of unmarried Brāhmaṇa students have gone to heaven, without having perpetuated their race—(157).

On the death of her husband, the good wife who remains firm, goes to heaven, even though childless; just like those students—(158).

That woman, however, who from a longing for a child, disregards her husband, brings disgrace to herself in this world and falls off from her place in the other world.—(159).

What is born of another is not a ‘child’: nor is one begotten on another man’s wife; for good women a second husband is nowhere ordained.—(160).

She, who, having abandoned her own husband who is inerior, has recourse to another person who is superior, becomes contemptible in this world and is called a ‘remarried woman.’—(161).

The woman, who, through failure in her duty to her husband, becomes an object of contempt in the world, comes to be born as a jackal and is tormented by foul diseases.—(162).

She, who does not fail in her duty to her husband, having her thought, speech and body well-controlled, reaches her husband’s regions; and is called ‘good’ by all gentle-men.—(163).

By such conduct, the woman, having her thought, word and body well controlled, obtains excellent fame in this world, and also her husband’s region in the other world.—(164).

The twice-born man, knowing the law, should cremate the wife of his own caste,—who behaves herself in the said manner, and dies before him,—with the sacred fire and along with the sacrificial implements.—(165).

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