Smriti Shastras dictates rules to govern society. However, with time society changes. What were relevant thousand years back may not be relevant today. Have Smriti Shastras have any such option to cope up with the change?

For example, the Indian constitution has the option of bringing an amendment. Is such provision is there in Smriti Shastra itself?

This is NOT a duplicate of this question (Do scriptures change over time? Or they're static but different for each Yuga? Can customs of one Yuga be ridiculed by people in earlier or next Yuga?) because it is concerned with what happens between Yugas (Satya Treta Dwapara Kali). My question is about our time period. What was relevant 1000 years back, may not be relevant now. Or what is relevant today, may not be relevant after just 100 years. Here I am concerned about historical time, not Yugas.


2 Answers 2


Yes, Dharma Sastras do have provisions to change with time and views in society.

He shall, avoid such wealth and pleasures as are opposed to righteousness, as also righteousness if it be conducive to unhappiness, or disapproved by the people. (Manu Smriti 4.176)

I will quote from Parashara Smriti which says its best suitable for Kali Yuga. It has some provisions like :

  • Laws are made depending upon desa, kala and paristhiti (time, space and present circumstances. (Parashara Smriti 1.22)
  • You can practice as much as you can (no rigidity) (Parashara Smriti 1.33)
  • 5 knowers of Sastras (or even 3 incase of shortage) i.e. knowledge of 4 vedas and 6 vedaangas can form a council and create new laws (Parashara Smriti 8.6-13)
  • Widow remarriage : Even if husband has permanently abandoned, still women can marry.(Parashara Smriti 4.30)
  • Brahmins can accept food from Sudras (Parashara Smriti 11.13)
  • Sudras can trade (Parashara Smriti 2.13)
  • In the Krita yuga sin is incurred by one who converses (with a sinner) ; in the Treta by one who touches (the sinful man) ; in the Dvapara by taking the sinner's food ; in the Kali by a (sinful) act (alone). (There is nothing like untouchability in kali yuga) --> Manu smriti was for Krita (satya) yuga. It cannot be followed completely. (Parashara Smriti 1.26)

Acharya Swaminarayan also composed a new Smriti which his Sampradaya adhers to known as Shikshapatri(Manual of Instructions).


A detailed answer is given by Sethu Srivatsa Koduru. I just want to add one more thing. I came across a verse in Yajnavalkya Smriti. This verse is also relevant.

Let him diligently follow the Law (Dharma) with deed, mind and speech. But let him not follow (an ordinance), which though, lawful, is yet not conducive to heaven and is offensive to the people. I.6.156

This verse basically reiterates Manu Smriti 4.176.


  1. Yajnavalkya Smriti Book I translated by Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vidyarnava.

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