– Gautama Dharma-sūtra 1.1-1.2 The Dharma is taught in each Veda, in accordance with which we will explain it.
What is given in the tradition [Smriti] is the second, and the conventions of cultured people are the third.
Scholars such as Derrett, Menski and others have repeatedly asked whether and what evidence there is that the Dharmasastras were the actual legal authority before and during the Islamic rule in India?
They have also questioned whether the Dharmasastras contain "precepts" or "recommendations", that is whether the jurisprudence mentioned in Dharmasastras was actually ever used in disputes in Indian society?
It is explained as the necessary law of life and equated to satya (Sanskrit: सत्यं, truth), धर्मः तस्माद्धर्मात् परं नास्त्य् अथो अबलीयान् बलीयाँसमाशँसते धर्मेण यथा राज्ञैवम् । यो वै स धर्मः सत्यं वै तत् तस्मात्सत्यं वदन्तमाहुर् धर्मं वदतीति धर्मं वा वदन्तँ सत्यं वदतीत्य् एतद्ध्येवैतदुभयं भवति ।। Nothing is higher than Dharma.The nature of Hindu law as a tradition has been subject to some debate and some misunderstanding both within and especially outside of specialist circles." The Smritis, such as Manusmriti, Naradasmriti and Parashara Smriti, contribute to the exposition of the Hindu Dharma but are considered less authoritative than Śrutis (the Vedic corpus that includes early Upanishads).The source of Dharma is the Veda, as well as the tradition [Smriti], and practice of those who know the Veda.The weak overcomes the stronger by Dharma, as over a king.Truly that Dharma is the Truth (Satya); Therefore, when a man speaks the Truth, they say, "He speaks the Dharma"; and if he speaks Dharma, they say, "He speaks the Truth! In ancient Hindu jurisprudence texts, a number of Sanskrit words refer to aspects of law.By contrast, the Brahmanas, the Aranyakas and the Upanishads contain numerous precepts which propound rules governing behavior.