Although we originally intended this paper to be a comprehensive study on vākpāruṣya as a whole, we had to abandon that project and limit ourselves to one point among many. Even for such a title of law as vākpāruṣya, which may be called one of the least extensively treated ones, a thorough study of the ancient and medieval works on dharma has to deal with so large a mass of materials, that the whole subject cannot be treated here at once.
Unfortunately not all texts are available in print, and even a number of those which have been edited we could not compare in the place where we are to work now. Yet, if we decided to publish these pages, it was on the ground of the following consideration. For the definite history of Dharmaśāstra we shall have to wait until all texts have been critically edited. Nevertheless, for attaining this final result there shall be some continual interaction between editing texts and writing a history of Hindu law: may this contribution, however incomplete it may be, contain some useful data for future editors of texts, which in their turn will be helpful for a more complete historical survey subsequently.
The problem, we want to treat here, is the definition of vākpāruṣya as the Indian authors themselves formulated it.