By Swami Harshananda
Devanbhatta, one of the writers who prepared compilations and digests culling the relevant topics from earlier canonical literature, is well-known for Smṛticandrika digest.
He was the son of Keśava-bhaṭṭopādhyāya. He was also known as Devaṇṇa-bhaṭṭopādhyāya, Devaṇa, Devānanda, Devagaṇa and is believed to have lived in the 12th century CE.
Some other writers like Sukadevamiśra and Āpadeva have named their works as Smrticandrikā, but they are not so well-known. Devannbhatta is said to have written another work on music and dancing called as Sañgitamuktāvali.
Devannbhatta's Words for Smṛticandrika
The Smṛticandrika is an extensive digest. Devannbhatta claims that he has only collected the opinions of various authorities in his book, not adding anything of his own. He quotes profusely from several sources and earlier authors. He refers to Vijñāneśvara with great respect though he differs from him on several points.
Content of Smṛticandrika
The brief summary of the contents of this work include:
- Various samskāras or sacraments
- Duties of brahmacārins (Vedic students)
- Duties of gṛhasthas (house-holders)
- Daily duties such as sandhyā, śrauta and smārta rites
- Procedure of law-courts
- Partnership rules
- Details about śrāddha
Origin of Smṛticandrika
Scriptures are divided into two major groups:
- Śruti : It includes the Vedas, Upanisads
- Smṛti : It includes Itihasas, Purānas, Smṛtis of Mam, Dharmaśastras
The Vedas deal only with the spiritual and other worldly matters, whereas ‘dharmaśastras’, a vast class of special literature, deals more explicitly with the present life at both individual and social level.
Some of the very ancient books among the dharmaśastras that did the pioneering work in the field include:
The later writers prepared digests and compilation, selecting the relevant topic from such pioneering and canonical literature and 'Smṛticandrika' of Devannbhatta is well-known example of such digest.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore