By Swami Harshananda
Dharmasindhu literally means ‘Ocean of dharma’.
For over two millennia, the society has been guided and regulated by a special class of literature known as the dharmaśāstras. These works have prescribed rules of conduct for a person both at the individual and at the social level.
The Dharmaśāstra literature has three aspects:
- The dharmasutras
- The dharmasutras mainly deal with ācāra and vyavahāra (code of conduct in personal and social life).
- The smṛtis
- The smṛtis technically refers to the secondary scriptures like Manusmṛiti which remind one, of the great spiritual truths contained in the Śruti or Vedas.
- The nibandhas
- The nibandhas are the digests containing a lot of information on various aspects of dharma. It also consists of various applications of dharma, culled from a number of authoritative sources.
Conception of Dharmasindhu
The Dharmsindhu of Kāśīnātha Upādhye is also known as the Dharmasindhusāra or Dharmābdhisāra. It is a leading and popular work, especially in the Maharashtra State, guiding religious observances. It might have been composed during the period A. D. 1790-91. It seems to have derived it's inspiration from another more well known work called Nirnayasindhu of Kamalākara (A. D. 1612).
Essence of Dharmasindhu
The book is divided into three paricchedas or sections. The topics dealt with in it may be summarized as follows:
- Divisions of the year
- The seasons and the times considered auspicious or inauspicious for religious and social rites
- Sacraments like upanayana and marriage
- Āhnika or the daily duties of a dvija (a member of the first three castes)
- Śrāddhas or obsequial rites
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore