Smrti-Muktaphala-Nibhandana-Grantha

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By Krishna Maheshwari


This work was authored by Vaidyanatha Diksita and is also known as 'Vaidhyanatha Deekshitheeyam.'

Very little is known about the author of this book. Diksita must have lived some two hundred years ago; he belonged to Kandiramanikkam, near Nacciyarkoil (in Tanjavur district) and he practiced the dharma-s he had dealt with in his nibhandana and he is also believed to have performed big sacrifices.

Vaidyanatha-Diksitiyam is considered superior to similar works by Medhatithi, Vijnesvara, Hemadri, etc. This work, while encompassing the duties and rites pertaining to the different varna-s and asrama-s, ritual purity, sradhha, prayascitta, stridharma, dayabhaga, dravyasuddhi as well as division of paternal property focuses on the application of these for the Bramin varna.

Diksitiyam is the last among the nibhandanas. In the preparation of this work Vaidyanatha Diksita had the advantage of making a comparative study of all the previous works on Dharmasastra. Prior to this work, the authority on the topic in modern day South India was the nibhandana of Tozhappar. Vaisnavas and Smartas alike today accept the Diksitiyam as an authority.

The nibhandanas are not like the Vedas (Sruti), the Kalpa-sutras and the Smrtis. They came later and as a result, are not considered as acceptable to all. Diksita provides an unbias view through his work and has followed Mimamsa in determining the meaning of Vedic texts. He has brought together previous sastras and arrived at conclusions only after resolving apparant shastric contradictions. When the Smrtis differ in some matters, he takes a broad view and suggests: "Let each individual follow the practices of his region and the tradition of his forefathers".

References

  1. Large parts of this article are taken from "Hindu Dharma" which is an English translation of speeches by Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwami of Shri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetham
  2. The Sanskrit Manuscript has been scanned and made available on the web at [1]