By Swami Harshananda
Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa, Author of Nirṇayasindhu
The Nirṇayasindhu of Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa is an authoritative and voluminous work on the dharmaśāstras belonging to the class of nibandhas or digests. Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa was the son of Rāmakṛṣṇa Bhatta and a grandson of Nārāyaṇa Bhaṭṭa, both of whom were also great scholars. Being a person of profound erudition, Kamalākara Bhaṭṭa authored several works, more than twenty-two, of which the Nirṇayasindhu is one and perhaps, his master-piece.
Other works than Nirṇayasindhu
The other two works considered as equally famous are:
Content of Nirṇayasindhu
The Nirṇayasindhu is said to be an exposition of Kumārila Bhaṭṭa’s Vārttika on Mīmānsā. However it is an encyclopedic work on the dharmaśāstra subjects, is divided into three paricchedas or sections. A brief account of the contents is:
- Divisions of time and the right times for the performance of various rites and vratas
- Various sanskāras or sacraments
- Consecration of images
- Auspicious times for various religious actions
- Rites for sanyāsa
It is interesting to note that the work describes the procedure for satī or self-immolation of a widow who willingly undertakes it. It is equally interesting and educative to learn from Kamalākara’s another work, the Śudrakamalākara, the various facilities and freedom given to the śudras, the last of the four varṇas or castes, regarding the worship of gods, observance of vratas or religious vows, allowing at least ten saṅskāras, the performance of the pañcamahāyajñas and many other socio-religious rites.
- He lived in the early part of the 17th century.
- He lived in 8th century.
- Saṅskāras means sacraments.
- Pañcamahāyajñas means five daily sacrifices.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore