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Dharma Sindhu

Dharma Sindhu, an 18th century work on rituals, was written by Kashinath Anant Padhye, also known as Baba Padhye. He was born in Govali (Ratnagiri) and later moved to Pandharpur where he remained till his death.

Dharma Sindhu (in Sanskrit) explains rituals and religious functions. The work is similar to Nirnaya Sindhu, Purushartha Chintamani, Kalamadhava, Kalaivecana, Smrtiyarthasara, etc.

The decisions given in Dharma Sindhu are accepted from Kashi to Pandharpur. Baba’s brother who carried this work to Kashi, presented it for the examination of learned pundits (scholars) there. The pundits accepted its authenticity.

Dharma Sindhu is divided into three parts. In the first two parts it describes the procedure for performing various religious functions in a year. In the third part, it deals with the sixteen sacraments and daily functions like agnihotra, arha, griharambha, griha pravesh, prayana, garbhadhana (conception), ahnik (daily rituals), deva pratishta (installation of God, i.e. his image), santyadika (pacification rites), nitya naimittika Karma (routine and obligatory rituals), etc., in the purvardha (first half).

In the uttarardh (subsequent part), it lays down the details of what should be done and what should be avoided in Kali Yuga. It covers topics like jivapitrika nirnaya (observations about living parents), Shraddha Paddhati (method of performing obsequies), sutakadi nirnaya (decision about purity), antyeshti (funeral rites), samskara vidhi (the right way of performing sacraments), sanyasa (renunciation) and so on are covered. Prayaschitta (expiation) and sarvadana vidhi (rites of charity of all types) are explained and in introduction to all Dharmashastras is given in brief.

It is observed that people in the modern era do not follow achara (prescribed behavior) properly. Emphasis is laid on the performance of sixteen samskaras (sacraments) for all round-development of man. After dealing with kala (time) or conditions in a generally way, Dharma Sindhu dilates upon kalanirnaya (judgment about time).