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Devanna Bhatta – Great Authority of Hindu Dharmasastras And Essay Writer

Devanna Bhatta is a 12th century nibandha (explicatory essay) writer and a great authority on Hindu Dharmasastras. Devanna Bhatta is variously known as Devanna or Devana, Devananda or Devagana. His father was Keshvaditya Bhatta.

The magnum opus of Devanna Bhatta is the well known treatise called Smritichandrika.

Smritichandrika quotes profusely from numerous smritis, nibandha texts, Puranas and Upapuranas. Therefore it could not have been written before 1150 CE. Hemadri in his Chaturvarga Chintamani (III.2.461) refers to the views of Smriti Chandrika. So it must have been definitely at least a generation before Hemadri i.e. before 1225 CE. Thus we can assign the date between 1150-1200 CE for the text.

Smritichandrika is frequently quoted in Sarasvativilasa and Viramitrodaya of Mitra Mishra.

Smritichandrika deals with the following topics –

  • Various dharmas – varna, ashramas and samskaras like garbhadhana, pumsavana, upanayana, vivaha etc.
  • Duties of student hood and during the vacations
  • Routine quotidian duties such as saucha, sandhya, srauta, and smarta rites
  • Duties of householder
  • The five daily yajnas
  • Rules about food etc
  • Procedure of law courts, means of proof, ordeals, the various titles of law such as deposit
  • Dayabhaga
  • Detailed rules for performing shraddha
  • Persons eligible to perform shraddha
  • The type of Brahmin to be invited for the Shraddha etc.

Smritichandrika of Devanna Bhatta was published by J R Gharpure, Mumbai, upto Shraddha Kanda and in the Mysore Oriental Library Series in six volumes, up to Asaucha Kanda (1914 – 1921).

The printed texts consists of the following kandas – Samskara, Ahnika, Vyavahara, Sraddha and Asaucha.

It must be noted here that there are many other literary works of the same title Smritichandrika credited to Sukadeva Mishra and Apadeva.