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Katyayana Smriti – Daily Code - Conduct And Custom in Hindu Religion - Katyayana Samhita

Katyayana Smriti is a text on code of conduct in Hinduism by Katyayana – who is one of the most renowned and respected writers in the field of Hindu law. Katyayana Samhita  is dedicated to traditional conduct and custom in Hindu religion. Due to this highly valuable view on Hindu Samskaras, Katyayana has been classed with famous smritikaras like Narada and Brihaspati.

In the long history of Hindu law, Katyayana is the most frequently quoted author, after Manu and Yajnavalkya. He is believed to have lived during the 3rd or 4th century BC and is also called Vararuchi.

Vyavahara - Dealings Of Court of Law

Katyayana Smriti dwells elaborately on the nature of vyavahara, i.e., dealings in the court of law, and other allied topics.

The four elements in a judicial settlement, according to him, are:
  1. purvapaksha (the plaint)
  2. uttarapaksha (the retort)
  3. pratyakalita (verification of evidences on both sides) and
  4. Finally, Katyayana has enumerated four modes of decisions on dispute settling, viz., by moral law, judicial evidence, popular usage and royal edict.
According to Katyayana, the king is to be assisted by a group of advisers, including the judges, the ministers, Brahmins, purohita and the assessors.

He also writes about the definition of the courthouse, discussions on the suitable time and circumstances of holding a trial, systems of issuing summons, etc. All these are detailed and are important subject matter in Katyayana Smriti.

Katyayana says that at the time of trial the priority of speaking will go to the accuser, next to the accused, then to the assessor and lastly to the judge.

The law of punishment for crimes and the laws of inheritance and division of property are some of the important topics dealt in Katyayana Smriti.

Wealth Of Women in Katyayana Smriti

The text has carefully defined and elucidated several kinds of stridhana and elaborated a woman’s power of disposal over he stridhana.

Katyayana Smriti has divided stridhana into six categories:
  1. Adhyagni – what is give to a woman before the nuptial fire
  2. Adhyavahanika – what is given during the bridal procession
  3. Pritidatta – what is given through affection
  4. Matr praptam – what is given by mother
  5. Bhratr praptam what is given by brothers
  6. Pitr praptam what is given by father
More than 20 nibandhas and later commentaries have repeatedly quoted and exemplified Katyayana Smriti mainly on vyavahara, to justify their views.

Smriti Chandrika extracts about 600 verses from Katyayana.

Treatment of the subjects exhibits the authors highly developed legal sense and establishes Katyayana as a great jurist.

Katyayana Samhita

This is an important work on Hindu achaara – daily conduct and custom. The book has 29 chapters devoted to various customs and rituals in Sanatana Dharma (Hinduism).

The topics dealt in Katyayana Samhita are
  • Upanayana
  • Shradh
  • Maintenance of sacred fire
  • Oblations to various deities
  • Duties of a wife and husband
  • Duties of children
  • Duties of sons
  • Rules of cremation
And numerous other activities associated with the daily life of Hindus.