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Smriti Chandrika

Smriti Chandrika is the earliest nibandha (digest) on Dharmashastra. Smriticandrika by Debbana Bhatta (1150 – 1225 CE) deals with samskara (the sacrament), ahnika (daily duties), vyavahara (law), shraddha (oblation to the ancestors) and asaucha (impurity).

Smriti Chandrika enumerates various dharmas of varnas (castes) and ashramas; their usages prevalent in different regions; sacraments including conception, pumsavana (natal ceremony), naming, tonsure, initiation into Veda, marriage, etc; duties of studentship and holidays; daily duties such as saucha, achamana (ritual sipping of water), brushing the teeth, bathing, sandhya (evening) prayer; srauta (Vedic) and smarta rites; duties of the householder; the five daily yajnas; rules about having food, forbidden food; procedures of law courts, trials, the various tittles of law such as deposit, partnership, dayabhaga (law of inheritance); and detailed rules about shraddha, its various kinds, persons entitled to perform shraddha, and the types of Brahmins to be invited to Shraddha.

Smriti Chandrika referts to Mitakshara, the renowned commentary on Yajnavalkya Smriti. Yet there are several points on which it differs from Mitakshara, e.g., it is against unequal distribution by the father of ancestral property among his sons. It does not approve the definition of daya (gift share) given by Mitakshara. It favors the theory of spiritual benefit in matters of succession and, therefore, among daughters, prefers one that that has sons over another who is sonless. It criticizes the reasons advanced by Mitakshara for preferring the mother to the father as heir to their deceased son and says that both parents succeed together. Though smriticandrika, in this way, criticizes Mitakshara in many cases, it generally endorses the views held by it. It holds that son acquire, by birth, ownership of ancestral property. This is also the view of Mitakshara.

Asaucha Kanda (section on impurity or pollution) of smriticandrika is especially significant.

The opinions expressed by smriticandrika were accepted as authoritative in southern India.