On Jagadguru Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa,the most famous exponent of the Kāmarūpa school of Dharmaśāstra

On Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa’s life:Gleanings from his own works

Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa,the most famous exponent of the Kāmarūpa school of Dharmaśāstra is,in the tradition of many Sanskrit authors,quite rectinent on his personal life. However he mentions the following details

  • Dāyakaumudī:He was born at a place in the Southern part of the Lauhitya(Brahmaputra)
  • He was in a large part taught by his father(the benedictory verse of the Śrāddhakaumudī)
  • He was a smārta devotee of Nārāyaṇa and pays obeisances to Śiva,Durgā and Sūrya also. This last bit can be gleaned from the Daśakarmakaumudī where the term ‘śrīvāsudevamārādhya…’ is used.
  • He mentions in the end of his Śuddhikaumudī that he accomplished this work in 1534 śakābda(1612 CE)
  • In the colophon to his Grahaṇakaumudī he mentions that he was patronized by Lakṣmīnārāyaṇa of Kāmarūpa.

Siddhāntavāgīśa’s life:Gleanings from other sources

  • Bṛhatrājavaṃśāvalī states that Cilārāya the brother of Naranārāyaṇa brought Puruṣottama Vidyāvāgīśa(the author of the grammatical work Ratnamālā) and Pītāmbara from Gauḍa
  • He was also said to be a court poet of Naranārāyaṇa and probably served in the court of Balinārāyaṇa as well.
  • Maṇgaladair Buranji introduces him as the Dīkṣāguru of the king of Daraṇga,who donated a large amount of property in his province and his descendants still live there.
  • Nagendranath Vasu in his Social History of Kamarupa states that his kaumudīs were followed by the kings,citing the Bṛhatrājavaṃśāvalī,which noted that those who violated the rules and regulations of society as laid down for the various varṇas and āśramas of human society and life by Jagadguru Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa were punished by the king.

Works of Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa

He is traditionally said to have composed 18 kaumudīs(digests of smṛtiśāstra),which are listed popularly as;

  • Daṇḍakaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Pramāṇakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Durgotsavakaumudī
  • Ekādaśīkaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pratiṣṭhākaumudī
  • Saṃkalpakaumudī
  • Prāyaścittakaumudī
  • Tīrthakaumudī
  • Pañcadīkṣākaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Ācārakaumudī

Hiramoni Goswami(on whose introduction this article is based) cites Taranath Goswami’s list as follows

  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Malamāsakaumudī
  • Nirṇayakaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tattvakaumudī
  • Āhnikakaumudī
  • Vivādakaumudī
  • Aśaucakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pañcayajñakaumudī
  • Dīkṣakaumudī
  • Janmāṣṭamīkaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Saṃskārakaumudī

Hiramoni Goswami also cites Ghanakanta Sarma’s list of Pītāmbara Siddhāntavāgīśa’s kaumudīs which runs into 28

  • Dāyakaumudī
  • Śrāddhakaumudī
  • Malamāsakaumudī
  • Nirṇayakaumudī
  • Sambandhakaumudī
  • Tattvakaumudī
  • Āhnikakaumudī
  • Vivādakaumudī
  • Aśaucakaumudī
  • Tithikaumudī
  • Pretakaumudī
  • Śuddhikaumudī
  • Pañcayajñakaumudī
  • Vṛṣotsargakaumudī
  • Dīkṣākaumudī
  • Janmāṣṭamīkaumudī
  • Saṃkrāntikaumudī
  • Daśakarmakaumudī
  • Tīrthakaumudī
  • Pramāṇakaumudī
  • Patrakaumudī
  • Prāyaścittakaumudī
  • Jyotiṣkaumudī
  • Daṇḍakaumudī
  • Divyakaumudī
  • Sākṣyakaumudī
  • Vyavahārakaumudī
  • Kṛtyakaumudī

Some other works of his that are unpublished amongst digests are Grahaṇakaumudī,etc.(apparently the recently published Śivarātrikaumudī is a part of Durgotsavakaumudī:oral communication). He also is credited with writing commentaries on Vācaspati Miśra’s Dvaitanirṇaya(Dvaitanirṇayadīpikā) and on the tantric digest Śāradātīlaka(Guḍārthaprakāśikā). Very few of his works have been published in print.

On the stotra of the eight names of Gaṇeśa by Viṣnu from the Brahmavaivarta Purāṇa

https://sanskritdocuments.org/doc_ganesha/gaNeshAShTakamviShNuBVP.html the text of the stotra is at the Sanskrit Dcouments website,I am translating it here.

Before Viṣṇu begins this stotra to Gaṇeśa,he affiliates these names of Vināyaka to the Sāmavedic tradition(putranāmāṣṭakaṃ stotraṃ sāmavedoktamīśvari)

He is known as Gaṇeśa,Ekadanta,Heramba,Vighnanāyaka,Lambodara,Śūrpakarṇa,Gajānana and Guhāgraja.

O Mother,beloved of Hara,do listen from me the meaning of these eight names which is the summary of the stotra and removes all obstructoions.

‘Ga’ stands for knowledge, ‘Na’ stands for mokṣa. The one who is the Lord of them both is Gaṇeṣa,I bow to Him.

‘Eka’ stands for principal,’danta’ stands for strength. The one who is the foremost of the strong persons is Ekadanta,and I bow to Him.

‘He’ stands for the poor,and ‘ramba’ stands for the protector,hence the one who is the protector of them(pālakaṃ dīnalokānaṃ) is Heramba.

‘Vighna’ stands for the dangers,and ‘nāyaka’ stands for its remover,hence He is known as vighnanāyaka and I adore Him.

The one who was endowed with a protruding belly because of the eating of the food provided by Viṣṇu and His own father is called lambodara,and I bow to Him.

The one’s whose ears are like winnowing baskets to remove obstructions,and bestows wealth and learning is known as Śūrpakarṇa,and I bow in reverence to Him.

The one on whose head was placed the prasādaṃ(consisting of flowers,hence a garland) of Viṣnu by the munis,I bow to the elephant-faced one known as Gaja-vaktra.

He was born earlier than Skanda,hence He is known as Guhāgraja,and I offer my obeisance to Him.

Oh Durgā,these eight verses consist of many śaktis and different meanings and is auspicious. Please look into the veda,O Putra(Viṣṇu is addressing devī here as putra),and nullify your anger.

The one who recites this stotra thrice a day(at each of the sandhyās) enjoys all worldly pleasures and becomes victorious in the universe like Garuḍa,the sun of Vinātā who is always victorious over serpents.

With the grace of Gaṇeśvara he attains all knowledge,the one desiring a son gets a son and one desiring a wife gets a virtuous wife. And the extremely dull person becomes a great poet and learns all vidyās.

A sandhyAvandana vidhi for all

682px-Sculpture_of_Surya_the_sun_god_dated_to_the_14th_century_from_Kannuru
[Image is of sUrya with His retinue and His seven horses and charioteer,sourced from Wikimedia Commons]

[This vidhi was shared to me by an upAsaka who wishes to remain private,just like the author of this blog]. And the advantage of this vidhi is that it can be performed by all regardless of initiation into vaidika gAyatrI or tAntrika or lack of it,or sex or caste,or birth.

Achamya(you do Achamana with achyutAya namaH,anantAya namaH,govindAya namaH) –

facing east, arghyapradAna[West at sunset]
gaNAdhipa surAdhyaksha chintAmani ganeShvara
siddhidAyaka vighnesha gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [This is a namaskAra to gaNesha]

gaNapataye namaH idamarghyam (3) [saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to ganesha three times]

rajjuvetra kasApANe kAshyape garuDAgraja
arka sutAruNa svAmin gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [This is a namaskAra to aruNa,sUrya’s charioteer]

aruNAya namaH idamarghyam (3)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to aruNa three times]

ehi sUrya sahasrAMSho tejorAse jagatpate
anukampaya mAm bhaktyA gR^ihAnArghyam namo’stute [namaskAra to sUrya bhagavAn]

sUryAya namaH idamarghyam (3)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer arghya to sUrya three times]

mitrAya namaH
ravaye namaH
sUryAya namaH
bhAnave namaH
khagAya namaH
pUshNe namaH
hiranyagarbhAya namaH
marIchaye namaH
AdityAya namaH
savitre namaH
arkAya namaH
bhAskarAya namaH (12 obeisances to sUrya with His names in the dative case)

kAmakrodhAdibhir mUDA pAtakam nu karomyaham
sarvapApakshayam kR^itvA raksha mAm dyumaNe prabho
AyurArogyam aishvaryam j~nAnam vittam prayachCha me
svargamapyapavargam cha jagadIshvara bhAskara

[Forgive whatever I have done from kAma and krodha,prabhu sUrya bhagavAn,and protect me from pApa. Please give me Ayuh,Arogya(health),Aishvarya(wealth),j~nAna,svarga and apavarga:Would refer to apavarga as mukti mArga here,jagadIshvara bhAskara(another name for sUrya)]

prAsya

The vidhi and mantras in देवनागरी लिपि

आचम्य

Facing east,अर्घ्यप्रदान[West at sunset]

गणाधिप सुराध्यक्श चिन्तामनि गनेष्वर
सिद्धिदायक विघ्नेश गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते[This is a namaskAra to गणेश]

गणपतये नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३) [saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to गणेश three times]

रज्जुवेत्र कसापाणे काश्यपे गरुडाग्रज
अर्क सुतारुण स्वामिन् गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते[[This is a namaskAra to अरुण,सूर्य’s charioteer]

अरुणाय नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to अरुण three times]

एहि सूर्य सहस्रांषो तेजोरासे जगत्पते
अनुकम्पय माम् भक्त्या गृहानार्घ्यम् नमो’स्तुते

सूर्याय नमः इदमर्घ्यम् (३)[saying this mantra 3 times,offer अर्घ्य to सूर्य three times]

मित्राय नमः
रवये नमः
सूर्याय नमः
भानवे नमः
खगाय नमः
पूश्णे नमः
हिरन्यगर्भाय नमः
मरीचये नमः
आदित्याय नमः
सवित्रे नमः
अर्काय नमः
भास्कराय नमः

(12 obeisances to सूर्य with His names in the dative case)

कामक्रोधादिभिर् मूडा पातकम् नु करोम्यहम्
सर्वपापक्शयम् कृत्वा रक्श माम् द्युमणे प्रभो
आयुरारोग्यम् ऐश्वर्यम् ज्ञानम् वित्तम् प्रयच्छ मे
स्वर्गमप्यपवर्गम् च जगदीश्वर भास्कर

[Forgive whatever I have done from kāma and krodha,prabhu Sūrya bhagavān,and protect me from pāpa. Please give me āyuḥ ārogya (health),āiśvarya(wealth),jñāna,svarga and apavarga:Would refer to apavarga as mukti mārga here,jagadīśvara bhāskara (another name for Sūrya)]

प्रास्य

jagannAtha as puruShottama

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This article is to be read in conjunction with the previous article on how the wooden God was initially considered as narasiMha.

In quite a few Sanskrit works on the temple,we find the Lord of Puri being referred to as puruShottama. One might ask,what is the origin behind this name and why this particular name has been linked with jagannAtha historically? I am summarizing GC Tripathi’s work here

Early sAtavata conception

The early sAtavata conception of this term is noted in the 15th chapter of the Gita embedded in the Mahabharata,where kR^iShNa is identified as puruShottama,as beyond the kShara and akShara puruSha,and having an identity with them. Also the shloka that goes “…atō.smi lōkē vēdē ca prathitaḥ puruṣōttamaḥ৷” is indicative of Krishna-Vishnu being identified with the puruSha concept even in vaidika terms. In ritual that is extant even today,the puruSha sukta is used for worshipping viShNu in pUjAs that require 16 upAchAras(each of the mantras of the sukta being used for a particular upAchAra). That the fact this ritual is old is attested in the Bombay recension of the Skanda Purana.

puruShottama as used in early literary records and epigraphy of the Jagannath temple

  1. anargharAghava of murAri(circa 900s CE):puruShottama is described as being on the salt ocean and drawing patterns on the breasts of kamalA with paste of musk and His yAtrA.
  2. prabodhachandrodaya of kR^iShNamishra(was written between 1060-70CE) where the kShetra of puruShottama is referred to
  3. puruShottama mAhAtmya of the skanda purANa(1300s CE)
  4. mahApuruShavidyA(1600s CE?)
  5. Maihar inscription at a sarasvatI temple(middle of the 10th century)
  6. Dasgoba Copper plate grant of Rajarajadeva,recording the construction of the new temple of Jagannath Chodagangadeva.

 

puruShottama in tAntrika literature

Now that we have noted the earliest literary and epigraphical references to that term puruShottama,we should now turn to the tAntrika literature which has been influential in the usage of this term(and which has influenced the ritualism of the shrImandira) to understand what did the people in those eras mean when they said puruShottama(as already noticed in the anargharAghava,the deity is already alluded to as having an erotic component and is in play with lakShmI)

The aspects of puruShottama can be noted under the following headings in the shAradAtIlaka according to Tripathi

  1. puruShottama-trailokyamohana
  2. shrIkara-puruShottama
  3. kAma-puruShottama
  4. kR^iShNa gopijanavallabha

In later works like kramadIpikA of keshavabhaTTa(which has been influential on most of the existing pUjAvidhis of jagannAtha) and the gautamIya-tantra(one of the most influential Agamika texts on the worship of kR^iShNa) puruShottama is noted as puruShottama-bhuvanamohana  and puruShottama-trailokyamohana and invoked in the former in a highly erotic form with the yonI of lakShmI getting wet due to amorous excitement and the divine couple being surrounded by thousands of damsels of devas,nAgas etc intoxicated and languid due to the effect of love,and the gautamIyatantra’s description of the couple has shrI embracing Him tightly seducing Him with amorous gestures(sakAmalIlAya devam mohayantI). In these texts,it is puruShottama alone who is referred to as jagannAtha,which facilitated the name interchangeability. Whereas,in earlier texts like the shAradAtIlaka,trialokyamohanA whose link with kAma is obvious in His gAyatrI,and the dhyAna as elaborated by rAghavabhaTTa who notes that lakShmI embraces(dakShiNena Ali~Nganam) Him,and His eyes are enlarged and languid,due to the effect of liquor:And worshipping Him grants the 4 puruShArthas of life;in the later two texts,kR^iShNa becomes prominent and the puruShottama aspect becomes reduced to usages in special rites,while the jagannAtha epithet of puruShottama acquired more and more popularity amongst even literature in the vernacular and the masses.

The testimony of the skandapurANa’s puruShottama mAhAtmya

The puruShottama mAhAtmya refers to subhadrA as lakShmI at three incidents(two of which are being cited here),and interestingly,when referring to events cited as happening in the hoary past.

  1. The incident of puNDarIka and ambarISha;two mahApApIs who could visualize jagannAtha as being with lakShmI who is offering Him a betel-leaf(5th adhyaya). Later too SHe is described as shrI standing between viShNu and shesha
  2. The 19th adhyaya explicitly pleads for the identification of the female deity as shrI(lakShmI),and not any fraternal identity

The testimony of the mahApuruShavidyA

This mahApuruShavidyA(also called puruShottama mAhAtmya) is a text which,according to Tripathi has been composed by shAkta brAhmaNas of the Sasana villages near Puri,who are also with a great affinity towards the Jagannath cult sometime around the 1500s. In this text,the female deity is almost invariably identified as lakShmI even under the mere name of subhadrA

vAmA~NgarUpiNIM lakShmIM tasya dakShiNapArShvagam|
apashyad divyayA dR^iShTyA subhadrArUpadhAriNIM||

And She sports with Her lord like an ordinary human being in the cave of the nIlAchala mountain(nIlAchalaguhAmadhye naralIlAvihAravAn…)

The actual temple layout and aspects of ritual

  1. The garbhagR^iha has space for two(and only two) deities[implying that yes,balabhadra was added later,this is a matter that will be dealt with in a future article] representing puruShottama and lakShmI
  2. These two deities were represented by (kAma)-puruShottama and lakShmI
  3. In existing ritual at the shrImandira:the pIThashaktis of kAma-puruShottama reappear as the mates of bhUvaneshvarI(the current identity of the deity known as ‘subhadrA’). The artificial form of the names of these deities signify that these were originally meant for the worship of kAma-puruShottama and not bhuvaneshvarI initially,and were readapted into Her yantra here at a later date. Also when lakShmI is considered to be of golden complexion when She is in union with puruShottama in the shAradAtIlaka,the same bodily complexion of the deity identified as subhadrA today,the possibility of the female deity having being considered as the sister of viShNu is unlikely to have been the historical conception of the deity initially.
  4. The yantra for pUjA for jagannAtha Himself is a mixture of the yantras of trailokyamohana-puruShottama and shrIkR^iShNa gopijanavallabha in the sense that a sexagon is central,but an 8-petalled lotus is involved,rather than the standard 10 petalled lotus for shrIkR^iShNa.

 

namo gopIjanavallabhAya|

A practical note on purascharaNa(cited from kulArNava tantra)

yad yad a~Ngam vihiyeta tatsaMkhyAdviguNo japaH|
kuryAd dvitrichatuHpa~nchasaMkhyaM vA sAdhakaH priye||
kurvita chA~Ngasiddhyartham tadashaktau sa bhaktitaH|
tachcheda~Ngam vihiyeta mantri neShTam avApnuyAt||

-kulArNavatantra,pa~nchadasha ullAsa (15th chapter,Kularnava tantra)

In Devanagari:

यद् यद् अङ्गम् विहियेत तत्संख्याद्विगुणो जपः।
कुर्याद् द्वित्रिचतुःपञ्चसंख्यं वा साधकः प्रिये॥
कुर्वित चाङ्गसिद्ध्यर्थम् तदशक्तौ स भक्तितः।
तच्चेदङ्गम् विहियेत मन्त्रि नेष्टम् अवाप्नुयात्॥

-कुलार्णवतन्त्र,पञ्चदश उल्लास

If one limb of a five limbed purashcharaNa is lacking,one does japa dviguNa(twice),triguNa(thrice),chaturguNA or 5 times to make up for it. [Apparently according to Buhnemann,a text called PA;perhaps is it the purashcharyArNava? states that the number of times one has to repeate this substitute japa depends on the varNa of the person doing the purashcharaNa,like brAhmaNas doing 2x,and the others in increasing orders:I’m not able to check for myself the original text of the purashcaryArNava].

Anyway,these are the range of rules the tantra has stated,what suits the individual sAdhaka is best learned from his guru who can clarify(and is the ultimate authority).

So,if one had the homa saMkhyA 10,000:He would have to do at least 20,000 japa to make up for the missed limb(a~Nga) of the purashcharaNa.

Practically,the author has seen mostly people recommending 2x or 4x to make up for the a~Ngas that could not be done(like homa,tarpana,etc).

The sculptor of Ma Bhavatarini of Dakshineshwar : Nabin Bhaskar

Translating Ranadeb Mukherjee’s post

The one whom Thakur Sri Ramakrishna called ‘Ma’,the one for whom without giving water,he would not take anything in his mouth:That same image of Ma Bhavatarini was made by the sculptor Nabin Bhaskar of Dainhat at Katwa . At the wish of Rani Rashmoni in 1855 he made the image of Bhavatarini Kali. For the time of a month he went to Kolkata,subsisted on haviShyAnna,followed AchAra and when he finished the work(of sculpting),then the image was not proportionate to the garbhagriha. She then ordered him to make another mUrti of Ma Bhavatarini again and told him to make that mUrti larger than the previous one.

Nabin Bhaskar made two images of Bhavatarini Kali. One is in Dakshineshwar and another in some house in Goa Bagan at Kolkata. His family claims that Rani Rashmoni donated an image to someone she knew. Nabin Bhaskar’s fame was such that the Rajas in Bengal presidency came to to Dainhat. Nabin Bhaskar got his raw material from Bihar. For procuring ‘kosthi pathor'(black stone) he purchased a hill in Jamalpur. At Nabin’s good fame,apart from the Burdwan Royal family,he was also commisioned by the royal families of Cossimbazar,Natore,Puntia,Rangpur,Dinajpur,Jemo,Muktagacha,Mymensingh,Manipur,Lalgarh to sculpt their grihadevatas. It is said that the Maharani of Dinajpur was so spellbound at Nabin Bhaskar’s skill that she gifted him a golden chisel.

Bhaskar took his craft to new heights on his sculpting the image of Dakshineshwar. His best creation is the creation of the murti of Yogadya at Kshirgram. Even today in his house broken images can be found that are in a state of neglect. Still,a very beautiful 10 inch idol of Kali has been closely kept in his successor Nimai Bhaskar’s possession. Along with this Kali Murti  he keeps a dazzling statue of ‘shwet pathor’. This is the last creation of Nabin. Today his workshop is broken and filled with weeds,and the naach-mahal is also dilapidated .His  ancestral dwelling has but one room, even it is mired in household disputes. This generation has but forgetten such a fabulous sculptor.

Nabin Bhaskar’s house is now in a state of decay,swallowed up by time. His descendants no longer carry the illustrious legacy of his sculpting. His left over creations are also slowly going to ruin, due to lack of care.  Due to the lack of anyone to look after that place,that family house at Dainhat is now like a dump. Some valuable works of that sculptor are still in that house.

Book Review:Fighting Proud:The Untold Story of the Gay Men Who Served in Two World Wars

Okay,this is going to be less a review and more of an outpouring of my personal feelings on my reading that book.

This book by Stephen Bourne is a book that deals with a sample of the materials available;gay men who served in the World Wars despite the difficulties faced by them due to a society prejudiced against them. I found the values of bravery,sacrifice,heroism and over all that,despite official bigotry from time to time;even the most outrageously camp/effeminate types were accomodated in roles as entertainers even if not directly in fighting. And the ones who were in the frontlines;their values of sacrifice,and the permanent relationships they could form(this was relatively successful over time,surprisingly) despite how formally society looked down upon them but unofficially tolerated them-because they were men of virtue beyond just liking men-IMO are ideals to look upto even after all these days and emaluate.

On worldly usages of Krishna mantras as seen in the 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra

The 3rd rAtra of the Narada Pancharatra(of the Krishna centred stream) gives various Krishna mantras and their dhyAnas and kAmya usages

  1. 18 and 20 akShara:smR^iti medhA mati balam labdhvA sa kavi vAgbhavet+mukundacharaNa lAbha
  2. bAlagopAla(11 akShara)[seated on yashodA]:gaining one’s desireSh
  3. puntanA-nAshaka(30 akShara):Relief from afflictions like bhUtas,bAlagrahas,loss of memory
  4. shakaTAri dhyAna[as the one who upturned shakaTAsura’s cart]:For vighnanAshana
  5. bAlagopAla(another dhyAna):For AyuH and Arogya
  6. puruShottama(10 akShara):For long life
  7. Krishna(30 akShara):For long life
  8. Poison eradicating mantras and dhyAnas:As dancer on kAliya’s heads
  9. govardhananAtha dhyAna+gopIkrIDA in yamunA dhyAna: For controlling rain
  10. kR^iShNa as the saviour of sandIpani muni’s sons:apamR^ityu nAsha
  11. putralAbha is also referred to
  12. A dhyAna regarding the vanquishing of enemies [Him emitting fire from His mouth,mounted from Gaurda,and also being referred to as the vanquisher of Rukmi]
  13. Krishna as pulling Kamsa from his throne:Destruction of enemies(even those who have taken amR^ita)
  14. Krishna as pArthasArathi on ratha with hand in vyAkhyAna mudrA/vishvarUpa dhyAna:For dharmavR^iddhi/explaining all shAstras respectively.

All the above are to be learned by sadguru to be effective,and I apologize if I have been misleading or anything wrong has been done.

Review of Samanya Dharma by Nithin Sridhar

Book title: Samanya Dharma

Author:Nithin Sridhar

This book gives a good introduction to dharma,and what dharmas are common to all humans,but specifically to those who are Hindus(since devotion to devas and gurus is definitely a part of some of its definitions,which are more expanded versions of the more concise definitions that don’t explicitly state it). It notes the seeds of these ideas in various shrutivAkyas and then nicely,in various places puts them as elucidated in various smR^itis and purANas,and notes their social benefit and usefulness/importance in yoga of all forms(pAta~njala,bhaktimArga,etc) and sAdhanA.

This is a book that is useful in educating Hindus about the basic dharma-s that they need to follow,especially in an era where certain classes of middle-class people do not have anything substantial to explain dharma beyond ‘way of life’ platitudes,and claiming ‘anything goes’ in Hinduism. All in all,a very good,neat little book that I would recommend to any Hindu(and in whatever language they know/speak).

 dharmaviduttamAbhyAm hariharAbhyAm namaH|

(Obeisances to Hari and Hara,the best of knowers of dharma)