Monday, April 18, 2016

Raghunandan Bhattacharya

Raghunandan Bhattacharya रघुनन्दन भट्टाचार्य / রঘুনন্দন ভট্টাচার্য (~1542 CE) was a famous Brahmin Sanskrit scholar of Smriti on Hindu law. His writings include 28 Smriti digests on Hindu law and a commentary on Dayabhaga. He was a nibdandha-kara or digest-writer of the highest order and for his scholarship in Smriti, Raghunandan was known throughout India as Smarta Bhattacharya.

Personal Life

Raghunandana was born at Navadvipa in Nadia District of West Bengal. His father was Harihara Bhattacharya.

Raghunandan was a pupil of Srinatha Acharya Chudamani.

Raghunandan is central to Hindu law in Bengal (secular West Bengal and Islamic Bangladesh) and Hindu Law is described as pre-Raghunandan, Raghunandan, and post-Raghunandan. The new Smriti in Bengal was dominated by Raghunandan, whose scholarship and analysis of Hindu laws practically superseded older Smriti text.

The various estimates of his lifespan are:

  •  Rajendra Chandra Hazra: 1520-1570
  •  Monmohan Chakravarti: born 1490 or 1500, literary activity during 1520-1575
  •  Pandurang Vaman Kane: 1510-1580

Based on the above, Brahminpedia estimates Raghunandan Bhattacharya's lifespan as 1508 to 1575.

Raghunandan's Scholarship

Raghunandana's magnum-opus is his Smriti-tattva which is divided into 28 Smriti texts as below. It is an encylopedia of Hindu law containing quotations from 300 works and authors. He draws upon Itihasas, Purana, Dharmasutra, Grihyasutra, Smriti and their commentaries and earlier Nibandha texts.

  1.     Ahnika-tattva
  2.     Chandoga-vrsotsarga-tattva
  3.     Daya-tattva
  4.     Deva-pratishtha-tattva
  5.     Diksha-tattva
  6.     Divya-tattva
  7.     Durgotsava-tattva
  8.     Ekadashi-tattva
  9.     Janmashtami-tattva
  10.     Jyotisha-tattva
  11.     Krtya-tattva
  12.     Malamasa-tattva (or Malimluca-tattva)
  13.     Matha-pratishtha-tattva
  14.     Prayashchitta-tattva
  15.     Purushottama-kshetra-tattva
  16.     Rg-vrsotsarga-tattva
  17.     Sama-shraddha-tattva
  18.     Samskara-tattva
  19.     Shuddhi-tattva
  20.     Sudra-krtya-tattva
  21.     Taddga-bhavanotsarga-tattva
  22.     Tithi-tattva
  23.     Vastuydga-tattva
  24.     Vivaha-tattva (or Udvaha-tattva)
  25.     Vrata-tattva
  26.     Vyavahara-tattva
  27.     Yajuh-shraddha-tattva
  28.     Yajur-vrsotsarga-tattva

Raghunandana Bhattachary, wrote a Tika on Dayabhaga by Jimutavahana called Dayabhaga-tika, also known as Dayabhaga-vyakhya[na]. Bengal Hindu society still follows the rules laid down by him. His scholarship also extended to grammar (kalaptattvarnav, Shavdashastravivrti), tantra (Mahimnahstotratika) and astrology.

The most important book on astrology in Bengal is still Raghunandan's Jyotistattva.

Raghunandan's other works included.

  1.     Gaya-shraddha paddhati
  2.     Graha-yaga-tattva (or Graha-pramana-tattva)
  3.     Tirtha-yatra-tattva (or Tirtha-tattva)
  4.     Tripuskara-santi-tattva
  5.     Dvadasa-yatra-tattva (or Yatra-tattva)
  6.     Rasa-yatra tattva (or Rasa-yatra paddhati)

Nibandhas Referred to by Raghunandana

Raghunandana Bhattacharya refers to the following Nibandhakara's in his text.

  • Bhavadeva of Bengal
  • Jimutvahana of Bengal
  • Aniruddha of Bengal
  • Halayudha of Bengal
  • Kuluka Bhatta of Bengal
  • Shulapani of Bengal
  • Rayamukta of Bengal
  • Shrinatha of Bengal
  • Shridatta of Mithila
  • Chandeshvara of Mithila
  • Vidyapati of Mithila
  • Rudradhara of Mithila
  • Vachaspati Mishra of Mithila
  • Vardhamana Upadhyaya of Mithila
  • Vidyakara Vajapeyin of Odisha
  • Vigyaneshvara
  • Lakshmidhara
  • Shridhara
  • Hemadri
  • Alladanatha
  • Madhvacharya
  • Vishveshvara Bhatta

Raghunandana's greatest contribution to the field of Dharma was the wonderful synthesis he has made of all the dicta of his predecessors on the topics of Dharmashastra.

Hinduism was undergoing a severe crisis because of the expansion of Buddhism in Bengal and the advent of the barbaric Muslims. At this time many Vaishnava rites emerged from Buddhist rituals. Vaishnava Sahajiya philosophy also emerged from Buddhist Sahajiya thoughts. In his efforts to protect the Hindu religion, Raghunandan prescribed many rites in his Smriti books taking into account the social realities of his time. This is why his books were deeply influenced by tantricism and also why they were easily accepted.


1 comment:

  1. I m from Rajasthan where is rajasthani Brahmin list

    Six type
    Gujjar Gour
    Sri Mali
    Rajpurohit also add