Hindu scriptures have been classified into two groups: śruti and smṛti. The Vedas are the śruti, the revealed works. All other works—the works of the sages like Manu, Yājñavalkya and Parāśara—which deal with more mundane matters such as ācāra (personal conduct) and vyavahāra (social conduct) come under the second group. These works are also called ‘dharma-śāstras.’
The dharmaśāstra literature has grown abundantly over the centuries, due to the contributions of numerous sages, scholars and religio-social leaders. Consi-dering the needs of the contemporary society these savants added or deleted or substituted or modified the several rules given in the earlier books.
One such author was Bhavadeva-bhaṭṭa, who also had the honorific ‘Bālavalabhī-bhujaṅga.’ He was the son of Govardhana and Sāṅgokā and belonged to the Sāvarṇa gotra or lineage of the Kauthumī school of Sāmaveda. The family belonged to the Siddhalagrāma in Rāhā (in Bengal). Baladevabhaṭṭa was a minister of the king Harivarmadeva. He must have lived around A. D. 1100.
The works attributed to him are: Vyavahāratilaka, Sambandhaviveka, Karmānuṣṭhānapaddhati, Prāyaścitta-prakaraṇa and Tautātitamatatilaka.
The first work, on judicial procedure, though quoted by some others, has not been traced till now. The second is a small work based on a part of Manusmṛti (3.5) dealing with the prohibition of endogamous marriages. The principal subjects dealt with in the third are: navagraha-homa (oblations into the duly consecrated fire to appease the nine planets), mātṛpūjā (worshipping the mother), pāṇigrahaṇa (clasping the hand) and other rites connected with marriage as also the other saṁskāras or sacraments like upanayana (initiation into Vedic studies). The fourth deals with the expiations for five grave sins like brahmahatyā (killing a brāhmaṇa), surāpāna (drinking liquor) and so on. The last work deals with the first three adhyāyas or chapters of the Pūrvamīmāṁsā-sūtras of Jaimini following in the footsteps of Kumārilabhaṭṭa (8th century A.D.) who was also known as Tautātita.
Bhavadevabhaṭṭa was also an expert in Āyurveda (life-science or medicine and surgery) and astravidyā (military scien-ces). He is supposed to have composed works on horā or astrology also.