The system of human marks finds a mention in various jyotisha-shastra and dharma-shastra texts, but it emerged as an independent shastra (field of study) with the composition of various texts collectively called the samudrika-shastras (IAST: Sāmudrika-śāstras). Many of these texts are undated: the Sanskrit-language Samudrika-tilaka, one of the earliest important works, was composed in the 12th century CE.
Around 600 samudrika-shastra manuscripts , often anonymous or attributed to legendary authors, are available. The titles of most of these manuscripts are Samudrika-lakshana, Samudrika, Samudraka-shastra, or Samudrika-lakshana. Less common titles include Samudrika-nirupana, Samudrika-samkshepa, and Samudrika-vichara. Most of these manuscripts are anonymous, but others are attributed Samudra, Narayana, Haridasa, Narada (e.g. Samudrika-nirupana), Vararuchi (e.g. Samudrika-lakshana), Garga, or Vishnudatta. One Tamil language manuscript titled Samudrika-lakshana (Sāmudrika-lakṣaṇa) at the Government Oriental Manuscripts Library in Chennai presents itself as a revealation from the god Subrahmanya to the sage Agastya. A comprehensive study of these manuscripts has not been done, but many of them appear to be extractions, redactions, or consolidations of pre-existing material. Many of the extracts come from the Puranas (Bhavishya, Vishnu-dharmottara, Skanda) and the Brhat-samihta. Several manuscripts included verses from the Gargiya-jyotisha, Rati-rahasya, and other Puranas (Vishnu and Matsya).
Other works on the topic include Samudrika-sara by Shankara or Narayana-suri and Samudrikadesha by Damodara. Samudrika-maha-shastra, an anonymous manuscript from Nepal, dated 17 September 1800, contains 32 chapters in form of a dialogue between the deities Ganga and Samudra. In Jain literature, two notable samudrika-shastra texts are Samudrika-lakshana of Jaipur, and Samudrika by Pandita Padam-sinha of Ajmer.
Over 50 manuscripts of various samudrika-shastra texts contain a commentary or translation, mostly in non-Sanskrit regional languages such as including Prakrit, Hindi, Brajbhasha, Newari, Rajasthani, Gujarati, Marathi, Maru-Gurjura, Odia, Tamil, and Malayalam. The oldest manuscript with a commentary is titled Samudrika-lakshana (1507 CE): it comes from a Jain collection of Rajasthan, and features a Hindi commentary. 2b1af7f3a8