Yājñavalkya Smṛti

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Yajnavalkya Smrti, YAjJavalkya SmRti, Yaajyavalkya Smrriti


Yājñavalkya Smṛti is a well-known smṛti belonging to the classical dharmaśāstra literature. It is said to be a composition of the famous sage Yājñavalkya, the promulgator of the Śukla Yajurveda Samhitā. Its style and ideas seem to be close to this Veda. The present edition as available now was probably finalized by A. D. 700, though the original might be placed between 100 B.C. and A. D. 300.

Content of Yājñavalkya Smṛti

It has 1010 verses in the classical anuṣṭubh meter. It has five standard commentaries by Aparārka,[1] Mitramiśra,[2] Sulapāṇi,[3] Vijñāneśvara[4] and Viśvarupa.[5] It appears like a beautiful summary of the Manusmṛti. Its contents are as follows:

First Kānda

  • Fourteen vidyās or sources of knowledge like the Vedas and Vedāñgas
  • Expounders of dharma
  • Sixteen sanskāras
  • Four āśramas
  • Eight forms of marriage
  • Eating māsa or flesh
  • Dāna or giving gifts
  • Śrāddha and its varieties
  • Śāntis or propitiatory rites
  • Navagrahas or nine planets
  • Rājadharma or duties of a king
  • Fate and human effort
  • Weights and measures

Second Kānda

  • Administration of justice
  • Debts
  • Interest and repayment
  • Partition of property
  • Boundary disputes
  • Sale of property
  • Gambling
  • Crimes and punishment

Third Kānda

  • Cremation and burial
  • After-death rites
  • Āpaddharma or rules of conduct in distress
  • Vānaprastha and sanyāsa
  • Human physiology
  • Ātmajñāna
  • Yogins
  • Mokṣa[6]
  • Hells
  • Sins and expiations
  • Yamas and niyamas
  • Eulogy studying this work

References

  1. He lived in A. D. 1200.
  2. He lived in 17th century A. D.
  3. He lived in circa A. D. 1400.
  4. He lived in circa A. D. 1100.
  5. He lived in A. D. 800.
  6. Mokṣa means liberation.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore