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By Swami Harshananda

The dharmasutra work of Śaṅkha-Likhita is considered as very authoritative by the Vājasaneyins[1].

As per the story in the Mahābhārata[2], Likhita once went to the hermitage of his elder brother Śaṅkha. Since Śaṅkha had gone out, Likhita had to wait until he returned. During this time, he saw some nice fruits hanging from the trees in the garden, plucked a few and ate them. When Saṅkha returned and found what Likhita had done, he admonished him for this act of his, as theft and advised him to go to the king Sudyumna to receive appropriate punishment.

Though Sudyumna refused to give punishment since Likhita was well-known as a sage of great rectitude, he was obliged to do so due to Likhita’s insistence. As per the law, both the hands of Likhita were cut off. When he arrived at Saṅkha’s hermitage again and reported to him of having received the punishment, Śañkha advised him to take bath in the nearby river. As soon as Likhita did so, he got back both his hands due to the mysterious powers exercised by Śaṅkha. Likhita was the co-author of the dharmasutras, along with his brother Śaṅkha.


  1. Vājasaneyins were the followers of Śukla Yajurveda.
  2. Śāntiparva 23.18-43
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore