By Swami Harshananda
The life of an average person, even today, is influenced, if not guided, by the class of works known as dharmaśāstras. Even the law-courts are guided by them, especially in cases of family disputes.
The dharmaśāstras comprise a large body of religious literature based on the smṛtis (secondary scriptures based on the śrutis or Vedas) :
- The gṛhyasutras - Aphoristic works dealing with the family life
- The dharmasutras - Aphoristic works dealing with dharma
Both at the individual level and at the social level comprise of several commentaries and digests based on them. Aparārka or Aparāditya (12th cent A.D.) is one of the writers of such literature. He has composed a voluminous commentary in verse, on the well-known smṛti of Yājñavalkya. It is later than the Mitāksarā, the most celebrated commentary on the same by Vijñāneśvara (circa A. D. 1120) more voluminous but less renowned than the same, was published.
Aparāditya was a king of the Silāhāra dynasty whose territory existed in the region of modern Surat and Thānā (Maharashtra State). His work is more in the nature of a digest than a commentary on the Yājñavalkya Smrti. He quotes profusely from earlier works and often comments on the same. Though he does not mention the Mitāksarā by name, the latter’s views come in for criticism.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore