Artha Shastra – Dr. Gururaj Rao

Session on Arthashastra by Dr. Gururaj Rao, KSOU; Contact class held in 2015

The activities related to acquisition and expansion of the wealth that is required to conduct life is called Artha. Arthashastra explains how to acquire and spend the wealth.

मनुष्यवती भूमिरित्यर्थः । तस्याः पृथिव्याः लाभ-पालनोपायः शास्त्रम् अर्थशास्त्रम् इति ॥ १५.१.०१ ॥

The earth is the shelter for humans. The scripture related to its acquisition, protection, nourishment and usage is Arthashaastra. Knowledge is also referred to by the term Bhoomi. यतः सर्वप्रयोजनसिद्धिरर्थः | Artha is the procurement of all the useful resources.

Kautilya had other names like Chaanakya and Vishnu Gupta.  He is considered to have lived between 321 BC and 300 BC. He wrote this shaastra specifically for the king. All the prakaranas are related to the king and his administration. Unlike the other smritis which apply to everyone, this scripture deals with Raaja Neethi. It contains 15 अधिकरण or books, 150 अध्याय or chapters, 180 प्रकरण or sections and 6000 सूत्र or sutras. There are 4 or 5 detailed commentaries available for this shaastra. For the very first time, it was published by R. Shamasastry in 1909. He was working in Oriental Research Institute in Mysore. This work became so popular that Mysore University came to be referred as Arthasaashtra University.

The first Adhikarana is Vinayaadhikarana. It is said – विनयो हि भूषयति सर्वरसम् Humility is the best ornament | There are many sayings that stress the importance of Humility like विद्या विनयेन शोभते and विध्या ददाति विनयम्. This quality of Humility applies equally to everyone – the King, the mantris or concillors, the purohit, Amaatya or the ministerial officers. Kautilya says that humility comes with Vidyaa. विद्या समुत्पन्नः / विद्या समुद्देशः | Vidyaa comprises of four main components – आन्वीक्षिकी त्रयी वार्त्ता दण्ड-नीतिश्चैति विद्याः (०१.२.०१). Kautilya says these four are needed for a King and constitute the vidya. आन्वीक्षिकी includes Shankya, Yoga and lokaayata (chaarvaka) mata. (Following quote – not verified) समीक्षा साधन-तर्कः अन्वीक्षिकी – The analysis or Tarka which is used as an instrument or Saadhana to have the correct perception or sameekshaa is called anvikshaki. Rig-Sama-Yajur Vedas are referred to as त्रयी. It is a synonym for Vedas and hence it includes Atharvaveda also.  कृषि-पाशुपाल्ये वणिज्या च वार्ता ।  (०१.४.०१). वार्ता indicates livelihood subjects like agriculture, animal husbandry, economics/commerce/trade, etc., and deals with the right and wrong actions related to these aspects. And दण्डनीतिः refers to Law & the art of punishment. योग-क्षेम-साधनो दण्डः (०१.४.०३). दण्डः also refers to disciple or shiksha apart from indicating penalty. Yoga is the obtaining what we do not possess अलब्दस्य लाभः योगः and kshema is the protection of what we already possess लब्दस्य परिपालनं क्षेमः | How to acquire through the right means and how to protect one’s possession through the right means are covered under Danda. Kautilya also mentions about the two types of Danda as Naya and Anaya – i.e., appropriate and the inappropriate. धर्म-अधर्मौ त्रय्यां अर्थ-अनर्थौ वार्त्तायां नय-अनयौ दण्ड-नीत्यां बल-अबले च एतासां हेतुभिरन्वीक्षमाणा लोकस्य उपकरोति (०१.२.११)

Humility is important and it will be achieved by gaining the knowledge through these four means.

Pointing out that just Vidya will not suffice to gain Vinaya, Kautilya mentions about the Vruddha Samyoga or the association with elders.  He clarifies what he means by elders. He refers to those are considered elderly not just old by age, but by their knowledge, experience, tapas, character, true nature (the avataara vaibhava or the inherent greatness), and ashram (a young sanyasi is regarded superior than an older gruhasta).

[ Side note: परोक्षप्रिया हि देवाः प्रत्यक्षद्विषः – The gods love the indirect mode of exposition and hate the direct. ” (aitareyAraNyaka 2.4.3) They do not easily expose their self-identity to others. There would be some contemporaries who would identify their true nature and convey that to others. Once their true nature is revealed they are to be regarded].

Thus by being in the company of such wise men and serving them, a person could learn a lot and gain humility also in the process.

Kautilya mentions about two types of humility or discipline namely artificial or Krutaka and natural or Svaabhaavika.  कृतकः स्वाभाविकश्च विनयः (०१.५.०३)

विद्याविनीतो राजा हि प्रजानां विनये रतः | ( ०१.५.१७ अ ब) —  Only a king who is disciplined through the study of the sciences gets engaged in disciplining his subjects.  Such a king will show high regards to his Purohit who will guide him and in turn the kingdom will prosper.

The next chapter इन्द्रियजय-प्रकरण is about controlling the senses. Only when the five sense organs and the mind are under control, it will be possible to gain knowledge and apply it appropriately. विद्या विनय-हेतुरिन्द्रिय-जयः (०१.६.०१) Control over the sense is motivated by training in the sciences. Kautilya further says कृत्स्नं हि शास्त्रम् इदम् इन्द्रिय जयः (०१.६.०३) – This Shastra is all about victory over senses! It has been seen that great kings like Ravana and Dhuryodhana perished since they did not have self-control.

In this way, by controlling the senses and by doing the service to elders, gaining knowledge, and staying humble due to the knowledge, the king becomes a Rajarishi. In the next Rajarishi prakarana, Kautilya describes the characteristics of a Rajarishi.

The King should remain every active and carry out the activities for the welfare of his kingdom. He should also go in disguise to understand the situation prevailing in his kingdom. The king should set the rules based on the Dharma. Such a king will be considered as a Rajarishi. Such a noble king should use his wealth for the welfare of his subjects. He should not use it for his personal happiness.

Kaalidasa says in Raghuvamsa सहस्रगुणमुत्स्रष्टु मादत्ते हि रसं रविः। The sun absorbs the water, only to give it back, multiple folds in the form of rain. In the same way, the King also collects the taxes, not for his selfish interests, but for spending it on the people.

The qualities that should not be there in the king have been stated as lust, greed for wealth, extravagant dress, interest in others’ wives, etc. He should be aware of what needs to be done and what should not be done. He should know the past, present and the future.

सहाय-साध्यं राजत्वं चक्रं एकं न वर्तते || (०१.७.०९ ab) The administration of the kingdom is possible only with others’ help; only one wheel does not revolve. For the chariot to be able to proceed ahead, there has to be a minimum of two wheels, and there has to be people who pull it. Mantra, Amaatya, and Purohita help him to rule the kingdom. The people who pull it are the soldiers, secret spies and other workers.

[Side note: रथस्थं केशवं दृष्ट्वा पुनर्जन्म न विध्यते – It is considered very special to have the darshan of Keshava seated on the chariot as it would free one from the cycle of births and deaths].

The spies are the King’s eyes. They look at the happenings around them and inform him. It is said that the King should not directly look into the eyes of anyone. (Mysore Raja used to wear cooling glasses to avoid direct eye-contact. Even Lakshmi is said to be not looking directly at any one. The reason is that the receiver will not be able to bear that sight).

While debating on who should be appointed as Amaatya, different people share different points of view. First of all, Bharadvaaja says that a king should appoint his classmates as his ministers. सह-अध्यायिनो अमात्यान्कुर्वीत (०१.८.०१). He says so as there would be good understanding.

This opinion is contradicted by Visaalaaksha who says that they could disrespect the King. He recommends a different person to be appointed as Amaatya. ये ह्यस्य गुह्य-सधर्माणस्तानमात्यान्कुर्वीत (०१.८.०५) He who shares the same qualities regarding secret affairs, with the King, should be made as Amaatya.

Paraasara contradicts this saying that the king may end up listening to them just because they know his secrets. He recommends a different person to be appointed as Amaatya. यएनं आपत्सु प्राण-आबाध-युक्तास्वनुगृह्णीयुस्तानमात्यान्कुर्वीत । (०१.८.१०) He shall employ as Amaatyas those who have proved faithful to him under difficulties fatal to life.

Naarada also called as Pishuna opposes this view. He says that this bhakti or devotion does not make one eligible for this post. He has to have the intelligence.  ये यथा-आदिष्टं अर्थं सविशेषं वा कुर्युस्तानमात्यान्कुर्वीत। (०१.८.१३) He recommends those who show as much or more than the fixed revenue, when employed in financial matters.

Kaunapadanta disagrees with this view. He says that such people even if they are obedient, they could be devoid of other ministerial qualifications.  पितृ-पैतामहानमात्यान्कुर्वीत । (०१.८.१६) Employ those people whose fathers or grand-fathers have been ministers earlier.

[There is a saying – पण्डितपुत्रः शुद्धशुण्ठः – learned man’s son is an idiot.  It is not necessary that the minister’s son be an able administrator. ]

Vaatavyaadhi, also called Uddhava, opposes this suggestion and says that such people being familiar with the king since childhood could take advantage of him. He says तस्मान्नीतिविदो नवानमात्यान्कुर्वीत (०१.८.२२) He recommended new persons who are proficient in the science of polity.

Contradicting that opinion, the son of Baahudanti says that theoretical knowledge would not suffice if the person does not have any experience. तस्मादभिजन-प्रज्ञा-शौच-शौर्य-अनुराग-युक्तानमात्यान्कुर्वीत (०१.८.२६). He proposes the person born of high family, and possessed of wisdom, purity of purpose, bravery and loyal feelings.

Kautilya concludes by saying that all that is said above is proper सर्वं उपपन्नम् (०१.८.२७).

According to Kautilya, the Amaatya-s are the ministers and their grade is lesser than the mantris or the councilors. This is indicated, when he says “such persons shall be employed not as councilors (mantrinah) but as ministerial officers (amátyah).”  अमात्याः सर्व एवएते कार्याः स्युर्न तु मन्त्रिणः ( ०१.८.२९ च्द्).

[There are two types of Amaatyas namely karma amaatya and buddhi amaatya. The Karma amaatya get into the work and do it while the buddhi amaatya gives advice and stops there].

In the next chapter on the Mantris or the councilors, Kautilya lists twenty five qualities that should be present in the councilor. The person should be a native, born of high family, influential, well trained in arts, possessed of foresight, wise, of strong memory, bold, eloquent, skillful, intelligent, possessed of enthusiasm, dignity, and endurance, pure in character, affable, firm in loyal devotion, endowed with excellent conduct, strength, health and bravery, free from procrastination and ficklemindedness, affectionate, and free from such qualities as excite hatred and enmity. These qualities are the qualifications of a ministerial officer (amátyasampat).

The works of a king may be visible, invisible (paroksha) and inferential.  प्रत्यक्ष-परोक्ष-अनुमेया हि राज-वृत्तिः । (०१.९.०४) That which he sees is visible; and that which he is taught by another is invisible; and inference of the nature of what is not accomplished from what is accomplished is inferential.

The next important role is that of the Purohit. The King may or may not agree with whatever the ministers say. But he has to unconditionally obey the advice of the Purohit.

He whose family and character are highly spoken of, who is well educated in the Vedás and the six Angas, is skillful in reading omens providential or accidental, is well versed in the science of government, and who is obedient and who can prevent calamities providential or human by performing such tantric rites as prescribed in the Atharvaveda, the king shall employ as high priest. Kaalidaasa also mentions in Raghuvamsa – दैवीनां मानुषीणां च प्रतिहर्ता त्वम् आपदाम् । Dhasharata tells Vashishta “You are present to remove the super-human and human disasters”.

The king should test and ensure that the ministers and the Purohit do not have the weakness of resorting to adharma in the moment of crisis. अमात्यानुपधाभिः शोधयेत् (०१.१०.०१). The king should test the amaatyaas by means of upadhaa-s. There are four types of upadhaas namely धर्म-उपधा, काम-उपधा, अर्थ-उपधा and भय-उपधा.

The king would test the ministers if they support adharma by creating a situation. The king shall dismiss a priest who, when ordered, refuses to teach the Vedás to an outcaste person or to officiate in a sacrificial performance (apparently) undertaken by an outcaste person (ayájya). Then the dismissed priest shall, through the medium of spies, instigate each minister one after another, saying “this king is unrighteous; let us set up in his place another king who is righteous”. If any one or all of the ministers refuse to yield in such a measure, he or they shall be considered pure. This is what is called religious allurement or Dharma Upadhaa.

In the Artha upadhaa or the monetary allurement, a dismissed commander of the army, through the agency of spies, would instigate each minister to murder the king in view of acquiring immense wealth. If they refuse to agree, they are to be considered pure.

In the Kaamopadhaa or the love-allurement, a woman-spy under the guise of an ascetic may allure each prime minister (mahámátra), saying “the queen is enamored of thee and has made arrangements for thy entrance into her chamber; besides this, there is also the certainty of large acquisitions of wealth.” If they discard the proposal, they are pure.

In the Bhaya upadhaa or the allurement under fear, the ministers are checked if they succumb to fear and agree to kill the king for their protection.

Along with the right people for administration, the king should also have many spies who would be the mouth piece of the people and convey their messages to the king. There are two main types of Spies namely संथाः comprising of 5 sub-types and संचाराः comprising of 4 sub-types.

कापटिक, उदास्थित, गृह-पतिक-व्यञ्जक, वैदेहक-व्यञ्जक, and तापस-व्यञ्जक are the 5 types in samthaa. Spies under the guise of a fraudulent disciple (kápatika-chhátra), a hermit (udásthita), a householder (grihapaitika), a merchant (vaidehaka), an ascetic practising austerities (tápasa). In taapasa, the ascetic could be a man with shaved head (munda) or braided hair (jatila).

In chapter 12, Kautilya elaborates about different types of spies called sanchaara-s who do not stay in one place. They could be a class-mate or a colleague (satri), a fire-brand (tíkshna), a poisoner (rasada), and a mendicant woman (bhikshuki). The person in the first type called सत्त्रि does palmistry, the duties of the various orders of religious life, and the reading of omens, etc. The next type is तीक्ष्ण, the brave fighter who will fight the elephants and tigers. रसद are the very cruel and indolent poisoners. परिव्राजिका or bhilshuki would be a poor widow of Bráhman caste, very clever, and desirous to earn her livelihood. There are 18 specific Tirtha Sthaana or key places that are identified and these spies are deployed there to gather information.

In the chapter on Mantraadhikaara, Kautilya explains how the king discusses the information obtained through the spies with his councilors and ministers. There is a detailed description about various aspects of this conference meeting like who should be invited, how to maintain the secrecy of the discussions, how to secure the place even from animals and birds like parrots as they could also be spying on them. No uninvited person can enter that place. There is also mention about how many people need to be invited. It is generally said that for secrets to be maintained, it should not be heard by 6 ears (quote not verified – षट् करणाः मास्तु). In these conferences, for certain matters, there could be only 3 people. For other matters there could be more people, not exceeding 12. Even after inviting only the most faithful of his advisors and ministers, the king should not be careless. He should carefully watch their body language, observing changes in the attitude and countenance of the participants to detect any leak of information.

The five constituents of every council-deliberation are the means to carry out works, command of plenty of men and wealth, allotment of time and place, remedies against dangers, and final success.

कर्मणामारम्भोपायः पुरुषद्रव्यसम्पत् देशकाल विभागः विनिपातप्रतीकारः कार्यसिद्धिः इति पञ्चांगो मन्त्रः ॥
These five aspects mentioned in Chapter 15 are :

  1. कर्मणाम् आरम्भ-उपायः An approach to the project
  2. पुरुष-द्रव्य-सम्पत् An estimate of required human and material resources
  3. देश-काल विभागः An implementation plan showing place and time of tasks
  4. विनिपात-प्रतीकारः A complete list of risks and mitigations
  5. कार्य-सिद्धिः A well defined success criteria

In the chapter on Rajakumaara-utpatti, there are detailed descriptions about how the prince should be brought up. There are different approaches. There is a debate on where he should be kept in custody so that he can grow up from there considering the security of both the prince and the king. There are varied opinions that he should be kept in safe custody in some definite place, that he should be in custody of the boundary guards or inside the fort, that he should be inside a fort belonging to a foreign king far away from his own state, that he should live with his maternal relations, etc. The protection of the prince starts even before he is born by offering the requisite oblations to the gods. When the prince attains the necessary age, adepts shall train him under proper discipline.

जन्म-प्रभृति राज-पुत्रान्रक्षेत् (०१.१७.०४) Ever since their birth, the king should take special care of the princes. The Prince has to be protected as he will become the next king.

The duties of the messengers and certain other aspects are also discussed in this Vinayaadhikarana.


  1. कौटिल्यस्य अर्थशास्त्रम्
  2. The Arthashastra By Kauṭalya
  3. Arthashastra. Translated by R. Shamasastry. Bangalore: Government Press, 1915, 1-50.


Yajnavalkya Smriti – Dr. Gururaj Rao

Yajnavalkya Smriti –  by Dr. Gururaj Rao, KSOU – Contact Class 2015 and 2016

Rishi Yajnavalkya (याज्ञवल्क्य) was a great yogi and mahatma. It is mentioned in the Vaayu puraana that he was the maanasa-putra of the Brahma. Brahmarata was the name of his father. Vaishampaayana was his Guru. He was one of the most favorite disciples of Vaishampaayana and so he got to learn certain special Veda mantras from his guru. Once Yajnavalkya showed disrespect towards his fellow-student. This was noticed by his guru, Vaisampayana. The guru got angry and asked Yajnavalkya to return back all the knowledge that he had taught. गुरोरधीतं गुरवे निवेदितम् | (Side note: Karna’s guru cursed him that he would forget it at the most needy moment). Whatever we learn stays in our intellect and also becomes a part of our samskaara due to which we notice child-prodigies carrying the knowledge from the earlier births.  Yajnavalkya readily gave it back, hoping to gain the knowledge again from other teachers.  गुरवो बहवः सन्ति | He removes the knowledge from his samskaara itself and spits it out as vomit. We cannot explain this scientifically. But the Rishis were capable of performing any feat due to their sakthi.  When he spits out the knowledge this way, the other shishyaas of the guru, realizing the worth of that knowledge, took the form of the tittiri birds and consumed the vomited knowledge. It is forbidden to get the remains of the food consumed by anyone. This rule does not apply to the birds and hence they took the form of a bird. They took the form of a bird or Dvija – that which has two births. The significance for the disciples to take the form of a dvija is that this changing to a bird became their second birth and they did not have to wait for the next birth. They got Dvijatva by taking the form of the dvija or bird.  These learning which were got from the Tittiri birds became the Taitireeya Upanishad.

Then, Yajnavalkya approaches his guru and apologizes. The Guru also forgives him. Before starting to learn from the beginning, he does tapas and prays to the Lord Savitra Surya Naaraayana. He prays that he should get the knowledge which no one had got until now. Thus he gains the ultimate superior knowledge from Surya Naaraayana. The story continues further in the puranas. Yajnavalkya , after gaining the knowledge from Surya, prays to Brahma for extended life. Thus he gets 5000 years of life due to Brahma’s blessings. Again and again he performs penance and gets extensions of 5000 years. When he does his penance for the fourth time, Brahma questions him the need for this extension pointing out the impermanence of life. It is said – जातस्य मरणं ध्रुवं, ध्रुवं जन्म मृतस्य च | Yajnavalkya mentions that he wants to gain more and more knowledge. When Brahma asks Yajnavalkya as to what he had gained so far by studying day and night in the earlier years, Yajnavalkya shows three mountains and says that he had gained a handful of sand from the three mountains. By saying this, Yajnavalkya indicated the limitlessness of the knowledge where the three mountains are the three Vedas – Rig, Yajur and Saama.

Yajnavalkya learnt from Vaisampayana’s father Brahmaraatra rishi and became a great rishi. He adhered to Dharma. He was considered as a परमज्ञानी | Since Sun god came in the form of a White horse and taught him the knowledge, it is called Sukhla Yajur Veda. The works authored by Yajnavalkya are Vaajasaneyi Samhita, Yajnavalkya Smriti, Yajnavalkya Gita, Yajnavalkya Upanishad, Yajnavalkya Shikshaa, Yajnavalkya bhashyaa, and गायत्री-गूढार्थ-चन्द्रिका, explaining the secret meaning of Gaayatri mantra, about the devataa associated with each letter of the mantra, about the form of Vishnu, that is present as the antaryaami in the letters of the mantra, which are to be meditated upon.  Madhyandina Shakha, which is also called as Vajasaneyi Madhyandiniya shakha is a branch of Shukla Yajurveda.  The name Vajasaneyi is derived from Vajasaneya, patronymic (i.e., belonging to the clan) of sage Yajnavalkya, who was an authority and according to tradition, founder of the Vajasaneyi branch.

Once there was a debate and discussion on the aspects related to Dharma conducted at the city of Mithilaa. The proceedings were recorded in the Yajnavalkya Smriti. It has 3 chapters namely aachaara adhyaya, vyavahaara adhyaya and prayaschitta adhyaya. There are 1100 shlokas present. In the first two chapters, the routine duties that are to be carried out have been explained.

आचारः प्रथमो धर्मः | When describing about the Aachaara, he says that a person should gain knowledge about the aachaara before he carries out that Aachaara. He mentions about 14 Gnaana Saadhana-s or ways of gaining knowledge. Those are the four Vedas, the six Vedaanga-s (Shikshaa, kalpa, vyakarana, niruka, chandas and Jyotisha), the Puranas comprising of 18 puranas, Tarka, Mimamsa, and Dharmashashtra. These are Aapta Vaakya and hence taken to be a Pramaana or the valid means of knowledge. The inquisitiveness of the youngsters in understanding the reason behind the religious practices is not to be cut down. Tarka is this interest in the students to question and understand the knowledge. After processing the knowledge obtained, the understanding that they get is called Mimamsa. The practical instructions are captured in Dharma Shashtras.

Sarva Samarpana Bhaava

On the Aachaara, after gaining the knowledge by means of the gnaana saadhana, one should follow them. It should be done with a spirit of Sarva Samarpana bhaava. This concept is commonly seen in our culture. कुरु कृष्णार्पणं तत् | There are some scriptures which says that only the good actions should be offered to God. Yajnavalkya says that all the actions have to be offered including Nishiddha karma and the fruits of Nishiddha karma, which will be done with a sense of repentance and in an apologetic manner with a prayer to prevent one from doing such actions in future.


The other aspect dealt by him is Ahimsa. परोपकाराय पुण्याय पापाय परपीड़नम् । Helping others is a good deed and harming others is a sinful act. He stresses on the need for non-violence towards all the beings however insignificant they are. He says  अहिंसा सत्यं अस्तेयं शौचं इन्द्रियनिग्रहः । दानं दमो दया क्षान्तिः सर्वेषां धर्मसाधनम् || १.१२२ || (आचाराध्यायः/गृहस्थधर्मप्रकरणम्) Non violence, truth, refraining from any stealing, cleanliness (morally as well as physically), control over senses, charity, self restraint, compassion, patience (and forgiveness) are the ways one can adopt, to follow Dharma.

As part of explaining the aachaaras or the practices to be adhered to, he mentions about the food that can be consumed and those that should be avoided. Later in the Prayaschitta Adhyaaya, he mentions about the remedial action if the person happens to consume the forbidden food under unavoidable circumstances.


दानं ध्रुवं फलति पात्रगुणानुकूल्यात् | Alms given give fruit according to the qualities of the person accepting them. Daana is another important Aachaara or practices. Even if a person is not able to perform the austerities, if he gives daana and supports the austerities performed by another person, he would also reap a part of the fruits of those austerities. Hence Daana is very important for every one even if they are not able to follow the other practices.

The commonly mentioned three types of Daanaa are गो दान, हिरण्य-दान (or भूदान) and अन्नदान | There are different definitions of Annam. अत्ति इति अन्नम् |  That which is eaten. The mind is relaxed when one eats. So the knowledge which helps in calming the mind is also considered as Annam. So Annadaana also means ज्ञान-दान.


The details about the pitrus are described in this chapter. The panda is kept in the floor to satisfy the hunger of the pitrus, saying ते सर्वे तृप्तिमायान्तु मया दत्तेन भूतले | He insists on the importance of performing these rites. कुर्य्यात् + आचार्यपूजार्थम् + वित्तशाठ्यम् + विवर्जयेत् agnipuraana |  न विस्तरेत् श्राद्धकार्यम् – don’t make shraarddha to be a big event – Only the people who are eligible to receive the pitru-shesha should be invited for the shraarddha ceremony done for the dead relatives.  वित्तशाठ्यम्  न कारयेत् | The ceremony has to be done with devotion and sincerity. This is so because the curse of the departed elders can cause Vamsha naasha – the destruction of the clan. आयुः प्रजां धनं विद्यां स्वर्गं मोक्षं सुखानि च । प्रयच्छन्ति तथा राज्यंप्रीता नॄणां पितामहाः || १.२७० ||  (आचाराध्यायः – श्राद्धप्रकरणम्) The pleased (preetaah) fathers and grandfathers will give long life, wealth, knowledge, svarga, moksha, happiness, and kingdom.


The worship of five deities is described. The commonly worshipped deities are Surya, Ganapati, Subramanya, and Shiva. Yajnavalkya include Lakshmi. He highlights the importance of worshipping and says about three rituals namely Ganapati kalpa, Lakshmi kalpa and Graha Shanti. Wealth is required for all tasks. Ganapati is to be worshipped to remove the obstacles. Graha Shanti is to avoid the influence of Adhyaatmika, aadhibhautika and aadhidaivika obstacles.


In this Smriti, he also elaborates on the duties of the King and the Sanyaasins. In the first chapter on Aachaarana, he also describes the duties of the different varnas like Brahmana, Vaishya, Kshatriya and Shudhra.  He also describes the role of woman. यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवता | The blessings of devatas are present in the house which upholds the women. He gives importance to the opinion of women. Ultimately, everything happens by the Divine Will – सर्वं भगवदधीनम् |


There are 25 prakarana-s in the second adhyaayaa on vyavahaara. Based on the Aachaara, the vyavahaara has to be conducted. Vyavahaara relates to the legal transactions and also to the court cases. The rules related to law, the contribution of the king, how punishments are to be given (danda neeti), how the court should be conducted, how the judge should be conduct himself, how the vaadi and the prativaadi-s are to be cross-examined, the importance of witness or Saakshi, etc. are covered. He stresses the importance of the conduct of the King as that will reflect on his people and in turn, impact the court cases that come up. Once the king is good, the people will be good as they will seem him as their ideal – राजा प्रत्यक्षदेवता | धर्म is not fixed. It changes based on the person and the situation. Considering these, the dandaa also changes on a case to case basis. There is a story where a sage protects a person from the solider by saying that he is not present. In this, the sage has adhered to his dharma of protecting the person who sought his protection.

Stree Daana

One aspect that is not generally covered in the other Smritis, which is specifically covered in this Smriti, is regarding the wealth of the women. This Smriti has been the basis for the Indian laws in this matter. This comes under the ashaadhaarana prakarana. न स्त्री स्वातन्त्रमर्हति – At no stage in life should a woman be independent (i.e., left alone and destitute) . During marriage, the couple promises each other – धर्मेच अर्थेच कामेच इमां नातिचरामि । धर्मेच अर्थेच कामेच इमं नातिचरामि ॥ In my duty, in my financial commitments, in my needs, I will not violate this lady or this man.

A man should never use his wife’s wealth. From his own earnings, he should keep a part as Aapad Daana – i.e., for emergency expenses, one part for charity, one part has to be kept aside as Stree Daana as a security for his wife and daughters, and only the remaining part could be spent for the other expenses. This Stree Daana is to be kept by the lady for her use when she faces a crisis and it is not meant for use by her husband when he requires it for any family expenses. She should give only if it a life-threatening situation for the husband. Once the money is given to the wife or the daughter, the man loses the right over that Stree Daana, while he could take back the money given to his son.

Even after the wife dies, the husband cannot claim right over the money. If their child or children are minor, then 50% of the amount goes to them and the remaining goes to the king’s treasury. If there is no minor child, then 50% of the amount goes towards charity (the fruits of which are expected to protect the children) and the remaining goes to the king’s treasury. These are to be understood in the context of the situation at those days.

Praayashchitta Adhyaaya

There are 5 prakarana-s in the third Adhyaaya on Praayashchitta. Praayaschitta is the remedial action performed to nullify the effects of the bad actions performed by a person.  जाताशौच – impurity contracted due to a birth in the family and मृताशौच – impurity contracted due to a death. Here he explains that 10 days of impurity is to be observed by the paternal relatives and 3 days by certain other relatives.

Praayashchitta Apaddharma

There are certain non-conformities permitted during times of crisis. It may not be possible to adhere to certain injunctions during a crisis. To avoid misuse of this relaxation, he clarifies what is to be considered as a crisis. When one’s life is at stake, it is ok to have some non-conformity to dharma. For example, eating outside is not permitted. But if a person is unable to bear the hunger and is suffering, it is ok for him to eat outside. In that case also, he can consume only to the minimum extent that is required. The reason for mentioning the Aapad dharma here is that separate prayachchitta has to be done for the non-conformance made during times of crisis.


As mentioned in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: ” योगः चित्त वृत्ति निरोधः” meaning “Yoga is the silencing of the modifications of the mind”, Yajnavalkya stresses the importance of controlling the modifications of the mind. Only a person who has control over his mind will be able to practice Dharma. He mentions that Yoga will help in controlling the mind, which in turn will help in the adherence to Dharma. He suggests doing meditation every day. प्रातः प्रभृति सायान्तं सायादि प्रातरन्ततः यत् करोमि जगन्नाथ तदस्तु तव पूजनम् | From dawn to dusk and from dusk to dawn, whatever I do, o Lord of the world, may it be an offering to you. One should pray in the morning and night.

Rahasya prakarana

Finally while concluding the Praayaschitta adhyaaya, he mentions about Rahasya or secret Praayaschitta. Yajnavalkya classifies the mistakes into two categories, one which can be shared with others and the second type which cannot be told to others. In this second type, the person is not in a position to tell another knowledgeable person the mistake done and try to know the right parihaara for it. Yajnavalkya clarifies how to do the praayaschitta in that case. When a mistake is done unintentionally, repenting and seeking forgiveness from God will be the parihaara. Based on the severity of the committed mistake, Yajnavalkya suggests appropriate remedial actions. Yajnavalkya stresses the importance of carrying out the remedial action to avoid any bad consequences in the future in the same birth or in the future births.

Saadaarana and Asaadaarana Vyavahaara

Yajnavalkya has split the vyavahaara prakarana into Saadaarana (general) and Asaadaarana (specific) vyavahaara prakarana. The regular activities performed by the citizens, the problems that could be faced, the precautions to be taken, the loss that could be incurred, how they could approach the court for justice, and the justice that they are expected to get – all these have been explained in the Saadaarana  Vyavahaara Prakarana. In the Asaadaarana vyavahaara, the conflict resolution for special cases where there are some additional complications in the case put forth by the Vaadi and prativaadi. The king has the supreme power to give the verdict on the general conflicts. व्यवहारान्नृपः पश्येत् | For resolving the conflict, the king would appoint a sabhaa comprising of the chief preceptor of dharma, the chief of the army, and the elderly advisors. व्यवहारान्नृपः पश्येद्विद्वद्भिर्ब्राह्मणैः सह । धर्मशास्त्रानुसारेण क्रोधलोभविवर्जितः ||२.१||  The members of the sabha should be Shotreeya Brahmanas or the Kshatreeyas who are Shotreeyas. Shotreeya is one who has the knowledge of Shruti and Smriti. The person who be a Dharma Nishta adhering to the dharmic principles.  In that gathering, the arguments and the counter-arguments would be heard, and after taking into consideration the witness’s account, the verdict has to be given based on the Dharmic principles धर्मशास्त्रानुसारेण | The king and the members should be devoid of anger and greed. क्रोधलोभविवर्जितः  |

Qualities of the Sabha Members

श्रुताध्ययनसंपन्ना धर्मज्ञाः सत्यवादिनः । राज्ञा सभासदः कार्या रिपौ मित्रे च ये समाः ॥ २.२ ॥ The members of the sabha should be well-educated on the Vedas and be interested to learn more, be born in noble families known for the good qualities, be truthful and impartial towards enemies and friends. [Side note: ज्ञानिनोऽपि मौनिनः – The gnaanis keep quite to avoid saying any untruth even by slip of tongue]. The close relatives or the friends should be considered impartial by the jury. यज्ञसदृशी सभा | The Sabha is considered equivalent to the Yagna. Like the poornaahuti offered in the Yagna, the important part is the verdict by the King.

सभ्यैः सह नियोक्तव्यो ब्राह्मणः सर्वधर्मवित् || २.३ || The members of the sabha should know all the dharmas that apply to the four varnas and four ashrams. The members should not have their own preferences and aversions. Those who have their own family conflicts do not qualify to be members of the sabha as their opinion could be influenced by their experiences. They should not get excited instantly and they should know to control their emotions.  One whose profession is not accepted by the shaastras (like selling food) should not be a member. [Side note: Even selling of vidhya is prohibited]. The Sanyasins are exempt from being called to be present in the court.

[Side note: गतानुगतिको लोकः न लोक़ः पारमार्थिकः । Everyone is going towards worldly pleasures only. It would be like changing the course of the flow to make them turn towards the supreme].

पञ्चेन्द्रिय देहस्य बुद्धेश्च मनसस्तथा | द्रव्यदेशक्रियाणां च शुद्धिराचार इष्यते || ( वाधूलस्मृति )These jury members should have purity in their five senses, in their body, in their intellect, in their mind, in their things, in their place, and in their actions. They should take an oath to remain impartial while providing justice.

The importance has to be given to the disputant (वादि) who gives the compliant. When a person takes an oath then his words are to be given importance. Those who challenge by bidding money that if they are found to be at fault, they agree to pay a certain amount, are to be given importance.  Due to the confidence that he is right, the person comes forward to pay this amount.

Types of disputes

When the disputant (वादि) provides his argument, the counter-argument provided by the opponent (प्रतिवादि) is called Sampratipatti – सम्प्रतिपत्ति, if the opponent agrees to the accuser. Alternatively if the opponent denies it and says that the accusations are false, it is called Mitya – मित्या. If the opponent accuses the accuser himself for committing the crime then it is called प्रत्यवस्कन्दन. This is also called प्रत्यवस्यन्दन. It is अपूर्वन्याय when the disputant himself changes his own version of the story. In such cases, he loses the credibility and the sabha will considers this will providing the verdict.

Asaadaarana vyavahaara

While saadaarana vyavahaara can be considered to be the petty cases, the asaadaarana vyavahaara would be the more serious criminal cases. In the Asaadaarana vyavahaara or the uncommon type, there will be some rare cases with some specialty. प्रत्यभियोग is the counter-charge during the proceedings of the court that happen before a conclusion is arrived at. (Side note: As in Raghuvamsam, श्रुतौ तस्करता स्थिता, in the olden days, stealing was a rare event that people would say that they have heard about robbers). प्रत्यारोप is the manhandling or attack (by means of poison, weapons, mantras or tantric practices) on the accuser (दोषारोपकः), which is suspected to be done by the accused. In this case, the punishment will be more severe since the accused is making more mistakes to cover up his earlier mistake. मित्याभियोग are the false accusations which were proved to be false by the court through interrogation. When a party delays the case, the king should consider that party to be guilty and appoint spies to check on that person. The king should not delay the proceedings in case of Asaadaaraa Vyavahaara.

The king should find out the reactions संभाव्य लक्षण of both parties through the members of the court, or through his spies or on his own. Certain body languages like drying up of the lips, avoiding eye contact, walking restlessly, being nervous, facial expressions, etc., could indicate that the person might be lying.  The king should be smart enough to find out if these reactions are natural to that person due to the age, nature and other factors; or whether it is because of saying a lie.

गतिप्रतिभन्दक are the illegal activities like bribing or frightening other people like the witness or the jury, done by either parties to get the verdict in their favor.  These are hindrances (pratibhandakas) to the progress (gati) of the case. Such things might not become explicit. The king has to get such information through his spies. The king should gather full details (पूर्व-इतिहास) about the nature of the person before giving the verdict. एकत्र निर्णीतशास्त्रात् – the verdict should be based on the similar verdicts provided earlier. The king should also consider the accused person’s earlier cases that he has been convicted for.

अर्थशास्त्रस्तु बलवद् धर्मशास्त्रविधिस्मृतिः | The dharma shashtra are considered more important over the Arthashastra, Raaja Neeti, dhanda neeti, etc. So the king should adhere to those while giving the verdict. ब्रह्मणो न हन्तव्यः – A Brahmin should not be killed. So if a crime is committed by such a person, other alternatives are to be taken, like causing an insult or banishing the person from the kingdom, that are equivalent of killing.

There are varied means, अर्थसाधना, to prove the truth. One is the लिखित, written document. The second is the Shakshi or witness. In the absence of these two, it has to be understood through Bukthi, some divine interference, which is beyond the physical proof.

(Side note: At Kumbakonam, some 30 or 40 years back, the ownership of the Sarangapani temple was claimed by two groups – Shakti Vishishtaadvaitas and Vaishnavites. It was decided to keep the temple closed for a week and then check for some indication. In this specific case, a Hanuman vigraha appeared when they opened the temple after a week and the case was closed in favor of the Vaishnavites).

(Side note: A story in which there was a special ring that an old man has to give to one of his three sons. He made two similar ones and gave the rings to all the three sons individually telling them that they should keep it as it would bring them good luck. All the three sons benefit from their rings. After many years, they realize that all three were having the rings and they go to the court. As the jury could not decide which one is real, they tell the sons that their father had asked them to have the ring with all faith and that it would bring them good luck. So they should give up the doubt and continue with the faith that they have the special ring).


ऋणादानप्रकरण is related to loans. In the context of wealth, it is to be noted that the king has to right to collect tax over the interest accumulated by lending money. When the loan is given for a specific interest, if the loan has not been returned on time, if the interest has not been paid on time, etc. the necessary actions to be taken are dealt in this prakarana. The next prakarana deals with the money borrowed for taking care of the cows. There is tax for possessing cows. The third type of loan is for household purposes. The fourth type of tax is related to the gains got by gambling. The fifth type is mortgage loan taken by keeping gold or some other precious thing as security. The sixth type is for personal sustenance, in the absence of which the borrower would have difficultly to even live. This is treated specially. Consideration is given for the person to get to a position where he could start earning. But if he could not return, the measures to be taken are explained in this prakarana. The seventh type is related to sales done as part of Business.

The tax on the interest on the loan will be based on the varna. The interest will vary from least to highest increasing in this order – Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Sudhra – वर्णक्रमा पोषकम् | A Shotriya Brahmana should give 1% as tax. Jaatyaa Brahmana should give 2%. Kshatri and vaishya should give 3% and 4% respectively. Rest will give 5%. If a person resides in forest and those who have risky profession like wrestlers and those who do not have a permanent residence, then the tax will be 10% due to the insecurity. If the person moves around in the sea, then the interest increases further to 20%. He also says सर्वे सर्वासु जातिषु ॥ २.३८ ॥ that all the amounts will change according to their jati – which is not by birth. For Go-samrakshana, interest should not be levied. For other dharmic undertakings like the upanayana karma, the loan should be interest free. The non-dharmic undertakings like sale of food, grains, oil, gold, shanka, etc., the charges will be 8% for decayable material and 4% for non-decayable material. The transactions between a person from a higher jati to a person in a lower jati is treated differently from the transaction vice-versa.

If the person is not able to repay, the sons and the relatives will have to repay. If any woman had taken the loan, then the husband will have to repay. In exceptional cases, the stree dana can be used if the husband is in some crisis. Here also, it cannot be used if the husband’s crisis is due to his consumption of alcohol.


The fourth prakarana is Upanidhi or safe deposits. This prakarana explains the action to be taken when there is a litigation related to deposits. Those who go on a yatra might hand over their valuables for safe custody until they return. There are different types of deposits. In one variety, the person does not disclose what is being given and that is अनाख्यात. The one where it is mentioned is called आख्यात. In such transactions, it is important to have a witness or Saakshi. In the other variety called यथास्थिति – the house is not physically handed over. It remains in its place. But the care-taker will ensure its safety in the owner’s absence.  In the fourth variety लेख्य, a list is prepared of the things that are being handed over for safe-keeping.


The next prakarana is about Saakshi or witness. सर्वे सर्वासु वा पुनः | The person in the same or higher Jathi or samskraara is to be taken as Saakshi. i.e., for Brahmana, another Brahmana is to be called and not a Kshatriya. The person from a lower jathi might give wrong witness out of respect for the person in the higher jathi. He refers to people in higher jathi as प्रतिलोमः and those in lower jathi as अनुलोमः | Children below 8, women and old men above 80 do not have the right to be a witness. (Side note: In those days, the eight years old boy would go to gurukula and have the required maturity). Those who are involved in risky professions are not allowed to be a witness. The vaadi and the prativaadi could bring witnesses. The King could chose whom to question. उभयानुमतः साक्षी भवत्येकोऽपि धर्मवित् – २.७२ Just one person who is a common witness for both parties is sufficient if that person is adheres to Dharma. Else, there has to be three or five and in the extreme cases upto 7 witnesses could be there. तपस्विनो दानशीलाः कुलीनाः सत्यवादिनः | धर्मप्रधाना ऋजवः पुत्रवन्तो धनान्विताः ॥२.६८॥ Those who are committed, those who are broad-minded, those who are born in a good family, truthful, having dharmic ideals – such people having rujatva quality – i.e., union of speech, mind and action. The people coming should have children and sufficient wealth – such people will hesitate to commit sins and will not fall for money.  Mentally retarded or handicapped like visually impaired person, etc. cannot be taken as a witness. Friends and people in the same profession should not come as a witness. Based on the context, if situation demands, these rules could be relaxed and there can be exceptions. The dharmic witness धर्म शाक्षी is considered to be the best form of witness. [Side note: Once there was a saint called Indiresha Vitala Dasar. He had lost his eyes. Once a thief leaves some stolen items in his hands and he escapes. The Dasar gets caught from the theft.  When asked to produce a witnesses, the Dasar says that only Lord Thimmappa should come as witness. In the King’s dream, Lord Srinivasa tells the king that his devotee is innocent].


The last prakarana is about written documents called लेख्य prakarana. All the transactions of the king whether general or special, should have proper written documentation. The record has to be written in the presence of a witness. The important aspects to be captured mandatorily in the document are the year, the month, the thithi, the nakshatra, the day of the week, (i.e., panchaanga – vaara, tithi, nakshatra, yoga, and karana, along with samvatsara and sthaana) the place, and the day of the transaction and the personal details about the borrower and the lender like the gotra, nakshatra, age, etc.

The document should not be spoiled by oil or turmeric. भिन्ने दग्धेऽथवा छिन्ने लेख्यं अन्यत्तु कारयेत् ॥२.९१॥ If it is torn or damaged or burnt, a new one has to be prepared in the presence of some respectable witness. Both the parties should understand and sign it and both parties should have the witness.

Yajnavalkya concludes his work saying that the king should resolve all the cases without deviating from the dharmic principles. The verdict should be based on the code of conduct or the injunctions of dharma.

[Side note: During Srinivasa Kalyana, when Kubera comes to collect his loan, he mentions that the first witness was the Ashwatta Vruksha and the second witness was the Sun].

Reference material


Highlights of different Smritis #2 – Dr. Gururaja Rao, KSOU

Highlights of the different Smritis #2

Contact Class for MA KSOU Final Year students in 2015 by Dr. Gururaja Rao

This is the third session, following the first session on the importance of Smritis and the second session covering the highlights of 16 Smritis.

  1. Kanva Smriti

He is the drushtaa of the eight mandal of Rig Veda. There is branch called Kanva Shakhaa comprising of the followers of this eight mandal of Rig Veda. He gives a lot of importance for the Grihasta Dharma. He elaborates on the duties of the householder. कुरु कृष्णार्पणं नित्यम् | The good actions that were performed should be offered to Krishna on a daily basis. There are two ways of offering possible – one is dedicating the fruits of all the actions and the other one is to offer only the fruits of the good actions. There is a belief that Krishna multiples the offering hundred times and returns it back. So, in order to avoid the negative impact, Kanva do not recommend offering the fruits of all actions which could have some faults. The other non-saatvik nishidda actions are also to be offered with a prayer to free us from the impact of these actions.

  1. Brajaapati Smriti

This Smriti is based on the instructions of Ruchi Maharshi given to Brajaapati. It is mentioned that Lord Brahma had instructed Ruchi Maharshi. The Source of all knowledge is Hyagriva. He instructed all the knowledge to Brahma. The Knowledge spread from Brahma to various Rishis. Hence this is not a specific feature of this Smriti.

Here he mentions about the various aspects of Pitru Yagna like how to offer Pindaa, its quantity, etc.

  1. Kapila Smriti

He is the moola pravarthaka of Shankya Shastra or the Shankya school of Philosophy. He has also written Kapila Gita. He has also written a work called Kapila Paancharaatra which is related to the Aagama Shaastra, which is the science of performing the pooja and homa. In the Kapila Smriti there are 100 shlokas in the Anushtup Chandas.  वेदो नारायणः साक्षात् तदर्थज्ञ स एव हि । (कपिल स्मृ ३७). Though the Vedas might have hymns of other gods like Sree Sukta, Agni Sukta, Varna Sukta, etc., Kapila says that only the external meaning of those words will indicate the respective deities. The internal meaning will always be addressed towards Narayana only. तदर्थज्ञ स एव हि – one who understands the Vedas is also Narayana. No one other than Narayana, in the form of Hyagriva, can have the complete understanding of the Vedas. By Narayana it was instructed to Brahma and he in turn instructed the Rishis.

He explains how Vedas are to be studied, the presiding deities in each letter present in the Vedic hymns, and the need for worshipping Narayana who is the Antaryaami of these presiding deities. He mentions a term called गोलकत्रय. If we are worshipping a god, say Ganesha, then the first covering or Aavarana is that of Ganesha. Ganesh is controlled by the Rudra Devatha who in turn is controlled by Narayana. So these three layers have to be remembered while performing the worship. While elaborating on the way to study Vedas, he mentions about the swaras like udatta, anudatta, svaritha and pluta. He also talks about नाद, बिन्दु, घोष. He specifies about the people who qualify to learn Vedas. He talks about अनाध्ययनत्रय. स्त्रीशूद्रब्रह्मबन्दूना त्रयेन स्मृति गोचरा – Women, Sudras and Brahmabandus (unworthy name-sake Brahmin as he happens to be related to a Brahmin) are prohibited from even listening to the Smrutis. He clarifies on the restrictions related to who can access the Smrutis.  He stresses the point about the apaurushatva of Vedas that it was created without the influence of any human.

  1. Yaknavalkya Smriti

<To be elaborated separately>

  1. Budha Smriti

It is in the form of Sutras or aphorisms. Only 40 sutras are available from this work. He states that Dharma is the main cause for a person to attain higher goals. श्रेयो अभ्युदयसाधनः धर्मः | The extent to which one adheres to Dharma, to that extent he would be able to progress in life. In Kathopanishad, the concepts of Shreyas and Preyas is explained which deal with laukika or worldly achievements and Paaramaarthika or the spiritual achievements. In this Smriti also it has been clarified about which are to be considered as Shreyas and which are taken to be Preyas. Kaamya Karma, the actions performed with a specific desire in mind is considered as Preyas. The actions performed without any attachment in a sense of Nishkaama Karma are Shreyas. There are certain Kaamya Karma are considered to be worthy of carrying out.

There are certain descriptions related to the administration of the Kingdom, i.e., Raajya Shaastra. Stressing on the importance of Dharma, the Smritikaara says that Dharma should be considered as our friend, rather than saying that there should be faith or devotion towards Dharma. In spite of all difficulties we will not give up our friendship. In the same way, Dharma has to be carried out with a sense of friendship towards it. जानामि धर्मं न च मे प्रवृत्तिः | जानामि अधर्मं न च मे निवृत्तिः | One should not have this weakness where he says that he knows the Dharma and he is yet unable to follow it and in the same way, he knows the Adharma and he is unable to give it up. Once you know that it is Adharma, at least an attempt has to be made to give it up. There is no forgiveness for knowingly committing a mistake. He also speaks about the Shodasha (16) samskaaras.

He talks about the eight types of marriages, on who can do it, under what circumstances these are to be done, etc. These 8 types of marriages are covered in 4 or 5 Smritis. The different types are Brahma Vivaaha, Daiva Vivaaha, Aarsha Vivaaha, Praajapatya Vivaaha, Gandharva Vivaaha, Aasura Vivaaha, Paishaacha Vivaaha and Raakshasa Vivaaha. The present day marriage procedure is considered to be Aarsha Vivaaha or Maanushya Vivaaha. The other forms of marriage do not apply to the present times. For example, if the couple looks at each other, that is considered as Gandharva marriage. If one person’s hand touches the other person, then it is considered as a marriage. (With the present day culture of shaking hands, this rule will lead to ananta-patnitvaa or having unlimited wives J  ).

  1. Bruhaspati Smriti

Bruhaspati, the guru of the devas gave this instructions to Lord Indra. Only 81 shlokas are available now. There is an elaborate description of the duties and responsibilities of the Devataas, their 32 characteristics, the relevance of these characteristics, etc. It is believed that only the portion that is required for mankind is available with us. The portions that are meant for the Devataas have been retained in the Deva loka where they are adored and followed.

He mentions about Go-Daana, Bhu-daana and Vidhyaa-daana. Without any compulsion, when one of this Daana-tray is done, it is called Atidaana. Even if you are not able to any other daana, this Atidaana has to be made. त्रीणि आहुः अतिदानानि गावः पृथ्वी सरस्वती | The benefit of this daana is stated as सर्वपाप-तारयन्ति दातारः सर्वात् पापात् अशंषयम् | The giver of this daana will definitely cross over all the sins.

  1. Shaataatapa Smriti

There are 3 Smritis namely Laghu Shaataatapa, Vruddha Shaataatapa, and Shaataatapa Smriti with 183 shlokas, 68 shlokas, and 240 shlokas respectively. This Shaataatapa Smriti with 240 shlokas is also called as Karma Vipaakaa. षातातपीय कर्म-विपाका |

In this Smriti, the greatness of Kurcha is explained. Kurcha is the collection of 5 or 7 dharbha tied together and used like a stick while performing rituals like Yagna and Shaardha. He also mentions about the consequences of eating what should not be eaten – अभक्ष-भक्षणम् and also states the praayaschitta and parihaara for the same. पलाण्डं न भक्षयेत् – don’t eat onions. He lists 21 diseases that could come if such forbidden food is consumed. The remedy for that is to consume Pancha-gavya and to observe fasting on Ekadhasi day. Fasting on Ekaadhasi day is the remedy for consuming the abhakshya-bhakshana in those 14 days. It is to be noted that this parihara is for the mistakes done without one’s knowledge.

  1. Yama Smriti

There are different avatars of Yama. This Smriti is written by the Yama named Vivasvan, the son of one of the 20 Suryas. This Smriti says that Dharma has to be adhered to for the welfare of the humanity, while the other smritis recommend it for one’s own upliftment. There are three works namely Lagu Yama Smriti, Yama Smriti and Bruhat Yama Smriti having 99 shlokas, 78 shlokas and 182 shlokas respectively. The speciality of this Smriti is the relaxation given for children. He says that the activities performed between 8 and 80 only count for accumulating the paapa or punya. Before 8 years, whatever the child does, he/she is freed of the result of those actions and it actually impacts their parents only. After 80 years of age, the duties are relaxed considering the health conditions.

There is a story told in our epics that once Narada decided to visit all the lokas. When he entered the hell ruled by Yama, the people were undergoing different kinds of punishments like being fried in oil, continuous cutting of the limbs which get attached back again to the Yaatana Shaarira, etc. But, they felt extreme happiness due to the power of his chanting of Narayana naama.
नारायणेति मन्त्रोस्ति जिह्वापि वशवर्तिनी |
तथापी नरके घोरे पतत्येतत् अहो विधिः ||

Narada says this with surprise – There is this powerful mantra called Narayana. There is also this tongue which is well within our control. Yet, people fall into this hell. Oh!  Fate is powerful.

Yama tells Narada that it is true. But if he does his preaching here in the hell, Yama would not be able to discharge his duties. So he recommends Narada to go to the earth and preach there. Narada in turn tells Yama that Yama would also have to take a birth in the world since he committed the sin of stopping the in-dwellers of hell from hearing the Narayana Naama.

Narada takes birth as Purandara Daasa and wrote 7,25,000 devar-naamaas or songs to enable people to remember Narayana and attain better worlds.  Yama takes birth as this Vivasvan and wrote this Smriti.

There is a ritual called Vrishotsarga that is done on the eleventh day as part of the Sraddha using a Vrishaba or a bull. This Smriti explains about the significance of that ritual. He mentions that the intake of the Pitru jala or the water that is given after doing the yearly Pitru kaarya causes the progeny to be born. It becomes the cause of Vamshaa Abhivridhi.

  1. Devala Smriti

He is the mantra drushtaa for Rig Veda’s ninth Mandala and the Pavamaana Sukta. There are 90 shlokas in this Smriti. He elaborates on the greatness of Panchagavya and mentions the proportion in which the items have to be mixed while preparing the Panchagavya, etc. Here he mentions specific aspects like the cow’s urine should be that of a cow in the color of Tamra or copper, the cow dung should be that of a white (shveta) colored cow, the milk should be from yellow (suvarna) colored cow, the curd should be from cow the mix of brown and black (neela) colored cow, and the ghee should be obtained from the black colored cow.

  1. Vishvaamitra Smriti

He is the mantra drushtaa for Rig Veda’s third Mandala. He is the mantra drushtaa for Gayatri Mantra also. There are three works – Vishvamitra  Smriti, Vishvamitra Samhita, and Vishvamitra Kalpa. The Smriti has 475 shlokas. He elaborates about the greatness of Gayatri. Usually Gayatri Mantra is considered to be having 3 parts – tripadaa Gayatri matching the Gayatri Chandas. But he shows Gayatri to be having 4 parts – chatuspaada-Gayatri.

[Additional Info: This Turiya Gayatri is of 32 letters with 1st pada with 8 letters being included. It is the highly secret and is even hidden from the Gods. This vidya is imparted only to Yatis].

He mentions about Kojaagara vrata. During Sharad ritu, i.e., during the time of navaraatri, on one specific day, the devotees should stay awake during the night time as on that day and worship Lashmi. It is believed that Lakshmi Devi will be checking “को जागरति” – who is awake? and bless those who are worshipping her that night. He also explains the five types of Achamana.

  1. Daksha Smriti

Daksha Prajaapati is a maanasa putra of Brahma Deva. Seven chapters are available from this Smriti. He splits the day and night comprising of 24 hours into 8 parts, with each having 3 hours. Each unit of 3 hours is called a Jaama. In this Smriti, the activities to be performed in each Jaama are explained.

वेदाभ्यासो हि पञ्चधा | He mentions about 5 types of Vidhyaabhyaasa. (1) Doing service to the guru. In those days, when the child is five or six years old, he will be left in the gurukula. Guru and Gurupatni will then take care. Based on the individual capacity, the guru will choose to teach the student whatever he wants to teach. There are cases where the guru did not teach anything for years together. After 10 or 12 years, when the guru feels that the student is ready for the gnana, he might touch the head of the disciple and bless him saying चिरञ्जीव-सुखी भव – may you have eternal happiness with Gnaana. (chiranjeeva also indicates knowledge). This was one way of transferring the knowledge. The Rishis that the capacity to do so. Like this the four ways of teaching is mentioned in this Smriti.

In this Smriti, there is mention about nine nines नवनवक. They are nine types of Snaana, nine types of Bhakti, daana, aachamana, archana, shraadda, tapas, bhojana, and aarjana.

He prohibits eating the food that remains after someone has eaten. He also mentions the parihaara for such a mistake committed.

  1. Aapastamba Smriti

There are 10 chapters and 200 shlokas. Aapastamba shrauta Sutra, Aapastamba gruhya sutra, Aapastamba Dharma Sutra, Aapastamba Shulba Sutra, Yagna paribhaashaa sutra, and Aapastamba Smriti were written by Aapastamba. He states the importance of Gnana for salvation. ज्ञानेनैव परं पदम् | Brahmasutra tells about the loka from where there is no return न च पुनरावर्तते | Such a loka can be obtained only by knowledge. The other good deeds will enable one to attain only svarga loka from which they would have to come back once the acquired punya is over – क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्यलोकं विशन्ति | When gnaana is gained, then Moksha is obtained and there is no coming-back.

  1. Paraasara Smriti

This Smriti has 12 chapters. The greatness of the four yugas has been mentioned – चतुर्युग माहात्म्यम् | The four yugas are kruta yuga, kretaayuga, dwaapara yuga, and kali yuga. The dharma to be observed in each yuga is explained. The cause for the reduction in the size of man from one yuga to another has been explained. The height of men is supposed to be 16 feet, 9 feet, 7 feet, and 6 feet respectively in the four yugas. आकार सदृशः प्रज्ञः | प्रज्ञया सदृशः आकारः | says Kalidasa. Based on the size of the body, they possessed the physical strength, they did their austerities and gained greater amount of gnaana. With the passage of yuga, as the Dharma and Shraddha keep reducing, even the life span has been reducing.    कलौ कलुषचित्तानां – In the kali yuga, the people have impure thinking.

  1. Maarkandeya Smriti

This is also called as Baalaka Smriti. Mrukandoh apatyam pumaan maarkandeyah. He comes in the clan of Brughu Muni. He is the son Mrukandu Maharishi. He has written four works – Mrutyunjaya stootra, Maarkandeya Upadesha, Maarkandeya Samasyaa parva, and Maarkandeya Smriti. The Maarkadeya Puranam was written by Veda Vyasa. The Smriti captures the outcome of the discussions between Shaunaka Maharishi and Maarkandeya. It describes the way to bring up children. It stresses the importance of teaching them the proper samskaaras right from the young age and bringing them up in a disciplined environment. This Smriti also gives some instructions to the married couple for begetting good children.

  1. Shankalikhita Smriti

Shanka and Likhita were brothers. They discussed about the aspects of Dharma and documented the conclusion and the summary in this Smriti. There are other Smritis that these two rishis wrote on their own. In Shanka Smriti, Laghu Shanka Smriti, Likhita Smriti and Shankalikhita Smriti there are 350 shlokas, 71 shlokas,  93 shlokas, and 32 shlokas respectively. This Smriti deals specially with the Yati Dharma, the duties and responsibilities of a Sanyaasi. काषाय-दण्ड-मात्रेण यतिः पूज्यो भविष्यति | The Sanyaasi is to be respected once they take the ocher robes and the sacred stick. Others do not have the rights to question the yati. Only Yama can comment on their actions. The pooja to be performed by the Sanyaasis are mentioned in this Smriti. If a sanyaasi happens to think about the beauty of any lady, the prayaschchita is given as giving up one’s life by rolling on the hot sands.

  1. Atri Smriti

This Smriti is also referred to as Atri Dharma Sutra. There 9 adhyaayas and 90 Shlokas. It is in the Champu format. Fourth and Seventh chapters are in sutra form. Explaining the ways to do Praanaayaama and its benefits, this smriti states that Praanaayaama is an important tool for man to conduct his life in the right manner.  सन्ततं चिन्तयेऽनन्तं अन्त्यकाले विशेषतः | We should always think about God and in particular during the last days. Since it is important to have thoughts about God during the praana prayaana samaya, it is essential to have the practice of always remembering God.

  1. Vashishta Smriti

Vashishta is the Drushtaa for the seventh mandala of Rig Veda. This Smriti has 7 adhyaayas and 1150 shlokas. It is also called Vaishnava Smriti as it elaborates on the need to worship Vishnu and the procedure for the worship. It gives importance to the company of good people – महत्-जन-समागम | Good people are those who perform their duties in the right way. He mentions about the greatness of the Sudharshana Chakra and also about the greatness of getting the mudra of shanka and chakra on the arms. It demonstrates our bhakti towards God and symbolically indicates Vishnu. Three aspects of Ankana-bhajana-naamakarana namely adoring the symbols, chanting the names and naming the children after Vishnu are the ways to demonstrate our Bhakti towards him. He also mentions about the shodashsamskaara and the greatness of Shaligraama.  Which types of Shaligraama can be kept in the house, what different shapes of Shaligraama indicates, how it is to be worshipped, and other aspects related to Shaaligraama.

  1. Vishnu Smriti

This is also called as the Vaishnava Dharma Shaastra. This is the instruction given by Lord Vishnu himself to Bhoo Devi. This has 100 Chapters. Bhoodevi questions Vishnu about the reduction in Bhakti towards him in the earth. Vishnu gives the reason and gives some remedial actions also. In this context, he specifically elaborates on the Sanyaasa Dharma, Raja Dharma and Vaishya Dharma. If these three classes of people are prefect, the rest of world will also practice dharma. While mentioning the Vaishya dharma, he describes about the weighing balance or tula and mentions that it should be check it and kept it set correctly.  This smriti also mentions about the procedure to enquire the person considered to be guilty. It states 5 types of tests namely Agni Pareeksha, Visha, Jala, Abhimantrita jala (Sacred water which is made powerful through mantra shakti) pareeksha, and pratignaa (promise) pareeksha.

  1. Vedavyaasa Smriti

There are 4 chapters and 250 shlokas in this Smriti. He specially explains the Varanaashrama Dharma, the greatness of chastity, the characteristics of kanya and stree, and the duties of the woman. The need for Daampatya and the importance of Daampatya is explained in this Smriti. The significance of Eka-patni Vrata or Sa-patni Vrata  is also mentioned in this Smriti.

  1. Manu Smriti

The most important of all the Smritis is Manu Smriti and the next one is Yagnavalkya Smriti.  वेदार्थोपनिबन्धृत्वात् प्राधान्यं हि मनोः स्मृतम् | The Smriti by Manu has a prominence as in it, the meaning of the Vedas has been provided in a condensed manner. Manu mentions that he has collated the knowledge provided by Lord Brahma to his students. He states in the Smriti itself that he has mentioned about the earlier times, the present times, and how the things are going to happen in the future times. This smriti has 12 Chapters and 2684 shlokas. Each chapter primarily deals with a specific aspect. In the final chapter, he summaries everything and mentions about Moksha Dharma. The ultimate goal of man should be Moksha. All the actions of man is towards gaining the chaturvida-phala-purushaartha namely dharma, artha, kama, and moksha.

(From examination point of view, Yagnavalkya smriti and the related smritis like Narayana smriti are important, along with Manu Smriti).

Highlights of different Smritis #1 – Dr. Gururaja Rao, KSOU

Contact Class for MA KSOU Final Year students in 2015 by Dr. Gururaja Rao

This is the second session, following the session on the importance of Smritis. This session covers the highlights of 16 Smritis.

The Smrutis were written by great rishis who were very knowledgeable and they also practiced the dharma. They gained this status of Rishi through their righteous conduct while carrying out the worldly actions. Most of the Smrutis are named after its Author like Yajnavalkya Smruti or Vaadula Smruti. They have realized the ultimate truth and they wrote these works to share their knowledge with others.

  1. Vaadula Smruti

In Vaadula Smruti, Rishi Vaadula mentions in details the duties of a person that has to be carried out right from dawn to dusk.  प्रात: प्रभूति सायन्तं सायादिप्रातरं तथा | He splits the activities into two groups namely Nitya Karma and Naimittika Karma. The daily activities like Sandyaavandana are stated under Nitya Karma. The occasional activities that are to be performed at specific times like the Pitru Karma are stated under Naimittika Karma. The activities like giving Dhaana or performing Yagna would also come under this classification. Irrespective of caste or community, the general instruction to one and all is that they should wake up in Brahmi-muhurta i.e., before sun-rise (ब्राह्मीमुहूर्ते च उत्ताय…) | The varna specific karmas are stated by Yajnavalkya in the vyaavahaara portion. But this instruction is applicable to all. Then he says about शौचाचारपरायणः relating to the tasks of keeping oneself clean. Stressing on the importance of the शौचाचार विहीनस्य समस्ता: निष्फला: क्रिया: | The mental cleanliness is also given importance along with the physical hygiene. A person devoid of this will not be successful in all of his endeavors. There is a saying — आचार प्रथमो धर्मः | The customs and practices form the first Dharma that one should adhere to. In this Smriti, there is a special importance given to Guru. गुरुद्वाराप्रसादकृतः – that the God will appear through the form of the Guru only. To achieve salvation, it is important to seek refuge in a Guru.

  1. Narayana Smriti

It is also called Durvaasasmriti. दुर्वाशः is called so since his clothes used to be dirty and he would not bother about it as he used to be revealing in higher levels of consciousness. This Smriti is the instruction given by Durvaasa to Narayana Muni. The work is collated by Narayana muni. So it is popularly known as Narayana Smriti. In this, the nine crore sins that could be committed by one person in one life is listed out. He also mentions about the remedial actions. Even if a person resolves to perform only good actions in his life both physical and mental, within a moment, he could still commit sins that would require thirty two births to redeem. Even the thought of hurting someone is considered as a sin even though the actual action is not performed. So sins are not to be done – तस्मात् पापं न कर्तव्यम् नरैः नरकभेरुभिः | So he tells the people, who are scared of hell, to refrain from committing sins and to do actions that will lead them to better states. They would have to go to hell if they commit paapa. They could go to heaven if they do punya activities. But again, क्षीणे पुण्ये मर्त्यलोकं विशन्ति | When the punyas are exhausted, they would take birth again in this world and get into the cycle of birth and death. Instead each person should strive to attain Moksha.

Different Smritis give different definitions for the five great sins or the pancha mahaa paatakas. According to this Narayana Smriti they are brahma-hatya (killing a Brahma), suraa-paana (consuming alcohol), svarna-steya (stealing gold), guru-talpa-gamana (going to the guru’s bed i.e., approaching Guru Patni with wrong intentions), and go-vadha (killing a cow). Usually the sins for which there is no redemption from undergoing the consequences are considered as Mahaa Paatakas. But in this Smriti, there is prayaschita told even for these pancha maha patakas. Three actions are suggested as the remedial action. First one is the recitation of Adhamarshana Sutra. Adha indicates the sin. Marshana means – to forgive. The second prayaschita is the recitation of Hari’s Pavamaana Sutra. For the physical cleansing, the consumption of pacha-gavya is recommended.

This Smriti highlights the influence of the Kali Yuga. It states the places where the Kali Purusha resides. The primary place is the place of kalaha or commotion or fight – कलिस्तु कलहप्रियः | It is essential to know the residing place of Kali like gold; and try our best to avoid coming under its influence. This Smriti also recommends the places that are ideal to avoid Kali’s influence. People should avoid the Papa karma and stay in the Kali Nigraha Sthaanaas.

(This is important from exam point of view).

  1. Vyaagrapaada Smriti

Rishi Vyaagrapaada is a Mantra Drushtaa for some Rik Veda Mantras. There is a mandal in Rig Veda attributed to this Rishi. He is also a Gotra Pravartaka meaning there is a Gotra or clan in his name. Bhima in Mahabharata belongs to this Gotra. Vyaagrapaada is the deeksha guru of Upamanyu who is the guru of Sri Krishna. Thus he becomes Krishna’s parama guru.

There are around 400 shlokas in this Smriti. The specialty about this Smriti is that the recitation of this Smriti itself serves as a parihara, whereas the Smritis give instructions on the ways to do parihara.  सर्व-पाप-हरं दिव्यं सर्व-शंशय-नाशनं चतुर्णां अपि वर्णानां व्याग्रः शास्त्रम् अकल्पयत् | Vyaagraha created this divine Shaastra for the people in all the four Varnaas for the eradication of all their doubts and for the destruction of all their sins.

Dhaana Mahimaa is elaborately explained in this Smriti. दानं दात्रुवशं प्रोक्तम् | It is said that the charity is to be given based on the wish of the giver. This means that a person should not be instructed to give specific charity to specific individuals. Whatever the person feels like giving and to whomever she/he feels like giving, it could be given. The factors to be considered while giving Dhaana are Desha, Kaala and Paatra – place, time and the receiving person. The significance of the place is that if a dhaana is made in the right place, say a pilgrim spot, the result of the dhaana will be many times more than the result obtained by doing in it one’s house. Similarly on special occasions like during an eclipse or during the specific parva kaalas, there will be additional benefits. The dhaana made to a learned Brahmin would yield more punya than the dhaana given to others. This Smriti also says नापुत्राय दातव्यम् – daana should not be made to a person without Putra – which could be taken as progeny or knowledge.

  1. Gautama Smriti

Rishi Gautama is the maanasa putra of Brahma. He is one of the sapta rishis. He is the husband of Ahalyaa. There are 22 adhyaaya or chapters in this Smriti. He specially elaborates on the activities associated with each month. He mentions about the specific Tirthas and Kshetras, the holy pilgrim places meant for giving Daana and for performing Pitru Shraardha.  The superior and the inferior paths that the soul takes after death has been mentioned as Garuda Maarga and Shesha Maarga or Surya Maarga and Chandra Maarga. Rishi Gautama mentions about the value of Bhakti towards Paramaatma Vishna and also towards one’s guru. मुक्ति: नैजसुखानुभूति: अमला भक्तिश्च तत् साधनम् – pure bhakti is the means of attaining mukti. Only when Draupadi had complete surrender, she got the akshaya ambara.

  1. Bharadwaaja Smriti

Bharadwaaja Smriti or Vaajapeya Smriti is written by Bharadwaaja, also called as Vaajapeya. He is also a Drushtaa of the Rig Veda’s sixth Mandala. So this mandala is referred Bharadwaaja Mandala. He was authored six works – Bharadwaaja Shrota Sutra, Bharadwaaja Gruhya Sutra, Yantra Sarvasva (dealing with aeroplane – only some part is available now), Aamshuma Tantra (also dealing with Aeroplane), Aakaasha Shaastra and Bharadwaaja Smriti.  In Bharadwaaja Smriti, there are 25 adhyaayas or chapters out of which only 19 adhyaayas comprising of 114 shlokas are available now. Bharadwaaja elaborates on the importance of Gayatri Mantra, along with the significance and the procedure for conducting the Upanayana Dhaarana Karma. गायत्री वेदमातासि सुत्ररूपेण तिष्ठति | He mentions that the Gayatri Devi resides in the form of the sacred thread of Yagnopaveeta. He also mentions about the greatness of the Dharba Grass which is used in the auspicious festivities and pitru karmas. We use a piece of Dharba during Eclipse to remove the bad effects and to retain the purity of the food items as it is natural disinfectant and a natural food preservative. He says how Dharba got its greatness. According to him, Dharba has Amrita in it. He elaborately describes about the nature of the flowers that are fit to be used in the pooja like those that have not fallen down, those without fragrance, etc. He goes to the extent of instructing how to pluck the flower without hurting the plant.

  1. Dalabya Smriti

This is also called as Vaishnava Smriti. Its author is Chiraadalabhya or Dalabhya. All the time, he used to be in deep meditation. चिरात् अलभ्यः = Difficult to obtain for a long time. He has authored Daalabhya Sutra also which is related to Ayurveda. In the Daalabhya Smriti, there are 167 shlokas. He has coallated the information provided by the Rishi Shankalikhita, which is also a Smritikaara. He elaborates on the importance of Go-Seva, and explains how to take care of the cow and how to milk it, how much to milk, how the calf has to be allowed to consume before we milk the cow, how much water is to be mixed with the milk, to whom the milk has to be sold, when it has to be sold, the greatness of pancha gavya, how to take care of cows that have stopped giving milk and the sin of Go-Vadha.

  1. Haarita Smriti

He is the son of Rishi Jabali. He has authored three works – Lagu Haarita Smriti, Haarita Smriti, and Vrudda Haarita Smriti with 117 shlokas, 200 shlokas, and 3500 shlokas respectively. He explains how Lord Vishnu is to be worshipped and stress on the importance of Bhakti. Since Vishnu has the quality of Bhakta-vatsalya, he is easily blessed by the devotion of the devotees. He cites some examples for how Vishnu has blessed his disciples. He states the greatness of the Ekaakshara mantras – for example, “Gam” for Ganesha. While explaining this, he gives special importance to the mantra for Narasimha. नरसिंहः क्षस्य देवता |  Narasimhan is the god of “Ksha”.

  1. Aushanas Smriti

This is also called Sukra Smriti. Sukraacharya is the son of Brughu Maharshi. He is also called as Ushana / Ushanas. The Smriti is so named because Ushanasya ayam aushanas. This smriti has 9 chapters and 600 shlokas.  The need for the Upanayana karma, those who are eligible for Upanayana, and its greatness are explained in this Smriti. The father becomes the eligibility to initiate the son into Gayatri only after he himself chants it 10,000 times. The 24 letters in Gayatri have their own specific gods and mantras. To be performed when the boy is 7 years old and initiation is to be done while seated in a Dharbhaasana. अहरहस्सन्द्यां उपासीत | Perform Sandhya three times in a day, else the person will lose his Brahminhood. (Side note: Earlier women were also initiated. Later on, considering the additional effort required to retain the sanctity, women were exempted from this. This ban on women to get initiated this way, is only based on practice and it was not mentioned in the ancient scriptures). In this Smriti, the importance of Gurukula education and the significance of the service done to the Guru are explained. गुरूशुश्रूषया विद्या पुष्कलेन धनेन वा ।

  1. Kashyapa Smriti

This is also called Kashyapa Dharma Shashtra as he has put all the Dharmas in an authoritative manner in this Smriti. Some of the initial verses are in the Gadya / prose format, while the rest are in Padya / poetry format. In the initial Gadya portion along with only 20 shlokas in Padya portion which are in Anushtub Chandas are available now. He elaborates on the duties of the Grihasta. How the husband should protect his wife, what are the responsibilities of the wife, etc. यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवता:। There will be all prosperity and the divine presence where the women are kept happy. He gives importance to the guidance of the woman and mentions that the advice of the elderly woman is to be taken while taking decisions related to the household dilemmas.

  1. Shandilya Smriti

Shandilya Bhakti Sutra and Shandilya Smriti have been written by Shandila.  The Smriti has 5 chapters and 700 shlokas. Starting with the Praatarvidhi or the morning activities, he explains how the worship of the god is to be performed. He mentions about the Krutya – the practices of Seducing people. He warns about the reverse effect if it is used on great people. How to redeem from its effects, etc. are explained.

  1. Lohita Smriti

He is a Gotra Pravattakara. There is a clan called Lohita Gotra. This Smriti has 721 shlokas. This is also called as Dattaka Smriti, since it deals in detail about adoption explaining the who can be adopted, the rights of the adopted child, when adoption can be done, the adopted child’s duties and responsibilities towards his adopted parents and biological parents, etc.

  1. Aruna Smriti

Aruna is the son of Kashyapa. There are 148 shlokas in this smriti. The daily routine of a Brahmin, his actions, his thoughts, the unique duties of the Brahmin are all explained in this. He mentions the greatness of a Brahmin. He explains about giving and receiving dhaana. On receiving dhaana, (so that the giver can obtain the punya of giving), it is mentioned about the person from who dhaana can be received, what items can be accepted, etc. Other topics related to the duties of the Brahmin are also covered like यज्ञ – यज्ञापन Conducting and making others conduct yagna, अध्ययन – अध्यापन studying and teaching others, hospitality towards invited and uninvited guests, etc.

  1. Laugaakshi Smriti

This Smriti mainly deals with the 16 (shodash) samskaaraas. The 24 letters, the 24 mudras and the 24 tattvas related to the Gayatri mantra are explained here. He describes in detail the Panchaayata Pooja, i.e., the worship of the five popular deities namely Surya, Vinayaka, Durga, Shiva and Vishnu. He deals with the food explaining which items can be consumed, how the food has to be prepared, that it should not be consumed before offering to god, etc. At the end, he also mentions about the Stree Dharma.

  1. Kulasya Smriti

Though there is mention that this is a very long Smriti, currently only 30 shlokas are available. Raja Dharma, Varnashrama Dharma, Nitya-Naimittika Karma, etc. are mentioned in this Smriti. Like how Krishna states in the Gita, स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेयः, this Smriti recommends the adherence to one’s own dharma. This Smriti concludes stating that one’s own Dharma is the greatest Dharma for the person.

  1. Aangirasa Smriti

Aangirasa is the pravarthaka of Atharva Veda. He is one of the Sapta Rishi (There are more rishis in the maharishi rishi) . He is a Gotra Pravarthaka. He has written a number of Smritis. The most important among them are three – Poorva Aangirasa Smriti, Aangirasa Smriti, and Uttara Aangirasa Smriti with 1132 shlokas,  82 shlokas, and 175 shlokas respectively. He elaborates about the food offered to god and mentions that there should be द्रव्यशुद्धिः, क्रियाशुद्धिः and भावशुद्धिः by using the right ingredients, by performing the right actions and with the right attitude. The greatness of Annadaana of the food that has been prepared and offered to god as mentioned earlier, is mentioned in this smriti.

  1. Samvarta Smriti

Samvarta is a great devotee of Shiva. The Smriti itself mentions the greatness of the spiritual knowledge possessed by Rishi Samvarta. There are 227 shlokas in this Smriti. He mentions about the power of Kali which none can escape, Kali’s residing place, Places which Kali avoids – Nigraha Sthaana, etc. He explains about the panch daana – Abhaya daana (Ramaa to Vibhishana), Suvarna daana (gold), Go-daana (cow), bhu daana (land) and Anna daana (that which gives life is Anna and hence it indicates both food and knowledge).   याज्ञवल्क्यस्मृतिः


Notes for Shikshaa (Level 3) Book 3

सूक्ति: ३
भवितव्यानां द्वाराणि भवन्ति सर्वत्र ।

यत् भवितव्यं अस्ति तस्य एव आरम्भं सर्वदा भवति, यतः सर्वत्र एषां भवितव्यानां प्रवेशाः एव भवन्ति |

विराजराजपुत्रारे: यन्नाम चतुरक्षरम् ।
पूर्वार्धं तव वैरिणां परार्धं तव सड्गरे ॥

विराजराजपुत्रारेः , यत् , नाम , चतुस्+अक्षरम् , पूर्व+अर्धं , तव , वैरिणां , पर+अर्धं , तव , सड्गरे

विराजराजपुत्रारेः यत् नाम चतुरक्षरं अस्ति, सड्गरे (तस्य पदस्य) पूर्वार्धं तव वैरिणां (भवतु) , (तस्य पदस्य) परार्धं तव (भवतु) ।

विः इतिचेत् पक्षिः | विराजः तु पक्षिराजः गरुडः |  विराजराजः गरुडस्य स्वामि महाविष्णुः | विराजराजपुत्रः महाविष्णोः पुत्रः मन्मथः | विराजराजपुत्रारिः मन्मथारिः शिवः | विराजराजपुत्रारे: शिवस्य चतुरक्षरं नाम मृत्युज्ञ्जय: | अतः अस्मिन् श्लोकस्य वास्तविकः अर्थ: “युद्धे तव वैरिणां मृत्यु: भवेत् | तव जय: भवेत्” इति अस्ति |


सुभाषितम् ५
शास्त्राण्यधीत्यापि भवन्ति मूर्खा:   यस्तु क्रियावान् पुरुष: स विद्वान् ।
सुचिन्तितं चौषधमातुराणां   न नाममात्रेण करोत्यरोगम् ॥

शास्त्राणि, अधीत्य , अपि , भवन्ति , मूर्खा:, य: , तु , क्रियावान् , पुरुष: , स: , विद्वान् , सुचिन्तितम्  , च,  औषधम् , आतुराणाम् , न , नाम-मात्रेण , करोति , अरोगम् ॥

शास्त्राणि अधीत्य अपि (केचन पुरुष:) मूर्खा: भवन्ति  | यः पुरुष: तु क्रियावान् सः (एव) विद्वान् (भवति) । आतुराणां  सुचिन्तितं औषधं नाममात्रेण अरोगं न करोति ॥

केवलं शास्त्राध्ययनेन पुरुषानानं मूर्खत्वं न गच्छति | प्राप्तं ज्ञानं उपयुज्य यदा पुरुषः कार्याणि करोति तदा एव विद्वान् भवितुम् अर्हति | औशदस्य स्वीकरणं विना, सर्वदा मनसि औषद-नाम-स्मरणं करोति चेदपि रुग्णस्य रोगनिवारणं न भवति | तथा केवलेन पठनेन विद्वान् भवितुम् न अर्हति |

सुभाषितम् 6
आयत्यां गुणदोषज्ञ: तदात्वे क्षिप्रनिश्चय: ।
अतीते कार्यशेषज्ञो विपदा नाभिभूयते ॥

आयत्याम् , गुणदोषज्ञ: , तदात्वे ,  क्षिप्र-निश्चय: , अतीते ,  कार्य-शेषज्ञ: , विपदा ,  न, अभिभूयते

आयत्यां गुणदोषज्ञ:, तदात्वे क्षिप्रनिश्चय:, अतीते कार्यशेषज्ञः विपदा न अभिभूयते |

(१) यत् कार्यं करणीयम् अस्ति, तस्य कार्यस्य श्रेष्ठ-अंशान् च दोषान् च य: जानाति,
(२) यत् कार्यं इदानीं कुर्वन् अस्ति, तस्मिन् कार्ये किमपि विकल्पजालं भवति चेत् तत्क्षणे एव किं करणीयं इति निर्णयं कर्तुं यः समर्थः अस्ति,
(३) यत् कार्यं कृतं, तस्मिन् कार्ये शेषं करणीयं क्रिया किम् अस्ति इति यः जानाति,
विपदः तं प्रति न आगच्छति ।
तस्य कार्यसिद्धिः एव सर्वदा भवति इति तात्पर्यार्थम् |



माहेश्‍वरसूत्राणि ।। अइउण्; ऋलृक्; एओङ्; ऐऔच्; हयवरट्; लण्; ञमङ्णनम्; झभञ्; घढधष्; जबगडदश्; खफछटतचटतव्; कपय्; शषसर्; हल् |

अनुस्वारः + व्यञ्जनम् (except श ष स ह ) = { 5th of second } + {second}
शं + करः = शङ्करः
{ त् थ् द् ध् } + ल = ल्ल  | न् + ल = ँल्ल
तत् + लयः = तल्लयः

अनुस्वारस्य ययि परसवर्णः (8.4.58)

ययि परे सति अनुस्वारस्य परसवर्णः स्यात् |

यय् = य् व् र् | ल् | ञ् म् ङ् ण् न् | झ् भ् | घ् ढ् ध् | ज् ब् ग् ड् द् | ख् फ् छ् ठ् थ् च् ट् त् | क् प् |

वर्गीयव्यञ्जनानि + कर्कशव्यञ्जनानि = क् च् ट् त् प्
{ 1, 2, 3, 4 } + { 1, 2, श ष स ) = { 1st of first } + {second}
e.g., विपद् + कालः = विपत्कालः

खरि च (8.4.55) == खरि परे झलां चरः स्युः |

खर् = खफछटतचटतव्; कपय्; शषसर्; |
i.e., खर् = ख फ छ ट त | च ट त क प | श ष स |
i.e., खर् = क च ट त प ; ख छ ट त फ ; श ष स |
i.e., खर् = { 1, 2 } and { स श ष } = कर्कशव्यञ्जनानि

झल् = झभञ्; घढधष्; जबगडदश्; खफछटतचटतव्; कपय्; शषसर्; हल्
i.e., झल् = झ भ घ ढ ध ; ज ब ग ड द ;  ख फ छ ट त ; च ट त क प ;  श ष स ह ;
i.e., झल् = क ख ग घ ; च छ ज झ ; ट ठ ड ढ ; त थ द ध ; प फ ब भ ; स श ष ह ;
i.e., झल् = { 1, 2, 3, 4 } वर्गीयव्यञ्जनम् and { स श ष ह }

चर् = चटतव्; कपय्; शषसर्;
i.e., चर् = च ट त क प ; श ष स ;
i.e., चर् = क च ट त प ; स श ष ;
i.e., चर् = { 1 } + { स श ष }

Samaasa examples – KSOU Question Papers

Grammar Samasa Answers

This PDF has the answers for all the questions related Samaastapada and Vigrahavaakya, asked in KSOU Final Year question paper from 2007 to 2014.

To be updated again after the Contact Classes.

Thanks to Ms. Sowmya Krishnapur of Vyoma Labs for the MA Grammar lessons.

(Also refer the notes from the Contact classes held in 2015, which has been already posted in this blog).


Smriti Class 1 – Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy

Smriti  Class 1 – Dr. Vanitha Ramaswamy – March 31, 2016

General Discussions before the class:

Shravana Kumar’s parents were not Brahmins. Yet due to the power of the tapas they were able to curse Dasharatha. The power is obtained through practice of Yoga and not through birth in a Brahmin family.

In Arthashastra, there is a shloka to pacify husband’s anger. There were tantric practices to control the minds of others. There are mantras to win over the husband from the influence of his other wives. The knowledge of the tantra is also important. If everything else fails, they will resort to Tantra.

Saama,Daana, Bhedha, and Danda are the four types. Saama is applying Dharma and try to get it done in the right way. Daana is to offer something to get it done. Bhedha is to warn about the consequences of not doing it. When these three fail, they resort to Danda. When the person is physically stronger, tantra is used to win him.

Jamadagni was disgraced by Parikshit. Parikshit had more worldly powers being the king. But he was punished by the curse. Diplomacy is important. Chankya teaches Chandragupta that by hook or crook one should win. You should withdraw if you feel that you are not fit. But once you undertake some task, see that it is completed somehow. Tantra is the last resort.

Vishya Kanya is used. Poison is given to a girl child from birth in smaller quantities that the system becomes immune to the poison. It increases the beauty of the child. She is used as a weapon. Such methods were approved and practiced by the kings. Chandra Gupta’s enemy Amatya Rakshasha sends a Visha Kanya to Chandra Gupta. Chanakya smartly protected Chandra Gupta by sending someone else in place of Chandra Gupta. It is a wonderful story where Chanakya finally makes Amatya himself the protector of Chandra Gupta Maurya.

The need for Smritis

Shrutis are the most authoritative works. Poorvotaraana bhaleeyasi.  Whatever is said earlier becomes stronger. When there is a conflict between Shruti and Smriti, Shruti is taken to be correct. Anything that has come after it cannot override its injunctions. That being the case, why is there then a need for Smriti?

For example, if Shruti says Chaaturvarnya is to be followed, the Smriti cannot go against it. But the Smriti can clarify whether a person can cross over from one varna to another, if he has the right capabilities. The Smritikaara will refer to the Vedas and substantiate his argument. Janmanaa jaayate Shudrah. Without any jnaana, everyone is a Sudhraa at birth. By taking the second birth, i.e., during upanayana karma, the boy becomes a Brahmana. The woman also becomes a Brahmin when she starts the studies to acquire knowledge.

During the Smriti period, there were different professions that came in being. Every job was required and it was honoured. As far as the definition of Brahmin-hood is concerned, it depends on the person’s capacity in regaining knowledge and giving out the knowledge. आचिनोति आचरत्यपि आचार्यः – aachinoti – is the collection of knowledge. An Aacharya has to acquire knowledge and carry out his actions based on the acquired knowledge.  He should have unity in thoughts, words and action. ऋषिः – A Rishi is a gnaani. He sees oneness in humanity – सर्वंखल्विदं ब्रह्म | मार्गदर्शी महर्षिः | He shows the direction to all the human beings. There is no selfish interest in him. He is concerned about everyone. Each person’s life is unique. The different paths are not to be condemned or glorified. The Rishi’s scope covers everyone and he provides the appropriate guidance for everyone.

Crossing or तरण from one varna to another varna was allowed. In Manusmriti, Manu says that he recollects the Vedic concepts and writes this Manusmriti. The deviations according to the requirement of times, without contradicting the Vedic injunctions are captured in the Smritis. Now the role of ladies is changing. Vivekananda too had suggested that a new Smriti text has to be written for the 20th century. So Smriti text can be written any number of times, depending on the need of the times. But it should not be against the dicta of the Shruti, which elaborate the fundamental dharma of the mankind.

Smriti covers the rules and regulations related to the four varnas. Krishna says “chaatur varnyam mayaa srushtam” – “I have created this classification into four groups”. The entire society was classified into four groups based on the division of labour, i.e., based on the Vritti – profession or the Samarthya  – capability. Within these four varnas, there is a principle of mutual dependency. We do not see the classification of the caste system as we see in the present modern times. People were free to cross from one group to another. The purpose of this classification is to allow a person to work on the field considering their skills that they are good at. Wherever there are people, there will naturally be these four types of work.  These four divisions are necessary for man-kind to run their day to day life. There is no question of superiority or inferiority indicated in the Vedic scriptures. This is a natural division because creation provides these four types of people. Shastra has provided opportunity by this division to enable people of different capabilities to have freedom and live their life in their own way, and still be able to contribute to the society. The Britishers misinterpreted these classifications to create split between the people by associating inferiority and superiority amongst the divisions.

This flexibility is the beauty of the Vedic literature. This is the reason that Vedas and the Sanaatana dharma have stood the test of time. It would have been a dead literature if it had been a rigid. There is scope of change according to the current needs of the people. General laws that govern humanity are covered in these Smriti literatures. It is based on the Vedas, by recollecting its contents. What are to be done at the different phases of life is covered in the Smritis when it elaborates the activities to be performed in the four Ashrams. If we want to have an integrated society and work in a united manner, the common principles that are respected by all people are required. “Don’t tell lies. Don’t cheat others. Lead life in a cooperative manner.  Educate the kids. Conduct their marriage at the appropriate age.”

Veda can be interpreted in several ways. We have to unearth the required information from the Vedas. Veda is the solid gold, where the Smriti texts are the gold coins minted at different times.

Differences in Smritis

Learn about the important smritis with the name of the authors. The difference in the smritis could be due to the differences that are present in the Shrutis themselves. There are Shaakas in the Shrutis – Aapasthamba shaakaa, etc. The influence of the guru will be present in the descendents or followers of that specific Rishi. There were thousands of guru kulas and hence numerous shaakaas or branches. Under the patronage of the kings, there were many guru kulas. The king would go on hunting expedition and ensure that the area that is occupied by the Rishis is protected from wild animals. Sanaatana Dharma or Vaidika Dharma is based on the Vedas. It is called as maanava dharma – rules to be followed by the humans. As there were different branches based on the gurukulas, there were also different smritis based on the authors. Though the base was the Vedas, the Smritis had the influence of its authors. These literatures were not written for a specific community. These were called as Maanava Dharma and were applicable to the entire humanity.

The Smritis are for the protection of the human race. The Smirits are a wonderful concept that has to be preserved and practiced in the society for the sake of humanity.

[Q&A: How are Darshans different from Smritis?  Darshanas deal with the ultimate goal of realizing the self. Smritis are for the day-to-day life. According to the Vedas, life is a celebration. Darshanas help to age gracefully mainly in the Vanaprasta ashrama. There are Rishis who might have written both types of works].

Manu Smriti

Manu is considered as the father of the Human Race.  The other smritis are also based on this only. The other Smritis would have taken certain specific aspects and would have dealt with them. If a person writing on the duties of the students, then it becomes a Smriti named after that person. Ramayana and Mahabharata represent our Vedic culture. There are specific mentions about the dharma shastra in the epics. Dharma Shaastras are Smritis.

[Jainism and Buddhism are offshoots are Hinduism. The Jains did not understand the purpose of the Yagna and the impact of the Yagna. They have highlighted some aspects of Hinduism. Mahaveera selected one aspect, Ahimsa. Buddha is considered as the ninth avatar. ]

Vyavahaara Maatrukaa Prakaranam

Vyavahaara  is the day to day activities like Artha, Vartha, Pashupaalana, Vritti, etc. How these are to be conducted in a dharmic way is the subject matter.  The various duties and responsibilities of the king and elders to protect the vyavahaara for the society are explained.  The handling of the court cases is the Vyavahaara.  These are mainly the monetary transactions. Yagnavalkya takes Manu as an authority and provides information on how certain actions are to be done. The appropriate punishment has to be given for the wrong actions. For this the King and his ministers should have the right knowledge of the Smritis to know which is right and which is wrong. The Smriti states the general rules and regulations that could be applied to specific situations. Yagnavalkya deals with various aspects like civil disputes related to property, evidence, pledge, gift, sale, witness (Saakshi, team – kuta saakshi), punishments, recovery of debts (runa), Deposits (Nikshepa), etc.