Yajnavalkya Smriti, trans. by Rai Bah. S. Chandra Vidyarnava

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Yajnavalkya Smriti, trans. by Rai Bah. S. Chandra Vidyarnava

Postby admin » Wed May 19, 2021 1:16 am

Yajnavalkya Smriti
With the Commentary of Vijnanesvara Called The Mitaksara and Notes from the Gloss of Balambhatta
Book I: The Achara Adhyaya
Translated by Late Rai Bahadur Srisa Chandra Vidyarnava
Published by The Panini Office, Bhuvaneswari Asrama, Bahadurganj Allababad
Printed by Apurva Krishna Bose, at the Indian Press, 1918.



o CHAPTER I. Introduction
 Vijnanesvara's salutation
 Vijnanesvara's foreword
 Visvarupa's Commentary referred to
 The question of the sages
 The six kinds of Dharma
 The territorial jurisdiction
 The fourteen sources of Dharma
 The eighteen Puranas
 The two Bhagavat Puranas
The Upapuranas
 The authority of the Puranas
 The list of Smritis
 The efficient cause of Dharma
 The Jnapaka cause of Dharma
 The Four-fold evidence of Dharma (verse 7)
 The Conflict of Laws
 The self-realisation, the highest Dharma (verse 8)
 The Legal assembly or Parisad
o CHAPTER II.— The Sacraments and Studentship
 The Four Castes (verse 10)
 The Twice-born (verse 10)
 The Sacraments :—
 (a) Garbhadhana
 (b) Pumsavana
 (c) Simantonnayana
 (d) Jata Karma
 (e) Nama Karma
 (f) Niskraman
 (g) Annaprasana
 (h) Chudakarana
 Painless delivery ceremony
 Rules for pregnant women
 Rules for their husbands
 Birth rite
 Adoption
 Sasthi Puja
 Naming Ceremony
 The Secret Name
 The Naksatras and Names Table
 The Niskraman
 Upavesana
 Annaprasana
 Boring of the Ear
 The birthday anniversary
 Chudakarana or the tonsure
 The Sikha
 Apastamba on Upanayana
 The Grihya-Sutras on Pumsavana Simantonnayana
 The first learning of the Alphabet
 The utility of the Sacraments
 The time of Upanayana
 The duties of Gurus
 The study of the Gayatri
 The rules of Personal purification
 Achamana and its method
 Auspicious stars for initiation
 Sandhya
 Marjana mantras
 Surya arghya
 Arghya mantras
 Tilaka
 Pranayama
 The Japa of Gayatri
 The Mantrachaman
 The Gayatri with its Vyahritis and Siras
 The various meanings of the Gayatri
 The Homa ceremony mantras
 Avivadana
 The worship of the Guru
 Methods of study
 The qualifications of the student
 The dress of the student, the staff and the sacred thread
 The forms of begging
 The method of eating
 Things prohibited to a Brahmachari
 The definitions of the Guru, Acharya, Upadhyaya, Ritvij
 The period of studentship
 Vratya defined
 The Twice-born defined
 The Reward of Vedic study
 The fruit of Pancha Mahayajna
o CHAPTER III.— On Marriage
 The final bath and the teacher's fee
 The selection of a bride and External marks
 Internal marks
 A widow not to be married
 Sapinda and non-sapinda
 The definition of Sapinda not too wide
 The question of step mother and her father's relations
 Marriageable age of girls
 The gotra and the pravaras
 The Sapindahood in marriage
 Sapindahood of annloma births
 Bhinna gotra Sapindas
 A rule of Eugenics
 Inter-marriage allowed
 The rule about inter-marriage
 The eight forms of marriage
 The special forms in various kinds of mixed marriage
 Persons entitled to give away a girl in marriage
 The penalty for broach of promise of marriage
 The penalty for concealing the faults of the bride, etc.
 Ananyapurva defined
 The Niyoga ceremony
 The adulteress and her treatment
 Women always pure
 A rule of purification
 The duties of a wife
 In praise of Sastriya marriage
 The Season
 Astrological Seasons and how to get a male child
 Other times of conjugal intercourse
 Vidhi defined
 Niyama defined
 Purisankya defined
 Women to be honored
 The duties of Women
 The duties of a wife whose husband is away
 General duties of all Women
 Duties of a widow
 The Sati or Self-immolation
 Dharma, its definition
 Bhavana, its definition
 The duties of a wife
 The duties of a husband having many wives
 The duties of a widower
 Re-marriage of widows
o CHAPTER IV.— On the distinctions of Castes (Varna) and classes (sub-castes)
 Anuloma
 Pratiloma
 Pratilomas and their livelihood
 Miscellaneous mixed castes
 A summary
 Anulomas
 Pratilomas
 Other mixed castes
 Kayasthas
 The rise and fall in castes
o CHAPTER V — On the duties of a householder
 The beggar
 Beef-offering to the honored guest
 Annual feast on beef
 Should give feast but not hanker after other's feast
 The honoring of guests while they depart
 The Evening prayer
 The Morning duties
 The rule of road
 The duties of Ksatriyas and Vaisyas
 The livelihood of Ksatriyas and Vaisyas
 The livelihood of the Sudras
 The universal duties of the Twice-born
 The universal duties of all men
 The Srauta or Vedic rites— the Kamya Karmas
 The Nitya or obligatory Srauta Karmas
 The niggardliness in feast-giving
 The religious house-holder takes no thought of to-morrow
o CHAPTER VI.— On the Vratas to be observed by a Snataka Brahmana
 He may take a gift from a King, &c
 His other duties
 The rules of study commencing
 The time of vacation in study
 The study holidays
 The vows of Snataka
 Persons whose food should not be eaten
o CHAPTER VII.— Lawful and Unlawful food
 Lawful food for the twice-born
 General law of food
o CHAPTER VIII. On the purification of things
 The purification of utensils
 The purification of Sacrificial Vessels
 The purification of Stained Vessels
 The purification of Clothes
 The purification of Land
 The purification of Food smelt by the cow, &c
 The purification of Tin, lead, &c
 The purification of Water, flesh, &c
 The purification of Fire, &c.
o CHAPTER IX. On Gifts
 The proper recipients of gifts
 The proper Brahmana recipient
 Giving of cows, &c., to Brahmanas
 An unfit person should not accept gifts
 A special rule of gift
 A special rule of Cow gift
 The fruit of cow gift
 The fruit of the gift of the cow and her calf
 The fruit of ordinary cow-gift
 The equivalents of cow-gift
 The fruit of granting land
 The fruit of giving house, &c.
 The gift of education is the highest
 Getting the fruit of gift without giving
 Some gifts must always be accepted
 What must be accepted
 An exception
o CHAPTER X.— On Sraddhas
 The times of Sraddhas
 The Brahmanas to be invited in the Sraddhas
 The Brahmanas to be avoided
 The Parvana Sraddha
 The Visvedeva Sraddha
 The Pitriya Sraddha
 The giving of the Aksayya Water
 Dismissal of Brahmanas
 The Vriddhi Sraddha
 The Ekoddista Sraddha
 Sapindi Karana
 Sapindi Karana of the mother
 The deceased mother and the Parvana sraddha
 The Uda-Kumbha Sraddha
 A doubt
 The times of Ekoddista
 The place of throwing the Pindas
 The different kinds of food offered at Srddha, and their different rewards to the giver
 Specific fruit or offering Sraddha on a Specific asterism
o CHAPTER XI.— On the worship of Ganapati
o CHAPTER XII.— On the propitiation of the planets
 The graha Yajna
 The names of the nine planets
 The color and ingredients of puja of planets
 The dhyana of the planets
 Method of Worship
 The Vedic mantras for Samidha Homa, etc.
 The Samidh fuel
 The number of Samidhs
 The Daksina of each planet
 The Worship of malefic planets
 Special rules for the Kings
o CHAPTER XIII.— The duties of a King
 The mental equipment of a King
 The external equipment of a Sovereign
 The qualifications of a royal purohita
 The qualifications of Ritvijs
 The special fruit of gift to Brahmanas
 The method of acquiring wealth
 The deed of gift
 Materials and contents of the documents
 The residence of the King
 The royal officials
 Gift of conquests of war
 Heaven is the reward of dying in battle
 Giving quarters to those who surrender
 Inspection of treasury and accounts
 Sending the cash to treasury
 The three kinds of spies
 Rest and review of the army
 Evening prayer, hearing report of the spies, &c
 Going to bed and rising therefrom with morning duties
 The rule for illness
 The morning duties of the King
 The treatment of various kinds of people
 The fruit of good Government
 Protection from cheats, etc.
 The fruit of not protecting subjects
 The King to keep himself informed of the doings of his officials
 The fruit of illegal taxation
 Conquering and the treatment of conquered subjects
 Preserving the manners and customs of the conquered
 Concealing the trade secrets
 The neighbouring sovereigns
 The four modes of obtaining success
 The six gunas or six military measures
 The time of marching
 Destiny and effort
 Alliance better than War
 The Saptanga of Kingdom
 The rod and the evil-doers
 The fit and unfit wielders of the rod
 The fruits of proper and improper punishments
 Evils of unrighteous punishments
 Law is no respecter of persons
 The fruit of punishing the punishable
 The King to try cases
 The disciplinary power of the King
 The two kinds of punishments— Corporal and pecuniary
 The table of weights and measurements
 Silver weights and coins
 Copper coins
 The Scale of punishment
 Various kinds of punishment
 The regulation of punishment
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Re: Yajnavalkya Smriti, translated by Rai Bahadur Srisa Chan

Postby admin » Wed May 19, 2021 2:11 am


Next to Manu's Institutes of Sacred Law, the Smriti of Yajnavalkya is the most important. It contains 1010 slokas or stanzas; and is divided into three Adhyayas or books, namely Achara or ecclesiastical and moral code: Vyavahara or the civil law and Prayaschitta (Penance) or the penal code. Each part or Adhyaya contains the following number of stanzas: —

[Name / No. of Stanzas]

The Achara / 868
The Vyavahara / 307
The Prayaschitta / 835

The whole of Achara is divided into 13 chapters thus:—

[Chapter / Name / No. of Stanzas]

I / Introduction / 1-9
II / Brahmachari / 10-50
III / Marriage / 51-89
IV / Varna-Jati / 90-96
V / Grihastha / 97-128
VI / Snataka-Dharma / 129-166
VII / Food / 167-181
VIII / Purification of things / 182-197
IX / Dana / 198-216
X / Sraddha / 217-270
XI / Worship of Ganesa / 271-294
XII Graha-Santi / 295-808
XIII Raja-Dharma / 309-368

There are several well-known commentaries on Yajnavalkya's Institutes: such as by Apararka, Visvarupa, Vijnanesvara, Mitra Misra and Sulapani. But the commentary of Vijnanesvara has superseded the others and under the name of the Mitaksara it is accepted as authoritative by the Hindus of most of the provinces of India. The full name of the commentary of Vijnanesvara is Riju-mitaksara or the Easy and Concise. But the name Mitaksara has become so well-known that it is too late now to revert to the name given to it by the commentator himself. Even by Sanskrit authors the book is quoted, for the sake of brevity, as the Mitaksara.

The gloss of Balambhatta is a comparatively recent one. It is rather encyclopedic in its scope. The book professes to have been composed by a learned lady, but Babu Govinda Dasa of Benares, the learned editor of the Editio Princeps of Balambhatti states that the real author of it was the husband of this lady. The author Vaidyanatha Paiyagunda lived in the eighteenth century, and as he lived in Benares, there is every reason to believe in the truth of this Benares tradition.

The whole of Yajnavalkya's Institutes was translated by Mr. Mandlik into English in 1880 A. D. leaving, of course, the commentary and the gloss. I am much indebted to that translation in my rendering of the verses of Yajnavalkya.

In translating the commentary of Vijnanesvara (i.e. the Mitaksara) I have tried to be as literal as was consistent with readable presentation of the original. In the gloss of Balambhatta however, the translation is mostly free: and in several cases it is even an abridgment of the gloss. Moreover I have not translated the whole of it, but only such extracts as I thought would be interesting to general readers. The gloss of Balambhatta is a storehouse of information, proceeding on the same lines as the Viramitrodaya. I have given also comparative extracts from the Grihya-Sutras to show the nature of those treatises; and to give concrete notions of these books to ordinary readers so that they might not remain as mere names. The translations of these books in Max Muller's series, of the Sacred Books of the East have, of course, been of great help to me. I have given the exact translations of these as they appeared in that series, except in one case where the phrase "the wife addicted to her husband," has been changed to "the wife devoted to her husband."

The first chapter contain, the sources of the Hindu Law. Among the sources of the Hindu Law, Yajnavalkya enumerates the well-known fourteen vidyas or sciences (according to some eighteen), namely, the four Vedas— the Rik, the Yajus, the Saman and the Atharvan — the six Vedangas or Appendages to the Vedas— the Phonetics, Liturgy, Grammar, the Lexicon, Astronomy and the Prosody — and Logic, the Exegetics, the Puranas and the Dharma-Sastras or the Institutes of the Sacred Law. All these fourteen subjects are not only sources of Vidyas or knowledge but of law also. Yajnavalkya then enumerates the various Institutes of the Sacred Law, such as Manu, Atri, &c. According to him the authoritative Smritis are 20 in number as named by him; but according to the commentators this number is raised to 36 or more by enumerating others not mentioned by Yajnavalkya. Considering the question of the sources of law, from a still different point of view, we arrive at a four-fold division, namely, 1. the Vedas, 2. the Smriti or Dharma-Sastra, 3. the Custom (sadachara), 4. Voluntary.

According to this division, the custom holds a third place; and the general rule of Hindu Law as to the relative authority of these four is that the Vedas or the Revelations are the supreme authority, next to them are the Smritis or the Institutes of the Sacred Law, and third, the customary Law. The rule of interpretation in case of conflict among these is that the Revelation (the Vedas) would prevail over Tradition (the Smriti) and the Tradition over the Custom. There cannot be any valid Custom opposed to the Vedas or the Smritis.

The modern idea, that prevails in our Courts, is that the customary law is the highest, and the written law (the Vedas and the Smritis) of secondary importance. Whether Yajnavalkya or Vijnanesvara would have supported such a view I leave the readers to judge.

The Second Chapter is called the Brahmachari Prakarana. Yajnavalkya mentions  the well-known ten sacraments of the Hindus, but gives no details of the ceremonies. His commentator Vijnanesvara also does not enter, in his Mitaksara, into any detailed exposition of these. But Balambhatta supplies the omission. All these ceremonies are described in copious detail in this gloss. They are certainly of great use to every pious Hindu. All good Hindus, who want to regulate their conduct properly, and wish to see that these ceremonies should be properly performed by their priests, should at least know the general outline of the rituals. The want of this knowledge of the rituals, by the Hindu laity has reacted on their priests also. The priests have become in many cases ignorant and the ceremonies, the proper performance of which would take hours, are finished purfunctorily within half that time. I have given an almost full description of one ceremony namely the Sasthi Puja. That would show what other ceremonies are like. This Sasthi Puja is one of the elementary ceremonies, yet even this contains more than a score of Vedic Mantras. Even if our priests know how to recite these mantras, ten to one, they do not know their meaning. Unless the yajamans (the sacrificers) know something of those ceremonies, there is no hope that the priests will be better than what they are now. At the same time yajamans must not expect to get a better class of priests unless they raise the remuneration of these to respectable figures.

This second chapter (Balambhatta) contains also the famous law of adoption by Bandhayana. I have given the full Sanskrit text, its word meaning and translation as made by Dr. Buhler. The word meaning, I hope, would be found useful to those legal practitioners whoso knowledge of Sanskrit is elementary.

As regards the two sacraments— the Pumsavana (the ceremony to secure the birth of a male child), and the Simantonnayana (the parting of the hair of the pregnant wife— from which date all marital relation should cease), I have given copious extracts from the Grihya Sutras relating to these ceremonies as prevalent in ancient times.

The rules of Brahmancharin in ancient time aimed at making man of a student. Only those are fit to be members of a noble and highly organised community who learn in their school days the lessons of plain living, and discipline. The students in ancient times had to live in the houses of their gurus which were generally far away from the busy haunts of men: generally in forests, while learning all the sciences that ancient India could impart— and they were not few— they were scrupulously guarded from participation in all active duties of life. They were, in the first place, unmarried and not like the majority of our High school and College students, with babies at home. They were taught to respect their teachers and rulers, and the teachers and rulers in their turn loved and protected them. They respected the king and the king respected them. They had absolutely nothing to do with politics. The sons of kings and ruling chiefs were undoubtedly taught all the laws of political economy (Artha-Sastra) and statecraft (Raja-Niti) but even they were not allowed to mix in any political agitation of the time, if there were any such things in those days. Nor can it be imagined that a student of those Vedic schools, clad in his garment of antelope skin and bearing a water pot in hand was ever found hurling a deadly weapon against any human being. It was not the duty of the student to carry on the agitation for the redressing of the wrongs, real or imaginary, done to him or his country. If a Brahmacharin broke his vow and transgressed the rule of his asrama, he was looked down with contempt and not in any way encouraged in his wrong path. Such was the student and such the Guru. It is nothing short of a sad decadence of religion, in this land of religion, that the noble ideal of the Brahmacharya asrama should have entirely disappeared.

The third chapter on Marriage deserves careful study of Ethnologists, for no student of Evolution of Marriage can afford to neglect it. To make this chapter as complete as possible, I have added copious extracts from the gloss of Balambhatta.

The fourth chapter on Castes with Notes from Balambhatta will be found useful to those who are interested in the question of Castes in India. There are several works on this subject written by Sir George Campbell, Revd, Mr. Sherring of Benares, Revd. Dr. Wilson of Bombay, Mr. Thurston of Madras, Sir H. Risley, Dr. Jogendra Nath Bhattacharya of Bengal and a few others, but curiously enough, none of them seems to have consulted Yajnavalkya with its several commentators and the gloss of Balambhatta. Yet those authors would have greatly benefited by a perusal of this chapter of the present work.

It was not considered necessary to add notes from the gloss of Balambhatta to the 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th chapters.

The tenth chapter on Sraddha is an important one, not only to the antiquarian, but to practising lawyers in India. At present there is no treatise in English, exclusively devoted to this subject. Hence, I have added such notes as I considered necessary to elucidate the matter.

The eleventh and twelfth chapters are not of much importance to the practising lawyer but will interest students of Indian religious cults.

The last chapter is difficult to understand without studying the Artha-sastra. This has been now made possible by the publication of Kautilya Artha-sastra with its English translation; Prof. Benoy Kumar Sarkar's Sukraniti and Positive Back ground of Hindu Sociology and Law's Hindu Polity.

The importance of the study of Hindu Law in all its different branches will be evident from what Sir Henry Sumner Maine says that India "may yet give us a new science not less valuable than the science of language and folk lore. I hesitate to call it comparative jurisprudence, because if it ever exists, its area will be so much wider than the field of law. For India not only contains (or to speak more accurately, did contain) an Aryan language older than any other descendant of the common mother tongue and a variety of names of natural objects less perfectly crystallised than elsewhere into fabulous personages, but it includes a whole world of Aryan institutions, Aryan customs, Aryan laws, Aryan ideas in a far earlier stage of growth and development than any which survive beyond its border."

What Maine hesitated to call comparative jurisprudence cannot be brought into existence unless the legal lore of ancient India is properly studied. The fact cannot be denied that the contents of the law books of the Hindus are not so well-known to Indian legal practitioners unacquainted with Sanskrit as they deserve to be. Lawyers in India chiefly confine their attention to the chapters on Inheritance, Adoption and Partition of Hindu Law. But it is difficult to understand the theory and practice of that Law without studying all the topics dealt with in the Achara and Prayaschitta Adhyayas of Yajnavalkya Smriti. Panini office has published English translation of two books of Yajnavalkya with the commentary of Vijnanesvara and thus made them accessible to English-educated people unacquainted with Sanskrit.

A knowledge of Sanskrit Grammar and the six schools of Hindu Philosophy in general and of the Purva Mimansa in particular is necessary to understand the original Sanskrit text of Hindu Law. Panini office has tried to supply this want by the publication of the Astadhysyi and the Siddhsnta Kaumudi as well as of the six schools of Philosophy in the Series of the Sacred Books of the Hindus.

In the preparation of this translation I was greatly assisted by the late Pandit Barayu Prasad Misra of Allahabad. He was well read in many branches of Sanskrit literature— but his forte was Hindu Law and Philosophy,

The Bengali and Hindi translations of this work have been also of some help to me.  

It has not been thought advisable to insert Sanskrit text in the present publication. There are several printed editions of the original Sanskrit text, but the best and the cheapest is the one published by the Nirnaya Sagara Press of Bombay, the price of which is two rupees only.
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