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Smrti – Yajnavalkya Smrti

This document covers the important information about the various Smrtis
in general and about Yajnavalkya Smrti in particular. The portion in KSOU
MA are the 6 Prakaranas from the Vyaavahaara Adhyaaya of Yajnavalkya
Smrti. This material has been consolidated from the various posts in the
blogs on this topic which covered the sessions by Dr. Gururaj Rao, Prof.
Vanitha Ramaswamy and Smt. Harini (MA Student). The coverage is
limited to the important aspects, based on the earlier KSOU MA exam
question papers. The phrases asked in KSOU MA exam सन्दभर् questions
have been provided in a separate section under each prakarana. Some
additional information mentioned by the speakers during the class room
sessions have been marked as “Side notes”. They may not be important
from the exam point of view. They have been included either to understand
the context or just for information. Here is a downloadable file which
includes a table of contents. Click here. yajnavalkya-smrti

Srthis and Smrtis

स्मृितः श्रुितः हरेः आज्ञा says ऋिष: वाधूल: pointing out that the Smrti and Srthi are
created by the command of Hari or Sriman Narayana. श्रूयते अनेन इित श्रुितः i.e.,
That which is heard is Shruti. स्मयर्ते अनेन इित स्मृितः i.e., That which is
remembered is Smrti. It recollects the important points of the Vedas and
provides us in a concise manner.

Purpose of Smrtis

Vedas contain िविध and िनषेध i.e., ordained actions and prohibited actions.
The Smrtis are the commentaries by the Rishis on the Vedic injunctions.
श्रुितस्तु वेदो िवज्ञेयो धमर्शास्त्रं तु वै स्मृितः | Manu Smrti states that it is to be known
that Veda is Shruti and Dharma Shastras are Smrtis. Gautama refers to
Smrti as the essence of Dharma. These scriptures explain how to practice
Dharma, the importance of adhering to it, and the ill-effects of not
following the principles of Dharma.

The need for Smrtis

The Vedas are the Srthi. They are the most authoritative of all the
scriptures. While the Vedas are अपौरुषेय – not written by man, the Smrtis
are written by Rishis. This being the case, it is very important to
understand the need for creating these Smrtis. The roles and
responsibilities of the different members of the society of that particular
time are explained in the Smrtis. It provides for some changes in the
actions to be performed, according to the requirement of times, without
contradicting the Vedic injunctions. So Smrti 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.

Validity of the Smrtis

Vedas are स्वतः िसद्धप्रमाण – these propositions are self-evident and they do
not require any external proof for their correctness. Though Smrtis are
written by individuals, it is also accepted to be correct since it is based on
the Vedas. आप्तवाक्यप्रमाण – It is considered to be correct because it is the
words of those Rishis who are concerned with our welfare. आप्तवाक्यं शब्दः।
The words of our well-wishers is to be taken as the truth as per Shabda
Pramaana. When there is वक्त्रानुकूल्य, श्रोतानुकूल्य and प्रसङ्गानुकूल्य i.e., when the
disposition of speaker, the disposition of the listener and the atmosphere
are conducive, whatever is being said has to be taken as आप्त वाक्यम् – the
well-wisher’s advice and they ought to be followed.

The place of Smrtis in the Sanskrit Literature

Four Vedase Rigveda, Samaveda, Yajurveda and
चतुिवर् भागाः – 4 Parts of each Veda –Samhita, Brahmana, Aranyaka,
Samhitas are the Mantras. मन्त्र = संिहता
Brahmanaas were created while putting the Samhita to
Aranyakasare the philosophy behind ritual sacrifice part of
the ancient Indian texts, the Vedas.
Upanishads are the Vedanta part and they include the
knowledge about the self.
The Smrti literature is a vast corpus of derivative work.
AllSmrti texts are regarded to ultimately be rooted in or
inspired by Shruti. Major Smriti literatures are: Vedanga
(वेदाङ्ग), Upaveda (उपवेद), Upanga (उपांग), and Dharsanas
Vedangas are the auxiliary disciplines or subjects that
one must learn to fully comprehend the meaning of the
text contained in the Vedas.- Nirukta, Chandas,
Vyakarana, Shikshaa, Kalpa, Jyotisha
Nirukta is the science of etymologies. It explains
the word-roots and derivation of meanings of
words in different contexts. Text: Yaska’s Nirukta.
Vyakarana is Grammar. Panini’s Astadhyayi is
the authority on Sanskrit Grammar. It was not
written in Sanskrit but Panini used a meta-
language called Upadesa to define the grammar of
Sanskrit in about 8000 sutras/rules. Text: Panini’s
Siksha deals with phonetics, the pronunciation
and accent. It explains how each syllable should be
pronounced in which context and the psychic
effects of those. There are two variations to plain
pronunciation, called Udatta and Anudatta.
Altering the pronunciation alters the meaning of
what is being chanted and the results of chanting.
Text: Panini’s Siksha.
Chandas is the science of metres. Syllables are
classified into two categories, Guru and Laghu. A
string of Guru-Laghu sequence of a particular
length is called a metre. There are various metres
in which the Vedic mantras are composed, such as
Gayatri, Anusthup, Trishtup and Jagati. The
chandas of a mantra determines its usage, such as
its purpose and context. But it acts more as an
error-correcting mechanism. Since the Veda is an
oral tradition, any aberration in the chandas
because of error in text or the swara, can be easily
identified and corrected. Text: Pingala’s
Jyotisha is the science of shining objects –
astronomy. Text: Lagadha’s Vedanga Jyotisha.
Kalpa speaks of the ritual portion, how and when
sacrifice is to be conducted. Texts: Kalpa Sutras,
consisting of Sulba Sutras and Srauta Sutras. Sulba
Sutras contain the geometry of altars along with
mathematical deductions for the geometry. Srauta
Sutras contain guidelines for conducting sacrifices.
The Upavedas are the practical or applied knowledge.
They deal with various arts and sciences. They are
Ayurveda – Health, Dhanur Veda – War,
Gandharva Veda – Music, and (स्थापत्य) Sthaapatya
Veda– Architecture.
There are four Upangas: Nyaya, Mimamsa, Itihasa-
Purana and Dharma Sastra
Dharma Shastras include smriti grantas and the
four sutras – Dharma sutra, Grhya Sutra, Sulba
Sutra and Srauta Sutra. The sutras are laid down
for each Vedic sakha/branch.
Dharma sutras contain the guidelines to
live a Dharmic life. Examples are
Aapasthamba, Baudayana, Gautama,
Vashishta – written in Sutra form. They deal
with customs, duties, law.
Smrti Grantas — After Dharma Sutras,
the Dharma Shaastras were written in
shloka or verse form. The Dharma-shastras
expanded and remodeled in verse form the
Dharmasutras. Examples – Manu
Smriti, Yajnavalkya Smriti, Paraasara
Smriti, Naarada Smriti, Vishnu Smriti.
Grhya sutras contain specific guidelines to
Grhasthas on the domestic rituals. गृह्य सूत्रस –
Mainly deal with चत्वािरंशत् संस्काराः (among
which षोडश-संस्काराः are important)
Srauta sutras contain guidelines for
performing Vedic rituals.
Shulba sutras contain the mathematical
principles for construction of various the
sacrificial altar (यज्ञस्तूपः Geometry).
Shad-Darshan Shastra (Nyaya, Vaisheshika,
Samkya, Yoga, Mimamsa, Vedanta)
Nyaaya – Praacheena Nyaaya and Navya
Vaisheshika – every object has an atom.
Deals with Atomic theory.
In the modern system of system, they
have been merged into one system called
the Nyaya system. Tarka Shashtra also
refers to this Nyaaya System. तकर्यन्ते
प्रितपाद्यन्ते इित तकर्ः This is the science of
Samkya deals with the soul by means of
the 25 principles based on which the
nature of the soul is proved.
Yoga means yolk. Yoga deals with the
connection with the supreme. It tells the
methods to connect with the supreme.
Poorva Meemaamsa or meemaamsa
deals with the sacrificial rituals.
Purification of the person after which he
becomes ready to receive the ultimate
Uttara Meemaamsa or Vedanta deals
with gnaana – a system which tries to
explain Jeevatma, paramaatma and the
Vedanta has different schools of thought
– Advaita, Dvaita, Vishishtaadvaita,
Shakti Vishishtaadvaita, etc. The first 3
are very important ones.

Characteristics of the Smrti Authors

The Smrti authors explain the Vedic ideals without any misinterpretations.
The Smrtikaaras had the intention to lead their disciples in the right path
and elevate them to higher levels. आिचनोित आचरत्यिप आचायर्ः – An Aacharya
acquires knowledge and carries out his actions based on the acquired
knowledge. He has unity in thoughts, words and action. ऋिषः is a gnaani.
He sees oneness in humanity – सवर्ंखिल्वदं ब्रह्म | He shows the direction to all
the human beings. मागर्दशीर् महिषर् ः | There is no selfish interest in him. He is
concerned about everyone. Since each person’s life is unique, the Rishi
considers the good for everyone and provides the appropriate guidance.

The Tone of the Smrtis

The Smrtis contain the advice of a guru to his disciples. So these are
considered as शासन – the rules that need to be adhered to. Among the three
types of classification of the scriptures as Prabhu Sammita (stated with an
authority), Mitra Sammita (stated in a friendly manner) and Kaantaa
Sammita (stated in a loving way), the Smrtis come under Prabhu Sammita
as these are like the orders of the master that need to be obeyed, failing
which there would be punishment. So, whether one likes or not, the
injunctions stated in the Smrtis are to be carried out, at least due to the
fear of the punishment. भयािदन्द्रश्च वायुश्च मृत्युधार्वित पंचमः | Things are
happening in a specific order in the world because of the fear of the

The Style of the Smrtis

Usually the Smrtis are in Gadya or Prose form. There are a few which are
in Padya or Poetry form set to specific Chandas. There are also Smrtis
which are in Champu style – i.e., a combination of Gadya and Padya.

Important Smrtis

There are 37 important Smrtis. Some of the popular Smrtis are: Manu
Smrti, Yagnavalkya Smrti, Narada Smrti, Parashara Smrti, Brihaspati
Smrti and Katyayana Smrti. There are also many other Smrtis like Daksa
Smrti, Angirasa Smrti, etc. The Smrtis are mostly named after the authors
or writers – the one who collates and documents the work.

The Subject Matter of the Smrtis

Dharma is the theme and soul of smritis. It is difficult to define dharma. It

can be understood as the privileges, duties and obligations of a man,
standard of conduct as a member of the Aryan community, as a member of
a particular varna and stage of life. It can be understood as a synonym of
law in modern terms. It includes one’s duties and social, religious, legal,
political and ethical obligations of a man.

Dharma is King of kings and far more rigid than the king. It guides the
individuals as well as the communities. A king is primarily expected to
uphold the dharma. King is never the Law-maker but and authority to
enforce law.
Subject matter of smritis is divided into 3 namely, achaara, vyavahaara and
prayaschitta. Achaara and prayaschitta deal with religious observances and
the expiation rites. Vyavahaara deals with civil law.

The increase in the number of smrti texts show the importance of subject
matter and also the willingness to accommodate changes required by the
contemporary society.

There are many topics that have been repeatedly covered in many Smrtis
or even multiple times within the same Smrti due to the significance of the
matter of consideration. Some of them are discussed below.


One such aspect which has gained the prominence among the subjects
dealt with in the Smrtis is Varnaashramadharma. The duties to be carried
out by the people belonging to different Varnaas are the Varna Dharma.
Similarly, the duties to be carried out by the people considering their
present phase of life are the Ashrama Dharma. The four Ashramas are
Brahmacharyaashrama (Student), Grhastaasharama (householder),
Vaanaprastaashrama (where one retires to forest), and Sannyaasaashrama

According to our scriptures, everyone is a Shudra at birth – जन्मना जायते शूद्रः |

Only when the person gets initiation into studies, by the Upanayana
Karma, he takes his second birth as a Brahmin. Sri Krishna mentions in
the Gita (4.13) – “चातुवर्ण्यर्ं मया सृष्टं गुणकमर्िवभागशः”. The Varna is determined
based on the predominant quality namely Sattva, Rajas or Tamas; and the
nature of work undertaken by the person for his livelihood. This is not to
be confused with the present day caste system that is based on heredity.

Pancha Maha Yagna

Different Smrtis elaborate about the Panch-Maha-Yagnas. Though there

might be slight variations, those five are mostly taken to be Deva Yagna
(worship of Gods and demi-gods), Pitr Yagna (worship of one’s
forefathers), Manushya Yagna (worship of fellow humans), Bhuta Yagna
(worship of other beings), and Brahma Yagna (worship of knowledge).

Runa Trayam

The three debts or ऋणत्रयम् are िपतृ-ऋण, देव-ऋण and गुरु-ऋण | The Smrtis
elaborate on these types of debts, how they are to be repaid, what is the
parihaara or remedy in the event of not fulfilling the debts. In काश्यपस्मृित,
condensing the information that is present in the other Smrtis, Kashyapa
says – देविपतृमनुष्यभूतब्रह्मयज्ञानुपसेवमानः | According to him, Smrtis mainly deals
with these topics – the types of the Yagnas (to the god, parents, human
beings, other beings and towards knowledge) and the way to do upaseva of
these Yagna.

The Duals द्वन्द्वः

The Smrtis also deal with some dual concepts or Dvandvas which are
extremely important like the two eyes. Some of them are

1. सत्य – धमर् or सत्य – िनष्ठा Truth & Righteousness

2. न्याय – दण्ड Honesty and punishment.
3. यजन – याजन Doing Yagna and getting others to do it.
4. अध्ययन – अध्यापन Studying and teaching.
5. दान-पिरग्रह Giving and receiving charity.

Three types of Karmas

अवश्यं अनुभोक्तव्यं कृतं कमर् शुभाशुभम् | Whether it is the good fortune or the bad
fortune, it has to be experienced. The karmas are classified as
Sanchita Karmas (accumulated works), Prarabdha Karmas (ripe or
fructuous actions), and Kriyamaana or Aagami Karmas (current works).

Types of Dharma

The actions to be undertaken are stated as Dharma. The different types of

Dharma and Karmas are सामान्यधमर् (General), िवशेषधमर् (Specific to the
person), आपद्धमर् (when in distress), िनत्यकमर् (Daily), नैिमित्तककमर् (occasional),
काम्यकमर् (with a specific objective) and मोक्षधमर् (for self-realisation). Aapad
Dharma are the actions that can be performed in case of a distress. The
Smrtis deal with this in detail. The Smrtis clarify which situation can be
considered as Aapad or being in distress to ensure that people do not abuse
the liberty given only for exceptional situations. When carrying out all the
actions, the person should always keep in mind that the ultimate goal is the
Moksha Dharma and progress towards this highest goal of self realization.

Importance of Smrti and the need for a new one

General laws that govern humanity are covered in these Smrti literatures.
It is based on the Vedas, and these were written by recollecting the Vedic
literature. The duties and responsibilities to be carried out at different
phases of life and in different circumstances are covered in the Smrtis. It
elaborates the activities to be performed as per the phases of life or the four
Ashramas. If we want to have an integrated society and work in a united
manner, a set of common principles that are respected by all people is
required. These literatures were not written for a specific community.
These were called as Maanava Dharma and are applicable to the entire

If Vedas are the solid gold, the Smrti texts are the golden jewels minted at
different times to suit the trend of the present times. This flexibility in
undergoing change according to the changing times 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 rigid. There is scope of change in the Smrtis according to the current
needs of the people. Thus the greatness of Smrtis is that they are important
for the protection of the human race. The adherence to Smrti is a
wonderful concept that has to be preserved and practiced in the society for
the sake of humanity. As suggested by Vivekananda we need a new Smrti
for the present century. “As time rolls on, more and more of the Smrtis will
go, sages will come, and they will change and direct society into better
channels, into duties and into paths which accord with the necessity of the
age, and without which it is impossible that society can live.” Swami
Sivananda also conveys the same point when he says, “Our present society
has considerably changed. A new Smriti to suit the requirements of this
age is very necessary. Another sage will place before the Hindus of our days
a new suitable code of laws. Time is ripe for a new Smriti. Cordial greetings
to this age”.

Introduction to Yajnavalkya Smriti

Rishi Yajnavalkya

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. Brahmaratha 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
िनवेिदतम् | (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
सिन्त | 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 his father Brahmaratha 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-गूढाथर्-
चिन्द्रका, 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.

Yajnavalkya works and date

1. Yajnavalkya is credited to having promulgated the Shukla Yajurveda.

2. He is also credited with a work on yogashastra called Yoga
3. He is credited with the authorship of an Aranyaka but the popular
opinion is that they are not by the same person.
4. Main commentators of Yajnavalkya Smrti are Visvarupa [Balakrida],
Vignaneshwara [Mitaaksharaa] and Aparaaditya [Apararka].
5. Viswarupa, one of the main commentators on YS, belongs to 9th
century AD.
6. Narada and Brihaspathi who lived during 500 AD have recorded more
advanced ideas in their work. So YS must have been before that.
7. Similarities can be found with Manusmriti and Kautilya’s
Arthashastra. So YS believed to have been composed between 1st
century BC and 2nd century AD.

Style and comparison with Manusmriti

YS and MS share the phraseology.

Style is flowing, direct and hardly obscure.
Entire text is in Anustubh metre.
Certain thoughts are more advanced than Manu.
Manu condemns Niyoga while YS allows it.
Manu finds fault with gambling but the latter does not.
But Manu allows a Brahmin to marry a shudra girl but YS does not do

Structure of Yajnavalkya Smrti

Yajnavalkya Smrti consists of 1010 verses with 55 chapters, divided

into 3 parts, Achaaraadhyaya, vyavahaaraadhyaya and
Achaaraadhyaya deals with customs. It has 13 chapters dealing with
the 14 vidyas, samskaras from garbhadana to marriage, 4
classification of the society, their avocations and duties, rules about
prohibited and allowed food and drinks, purification of various
materials, varieties of shraaddhas and its elaborate procedure,
propitiatory ceremonies for vinayaka and the nava grahas and finally
Vyavahaaraadhyaya has 21 chapters. It deals with civic laws. How to
run a judicial system, to hear a case, the witness, loan, partition,
boundary disputes, disputes between master and the herdsmen, sale
without ownership, non-payment of wages, gambling, betting, abuse,
defamation, slander, assault, theft, adultery, review of judgement etc.
Prayaschittaadhyaya has 21 prakarana and deals with nature and
varieties of ashaucha, rules of conduct and livelihood in distress, rules
for forest hermit, yati, nature of atman, immortality, heaven and hell,
various diseases that are caused due to sin, purpose of prayaschitta, 5
mortal sins, 21 hells, expiation for murdering a Brahmin and cows,
drinking wine, for stealing gold, for being associated with sinners, 10
yamas, niyamas, vratas, mahaasantarpanacaandrayana and reward
for reading the smriti.

Main Teachings of Yajnavalkya Smrti

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
कृष्णापर्णं 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 अिहंसा सत्यं अस्तेयं शौचं इिन्द्रयिनग्रहः । दानं दमो दया
क्षािन्तः सवेर्षां धमर्साधनम् || १.१२२ || (आचाराध्यायः/गृहस्थधमर्प्रकरणम्) 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 फलित 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

The commonly mentioned three types of Daanaa are गो दान, िहरण्य-दान (or
भूदान) and अन्नदान | There are different definitions of Annam. अित्त इित 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 pinda is kept
in the floor to satisfy the hunger of the pitrus, saying ते सवेर् तृिप्तमायान्तु मया दत्तेन
भूतले | He insists on the importance of performing these rites. कुय्यार्त् +
आचायर्पूजाथर्म् + िवत्तशाठ्यम् + िववजर्येत् agnipuraana | न िवस्तरेत् श्राद्धकायर्म् – 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. िवत्तशाठ्यम् 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 िवद्यां स्वगर्ं मोक्षं सुखािन च । प्रयच्छिन्त तथा राज्यंप्रीता नॄणां िपतामहाः || १.२७० ||
(आचाराध्यायः – श्राद्धप्रकरणम्) The pleased (preetaah) fathers and grandfathers
will give long life, wealth, knowledge, svarga, moksha, happiness, and


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 नायर्स्तु 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 – सवर्ं 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 | धमर् 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 Dana

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 asaadhaarana prakarana. न स्त्री स्वातन्त्रमहर्ित – At no stage in
life should a woman be independent (i.e., being left alone as a destitute) .
During marriage, the couple promises each other – धमेर्च अथेर्च कामेच इमां
नाितचरािम । धमेर्च अथेर्च कामेच इमं नाितचरािम ॥ 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 Dana – i.e., for emergency expenses, one part
for charity, one part has to be kept aside as Stree Dana as a security for his
wife and daughters, and only the remaining part could be spent for the
other expenses. This Stree Dana 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 Dana, 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

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 Aapaddharma

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 िचत्त वृित्त िनरोधः” 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 प्रभृित सायान्तं सायािद प्रातरन्ततः यत् करोिम 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.

MA Syllabus Portion
Summary of the Prakaranas

Prakarana summary from Vaishali K. Shah for those Prakarans that are
there in KSOU MA syllabus.

1. Sadharana Vyavahara Matruka Prakarana – The section involves

administrative things such as, qualities of official, court members,
ways of dealings, types of reacting.
2. Asadharana Vyavahara Matruka Prakarana – It talks about the special
case such as conflicts over the territories. It states how judicial
authority should tackle the case.
3. Runadana Prakarana – Word Runadana is the repayment of loan. The
Prakaran is about the ethics regarding the loan and repayment of
4. Upanidhi Prakarana – Upanidhi refers to accessories such as various
gems, ornaments safety, robbery and invalid encroachment related to
them is discussed in this chapter.
5. Sakshi Prakarana – Sakshi is interpreted as witness and this chapter
deals with that.
6. Lekha Prakarana – This sub chapter is a broad characterization of
various documents for administration as well as of personal purposes.
It describes how those should be written or documented.

Saadhaarana-vyavahaara-maatrka-prakaranam :
General rules of procedure

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.
Asaadaarana vyavahaara deals with 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 पश्येिद्वद्विद्भब्रार्ह्मणैः सह
। धमर्शास्त्रानुसारेण क्रोधलोभिवविजर् तः ||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 should 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’ account, the verdict has to be given based
on the Dharmic principles धमर्शास्त्रानुसारेण | The king and the members
should be devoid of anger and greed. क्रोधलोभिवविजर् तः |
Qualities of the Sabha Members

श्रुताध्ययनसंपन्ना धमर्ज्ञाः सत्यवािदनः । राज्ञा सभासदः कायार् िरपौ िमत्रे 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: ज्ञािननोऽिप मौिननः – The gnaanis keep quite to avoid saying any untruth
even by slip of tongue]. Even the close relatives or the friends should be
considered impartial by the jury. यज्ञसदृशी सभा | The Sabha is considered
equivalent to the Yagna-shaala. Like the poornaahuti offered in the Yagna,
the important part is the verdict by the King.

सभ्यैः सह िनयोक्तव्यो ब्राह्मणः सवर्धमर्िवत् || 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: Selling of food and vidhya are prohibited].
The Sanyasins are exempt from being called to be present in the court.

[Side note: गतानुगितको लोकः न लोक़ः पारमािथर् कः । Everyone is going towards

worldly pleasures only. It would be like changing the course of the flow to
make them turn towards the supreme].

[Side note: पञ्चेिन्द्रय देहस्य बुद्धेश्च मनसस्तथा | द्रव्यदेशिक्रयाणां च शुिद्धराचार इष्यते || (

वाधूलस्मृित )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 (वािद) 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 (वािद) provides his argument, the counter-argument

provided by the opponent (प्रितवािद) is called Sampratipatti – सम्प्रितपित्त, if the
opponent agrees to the accuser. Alternatively if the opponent denies it and
says that the accusations are false, it is called Mitya – िमत्या. If the opponent
accuses the accuser himself for committing the crime then it is called
प्रत्यवस्कन्दन. This is also called प्रत्यवस्यन्दन. It is अपूवर्न्याय when the disputant
himself changes his own version of the story. In such cases, he loses the
credibility and the sabha will consider this while providing the verdict.

Important Points in Saadaarana-vyavahara

Dustanigraha [punishing the wicked] and Sistarakshana [protection of

the noble] are the highest duties of a king.
Not only for the kings but for anyone who is at the helm of affairs of
So the king attends to administration of justice everyday along with
his councillors.
Manu says that the wrong person should never be punished and a
great infamy gets accrued by this. Hence the king has to follow the
tenets of Dharmashastras.
Appointed councilors should have the required qualification and
proficiency in Dharmashastras.
If the king is absent then the Brahmana presides over.
The chief judge is called Praadvivaka प्रािड्ववाक as he differentiates the
inconsistent and consistent statements. Prat is the defender [the
accused] who questions the plaintiff [one who files the complaint].
If the verdict is not in line with Dharmashastras then the judge and
councilors are liable for punishment with a fine.
A judicial proceeding or a Vyavahaara has the following component
parts. pratijna [plaint], uttara [reply], samshaya [doubt], hetu
[reason], paraamarsha [deductions], pramaana [evidence], nirnaya
[decision] and prayojana [purpose/ motive].
Vyavahara is of 18 types. Recovery of debts, deposits, sale without
ownership, concerns of several partners, non-payment of wages,
breach of contract, dispute between owner and servants, boundary
disputes, assault, slander, theft, adultery, duties of husband and wife,
gambling and betting.
There should not be any harassment or other inconvenience while
summoning the defendants.
A person with disease, young person [bala] , old person [vrddha], one
in difficulty, one in religious duty [kriyakula], one engaged in king’s
duty [nripakaaryaatura], idiots [mattha, unmatta, pramatta],
aggrieved [aarta], young and helpless women, recently delivered or
high born woman, cannot be summoned.
Arrest can be made if the defendant is trying to run away. Arrest is of
4 kinds, sthaanasedha – confinement in a place, kaalakrta – for a
limited time, pravaasaat- movements are restricted and kaaryaat-
prohibit a set of actions.
Allegations and the reply must be documented in writing with
particulars like names of both, year, month, fortnight, date, day
amount, quality, place, time and other such details.
Chatuspadavyavahaara – The 4 parts of a judicial procedure. First
is pratigna – what is told by the plaintiff. Second is uttara – reply of
the defendant. Third is the saadhana – evidence and lastly nirnaya
– decision.

[Exam Quotations from १. साधारणव्यवहारमातृकाप्रकरणम्]

<*> व्यवहारान् नृपः पश्येद ् िवद्विद्भब्रार्ह्मणैः सह ।

धमर्शास्त्रानुसारेण क्रोधलोभिवविजर् तः ॥ यास्मृ२.१ ॥

िवद्विद्भः ब्राह्मणैः सह क्रोध-लोभ-िवविजर् तः नृपः धमर्शास्त्रानुसारेण व्यवहारान् पश्येत् ।

The king, free from anger and greed, should administer justice, along with
learned braahmanas, in conformity with dharmashaastra, the principles of
legal sciences.
श्रुताध्ययनसंपन्ना धमर्ज्ञाः सत्यवािदनः ।
<*>राज्ञा सभासदः कायार् िरपौ िमत्रे च ये समाः ॥ यास्मृ२.२ ॥

ये िरपौ िमत्रे च समाः, श्रुत+अध्ययन-संपन्नाः, धमर्ज्ञाः, सत्यवािदनः, (ते) सभासदः राज्ञा कायार् |

A king should select as his councilors, those persons, who have

accomplished by learning and study, who know the law, who speak always
the truth, and who are equal to both friends and foes alike.

अपश्यता कायर्वशाद ् व्यवहारान् नृपेण तु ।

<**> सभ्यैः सह िनयोक्तव्यो ब्राह्मणः सवर्धमर्िवत् ॥ यास्मृ२.३ ॥

कायर्वशात् व्यवहारान् अपश्यता नृपेण तु सभ्यैः सह सवर्धमर्िवत् ब्राह्मणः िनयोक्तव्यः |

By a King, who is unable to attend to the administration of justice on

account of other engagements, a Brahmana, knowing all laws, should be
appointed (in his place) to work along with the councilors.

<**> प्रत्यिथर् नोऽग्रतो लेख्यं यथावेिदतम् अिथर् ना ।

समामासतदधार्हनार्मजात्यािदिचिह्नतम् ॥ यास्मृ२.६ ॥

प्रत्यिथर् नः अग्रतः, यथा वेिदतम्, अिथर् ना, समा-मास-तदधर्-अहः-नाम-जात्यािद-िचिह्नतं लेख्यं

(करणीयं भवित) |

Whatever is alleged by the plaintiff / applicant (अिथर् ना) should be reduced

to writing in the presence of the defendant (प्रत्यिथर् नः), and marked with the
year (समा), the month (मास), the fortnight (तदधर्), the day, the name, the
caste and the like.

<*> श्रुताथर्स्योत्तरं लेख्यं पूवार्वेदकसंिनधौ ।

<*> ततोऽथीर् लेखयेत् सद्यः प्रितज्ञाताथर्साधनम् ॥ यास्मृ२.७ ॥

पूवार्वेदक-संिनधौ, श्रुताथर्स्य उत्तरं, लेख्यं (भवित) । ततः सद्यः अथीर् प्रितज्ञात+अथर्-साधनं लेखयेत् |

The answer (refutation) (उत्तरम्) of the defendant, who has heard the
complaint (श्रुताथर्स्य), should be taken down in writing, in the presence
(संिनधौ) of the plaintiff or complainant (पूवार्वेदक). Next (ततः ), the plaintiff
(अथीर् ) should immediately (सद्यः ) have written down (लेखयेत)् the evidence
(अथर्-साधन) by means of which the matter-in-dispute (प्रितज्ञा) is to be

तित्सद्धौ िसिद्धम् आप्नोित िवपरीतम् अतोऽन्यथा ।

<*> चतुष्पाद ् व्यवहारोऽयं िववादेषूपदिशर् तः ॥ यास्मृ२.८ ॥

तित्सद्धौ िसिद्धम् आप्नोित | अतः अन्यथा िवपरीतम् (आप्नोित)। अयं व्यवहारः िववादेषु चतुष्पाद ्
उपदिशर् तः |

If he (the plaintiff) succeeded in accomplishing the point of issue (तित्सद्धौ),

he obtains (आप्नोित ) success (िसिद्धम्); otherwise (in the non-accomplishment
of the proof) (अन्यथा), next (अतः), it brings the reverse (i.e., defeat) (िवपरीतम्).
This legal procedure is declared to be of four-fold character in litigation
(अयं व्यवहारः िववादेषु चतुष्पाद ् उपदिशर् तः ). Note: First part – pratignaa – the
plaintiff’s complaint; Second part – uttaram – defendant’s answer; Third
part – saadhana – the evidence and proof that are produced; and Fourth
part – nirnaya – the decision taken.

Asaadhaarana-maatrkaa-prakaranam: Special
rules of procedure

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.

[Side note: As in Raghuvamsam, श्रुतौ तस्करता िस्थता, in the olden days,

stealing was a rare event that people would say that they have heard about
robbers. ]

प्रत्यिभयोग is the counter-charge during the proceedings of the court that

happen before a conclusion is arrived at. 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. िमत्यािभयोग 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.

गितप्रितभन्दक 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 (प्रितभन्दक) to the progress (गित) 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 (पूवर्-
इितहास) about the nature of the person before giving the verdict. एकत्र
िनणीर्तशास्त्रात् – 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.

अथर्शास्त्रात् तु बलवद ् धमर्शास्त्रम् इित िस्थितः ॥ यास्मृ२.२१ ॥ 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. For
example, there is an injunction – ब्रह्मणो न हन्तव्यः – A Brahmin should not be
killed. If a crime is committed by a Brahmin, he cannot be killed. Other
alternatives are to be taken, like causing an insult or banishing the person
from the kingdom, that are equivalent to killing.

There are varied means, अथर्साधन, to prove the truth. One is the िलिखत,
written document. The second is the Shakshi or witness. The third is
Bhukti or possession. In the absence of these three, it has to be understood
through Divya, some divine interference, which is beyond the physical

(Side note: At Kumbakonam, some 30 or 40 years back, the ownership of

the Sarangapani temple was claimed by two groups – Shakti
Vishishtaadvaitins 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 lucky 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).

Important Points in Asaadaarana-Vyavahara

When one complaint has been filed against a person, another one
against him/her cannot be filed till the present case is disposed off.
The plaintiff cannot alter his version. No change in subject matter or
the nature of the suit will be entertained.
If there is any change in version in cases of assault or violence, the
case gets dismissed. But in cases of disputes relating to cattle, women,
land, immovable, recovery of debt, the case is not dismissed but the
plaintiff is liable for punishment for changing the version.
Both plaintiff and defendant have to produce a surety [pratibhu]. A
person who assumes responsibility for the plaintiff or the defendant is
called pratibhu.
If the defendant loses then he pays what is due to the plaintiff and an
equal amount of money to the king.
If the plaintiff loses then he will pay that amount to the king.
Nomads, those who lick their lips (i.e., to show eagerness or pleasure
about a future event), whose foreheads perspire, whose form becomes
changed in colour, who stammers, who talks inconsistently, who has
born mental deformity, etc. cannot be a complainant or a witness.
In case of gifts purvavadi has the right. The one who got it first has the
right over it. Suppose the gifted property has been purchased by
another person or the king and then gifted to someone else then the
first claimant has no right over it.
If a wager (bet amount) is involved in a dispute then the losing party
shall pay the disputed amount; wager; and also a fine to the king.
Of a set of complaints if a false denial is proved against a defendant in
at least one of the cases, then the defendant is made to admit all the
other complaints too.
Rules of dharmashastra prevail over arthashastra.
Pramana or evidence has to be written down by the plaintiff. Evidence
may be manava [human] and divya [divine].
Human evidence is of 3 kinds, likhitam [written as in sale deed],
bhukti [possession] and sakshi [witness]. Human evidence is greater
than divine.
Written evidence: if both have it then, in civil disputes regarding
property, evidence in support of later transaction prevails [i.e., the
ownership deed with later date]. In cases of pledge, gift or a sale, the
evidence in support of the earlier claim prevails.
If a person has not objected to another person enjoying his land for 20
years, then the former loses his right over the property. In cases of
animals like horse and elephant, the period is 10 years.
This is not applicable in case of pledges.
Title [agama] and possession [bhukti] are 2 things. Title is superior to
possession except when possession has descended down a line of
ancestors. If it is 4th generation or more then possession is superior
even without title.
Title without a possession for even a short period is invalid. This is to
cover the cases of a gift that was never accepted.
Invalid transactions include those done by force, brought forth by
women at night, with intoxicated persons, mad man, oppressed by
disease, misery, frightened and transaction against a servant without
the permission of his master are all invalid.
Lost and recovered property goes to king unless the claimant gives
proper identification of it.
Wealth recovered from robbers shall be distributed to the people of
the country.

[Exam Quotations from २. असाधारणव्यवहारमातृकाप्रकरणम्]

<**> अिभयोगम् अिनस्तीयर् नैनं प्रत्यिभयोजयेत् ।

अिभयुक्तं च नान्येन नोक्तं िवप्रकृितं नयेत् ॥ यास्मृ२.९ ॥

एनम् अिभयोगम् अिनस्तीयर् न प्रत्यिभयोजयेत् । अन्येन अिभयुक्तं च न | उक्तं िवप्रकृितं न नयेत् |

Until the accusation or the complaint (अिभयोगम्) is disposed of, no

counterclaim (प्रत्यिभयोज) should be allowed against the complainant. Not
should be any other person be allowed to file a complaint against one who
is already under a charge nor what has already been alleged should be
allowed to be changed िवप्रकृितं.

कुयार्त् प्रत्यिभयोगं च कलहे साहसेषु च ।

उभयोः प्रितभूग्रार्ह्यः समथर्ः कायर्िनणर्ये ॥ यास्मृ२.१० ॥

कलहे च साहसेषु च प्रत्यिभयोगं कुयार्त् । कायर्िनणर्ये समथर्ः उभयोः प्रितभूः ग्राह्यः |

A countercharge may be allowed in cases of defamation and assault. From

both a surety should be taken. A person who would be competent to satisfy
the object of judgement should be taken as surety.

सािक्षषूभयतः सत्सु सािक्षणः पूवर्वािदनः ।

पूवर्पक्षेऽधरीभूते भवन्त्युत्तरवािदनः ॥ यास्मृ२.१७ ॥

उभयतः सािक्षषु सत्सु, पूवर्वािदनः सािक्षणः । पूवर्पक्षे अधरीभूते (सित), उत्तरवािदनः (सािक्षणः)
भविन्त |

When there are witnesses for both sides, those for the person who claims
priority (i.e., the one who has enjoyed at a prior date and not the person
who has filed the complaint first) should be taken first; and if the first
claim gets invalidated, then the witnesses of the next claimant should be

<**> स्मृत्योिवर् रोधे न्यायस्तु बलवान् व्यवहारतः ।

<**> अथर्शास्त्रात् तु बलवद ् धमर्शास्त्रम् इित िस्थितः ॥ यास्मृ२.२१ ॥

स्मृत्योः िवरोधे न्यायः तु व्यवहारतः बलवान् । अथर्शास्त्रात् तु बलवद ् धमर्शास्त्रम् इित िस्थितः |

Where two smritis conflict, there the principles of equity, as determined by

popular usage, shall prevail. The rule, however, is that the science of law
धमर्शास्त्रम् is stronger than the science of politics अथर्शास्त्रम्. Note that when
two smritis conflict, the king was not given any power or discretion to
make a choice, but he was required to apply the law as approved by custom
and usage by the people themselves.

सवेर्ष्वथर्िववादेषु बलवत्युत्तरािक्रया ।
आधौ प्रितग्रहे क्रीते पूवार् तु बलवत्तरा ॥ यास्मृ२.२३ ॥

सवेर्षु अथर्-िववादेषु उत्तरा-िक्रया बलवती (भवित) । आधौ प्रितग्रहे क्रीते च पूवार् तु बलवत्तरा |

In all civil disputes regarding property, evidence produced in support of a

later transaction preponderates (i.e., gains more importance). In the case
of a pledge (आिधः), a gift and a sale “however” evidence in support of the
prior claim preponderates. For instance, when a man after mortgaging his
field with one and obtains some loan, again mortgages it with another and
obtains another loan, his mortgaged field belongs to the first only and not
to the second.

नृपेणािधकृताः पूगाः श्रेणयोऽथ कुलािन च ।

पूवर्ं पूवर्ं गुरु ज्ञेयं व्यवहारिवधौ नृणाम् ॥ यास्मृ२.३० ॥

नृपेण अिधकृताः पूगाः श्रेणयः अथ कुलािन च | नृणाम् व्यवहार-िवधौ पूवर्ं पूवर्ं गुरु (इित) ज्ञेयम् |

In a matter of legal proceedings between men, officers appointed by the

King, the Pugas, the Srenis, and the Kulas (each of these) proceedings
should be considered to be in the superior order of priority. In descending
order of importance, they are (a) officers appointed by the king (b) ‘pugas’
(assemblies of inhabitants of the same village or town), (c) ‘srenis’
(associations of merchants and craftsmen), and (d) ‘kulas’ (families). The
decision of a Kula or kin group is subject to revision by the Sreni which, in
turn, could be revised by the Puga.

Rnaadanaprakaranam: Recovery of debts


ऋणादानप्रकरण is related to loans. 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

The interest will vary from least to highest increasing in this order –
Brahmana, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Sudhra – वणर्क्रम | Brahmana should give
2%. Kshatriya 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
interest will be 10% due to the insecurity. If the person moves around in
the sea, then the interest increases further to 20%. सवेर् सवार्सु जाितषु ॥ २.३८ ॥
The transactions are to be held as per the agreements irrespective of the
class whether the loan to the person is secure or not. Depending on the
pledged item, the interest will be 8 times for decayable material like the
fluids (oil) and 4, 3 and 2 times for cloth, grains and gold respectively.

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. The son need not repay if the father’s loan was taken for the
purposes of his enjoyment – alcohol consumption, lust or gambling.

Important Points in Rnaadaana

Total 7 points. First 5 relating to the debtor [one who has taken the
money]. Last 2 related to creditor [lender].
Debtor: kind of debt to be paid, kind of debt not to be paid, by
whom to be paid, at what particular time and in what way it is to
be paid. [what, what not, whom, when and how]
Creditor: mode of advancing a loan and mode of recovery.
Interest against pledge 1/80th part of principal for a month.
If moving through forests then 10%; If travelling overseas then 20%
interest because of high risk.
All debtors to pay agreed interest irrespective of the class.
Four kinds of interests are mentioned in Naarada Smruti. Kaalika
[monthly], Kaarita [fixed according to an agreement], Kaayika
[manual labour-slavery] and Chakravrddhi [compound interest]
In case of pledge of female animals, the progeny [santati] is the
interest. The creditor enjoys the milk and labor of the female animal
in that period.
Maximum interest is 8 times in case of fluids, 4 times for cloth, 3
times for grains and 2 times for gold.
5 methods for loan recovery are there according to Manu namely 1.
Moral persuasion [dharma] 2. Suit of law [vyvahara] 3. Deceit [chala]
4. Starvation [Acharitam- sitting in front of debtor’s house in protest]
5. Force [bala]
If the loan was taken for maintaining the family then the head of the
family should repay. In case of his absence [death, etc.,] then other
members should repay.
If the loan was taken for any other purpose then the wife is not liable
to repay.
If the loan was taken by the woman or was agreed by her when her
husband received it, then she is liable to pay.
In case of loan, the guarantee given to the creditor is of 2 kinds.
Pratibhu [surety] and Adhi [pledge].
Praatibhaavyam: law of surety-ship
Surety [pratibhu] is a contract with another person to bring about
3 types, for appearance [darshana], for assurance [pratyaya] and for
payment [daana].
If the surety person dies then his son is liable to pay in case of daana.
When there are 2 or more sureties, the amount will be equally divided
and paid.
If the case wins, in return, the person who gave surety also receives
money or some article from the debtor.
Aadhi : Law of pledges
Pledge is hypothecation to the creditor by the debtor.
There are 2 kinds namely the pledge with time limit [krtakala] and
without time limit [akrtakala].
Each has 2 more kinds – gopya [only custody] and bhogya [use and
Expiry means the entire cessation of the debtor’s right of ownership,
and the ownership of the creditor becoming absolute.
Krtakala pledges will expire at the end of the stipulated period and the
pledged item will become the Creditor’s own. For example, if the
pledge is for one year, if the debtor does not redeem it by making the
necessary payment, the creditor will take the ownership after one
year. This holds good for both Gopya and Bhogya.
Bhogya has no expiry date in the case of akrtakala, (since it has been
already stated that krtakala has a fixed period beyond which it
expires). The creditor can use the pledge as long as the amount is not
paid back. But he cannot claim ownership of the pledge and he would
have to return the pledge whenever the amount is paid.
In case of akrtakala-Gopya, the pledge is kept only for custody and the
creditor is expected to get separate interest from the debtor. Gopya
will expire in the case of akrtakala when the lent amount has doubled.
This means that if the unpaid interest also matches the principal, the
debtor loses the ownership over the pledged item.
If the creditor does not return the property then he is considered as
Pledge is mainly for the interest component. So the debtor can pay the
principal and take back the pledge.
If the pledge has gone beyond time limit and the profit has exceeded
the interest, then the creditor has to pay the excess amount to the
If the interest component is not totally covered, then the debtor has to
pay the remaining amount along with the principal to get back the

[Exam Quotations from ३. ऋणादानप्रकरणम्]

कान्तारगास्तु दशकं सामुद्रा िवंशकं शतम् ।

दद्युवार् स्वकृतां वृिद्धं सवेर् सवार्सु जाितषु ॥ यास्मृ२ .३८ ॥

कान्तारगाः तु दशकं, सामुद्रा िवंशकं शतम् । सवेर् सवार्सु जाितषु स्वकृतां वा वृिद्धं दद्युः |

Persons (usually) travelling through forests should pay ten percent and
those who travel by sea twenty percent. The interest is more as there is a
danger of the loss of the principal also. Or all should pay what they agree –
irrespective of their class – i.e., irrespective of whether the loan will be
secure or unsecured. The transactions are to be held as per the agreement.

संतितस्तु पशुस्त्रीणां रसस्याष्टगुणा परा ।

वस्त्रधान्यिहरण्यानां चतुिस्त्रिद्वगुणा परा ॥ यास्मृ२.३९ ॥

स्त्रीणां तु संतितः पशुः | रसस्य अष्टगुणा परा । वस्त्र-धान्य-िहरण्यानां चतुस्-ित्र-िद्वगुणा परा |

In the case of female animals, the interest is their progeny. In the case of
fluid the utmost limit for interest is eight-fold. The interest of the principal
loan advanced should be four-fold, three-fold, and two-fold in the case of
cloth, grain and gold respectively.

सुराकामद्यूतकृतं दण्डशुल्काविशष्टकम् ।
वृथादानं तथैवेह पुत्रो दद्यान् न पैतृकम् ॥ यास्मृ२.४७ ॥

सुरा-काम-द्यूत-कृतं, दण्ड-शुल्क-अविशष्टकं, वृथादानं तथा एव इह, पैतृकं पुत्रः न दद्यात् |

The son should not pay the paternal debt which was contracted for the
purposes of spirituous liquor, lust or gambling, or which is due as the
balance of an unpaid (i.e., remaining portion of) fine or toll, as also a gift
without any consideration.

प्रितपन्नं िस्त्रया देयं पत्या वा सह यत् कृतम् ।

स्वयंकृतं वा यद ् ऋणं नान्यत् स्त्री दातुम् अहर्ित ॥ यास्मृ२.४९ ॥

यत् पत्या सह कृतं वा, यद ् स्वयंकृतं वा, प्रितपन्नं ऋणं िस्त्रया देयम् | स्त्री अन्यत् दातुं न अहर्ित |

A debt agreed to (प्रितपन्नं) by her, or which was contracted by her jointly

with the husband, or by herself (alone) should be paid by a woman. A
woman is not bound to pay any other debt.

Upanidhiprakaranam: Law of deposits


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 यथािस्थित – 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.

Important Points in Upanidhi

Undisclosed property placed in a container without any description of

quantity and quality and given to a person is called upanidhi.
If the same is described then it is nikshepa.
These shall be returned with the seal intact.
If the deposit has been stolen or taken away by the king before it was
claimed by the owner then the depositary [the person to whom it was
given] is not liable to pay.
If it was stolen after the original depositor asks for it then the
depositary has to pay up.

[Exam Quotations from ४. उपिनिधप्रकरणम्]

वासनस्थम् अनाख्याय हस्तेऽन्यस्य यद ् अप्यर्ते ।
द्रव्यं तद ् औपिनिधकं प्रितदेयं तथैव तत् ॥ यास्मृ२.६५ ॥ <2016>

The property, which is placed in a container and delivered to a person

without being described the particulars as to the quality and quantity of it,
is called a deposit (Upanidhi).

न दाप्योऽपहृतं तं तु राजदैिवकतस्करैः ।
भ्रेषश्चेन्मािगर् तेऽदत्ते दाप्यो दण्डं च तत्समम् ॥ यास्मृ२.६६ ॥

राज-दैिवक-तस्करैः अपहृतं तं तु न दाप्यः । मािगर् ते अदत्ते (सित) भ्रेषः चेत् तत् दाप्यः समम् दण्डं च |

That, however, which has been carried away by (an act of) the King, natural
calamities, or thieves shall not be caused to be restored. When, however,
the loss (भ्रेषः) occurs after demand (मािगर् ते) and non-payment (अदत्ते), the
depositary should be fined and compelled to pay an amount equal (to the

Saakshiprakaranam – Witness

The next prakarana is about Saakshi or witness. यथाजाित यथावणर्ं सवेर् सवेर्षु वा
स्मृताः ॥ यास्मृ२.६९ ॥ The person in the same 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. 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 choose whom to question. उभयानुमतः साक्षी भवत्य् एकोऽिप धमर्िवत् – २.७२
Just one person who is a common witness for both parties is sufficient if
that person adheres to Dharma. Else, there has to be three or five and in
the extreme cases up to 7 witnesses could be there. तपिस्वनो दानशीलाः कुलीनाः
सत्यवािदनः । धमर्प्रधाना ऋजवः पुत्रवन्तो धनािन्वताः ॥ यास्मृ२.६८ ॥ 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 धमर्-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 as 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].

Important Points in Saakshi

Evidences are of 3 kinds Likhitam [documents], bhukti [possession]

and sakshi [witness]
Witness is one who has actually seen or heard the thing.
Witness may be appointed or unappointed [someone may voluntarily
provide witness]
Characteristics of competent witness – tapasvin, daanashila, kulina,
satyavadi, dharmapradhana, putravaan, dhanaanvita.
Generally number should not be less than 3 but with mutual consent
sometimes even one witness is enough.
He must be sworn–in and the effects of giving false witness should be
If a person, having agreed to give witness, fails to do so, then he is
liable for punishment.
If the witness has been proved wrong then the judgment gets
If a person gives false witness or hides the truth after receiving a
bribe, then he is punishable.
[Exam Quotations from ५. सािक्षप्रकरणम्]

<**> त्र्यवराः सािक्षणो ज्ञेयाः श्रौतस्मातर्िक्रयापराः ।

यथाजाित यथावणर्ं सवेर् सवेर्षु वा स्मृताः ॥ यास्मृ२.६९ ॥

यथा-जाित, यथा-वणर्ं (वा), सवेर् सवेर्षु स्मृताः वा श्रौत-स्मातर्-िक्रयापराः ित्र+अवराः सािक्षणः ज्ञेयाः |

It is to be known (ज्ञेयाः) that the competent (अवराः) witnesses (सािक्षणः)

should be three (ित्र) or more in number, and should be devoted to the
performance of Srauta and Smaarta rites (श्रौत-स्मातर्-िक्रयापराः ), each
respectively according to their caste or class (यथा-जाित, यथा-वणर्ं) or all for all
castes and classes (सवेर् सवेर्षु वा ).

सािक्षणः श्रावयेद्वािदप्रितवािदसमीपगान् ।
ये पातककृतां लोका महापातिकनां तथा ॥ यास्मृ२.७३ ॥

वािद-प्रितवािद-समीपगान् सािक्षणः श्रावयेत् – “ये पातककृतां लोकाः महापातिकनां तथा …” |

In the presence of the plaintiff and the defendant, the witnesses should be
affirmed (in the following form). “Those regions which are meant for the
perpetrators of sins and of baser sins, ….. to all these shall he go who gives
false evidence.”

Lekhyaprakaranam – Documents

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 which indicates the first aspects namely 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. िभन्ने दग्धेऽथवा िछन्ने
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].

Important Points in लेख्य

2 kinds shaasana [royal grant] and janapada [executed among

Janapada is of 2 kinds, one written in one’s own handwriting and the
other is written by someone else.
The second category of Janapada written by another person requires
Monetary transaction agreed by mutual consent should be
documented in a contract.
The name of creditor, year, month, fortnight, day, etc, must be
The debtor shall sign at the bottom saying that he has agreed to the
Equal number of witnesses for both creditor and debtor shall witness
If the document is written by the debtor then witness is optional.
Debt repayable only till 3 generations.
Pledge can be enjoyed by the creditor as long as it has not been paid
off [even 4th or 5th gen]
Debtor shall note down all the instalments that have been repaid on
the backside of the contract and it must be signed by the creditor.
At the end of the contract a fresh document may be prepared stating
the expiry of the contract.
The same witnesses should be present at the time of redemption.

[Exam Quotations from ६. लेख्यप्रकरणम्]

िवनािप सािक्षिभलेर्ख्यं स्वहस्तिलिखतं तु यत् ।

तत् प्रमाणं स्मृतं लेख्यं बलोपिधकृताद ् ऋते ॥ यास्मृ२.८९ ॥

सािक्षिभः िवना अिप, बल+उपिधकृताद ् ऋते, यत् लेख्यं तु स्व-हस्त-िलिखतं, तत् लेख्यं प्रमाणं स्मृतम्

A writing, which is in one’s own hand, although it be without witnesses, is

declared to be evidence, except when it is caused by force or fraud.

ऋणं लेख्यकृतं देयं पुरुषैिस्त्रिभरेव तु ।

आिधस्तु भुज्यते तावद ् यावत्तन्न प्रदीयते ॥ यास्मृ२.९० ॥

ित्रिभः पुरुषैः एव लेख्यकृतं ऋणं तु देयम् । यावत् तत् न प्रदीयते तावद ् आिधः तु भुज्यते |

A debt evidenced by writing should be paid by persons in three generations

only. A pledge, however, is enjoyed as long as it is not paid off.

देशान्तरस्थे दुलेर्ख्ये नष्टोन्मृष्टे हृते तथा ।

िभन्ने दग्धेऽथवा िछन्ने लेख्यम् अन्यत् तु कारयेत् ॥ यास्मृ२.९१ ॥

देशान्तरस्थे, दुलेर्ख्ये, नष्टे, उन्मृष्ट,े हृते तथा, िभन्ने, दग्धे, अथवा िछन्ने, अन्यत् लेख्यम् तु कारयेत् |

If a document is in another country देशान्तरस्थे, is badly written दुलेर्ख्य,े or is

lost नष्टे, or effaced उन्मृष्ट,े as also तथा, if it is stolen हृते, if it is torn िभन्ने, burnt
दग्धे, or cut asunder िछन्ने, another document अन्यत् लेख्यम् should be allowed
(by the King) to be made कारयेत् (in its place).

[७. िदव्यप्रकरणम्] (Out of Syllabus)

सचैलं स्नातम् आहूय सूयोर्दयोपोिषतम् ।

कारयेत् सवर्िदव्यािन नृपब्राह्मणसंिनधौ ॥ यास्मृ२.९७ ॥

स्नातं सचैलं सूयोर्दय-उपोिषतं आहूय, सवर्िदव्यािन नृपब्राह्मणसंिनधौ कारयेत् |

All these divyas or ordeals (i.e., the tests that the accused is put through
hoping to get some divine proof) are to be performed in the presence of the
King and the Brahmins, by inviting the person who should have been
fasting since sunrise and he should come bathed with his (wet) clothes on

Reference material

1. याज्ञवल्क्यस्मृितः
2. KSOU material seems to be based on this book — Mitākṣarā-of-

Appendix – Highlights of the different 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: प्रभूित सायन्तं
सायािदप्रातरं 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 (ब्राह्मीमुहूतेर् 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
िवहीनस्य समस्ता: िनष्फला: िक्रया: | 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 धमर्ः
| 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.

2. Narayana Smriti

It is also called Durvaasasmriti. दुवार्शः 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
कतर्व्यम् नरैः नरकभेरुिभः | 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 मत्यर्लोकं िवशिन्त | 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

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 – किलस्तु कलहिप्रयः | 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

(This is important from exam point of view).

3. 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. Paandavas
(Bhima, etc.) 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 other Smritis give instructions on the ways to do parihara. सवर्-
पाप-हरं िदव्यं सवर्-शंशय-नाशनं चतुणार्ं अिप वणार्नां 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.

4. 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. मुिक्त:
नैजसुखानुभूित: अमला भिक्तश्च तत् साधनम् – pure bhakti is the means of attaining
mukti. Only when Draupadi had complete surrender, she got the akshaya

5. 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 वेदमातािस सुत्ररूपेण ितष्ठित | 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.

6. 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. िचरात् 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 collated 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.

7. 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. नरिसंहः क्षस्य देवता | Narasimhan is the god of “Ksha”.

8. 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 gains
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 िवद्या पुष्कलेन धनेन वा ।
9. 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 नायर्स्तु 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.

10. 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.

11. 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 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.

12. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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, स्वधमेर् िनधनं 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.

15. Aangirasa Smriti

Aangirasa is the pravarthaka of Atharva Veda. He is one of the Sapta Rishi

(There are different sets of seven rishis) . 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
द्रव्यशुिद्धः, िक्रयाशुिद्धः and भावशुिद्धः 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.

16. 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).

17. 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 कृष्णापर्णं िनत्यम् | 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 multiplies the offering hundred times and returns it
back. So, in order to avoid the negative impact, Kanva does 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.

18. 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.

19. 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 तदथर्ज्ञ स एव िह । (किपल 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. तदथर्ज्ञ स एव िह – 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, िबन्दु, घोष. He specifies about the
people who qualify to learn Vedas. He talks about अनाध्ययनत्रय. स्त्रीशूद्रब्रह्मबन्दूना
त्रयेन स्मृित 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.
20. Yaknavalkya Smriti

Refer the separate section after this overview of the different Smritis.

21. 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 धमर्ः | 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.
जानािम धमर्ं न च मे प्रवृित्तः | जानािम अधमर्ं न च मे िनवृित्तः | 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. (Side Note: With the present day culture of
shaking hands, this rule will lead to ananta-patnitvaa or having unlimited
wives J ).

22. 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-traya is done, it is called
Atidaana. Even if you are not able to any other daana, this Atidaana has to
be made. त्रीिण आहुः अितदानािन गावः पृथ्वी सरस्वती | The benefit of this daana is
stated as सवर्पाप-तारयिन्त दातारः सवार्त् पापात् असंशयम् | The giver of this daana will
definitely cross over all the sins.

23. 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 कमर्-िवपाका |

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.

24. 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 specialty
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.
नारायणेित मन्त्रोिस्त िजह्वािप वशवितर् नी |
तथापी नरके घोरे पतत्येतत् अहो िविधः ||

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.

25. 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.

26. 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 –
[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 जागरित” – who is awake? and bless
those who are worshipping her that night. He also explains the five types of

27. 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

वेदाभ्यासो िह 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 िचरञ्जीव-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.

28. 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
पुनरावतर्ते | 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 मत्यर्लोकं िवशिन्त
| When gnaana is gained, then Moksha is obtained and there is no coming-

29. Paraasara Smriti

This Smriti has 12 chapters. The greatness of the four yugas has been
mentioned – चतुयुर्ग 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 कलुषिचत्तानां – In
the kali yuga, the people have impure thinking.

30. 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.

31. 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 यितः पूज्यो भिवष्यित | 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.

32. 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 िचन्तयेऽनन्तं अन्त्यकाले िवशेषतः | 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.

33. 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.

34. 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.

35. 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

36. Manu Smriti

The most important of all the Smritis is Manu Smriti and the next one is
Yagnavalkya Smriti. वेदाथोर्पिनबन्धृत्वात् प्राधान्यं िह 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.