The article Yajnavalkya Smriti | Vyavahara Law | 103 is a continuation from the article Yajnavalkya Smriti | Vyavahara Law | 102. Readers are advised to read the previous article before proceeding further.

Balakrida of Visvarupa:

This commentary was first published in two parts in 1921-22 by Mahamahopadhyaya T. Ganapati Sastri in Trivandrum Sanskrit Series. Further it is published in a single Volume from Munshiram Manoharlal in 1982. Scholars like T. Ganapathi Sastri and K. A. Nilakandha Sastri hold the view that Visvarupa, the author of Balakrida and Suresvara, the disciple of Sri Sankara were one and identical. After a detailed discussion on this matter, P.V. Kane says that Visvarupa was the name of Suresvara in his life before becoming a Sanyasin and his date can be assigned between 800 – 825 AD. Taking into consideration his remarks on Vaisvadeva ceremony Kane remarks that this author can be considered as an inhabitant of Malava, the present Malwa. In the introduction of his famous commentary Mitaksara Vijiianesvara refers to Visvarupa’s commentary as a voluminous expansion of the verses of Yajnavalkya:

Yajnavalkya - MathomathisThis is true in the case of the Acara and Prayascitta sections. But as regards the Vyavahara section, the commentary is extremely feeble in form. The simplicity of style and the multitude of works and authors cited in it make the work much noteworthy. Quotations from Vedic texts like Samhitas, Brahmanas and Upanishads, various Smrti works and Arthasastra texts prove the versatile scholarship of the author. He refers to more than 30 Smrtikaras and frequently quotes passages from Manu, Vasistha and Narada. He has also referred to the Artha-Shastras of Brihaspati and Visalaksa but Kautilya is not at all mentioned anywhere. P.V.Kane says that though he was a past-master in Purvamimamsa lore, his philosophical views seems to have been identical with those of Sankara T. Ganapti Sastri is of opinion that five commentaries of Balakrida existed and certain fragmentary portions of two of them are available now. The first one, which does not mention  its author’s name, is known as Vacanamala. The second one, which comprises only the introductory portion in 5500 verses, mentions neither its name nor that of its author. Vacanamala refers to other three commentaries named as Vibhavana, Tika  and Amrtasyandini:


YajnavalkyaThe emergence of these five commentaries on Balakrada is a clear evidence to the fact that the same was regarded with great importance by later scholars.

Yajnavalkiya Dharmashastra Nibhandhana of Apararka

This has been published in two volumes from Anandasrama press, Pune in 1903 and 1904 No. 45 and 46. In the colophons of his commentary, Apararka introduces himself as a Silahara king born in the family of Jimutavahana, the legendary hero of Nagananda:

There were the feudatories called Silaharas in Konkan region in South India and according to K.A. Nilakandha Sastri, this Apararka or Aparaditya-1 might have flourished during the first half of 12 century A.D. Apararka has also authored a commentary on Nyayasara of Bhasarvajna.

Apararka’s Dhannasastranibandha, as the name implies is an independent digest rather than a commentary. It is enriched with frequent quotations from various Dharmasutras, Grihya Sutras and metrical Smritis. He has quoted passages from ten Dharmasutras and has mentioned twelve Smrtikaras with the prefix ‘Vrddha’. Quotations from Smrti works Like Laghu-Yama, Laghu-Vishnu, Brahat-Yama and Brahat-Vishnu are seen constantly in this text. Long extracts extending to hundreds of verses from a number of Puranas, about 22 seem to be a peculiar feature of this commentary. Thus the abundance of quotations makes this work in mere extent nearly double to Mitaksara. Another notable peculiarity of this work is that the author has not at all mentioned the name of any of the Nibandhakaras who were earlier to him. It is also to be noted here that though the work was produced in the Konkan region in South India, it has got acceptance of high authority in Kashmir. The Srikanthacarita of Mahkha states that Aparaditya sent a veteran judicial scholar named Tejakantha from South to attend a conference at Kashmir which was conducted by the king Jayasirnha and this may be the reason for the popularity of the text of Apararka in kashmir. This work has got recognition in Banaras sub-division. Visvesvarabhatta, the author of Subodhini commentary to Mitaksara, has relied upon this work as supreme authority. Certain views which are generally associated with Jimutavahana, the founder of Dayabhaga system, were propounded by Apararka also.

Dipakalika of Sulapani

Sulapani is one of the foremost among the Nibandhakaras of Bengal and was regarded as an eminent jurist, next only to Jimutavahana. He was a Brahmin from Vanga territory. P.V.Kane assigns him between A.D.I375 and 1460. Raghunandana, the author of Dayatattva always refers to Sulapani as Upadhyaya or Mahamahopadhyaya. His commentary on YS is known for its brevity and good style. This work is taken as an authority, especially in respect of matters on which other works are silent. Several important works like Viramitrodaya and Astavimsatitattva refer to this work as an authority. This commentary is published by Mr. Ghorpure in 1939 in his series of Hindu Law Texts. Apart from this, Sulapani has written so many independent treatises also. Fourteen of them are designed as ending Viveka among which PrayasciCtaviveka, Sraddhaviveka, Smrtiviveka and Dattakaviveka are important.

Viramitrodayavyakhya of Mitramisra

Mitramisra seems to be the last among the outstanding and authoritative commentators on Hindu law. He has written a vast digest called Viramitrodaya with 22 Prakasas embracing all branches of Dharmasastra. His commentary on YS is known as Viramitrodayavyakhya or Yajiiavalkyasmrtitika. Some scholars assign him to the earliest part of 17^ century A.D. But there is a reference made by Mitramisra himself about his date in his another work, Anandacampu, which is as follows:

Here, according to the Bhutasankhya calculation, the word and so the above passage shows that Mitramisra composed his Campu work in the Saka year 1690 which corresponds to 1768 of Christian era. So he can be assigned in the middle of 18th century A.D. This commentary is accepted as an authority in all parts of India especially in the area governed by the Banares subdivision. Ample quotations from several Puranas and Smrti works make this commentary a unique one. It is to be noted that the commentary was actually written by a Sadananda at the direction of Mitramisra, which is hinted in the following verse:

However, the merit of this work stands unquestionable as it supplements many gaps and omissions in the earlier commentaries. It also illustrates and elucidates with logical preciseness the meaning of several prescriptions that have been left doubtful by Mitaksara.

Mitaksara of Vijnanesvara

The most celebrated and outstanding commentary of YS is Mitaksara of Vijnanesvara. The full name of the work is Rjumitaksara or the one that is easy and concise. But the name Mitaksara has become well known now. The commentator himself has referred to it as Rjumitaksara. P.V.Kane says that in the colophons of some Manuscripts the name Pramitaksara is also seen Vijiianesvara adorned the court of Vikramaditya VI of Calukya dynasty who gloriously ruled Kalyana in Kamataka from 1076-1126. According to the personal account given by him in the introductory verses of the commentary, he was a Parivrajaka (ascetic). His father was Padmanabhabhatta and his teacher was Uttama:


Mitaksara was accepted as the paramount authority on Hindu law through out India except the province of Bengal where the Dayabhaga system propounded by Jimutavahana was accepted. Under the decisions of the courts of the British India in several matters such as adoption, inheritance, partition etc. Mitaksara was taken as authority and it still forms the basis for the personal law of Hindus. It is to be mentioned here that the prestige and authority of YS have been greatly advanced by this celebrated commentary. Regarding the importance and relevance of this treatise, M. Rama Jois rightly comments: “The commentary has stood at the test of time, having been accepted as of paramount authority through this vast country and during all these centuries. Even at present, in respect of matters not altered by legislation, it continues to be the personal law applicable to the majority of Hindus and enforceable and is being enforced in the courts of law, as it constitutes the existing law saved by Article 372 of the constitution

Style of Interpretation of Vijnanesvara

The style of the commentary is simple and lucid and each word has been explained in detail. While commending each verse of Yajnavalkya, the author quotes several other Smriti passages pointing out their contradictions and finally, using the methods of interpretation of Mimamsa system, effects a synthesis of apparently unconnected Smrti rules. P.V.Kane gives a list of the name of 88 Smrtikaras quoted in Mts. Many of them are given the prefix ‘Brhat’ or ‘Vrddha’. Thus Vijiianesvara has made his work a repository and a synthesis of varied Smrti texts. It has gained the status and importance of a law digest than a mere commentary. As regards Puranas, it seems that the author considers them as the lowest authority on matters of Dharma and so he has mentioned only five such as Brahmandapurana, Bhavisyapurana, Matsyapurana, Visnupurana and Skandapurana.

Mimamsa as a Tool of Interpretation

The close relation of Mimamsa and Ancient Indian law is very clear from the Sutra texts themselves. Baudhayana states that among the ten members of legal assembly one must be an exegete (Vikalpi), which means a Mimamsa Scholar:


(Four men each proficient in one of the four Vedas, one exegete, one man who knows the Vedic supplements, one legal scholar, and three learned Brahmins belonging to three different orders of life – these constitute a legal assembly with a minimum often members) Manu also attests this view saying:


Commenting this verse Sarvajnanarayana, says that here the word ‘Tarki’ indicates one who is proficient in Mimamsa. In the beginning of his commentary on MS, Kulluka also points out the importance of Mimamsa in interpreting the Smrti passages:Yajnavalkya-MathomathisYajnavalkya-Mathomathis

Though the Mimamsa system was originated with a purpose of interpreting the Vedic provisions, later they occupied an important position in interpreting the passages of Smrtis also. Modem scholars in jurisprudence, Western as well as Indian, stress the importance of Mimamsa in the interpretation of Smrti law. In this regard Mr. Colebrooke observes: “A case is proposed either specified in Jaimini’s text or supplied by his scholiast. Upon this a doubt or question is raised. And a solution of it is suggested, which is refuted, and a right conclusion established in its stead. The disquisitions of the Mimarnsa bear, therefore, a certain resemblance to judicial questions; and in fact, the Hindu law being blended with religion of the people, the same modes of reasoning are applicable, and are applied to the one as to the other. The logic of the Mimarnsa is the logic of the law — the rule of ‘in interpretation of civil and religious ordinances”. A.B. Keith also states that all the devices necessary for interpreting and reconciling the conflicting views of Smrti passages have existed in Mimarnsa. So, according to the Smrtikaras, it was not desirable to develop a distinct science of legal interpretation.

Purvamimamsasutra by Jaimini, its commentary by Sabarasvami and Tantravarttika by Kumarilabhatta constitute the valuable source of rules of interpretation of laws. As a profound scholar in all these works, Sutras and maxims from Mimamsa are seen discussed through out Mts for clarifying and expounding several complicated provisions of law. For example while commenting up on the verse 81 of Acaradhyaya, Vijfianesvara enters into a discussion regarding Niyamavidhi, Parisahankhyavidhi, and Apurvavidhi:


Here the explanation is according to the Tantravartika verse which is as follows:


According to Mimamsa philosophy, Vidhis are also divided into Purusartha (for the person) and Kratvartha (for the rite). Purusartha is what a man ordinarily undertakes for securing the reward of happiness, while Kratvartha is that which helps in the accomplishment of Purusartha and does not itself directly yield any reward to the performer. The principal sacrifices like Darsapurnamasa are included under Purusartha while the acts that have the purpose of accomplishing the principal rites itself come under Kratvartha. In the introduction of Dayavibhagaprakarana, Vijiianesvara uses this maxim to clarify the meaning of: Stvatva


The Mimamsakas hold that the particle’ employed in a sentence may indicate a Pratisedha (prohibition) or a Paryudasa (exception) or an Arthavada. Such discussions are also seen in Mts frequently.