Showing posts with label Shrutis. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Shrutis. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Are The Yajnavalkya?

 

Yajnavalkya or "remembered" writings, a genre of literature that is significant but not as authoritative as the shrutis, or "heard" scriptures.

This smrti is attributed to the sage Yajnavalkya and is an example of a Dharma Shastra, which were texts that prescribed principles for proper human conduct and ideal social life.

Unlike the Dharma Sutras, which are attributed to identifiable individuals, the Dharma Shastras are usually attributed to mythic sages in order to strengthen the authority of these texts.

There are around a thousand verses in the existing text, split into parts on religious custom (achara), justice administration (vyavahara), and expiation (prayashchitta).

The Yajnavalkya Smrti was the subject of numerous commentaries, one of which, the Mitakshara, was given the status of a legal code for the greater part of India during the British empire.

Estimates on its date of composition range from the first to the sixth century, but it is clearly later than the Manu Smrti because some parts of the middle section are far more developed.


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Hinduism - What Is Manu Smrti?

 

("Manu's Laws") One of the smrtis, or "remembered" texts, a subset of shrutis, or "heard" scriptures, that is considered significant but not authoritative.

This smrti is attributed to the sage Manu and is an example of one of the Dharma Shastras, which are texts that prescribe principles for proper human conduct and ideal societal behavior.

The Dharma Shastras are often attributed to mythological sages, bolstering their authority.

Manu's treatise is by far the most important of the Dharma Shastras, and it is thought to have been written just before the Common Era began.

Manu's book clearly distinguishes the Dharma Sutras from the Dharma Shastras, since it is clearly designed as a model for a whole society rather than a collection of rules for a specific brah min sect.

The first chapter describes the formation of the world and the social order that resulted; the chapter concludes by summarizing the remainder of the volume's contents.

The following five chapters use material from the Dharma Sutras to discuss the four primary social groupings (varnas) and the four phases of life (ashramas).

In chapters seven through nine, Manu's topics dramatically deviate from earlier sources.

The responsibilities of a king are defined in Chapter 7.

Chapters eight and nine deal with a variety of legal issues that may be brought before the monarch for decision.

Manu tries to categorize everything into eighteen categories.

These chapters cover a wide range of criminal and civil law, from assault and theft to contract law and marriage obligations, putting forth a legal foundation for society's stable government.

The subsequent chapters are a little less unique.

The tenth chapter examines the many occupations that members of various varnas might engage in during times of suffering (apaddharma), when conventional social norms are no longer applicable.

The eleventh chapter discusses donations to brahmins and expiation ceremonies (prayashchitta), as well as being true to the Dharma Sutras.

The last chapter of Manu's book is more abstract and theoretical, focused on the workings of karma and discussing the effects of different good and wicked deeds.

Wendy Doniger O'Flaherty and Brian K. Smith, The Laws of Manu, 1991, are two translations of the text.


You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.