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Vyasa Smriti In Hindu Religion – Code Of Law Attributed To Vyasa

In Hindu religion, Vyasa Smriti is the code of law attributed to Vyasa. Vyasa smriti limits itself to prescribing rules for the life and conduct of the brahmacharin (vedic student) and the grihasta (householder). Its two hundred and fifty verses are set out in four well-defined chapters, and they deal with –

  1. The life and the duties of a studemt
  2. Marriage
  3. Daily routine of a house holder
  4. Values of the householder’s life.

Here and there one comes across some verses from the epic, Mahabharata.

In Chapter I, after specifying the four classes of society, Vyasa Smriti expatiates on the ideal student. Chapter II defines marriage of girls and expatiates on the character and conduct of an ideal wife. Notice is drawn also to shrewish women who make life hell.

Chapter III of Vyasa Smriti sets out the daily routine of an orthodox Brahmin, step by step, from morning to night. The last, Chapter IV, holds out the householder’s career as the best part of one’s life, and it is declared that a householder who leads a generous life is the best of men. This chapter deals also with the greatness of gifts, control of the senses, reverence to the elders, and dispensation of wealth. It would seem that every verse in Vyasa Smriti is of instructive and educative value.

Numerous verses ascribed to Vyasa, but not available in the current Vyasa Smriti are found quoted in Dharmashastra commentaries and digests. Some are quoted with reference to Laghu Vyasa Smriti and Mahavyasa Smriti. These verse pertain to different topics of Dharmashastra, like the vyavahara (judicial process), dana (gifts), prayaschitta (expiation), rajadharma (polity) and rituals, which are not treated in the current Vyasa Smriti. It is surmised that there was an extensive Smriti work written by Vyasa, of which the current text is only a limited redaction.