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Angirasa Smriti In Hindu Religion

In Hindu religion, Angirasa Smriti is a treatise on code of conduct by Sage Angirasa. Angirasa is one of the ancient sages mentioned in Manusmriti (I.34-35). His Smriti is in two parts: Purvangirasa and Uttarangirasa. Purvaangirasa mainly deals with shraddha (ancestral ceremonies), whereas Uttarangirasa is on prayaschitta (expiation), Besides these two principal subjects Angirasa gives a lot of information about smarta rites as subsitutes to Vedic and Shrauta rites. He specifically states that the Vedic mantras should be used only for Vedic rites but mantras mentioned in Puranas may be used for non-Vedic rites. Wherever mantras are not available in either, the use of vyahritis (bhu, bhuvah, svah, mahas, jana, tapas, satya) is enjoined. Among the mantras the first place is to be given to the vyahrtis.

Normally, ‘impurity’ (action prohibited due to birth or death) befalling persons engaged in a shraddha (offering to the manes) or ties at the death of a person can impede the performance of the rites commenced. But, according to Angirasa, if cooking has been started for Shraddha, that alone acts as the determining factor (shraddha pakapacikriya) for the performance of the sraddha. There is no impurity till the sraddha is over.

In the matter of sandhya (prayer at dawn and dusk) too, Angirasa’s views are important. ‘Impurity’ resulting from birth does not mean untouchability; but in the case of death it has to be observed. The performance of sandhya under impurity is to be done mentally. Even normal food is prohibited in certain cases.

According to Angirasa, wives are classified as dharmapatni, bhogini, kanchana, bharmana and vavata. The son of the dharmapatni is the fit person to perform shraddha. In case of prayascitta, Angirasa gives more importance to the parishad (council of savants) than to the Smriti texts. Whatever is to be followed from the Smritis has to be pronounced by the parishad. Basically, Angirasa is influenced by Puranas. He tries to adjust Puranic elements to Smritis. Angirasa is considered an expounder of pauranika smartadharma.