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Yaagyavalkya and His Smriti
Yaagyavalkya was hailed by several texts and great seers (Skand Puraan, Vishun Puraan, Mahaabhaarat, Bhaagvat Puraan, Poorv Meemansaa, Brahmaand Puraan, Bhavishya Puraan, Aaditya Puraan, Aitareya Braahman, Devee Bhaagvat..... ... as an Yogeeshwar as well as a Brahm Gyaanee.

He is one step above Ved Vyaas Jee for : the statements of Yaagyavalkya recorded in Ved were clarified by Vyaas Jee himself later to the period of Yaagyavalkya. Shatapath Braahman gives many dialogs in King Janak's court where Yaagyavalkya was the chief in presiding the Dharm Shaastra conference. These Dharm Shaastra from Yaagyavalkya play an important role even in today's Hindu Dharm system - Yaagyavalkya Smriti is the source or basis for today's many a Hindu law, Administration laws, Management Laws... Many of these were accepted long back by the British Privy Council (equal to Supreme court) also.

Exponent of Metaphysics, in Yog is no less than Patanjali Muni's Yog in comparison, and to top it all, Yaagyavalkya got the 15 Yajur Ved Shaakhaa, called Shukla Yajur Ved, 15 of these Shaakhaa were kept secret by the Tri-Moorti well protected by the Sun God and never reveled to anybody. He was initiated by Sun God and studied Shukla Yajur Ved through the help of Goddess Gaayatree and Saraswatee.

Born to Sunandaa and Brahmdatt Braahman parents after Brahmdatt, did penance at (now) Kedaar Naath, when Vishnu promised him a child of His Ansh. The child did not get out of the womb for five years for the fear of getting enveloped by Maayaa. He came out only after Lord Vishnu's had promised him that Maayaa will have no effect on him, initiated in Ved and Shaastra, then only Yaagyavalkya came out of the womb. In the month of Kaarttik, Sadya Star the Shukla Paksh Dwaadashee is mentioned in Panchaang even today as " Yogeeshwar Dwaadashee". Yaagyavalkya's Upanayan Sanskaar was done by Brihaspati himself. Then he was sent to Muni Bhaaskal's Aashram for studying. Yaagyavalkya Jee learnt Rig Ved from Bhaaskal, Saam Ved from Jaimini, from Aaruni Atharvaa and from his maternal uncle Vaishampaayan Jee. After initial studies, Yaagyavalkya Jee undertook higher studies in Ved under Sage Ved Vyaas Jee himself. Out of 101 Yajur Ved Shaakhaa only 86 were in existence at that point of time and out of those 86 Shaakhaa, 59 Shaakhaa were taught by Vyaas Jee and the remaining 27 Shaakhaa were taught by his uncle Vaishampaayan Jee.

Yaagyavalkya and King Supriya
The story of Yaagyavalkya and Supriya goes like this : there were some differences cropping up in conducting rituals between Yaagyavalkya and Vaishampaayan Jee mainly because of Yaagyavalkya was highly learned and technically perfectionist and lived a life of purity. Once the then king of solar dynasty Supriya, because of overindulging in "entertainment" (to call mildly), contracted diseases. Vaishampaayan Jee did some Yagya for him but it could not ward off these diseases and Yaagyavalkya Jee was against conducting these rituals for men of misconduct and going against Dharm. When the King witnessed the power of Yaagyavalkya. He requested Vaishampaayan Jee to make Yaagyavalkya agree to conduct a Yagya to free him from his diseases. Yaagyavalkya Jee refused to do that and walked out the Aashram. Vaishampaayan Jee, though was his uncle envied Yaagyavalkya's knowledge and spiritual powers. Vaishampaayan Jee asked Yaagyavalkya to give back the 27 Shaakhaa of Yajur Ved he taught to him, which Yaagyavalkya with his powers converted into fire balls and vomited before quitting the Aashram.

Ved Vyaas Jee who incidentally made a trip to Vaishampaayan's Aashram selected 8 disciples of Vaishampaayan Jee, converted them into birds called Tittiree, capable of eating fire balls. These birds ate those fireballs. Later these birds were turned back to human beings by sage Vyaas himself and they taught these 27 Shaakhaa, called Taittireeya Shaakhaa, to the future generations. These 27 Shaakhaa have no Poorvaangam or Uttaraangam and Yaagyavalkya Jee kept 15 Shaakhaa under safe custody of the Sun god to be brought down to this Earth for the benefit of Humanity.

The story details how Yaagyavalkya did penance on Gaayatree, Saraswatee, and the Sun god, and how he accepted the terms of Sun god to teach him Ved by securing horses from the mid ocean (upon suggestion from the Sun god himself) which can cope up with Sun's speed (since Sun cannot stop to teach Yaagyavalkya) and learnt Ved of 15 Shaakhaa which are called Shukla Yajur Ved which was not reveled to the world till such time. Yaagyavalkya Jee later retired to the forest and merged into Param Brahm.

This is the story, in brief, of sage Yaagyavalkya Jee and such is the marvelous fete of this sage born as an Ansh of Lord Vishnu. Perhaps it was the destiny and game of the Lord Himself to enact all these incidents to finally bring out Shukla Yajur Ved to mankind.

King Janak like king was his disciple. He requested Yaagyavalkya Jee to be his Guru and everyone knows that King Janak himself has been known as a Raajarshi and a Brahm Gyaanee. No amount of space is enough to enumerate the greatness of Yaagyavalkya.

Yaagyavalkya and Raajaa Janak
See also   Janak and Yaagyavalkya

This story comes in Brihadaaranyak Upanishad. Yaagyavalkya, though a great Brahm Gyaanee, was a great Karmakaandee too. He caused many Yagya to be performed and he himself became the Aachaarya of those great Yagya. He was a celebrated Shrotreeya and a Brahma-nishth Guru.

Once King Janak of Videh wanted to know from which real Brahma-nishtha to receive Brahma Vidyaa. In order to find out who was the real Brahma-nishth, Janak performed a huge Bahu-dakshinaa sacrifice to which all the Rishi from far and wide were invited. He offered 10,000 cows with all their horns being decked with enormous gold. Then he proclaimed to the assembled ones - "Whosoever is the best Braahman amongst you may drive these cows home". None dared to get up and take away the cows as they were afraid of censure by the others.

But Yaagyavalkya stood up and asked his disciple Somshravaa to drive the cows home. The other Braahman got angry at this and said to one another, "How can he declare himself to be the best Braahman among us?". Thereupon several Rishi challenged Yaagyavalkya with many questions on transcendental matters to all of which Yaagyavalkya gave prompt reply. There was a great debate in which Yaagyavalkya won over all the others. Janak was convinced that Yaagyavalkya was the best Brahma-nishth and received Brahm Vidyaa from him thereafter.

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Created by Sushma Gupta on 5/27/03
Updated on 03/07/14