(vijnAnEshvara) (ವಿಜ್ಞಾನೇಶ್ವರ) was a great scholar who adorned the royal court of
Vikramaditya-6, a monarch belonging to the Kalyani Chalukya dynasty. He lived
during the later part of the 11th century and early part of the 12th
century. He was born in a village called martUru (ಮರ್ತೂರು) near Gulbarga. He was a keen student of pUrvamImAmsA. He is famous
for his work ‘Mitakshara’ (mitAksharA) (ಮಿತಾಕ್ಷರಾ) which is purportedly a commentary on ‘Yajnavalkya
ಸ್ಮೃತಿ) However, it is much more
than that. It is a huge compendium that puts together material that was
accumulated over centuries in a systematic manner. It runs to closely printed
492 pages. He tries to interpret and criticize earlier commentators of the
Smriti. This work is not confined to Yajnavalkya smriti alone. It takes all
other smritis and related texts in to consideration. ‘Mitakshara’ serves as an
informative and interpretive text on all aspects of Hindu law even to this day.
It is consulted on various aspects of Hindu Jurisprudence such as property
rights, adoption and distribution of permanent assets by experts. A salient feature of ‘mitakshara’ is the principle of division of
ancestral property held by the ‘Hindu joint family’. Partition of such
landholding among offsprings is possible, even when the father is still alive,
unlike the dAyAbhAga system which forbids such partition.
‘Mitakshara’ was translated in to
English as early as 1810 A.D. by Henry Thomas Colebrooke, because the British
authorities wanted a law text which would be accepted all over the country.
Mitakshara was accepted in the entire country except Bengal and Assam
which favoured ‘dAyaBAga’ by jImUtavAhana.
Further readings and Links:
The Importance of
Mitakshara in the 21st century by Justice Markandey Katju
‘A spot light on Mitakshara School’ By
R.K. Mishra, 2002, Law House.
‘VIJNANESHVARA AND CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY’ by DRS
Gururajachar, 1983, the Chālukyas of Kalyāṇa:
Seminar Papers, 1983 - Mythic Society, Bangalore.
Home / Knowledge Bases