yagnavalkya “ಯಾಜ್ಞವಲ್ಕ್ಯರು”

Kartika Shudda Shasti

Who is Yajnavalkya?

He is the Son of Sunanda and Devavratha, a Brahman in Chamtkapuram in Kurpanchala Kingdom..

He is the nephew of Vaishampayana (Vaishampayana Mahamuni’s sister’s son) .

He was born on Karthika Shudda Dashami.

He gave us Shukla Yajurveda

Yagnavalkya’s studies :

He got Aksharabhyasa under the pourohithya of Bruhaspatyacharyaru at the age of 5 and got his upanayanam @ the age of 7 years also with the pourohithya of Bruhaspathi.  He went to Bashkala for Gurukula soon after his upanayanam.

Yagnavalkya learnt different Vedas from different Rushees, i.e., rigveda from Bashkala, Samaveda from Jaimini and Atharvanaveda from Aaruni. Then he went to Gurukula of Vaishampayana Maharshi to learn Yajurveda. He learnt his higher studies under Vaishampayana Maharshi, who was his uncle also.   He studied Taittireeya Samhita from Vaishampayanaru.   Vaishampayana taught him Yajurveda as per the instruction of Sri Vedavyasaru, his guru. (Vaishampayana’s gurugalu is none other than Bhagavan Vedavyasaru).

Vaisampayana found Yagnavalkya learning and grasping the entire Yajurveda faster and more rapidly than all his other disciples. He felt very happy with his nephew’s speedy progress that he completed his entire adhyayana of the Yajurveda in double quick time.

More knowledge by shishya developed Prejudice with the Guru :

Yagnavalkya, because of his proficiency in Yagnas, began to assist Vaisampayanaru in the conduct of yagnas and this made him a master of the practical applications of Yajurveda in the performance of sacrifices. Vaisampayana felt proud of his nephew for his masterly scholarship and profound knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras and his methodical in the carrying out yagnas. But on certain occasion, minor differences in practice and procedure relating to the execution of yagnas arose between the guru-sishya. Whenever Vaisampayana questioned Yagnavalkya about them, Yagnavalkya quoted references  from the Vedic authorities to justify his point of view.

Gradually admiration on the shishya turned out to personal prejudices on Yagnavalkya. This slowly led to a certain amount of serious differences between Vaisampayana and Yagnavalkya on several occasions, which resulted in a good deal of divergence in the procedural practices in the performance of yagnas leading to a conflict of views between the guru and sishya.

Yagnavalkya’s marriage :

Yajnavalkya married two wives. One was Katyayani, daughter of Kata Rushi Maitreyi, the daughter of Mitra, a sage in Mithila Nagar.   Maitreyi was very much interested in gaining the knowledge of Vedas, Upanishads and Shastras.  And the other. Of the two, Maitreyi was a Brahmavadini

Children – Chandrakanta, Mahamegha and Vijaya from Katyayani.

His works –  Yagnavalkya Smruthi, Yagnavalkya Shakaa,  Pratijna Sutra, and Yoga.  He is the creater of new Yagna procedure.

Atharvana Veda Siddhi of Yagnavalkya –

Once there lived a king called Supriya from Suryavamsha, whon was ruling Vardhamanapura.   The king was leading luxurious life and was enjoying the pleasure of many ladies.    Once the king fell with Leprosy after having developed intimacy with a dancer.    Inspite of many best medicines, it was not cured and day by day it was developing.  The King sent for Vaishampayanaru to do some homa for the cure of the disease.

Vaishampayanaru arraged daily homa at the palance and it was running for days, weeks together.  Then the king asked Vaishampayanaru to continue the homa at his ashrama itself and send the prasada daily.  Vaishampayanaru used to send the Prasad daily through one of his shishyas.  Even after one year it was not cured.  Vaishampayanaru as he had some reservations did not ask Yagnavalkya to go the Palace.  He knew that Yagnavalkya was an expert in Athervana Veda and would help in curing.  But his prejudices forced him not to ask his assistance.  Finally one day after one year of his Homa, he asked Yagnavalkya to take the Prasad to the King.

Yagnavalkya performed the Homa strictly in his own rigorous and efficient manner, chanting the Atharvana  Veda mantras imparted to him by Veda Vyasa and Aruni Maharishi, with devotion observing the due rites in accordance with the Shastras. Yagnavalkya proceeded forthwith to the palace taking the prasada of mantrakshata and holy water to be offered to the king. He used to put on fine clothes mostly presents given to him in recognition of his knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras, which made him, appear not so religious. On this account many mistook him to be an arrogant young man and looked at him with envy and jealousy.

By this time, the king had lost his hope on the Yagna and avoided Yagnavalkya’s entry to the palace and did not take the prasada.  Yagnavalkya told the King that he will ask three times to take the prasada, if he is not accepting the prasad, that he would leave.  The King said that he would not accept any prasada from a vidyarthi who was wearing clothes in violation of common codes of apparel.  The king then challenged Yagnavalkya to prove the efficacy of the prasada on a dry log of wooden pillars in the horse stable.

Yagnavalkya pitied the king and to prove the potency of the prasada and establish that he was far different from the other pupils, observed the japa of the mantra  and reciting the mantra he sprinkled the sacred manthraksha and holy water on the stable pillars and hurried back to the ashram.

Vomition of the learnt vidya by Yagnavalkya

As soon as the manthraksha and theertha sprinkled by Yagnavalkya fell on the dry and moth eaten pillars of the stable, they began to spring back to life, transforming themselves into graceful trees, flagrant flowers and ripe fruits, presenting an inviting and pleasing sight. The king and ladies in the palace were wonder struck in witnessing the miracle and the king repented his foolish and impulsive behaviour in refusing to accept the prasada from Yagnavalkya and regretted for losing a divine opportunity of having his disease cured in a trice.

The King then sent his servants to bring back Yagnavalkya, who refused.  Then Vaishampayana interfered and asked Yagnavalkya to help the King.  Yagnavalkya again refused.  Then Vaishampayanaru got angry and told Yagnavalkya to leave the ashrama immediately.  He also told Yagnavalkya to unlearn every bit of Yajurveda which he had studied from Vaishampayana by vomiting the entire Yajurveda.  Yagnavalkya, by his yogic powers, gave a shape and form to the Yajurveda taught by Vaisampayana, gathered it together and spewed it on to the ground. Huge tongues of flames of smouldering fire leapt from the emitted Vedas and began to blaze the entire place in frightening fury, as the fire of Yajurveda mantras, shining bright and brilliant, would spread and envelop the entire world.


By that time Sri Vedavyasaru came there from his Theertha Yatra, on the request from Vaishampayanaru to help, Vedavyasa Devaru sprinkled Theertha from his kamandala on some of the sishyas of Vaisampayana, namely, Apasthamba, Bodayana, Oukya, Kandiya, Kada, Dupuka, Sathyashada, Hirenyakesa etc., who happen to be present there and transformed them to the form of tittri birds i.e. ostriches and instructed to lap up the flames of the Yajurveda. It is said that because of this incidence this branch of
Vedic knowledge has come to be known as “Taittreeya.”

Yagnavalkya vomited only the Yajur Veda taught by Vaisampayana and that he retained the other Vedas, the Rig, Sama and Atharva Vedas which he had earlier learnt from different gurus.

King Supriya’s refusal to take the Prasad led to Shukla Yajurveda and Taittreeyam.   This served as the means for the subsequent revelation and exposition of the Shukla Yajur Veda through Yagnavalkya.  But for the behaviour of king Supriya, Yagnavalkya’s refusal to cure the king and the indignation of Rishi Vaishampayana mankind would not have had the benefits of the treasures of Shukla Yajur Veda.

Shukla Yajur Veda was revealed to the sage Sri Yogeeswara directly by Lord Surya.

Updated: November 7, 2010 — 7:00 pm

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