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The Vacanamála, a sub-commentary on Viśvarupa's commentary Balakridä on the Yajnavalkya Dharmasastra, is a late medieval text originating probably in Kerala and edited here for the first time. The author does not reveal his name, at least in the extant portion of the commentary. He demonstrates an encyclopedic knowledge of vast domains of learning, including grammar, lexicography, and, especially, Dharmasastra. His familiarity with the medieval commentaries and legal digests is impressive. The three prominent Dharmaśästric scholars he cites most often are Vijñānesvara. Devana Bhatta, and Varadaraja. Some of these citations have significant textual differences from the printed editions of the works of these authors. Viśvarupa's is the earliest and the most important commentary on Yajnavalkya, and the Vacanamala is an important medieval voice that helps us understand and interpret Viśvarupa's often difficult language and expression.

Tyagaraja simultaneously lived a life of music and spirituality.His work was no mere social campaign; it was a fundamental spiritual awakening. These additional songs, together with their annotations, are intended to augment that basic premise.


About the Author

PATRICK OLIVELLE is Professor Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin and a past President of the American Oriental Society. His award-winning books include Yajnavalkya: A Treatise on Dharma; A Dharma Reader: Classical Indian Law; A Sanskrit Dictionary of Law and Statecraft; King, Governance, and Law in Ancient India: Kautilya's Arthaśāstra; Visnu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Vaisnava-Dharmasastra; Life of the Buddha: Buddhacarita by Aśvaghosa; Manu's Code of Law: A Critical Edition and Translation of the Mänava-Dharmasastra, as well as edited volumes: Grhastha: Householder in Ancient Indian Religious Culture and (with Donald Davis Jr.) Hindu Law: A New History of Dharmasastra.



I encountered the sub-commentary on Viśvarupa's Balakridä during the decade when I was working on a critical edition of the Yajnavalkya Dhamasastra. I had read about several known sub-commentaries in T. Ganapati Sastri's introduction to his excellent edition of Viśvarupa's text. But it was during my travel to Trivandrum and the University of Kerala Oriental Manuscripts Library that I was able to locate a manuscript of the Vacanamālā.



The Vacanamala, a sub-commentary on Viśvarupa's commentary Balakridā on the Yajnavalkya Dharmasastra, is a late medieval text originating probably in Kerala and edited here for the first time. Only a substantial fragment of the original work is available in the only surviving manuscript extending to the end of verse 24 of the acaradhyaya. Given that this portion of the sub-commentary runs to 240 printed pages in my edition, the full work would have been enormous. The question, however, is whether the author ever finished his sub commentary on the entire commentary of Viśvarupa. There is no evidence that he did, and his remark that his own paramaguru Somayajin completed his own sub-commentary called the Amṛtasyandini only up to the end of the section on Naisthika-Brahmacarin, that is, until verse 1.50 of Yajnavalkya, hints at the possibility that his work also may have been similarly incomplete.

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