yājñavalkya याज्ञवल्क्य

Definition: ‘Descendant of Yajñavalkya,’ is repeatedly mentioned in the śatapatha Brāhmaṇa as an authority on questions of ritual. He is, however, also given as an authority on questions of philosophy in the Bṛhadāraṇyaka Upanisad, but Oldenberg is, no doubt, right in thinking that no possible importance can be attached to the mention of Yājñavalkya in the latter capacity. He is said to have been a pupil of Uddālaka Arum, whom he opposed successfully in a dispute.5 His two wives, Maitreyī and Kātyāyanī, are mentioned in the Brhadāraṇyaka Upanisad, which concludes with a passage ascribing to Yājñavalkya Vājasaneya the ‘white Yajus ’ {śuklāni yajUmsi). It is remarkable that Yājñavalkya is never mentioned in any other Vedic text outside the śatapatha Brāhmana y except the śāñkhāyana Aranyaka, where, however, both/\ references are merely transcripts from the śatapatha. It has been supposed by Oldenberg10 and others that Yājñavalkya belonged to Videha, but despite the legend of Janaka’s patronage of him, his association with Uddālaka, the Kuru-Pañcāla, renders this doubtful.


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