The Scriptural writings of (he Hindus are divided, mainly, into two Classes Sruti (or what is heard) and ,Smrtis (or what is remembered). Of all the Smrtis. Manusmrti is regarded by the Hindus as next in sanctity to the Vedas. After Manu, among other seers, Yajnavalkya is known to be a great philosopher and Spiritual master. His institutes are regarded by the Hindus as second in importance to those of Manu.
Yajnavalkya Smrti is also divided into three sections:
1. Acaradhyayah-It is divided into thirteen Prakaranas It tells about the life of Celibacy which consists of various samskaras such as upanayana. Then comes various prakranas related to marriage, class and caste, duties of a householder, acceptable and non-acceptable food, gilt, oblation for pitrs. Peace for planets and administration rules.
2. Vyavaharadhyayah-The second chapter deals with behaviour (especially the behaviour of a King and his ministers).
3. Prayascittadhyayah- This chapter consists of 334 verses which are broadly classified into 5 prakaranas namely, Asaucadharma, Apaddharma, Vanaprastha-dharma Yatidharma and Finally Prayascitta
The present translation of Yajnavalkyasmrti by M.N. Dutt is an authentic English Translation with various notes at appropriate places for researchers. The Editor of the present hook has further enhanced the English Translation by replacing older usage of English words with the corresponding modem words. He has done a good Labour to put Sanskrit text and English translation side by side for the benefit of readers. Further, he has corrected various diacritical notations that were incorrectly used in the earlier edition. Also the text has been corrected at appropriate places for a better edition of Yajnavalkyasmrti.