Chapter 2: Yogeeswara Yagnavalkya
Chapter 2: Yagnavalkya's Gurukula Vasa
Even as a child Yagnavalkya was precocious and showed early signs of the divine spark in him. His parents decided that he should learn all the four Vedas under four respected gurus. After completion of studies of Rig Veda under the Bashkala Rishi he studied Sama Veda under Jaimini Rishi, Yajur Veda from Vaisampayana Rishi who was also the brother of his mother Sunanda and hence his uncle and Atharva Veda from Aruni Rishi. In due time Veda Vyasa himself, in deference to the wishes of Brahma Ratha, gave Yagnavalkya further training in the Rig Veda and other Vedas. It was Veda Vyasa who instructed his own direct disciple Vaisampayana, the uncle of Yagnavalkya to teach Yajur Veda.
Vaisampayana, son of Sakala (maternal grand father of Yagnavalkya) and hence called Sakalya Vaisampayana was then running a Vedic gurukulam i.e., a school in his ashram in Vardhamanapura, through the munificence of King Supriya, belonging to the solar dynasty who was then ruling the kingdom. Vaisamapayana was also the principal purohit of King Supriya. In those good old days the kind and crown received purohits and priests with due respect, honour and regard. The kind appointed purohits as their gurus and teachers in their courts and looked up to them for sound advise in all matters in the best interest of the state. Sakalya Vaisampayana was considered as one of his chief counselors and shown reverential respect by King Supriya. Sakalya was acclaimed as the most proficient in the matter of performing yagnas and also efficient in teaching the Yajur Veda. Because of his renown as a teacher and guru, he was also known as Verandah Sakalya.
Vaisampayana had 365 pupils in all under him in his gurukula. Yagnavalkya was a prodigy and was also endowed with a handsome figure and majestic personality and being an aspect of Vishnu, Yagnavalkya had a regal bearing. By his deportment and decorum Yagnavalkya endeared himself to every one. Yagnavalkya was not only an intelligent sishya but also an industrious student with a good deal of application for study of the Vedas and Sastras. Vaisampayana found Yagnavalkya learning and grasping the Yajur Veda faster and more rapidly than all his other disciples. Vaisampayana felt very happy indeed with his nephew's speedy progress that he completed his entire adhyayana of the entire Yajur Veda in double quick time, as he was a discerning vidyarthi going into the root of the Veda Mantras, Samhitas and Sastras. In due process of time, Yagnavalkya attained perfect proficiency and complete knowledge of the Yajur Veda. With his earlier training in other Vedas and Sastras, Yagnavalkya's prowess and scholarship came to be noticed by all. His co-pupils rightly considered Yagnavalkya as the monitor of the class.
Yagnavalkya, because of his proficiency, began to assist Vaisampayana in the conduct of yagnas and this made him a master of the practical applications of Yajur Veda in the performance of sacrifices. His inherent knowledge, scholarly erudition and supreme command of the intricacies of the Yajur Veda began to be noticed and appreciated. Vaisampayana inwardly felt proud of his nephew for his masterly scholarship and profound knowledge of the Vedas and Sastras and his methodical and rational approach 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 and sishya. Whenever Vaisampayana questioned Yagnavalkya about them, Yagnavalkya quoted chapter and verse from the Vedic authorities and sanctions to justify his point of view. Because of this the initial feeling of admiration and praise for his nephew slowly gave place to some sort of reservations in the mind of Vaisampayana that Yagnavalkya was often over reaching his position. 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.