Mitakshara is the name of several Sanscrit commentatorial works of the Hindus. One of these is a commentary on the text-book of the Vedanta philosophy; another, a commentary on the Mimansa work of Kumarila; a third, a commentary on the Brihadhranyaka, etc. SEE VEDA. The most renowned work, however, bearing this title is a detailed commentary by Vijnaneswara (also called Vijnananatha) on the lawbook of Yajnavalkya (q.v.); and its authority and influence are so great that "it is received in all the schools of Hindi law from Benares to the southern extremity of the peninsula of India as the chief groundwork of the doctrines which they follow, and as an authority from which they rarely dissent" (comp. Two Treatises on the Hindu Law of Inheritance, translated by H.T. Colebrooke, Calcutta, 1810). Most of the other renowned law-books of recent date, such as the Smriti- Chandrika, which prevails in the south of India, the Chintamani, Vramitrodaya, and Mayukha, which are authoritative severally in Mithila, Benares, and with the Mahrattas, generally defer to the decisions of the Mitakshara; the Dayabhaga of Jimutavahana alone, which is adopted by the Bengal school, differs on almost every disputed point from the Mithkshara; and does not acknowledge its authority.
The Mitakshara, following the arrangement of its text-work, the code of Yajnavalkya, treats in its first part of duties in general; in its second, of private and administrative law; in its third, of purification, penance, devotion, and so forth; but, since it frequently quotes other legislators, expounding their texts, and contrasting them with those of Yajnavalkya, it is not merely a commentary, but supplies the place of a regular digest. The text of the Mitakshara has been edited several times in India. An excellent translation of its chapter On Inheritance was published by Colebrooke in the work above referred to; and its explanation of Yajnavalkya is also followed by the same celebrated scholar in his Digest of Hindu Law (Calcutta and London, 1801, 3 volumes).