Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550

This is the English translation of the Manusmriti, which is a collection of Sanskrit verses dealing with ‘Dharma’, a collective name for human purpose, their duties and the law. Various topics will be dealt with, but this volume of the series includes 12 discourses (adhyaya). The commentary on this text by Medhatithi elaborately explains various t...

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

यन् मूर्त्यवयवाः सूक्ष्मास्तानीमान्याश्रयन्ति षट् ।
तस्माच्छरीरमित्याहुस्तस्य मूर्तिं मनीषिणः ॥ १७ ॥

yan mūrtyavayavāḥ sūkṣmāstānīmānyāśrayanti ṣaṭ |
tasmāccharīramityāhustasya mūrtiṃ manīṣiṇaḥ
|| 17 ||

Because the six subtile components of the frame (of primordial matter) enter into (produce) these, therefore the wise ones have described the frame of that (primordial matter) as ‘body.’—(17)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Frame’—body; the ‘components’ of it are those things that constitute it; these are ‘subtile,’ the ‘six’ already described (viz.,the five Rudimentary Substances and the Principle of Egoism), which are called ‘aviśeṣa,’ the undifferentiated. —Tāni āśrayantii.e., the organs and the elemental substances going to be described ‘enter into’ the said components; which means that they are evolved out of them; i.e., the evolution of the organs &c., has for its substratum the six subtile components; this is what has been described in the words ‘the five elemental substances are produced out of the five Rudimentary Substances’ (Sāṅkhya-Kārikā, 22). Because they enter into them, therefore the ‘frame of that,’ i.e., of Primordial Matter,—has been described as ‘Body.’

Manasviṇaḥ, ‘maṇīṣā’ is wisdom; those possessed of wisdom are ‘manasvins,’ i.e., the wise ones.

[The above explanation makes ‘tainīmāni,’ the organs and substances, the nominative, and the ‘components’ the objective;—this construction is found to be incompatible with the nominative ending in ‘avayavāḥ,’ ‘components’; hence the Bhāṣya puts forward another construction, which has been adopted in the rendering of the text.]—Or, the relation of the ‘nominative’ and ‘objective’ may be reversed: the ‘subtile components’ being the nominative, and the ‘organs’ the objective (of the verb ‘āśrayanti,’); the meaning of ‘āśrayanti,’ ‘enter into,’ being that the subtile components serve as the substratum—‘āśraya’—of the organs; just as in the phrase ‘he has been fed (upon) by many men,’ the man doing the feeding is spoken of as ‘fed.’—Or, since verbal roots may have several meanings, ‘enter in’ may be explained as ‘produce.’—(17)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Nandana explains the verse to mean that ‘the body of Hiraṇyagarbha is called Śarīra, body, because it enters all things mentioned in the preceding verses by means of its portions’; according to Medhātithi on the other hand, it means that—the body of Pradhāna is called Śarīra, because its six components enter into these things,—viz., the organs and the elemental substances. Kullūka refers it to the body of Brahman.

The only important points of difference are—(1) while Medhātithi takes it as referring to the body of Pradhāna, others take it as refering to that of Hiraṇyagarbha or Brahmā; and (2) while according to Medhātithi the evolutes entering into that Body are the organs and the gross elemental subtances, according to Nandana, they are only the six principles named in verses 14-15.

The natural construction of the verse appears to be yat (yasmāt kāraṇāṭ) sūr?yacayacāḥ sūkṣmāḥ tāni imāni ṣaṭ āśrayanti tasmāt——as set forth by Medhātithi But if tāni imāni refers to indriyāṇi then there should be an accusative ending in in order to make it the object of āśrayanti. It is in view of this difficulty that the Bhāṣya has put forward another construction by which sūkṣmāḥ is the nominative and tānīmāni the objective of the verb āśrayanti,

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