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:

एतदन्तास्तु गतयो ब्रह्माद्याः समुदाहृताः ।
घोरेऽस्मिन् भूतसंसारे नित्यं सततयायिनि ॥ ५० ॥

etadantāstu gatayo brahmādyāḥ samudāhṛtāḥ |
ghore'smin bhūtasaṃsāre nityaṃ satatayāyini
|| 50 ||

Thus have been described the conditions of life, beginning with brahmā and ending with those just mentioned, which occur in this ever frightful and constantly fluctuating cycle of births and deaths of created beings.—(50)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Ending with those just mentioned’;—those conditions of life of which the end, or last, is the condition of the Creeper.—‘Condition’—stands for the connection of the soul with a particular body for the experiencing of the result of past acts; and there is no worse—i.e., more painful,—‘condition’ of life than that of Plants; and than the condition of ‘Brahmā’ there is none higher or superior—i.e., more full of bliss. These ‘conditions’ are attained by means of good and had acts, respectively called ‘Virtue’ and ‘Vice’; as regards the attaining of the Supreme Brahman, which consists in Salvation, and is in the form of pure bliss,—this proceeds either from pure Knowledge, or from a combination of Knowledge and Action; this we shall describe later on (in Discourse XII).

In this cycle of births and deaths of created beings;’—in this ‘samsāra,’ cycle, series of births and deaths, of ‘created beings,’ conscious entities; i. e., in which (ordinarily) the entity is not born in a genus other than in which it was in the previous existence;—‘frightful,’—full of fear, for those that are careless and lazy; it is ‘full of fear’ in the sense that there is losing of the desirable and coming by the undesirable;—‘constantly,’ at all times,—‘fluctuating,’ i.e., liable to go off, destructible, (hence) devoid of essence;—it is ‘ever frightful,’ i.e., it is never not- frightful; it is spoken of as ‘ever frightful’ because even when one has attained the condition of gods, and remains there for a long time, he has to return to death.

This description of the cycle of births and deaths as being due to Virtue and Vice serves to show that Scripture serves an all-important purpose; it has to be born in mind that it is only from Scripture that we can obtain a knowledge of the distinction between ‘Virtue’ and ‘Vice.’—(50)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Bhūta’—here stands for the Kṣetrajña, the Conscious Being ensouling the body—according to Govindarāja and Kullūka.

Nityam’—qualifies ‘ghore’; ‘Ever terrible’ according to Medhātithi, Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa, the last, along with Nandana, however, suggests the reading ‘nitye’ meaning ‘in this eternal samsāra.’

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