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...

Verse 1.71 [The Yuga—Time-Cycle—of the Gods]

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

यदेतत् परिसङ्ख्यातमादावेव चतुर्युगम् ।
एतद् द्वादशसाहस्रं देवानां युगमुच्यते ॥ ७१ ॥

yadetat parisaṅkhyātamādāveva caturyugam |
etad dvādaśasāhasraṃ devānāṃ yugamucyate || 71 ||

This period of the four time-cycles that have been just computed,—twelve thousand such periods are called the ‘time-cycle of the gods.’—(71)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Yadetat’ (in the sense of ‘this’) is an ordinary expression; and as a whole it means that which has been spoken of.—‘This period of four Time-cycles that has been computed’—i.e., the exact number of years in which have been definitely determined before this verse,—e.g. in verse 69, where the number of years in the Time-cycles is declared to be four thousand etc., etc.,—‘Twelve thousand’ of this period of four Time-cycles are called the ‘Time-cycle of the Gods’. That is to say the Divine Cycle consists of twelve thousand ‘Four-Cycles.’

The word ‘Sāhasram’ is derived from the word ‘sahasra’ with the reflexive affix ‘aṇ’; and the compound ‘dvādaśasāhasram’ is to be expounded as ‘dvādaśa-sahasrāṇi parimāṇe yasmin’, ‘that in which the measure is that of twelve-thousands’.—(71)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Burnell remarks—“According to the commentators the translation should run thus: ‘The four Yugas just reckoned (consisting of) twelve thousand years are called a Yuga of the gods.” This is the translation adopted by Buhler also. What is not quite accurate is the statement that such a translation is “according to the commentators”,—when we find that according to Medhātithi at least, the meaning of the verse is as it is represented by Burnell in his text. Medhātithi says explicitly—‘dvādaśa-chaturyuga—sahasrāṇi devayugam nāma kāla ityarthaḥ’.

In face of the fact that the words of the text themselves convey this meaning—which involves the ‘lengthening’ of the ordinary into divine years,—it is difficult to understand Burnell’s remark that this ‘lengthening’ ‘is the work of commentators.’ On the contrary, on Burnell’s own showing, the ‘commentators’ would appear to have shortened the great length of the divine year clearly expressed by the words of the text.

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