Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

सर्वं तु समवेक्ष्यैदं निखिलं ज्ञानचक्षुषा ।
श्रुतिप्रामाण्यतो विद्वान् स्वधर्मे निविशेत वै ॥ ८ ॥

sarvaṃ tu samavekṣyaidaṃ nikhilaṃ jñānacakṣuṣā |
śrutiprāmāṇyato vidvān svadharme niviśeta vai || 8 ||

Having fully perceived all this with the eye of knowledge, the learned man should enter upon his own duties, resting upon the authority of the Revealed Word.—(8)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

All this’—all tilings that can be known, those that are created as well as those that are uncreated (eternal); all that is dealt with in the scriptures, what is amenable to perception and other ordinary means of knowledge, and also what is not so amenable.

Having perceived with the of knowledge’—in the shape of the learning of and pondering over the various sciences of Reasoning, Grammar, Philology, Mīmāmsā and the rest. The study of the scriptures is called the ‘eye’ in the sense that it is like the eye, in being the instrument of knowledge; the similitude being that ‘Dharma is known by means of scriptures in the same way as Colour is known by means of the Eye.’

Honing perceived’—i.e., after having ascertained by means of due consideration.

Resting upon the authority of the Revealed Word.’—i.e., in accordance with the authority of the Veda.

Should enter upon his duties’—i.e., perform his dharma.

After all the sciences have been studied, the trustworthy character becomes fully established, which is not done until the sciences have been duly studied. When a man carefully ponders over the sciences, he comes to the conclusion that there are no grounds for believing in the authority of these sciences, while there are reasons for trusting the authority of the Veda.

Sarvam,’ ‘all,’ qualifies all that is to be known; and ‘nikhilam,’ ‘fully,’ is an adverb modifying the participle ‘samavekṣya,’ ‘having perceived,’—‘Having fully perceived,’—i.e., (1) having stated, in the form of the primâ facie Argument, all possible semi-arguments in support of the view that the other sciences are authoritative,—or that the Veda is not authoritative,—(2) having refuted those arguments by means of perfectly valid reasonings based upon the established theory,—when one states his own finally considered view, the final conclusion arrived at is that the Veda is authoritative;—all this is what is implied by the term ‘fully.’ Thus though the term ‘sarva’ and ‘nikhila’ are synonyms, yet since they serve two distinct purposes, they are not regarded as being a needless repetition.

The term ‘sva,’ ‘own’ is purely explanatory; what is the ‘duty’ of one man is not the ‘duty’ of another.—(8)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Idam’—The Śāstras (Medhātithi, Govindarāja, Kullūka);—the ordinances of Manu (Nārāyaṇa);—the various said sources of the knowledge of Dharma (Nandana).


Comparative notes by various authors

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra, 1.21.5.—‘One should undertake that act which he determines upon with due knowledge.’

Āpastamba, 2.2.2.—‘For all castes, greatest happiness accrues from the performance of their own duties.’

Āpastamba, 2.16.1.—‘Those who act after proper discrimination become reputed as highly righteous, and these are persons whose act has been described by Manu as Śrāddha.’

Gautama-Dharmasūtra, 11.31.—‘Men of all castes and in all stages of life, who are firm in their own duties, enjoy the fruits of their acts and then become born in highly qualified countries, and families, wherein they are endowed with learning, character, intelligence and happiness.’

Gautama-Dharmasūtra, 13.2.—‘Those firm in their own duties are free from all blame.’

Gantama-Dharmusūtra, 13.15.—‘The Brāhmaṇa should take his food at the house of only those persons who are reputed to he addicted to their own Dharma.’

Atri-Saṃhitā, 25.—‘Those persons who perform their own duties and remain firm therein, are loved by people, even though they may be at a distance.’

Atri-Saṃhitā, 25.—‘Even the Śūdra, if he is firm in his Dharma, attains Heaven.

Baudhāyana-Dharmasūtra, 1.2.19.—‘The Brāhmaṇa and the rest should remain firm in their own duties.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: