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:

मङ्गल्यं ब्राह्मणस्य स्यात् क्षत्रियस्य बलान्वितम् ।
वैश्यस्य धनसंयुक्तं शूद्रस्य तु जुगुप्सितम् ॥ ३१ ॥

maṅgalyaṃ brāhmaṇasya syāt kṣatriyasya balānvitam |
vaiśyasya dhanasaṃyuktaṃ śūdrasya tu jugupsitam || 31 ||

The name of the Brāhmaṇa should be auspicious, that of the Kṣatriya connected with power, that of the Vaiśya associated with wealth; while that of the Śūdra contemptible.—(31)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The Author now proceeds to determine the form of the name to be given to the child.

Maṅgalyam,’ ‘auspicious,’ means ‘maṅgalāya hitam,’ or ‘maṅgalāya sādhu,’ ‘conducive to welfare.’ The ‘welfare’ meant here is that which consists in the fulfilment of something desirable, in the shape of longevity, wealth and such other things as lead to physical and mental pleasure. And a term can be said to be ‘conducive,’—‘hita’ or ‘sādhu,’—to this welfare, only when it connotes it; and it is in this sense that we have the Nominal Affix (‘yat,’ in ‘maṅgalyam’). Further, by being ‘conducive’ it is not meant that it should always express the actual fulfilment of a desirable thing; but that it may also express the desirable thing itself.

This connotation of the desirable thing may be either (a) by means of compounds, such as ‘āyuḥsiddhi’ (accomplishment, of longevity), ‘dhanasiddhi’ (acquisition of wealth), ‘putralāhha’ (obtaining of a son), and so forth,—or (b) by a nominal affix connoting ‘conduciveness’ ‘effectiveness,’ or ‘purpose.’ But the Gṛhyasūtra has prohibited the use of a name ending in a Nominal affix—‘One should fix a name ending with a Verbal, not one with a nominal affix’—says Pāraskara. And as for compounds also, there is a combination of the denotations of two words; so that there is a chance of the name consisting of many letters; the lext is going to lay down certain appendages to the actual names, such as ‘the name of Brāhmaṇa should end in Śarman, and so forth’ (Manu, 2.32); so that if the name consists of three or four letters, along with the appendage ‘śarman,’ it would oome to consist of five or six letters; and this would go against the rule that ‘the name should consist of two or four letters.’ (Baudhāyana and Āpastamba). From all this it follows that such words should he employed as names as are connotative of things that are desired by most people,—e.g., son, cattle, landed property, daughter, wealth and so forth; and these should end with the term ‘śarman.’ Thus it is that such names become possible as ‘Go-śarman.’ ‘Dhana-śarman,’ ‘Hiraṇya-śarman,’ ‘Kalyāṇa-śarman,’ ‘Maṅgala-śarman,’ and so on.

Or, the term ‘maṅgala’ may be taken as standing for ‘Dharma,’ ‘Merit’; and ‘maṅgalya’ in that case would mean that which is conducive to merit (meritorious).

“What is it that is conducive to merit?

All those words that constitute the names of Deities; e.g., ‘Indra,’ ‘Agni,’ ‘Vāyū’; also the names of sages—e.g., ‘Vasiṣṭha,’ ‘Viśvāmiṭra,’ ‘Medhātithi’; these latter also are ‘conducive to merit’; as is clearly indicated by such directions as—(a) ‘one should make offerings to the sages,’ (b) ‘one should meditate upon the men of pious deeds,’ ‘one who desires prosperity should, on rising in the morning, repeat the names of Deities, sages and of the Brāhmaṇas of pious deeds.’

The epithet ‘mangalya,’ ‘auspicious’ (meritorious) serves to preclude all ‘inauspicious’ names, such as ‘Yama,’ ‘Mṛtyu’ and the like; and also those that are meaningless—such, as ‘Ḍittha’ and the like.

That of the Kṣatriya connected with power,’—i.e., expressive of power. The ‘anvaya’ (expressed by ‘anvita’ in the compound ‘balānvita’ means connection; and the only connection that a word can have with a thing is the relation, of being connotative of it.—‘Power’ is strength; and the word, that connotes this should be used as the name for the Kṣatriya,e.g., ‘Śatruntapa,’ ‘Duryodhana,’ ‘Prajāpāla.’ The several kinds of names have been mentioned (in the text), as indicative of the several castes.

Similarly, ‘that of the Vaiśya Associated with wealth.’ It is not meant that only synonyms of ‘dhana’ should be used,—such as ‘Dhana’ ‘Vitta,’ ‘Svāpateya,’—but that any word that may be in any way connotative of wealth should be used. Or, what is meant is that either such words as ‘dhana’ (‘wealth’) and the like should be used, or such as signify connection with wealth; such as ‘Dhanakarman,’ ‘Mahādhana,’ ‘Goman,’ ‘Dhānyag?aha.’

Throughout this verse, such is the meaning—of the term ‘connected with power’ and ‘associated with wealth.’ If this were not what is meant, the text would have said simply ‘the names of power should be used.’ And in that case, since the words actually denotative of power would be very few in number, while the number of individuals to be named would be endless,—all usage (based oh names) would come to an end.

That of the Śūdra contemptible,’—such as ‘Kṛpaṇaka,’ ‘Dīna,’ ‘Śavaraka,’ and so forth.—(31)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Gadādharapaddhati (Kālasāra, p. 217);—in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 53) to the effect that the names of the four castes should consist of words expressive respectively, of welfare, strength, wealth and deprecation;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Saṃskāra p. 346);—and in Saṃskāra-mayūkha (p. 25).

Burnell—‘This is now obsolete. The names of the different castes are now usually epithets or titles of some favourite deity. The caste is known only by the suffixed title.’

This verse has been quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskā ra, p. 242), where we have the following explanations: ‘maṅgalyam’ means expressive of auspiciousness; e.g., the name ‘Lakṣmīdhara’;—‘Balānvitam’ means expressive of bravery, e.g., the name ‘Yudhiṣṭhira;’—‘dhanasamyuktam’, means containing terms expressive of wealth; e.g., the name ‘Mahādhana’;—‘jugupsitam’ means containing a term denoting depreciation; e.g., the name ‘Naradāsa’.

Madanapārijāta also quotes this verse (on p. 357), where it is explained to mean that ‘the names should be expressive of auspiciousness and the rest’

Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 441) quotes it as also the four typical names as—‘Śrī Śarmā’ ‘Vikramapālo’, Māṇikyaśreṣṭhi and Hīnadāsa;—it is quoted in Aparārka (p. 27) as laying down rules regarding the first part of the name.


Comparative notes by various authors

Śaṅkha (Smṛti, 2.3).—‘The name of all castes should consist of an even number of letters; an auspicious one for the Brāhmaṇa, one endowed with strength for the Kṣatriya.’

Viṣṇu (Smṛti, 1.27.6-9).—‘The Brāhmaṇa’s name should be expressive of auspiciousness—the Kṣatriya’s expressive of strength,—the Vaiśya’s expressive of wealth,—the Śūdra’s expressive of depreciation.’

Vīramitrodaya (Śaṃskāra, p. 237).—Names are of four kinds;

  1. connected with family-deity,
  2. connected with month,
  3. connected with asterism,
  4. and temporal.

(a) Says Śaṅkha.—‘The father should fix a name connected with the family-deity,’ i.e., a name consisting of words expressive of the Deity.

(b) Gārgya.—‘The father should impart to the hoy the name of the month and the name of the preceptor. The months have been declared to have the following names:—

  1. Mārgaśīrṣa—Kṛṣṇa,
  2. Pauṣa—Ananta,
  3. Māgha—Achyuta,
  4. Phālguna—Chakrī,
  5. Caitra—Vaikuṇṭha,
  6. Vaiśākha,—Janārdana,
  7. Jyaiṣṭha,—Upendra,
  8. Āṣāḍha—Yajñapuruṣa.
  9. Śrāvaṇa—Vāsudeva.
  10. Bhādra—Hari,
  11. Āśvina—Yogīśa,
  12. Kārttika—Puṇḍarīkākṣa.’

(c) Śaṅkha-Likhita.—‘Either the father or some other senior member of the family should fix a name connected with the asterism.’ This name has been held to be the one to be used when the person bearing the name accosts a superior.

Says Baudhāyana—‘This name in accordance with the asterism is the secret one, which is known only to the father and the mother and which the boy is to use in accosting.’

Also Āśvalāyana—‘The accosting name should be known only to the father and the mother; as it is under this name that the boy is initiated.’

Also Śaunaka, ‘That name under which he is to be initiated, and by which he will do the accosting of the teacher,—should also be fixed at the time of the naming ceremony. This accostive name should be pronounced by the father very silently, so that others may not know it. This initiative name the parents should bear in mind.’

Like the names attached to the months the names attached to the asterisms are as follows:—

  1. Agni (Kṛttikā),
  2. Prajāpati (Rohiṇī),
  3. Soma (Mṛgaśiras),
  4. Rudra (Ārdrā),
  5. Diti (Punarvasū),
  6. Bṛhaspati (Puṣvā),
  7. Sarpa (Aśleṣā),
  8. Pitṛ (Maghā),
  9. Bhaga (Purvaphalgunī),
  10. Aryamā (Uttaraphalgunī),
  11. Savitṛ (Hastā),
  12. Tvaṣtṛ (Chitrā),
  13. Āyuṣ (Svātī),
  14. Indra-Agni (Viśākhā),
  15. Mitra (Anurādhā),
  16. Indra (Jyeṣṭhā),
  17. Nirṛti (Mūlā),
  18. Apas (Pūrvāṣāḍhā),
  19. Viśvedevas (Uttarāṣāḍhā),
  20. Viṣṇu (Śravaṇā),
  21. Vasu (Dhaniṣṭhā),
  22. Varuṇa (Śatabhiṣa),
  23. Ajaikapāt (Pūrvabhādra),
  24. Ahirbudhnya (Uttarabhādra),
  25. Pūṣan (Revatī),
  26. Aśvins (Aśvinī),
  27. Yama (Bharaṇī).

But according to Baudhāyana, the “name connected with the asterism” is in accordance with the names of the asterisms themselves—such as ‘Rohiṇī,’ ‘Bharaṇī,’ and the rest; and not in accordance with the name of the deity attached to each asterism. According to the astrologers however each asterism has four letters assigned to it (such as chū-che-cho-la, assigned to Aśvinī, and so forth, and “the name connected with the asterism of Aśvinī,” would be the name whose first letter consists of one of these four letters).

(d) The ‘temporal name’ has been described by Bṛhaspati as ‘conducive to all kinds of business.’ It is this name that has been laid down by Āśvalāyana as having for its first letter one of the ghoṣa-letters, in its middle one of the antastha letters; ending with the visarga, containing either two or four vowels; and in male names the number of letters should always be even.

But Baijavāpa—‘The father fixes the name, which consists of either two or three or four letters, or of unlimited number of letters.’

Vaśiṣṭha—‘The name should consist of either two or four vowels, but those ending in l or r should be avoided.’

The Mahābhāṣya—‘The first letter of the name should be ghoṣa-vat, the middle one of the antastha letters, it should not be similar to the names of the ancestors, or of the enemy; it should be one formed with a verbal affix, not with a nominal affix.’

Āśvalāyana—‘That name is best which consists of either four or two letters, which is in consonance with that of the grandfather’ (this last includes also the gods).

Kapila-Saṃhitā—‘On the eleventh day, in due form, the name should be given, which is in consonance with the family-custom, and resembles the name of the gods or of the parents.’

Baijavāpa (Aparārka, p. 27).—‘The father gives a name either of one letter or two letters or three letters or four letters, or of letters without limit; it should be one formed with a verbal, never with a nominal, affix.’

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