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:

शर्मवद् ब्राह्मणस्य स्याद् राज्ञो रक्षासमन्वितम् ।
वैश्यस्य पुष्टिसंयुक्तं शूद्रस्य प्रेष्यसंयुतम् ॥ ३२ ॥

śarmavad brāhmaṇasya syād rājño rakṣāsamanvitam |
vaiśyasya puṣṭisaṃyuktaṃ śūdrasya preṣyasaṃyutam || 32 ||

The name of the Brāhmaṇa should be expressive of ‘peace,’ that of the Kṣatriya, of ‘protection’; that ot the Vaiśya, of ‘prosperity,’ and that of the Śūdra, of ‘submissiveness.’—(32)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

[What appears to be the meaning is that] the actual term (‘śarman,’ etc.) should form part of the name,—and that the two terms (mentioned in the preceding and the present verse) should appear in the order stated, the ‘auspicious’ term coming at the beginning and the term ‘śarman’ at the end (of the name),—as illustrated above (‘Go-śarman,’ ‘Dhana-śarman’ and so forth).

But this would not be possible in regard to the names of the Kṣatriya and the rest; because the term ‘rakṣā.’ (‘security,’ which is mentioned in connection with the Kṣatriya) is of the feminine gender, and as such could not be co-ordinated with the names of males. Hence in view of conformity, and in view also of actual practice, and also in view of the two verses being syntactically distinct, we should take them as complementary to each other; the sense being that the ‘auspicious name’ (mentioned in the preceding verse) should he ‘expressive of śarman, Peace’—this term standing for refuge, shelter, happiness. It is only if we take the term ‘śarman’ of the text as standing for what is developed by it, that we have the possibility of names ending in ‘svāmū,’ ‘datta,’ ‘bhūti,’ and the rest; the name ‘Indrasvāmī’ meaning ‘he who has Indra for his shelter’; ‘Indra-datta’ also signifies the fact of Indra being the shelter.

Similarly with all the rest (the names of the Kṣatriya, etc.)

“What does this argument mean—that, in view of the two verses being syntactically distinct, we should take them as complementary to each other? Por the same reason, why are not the two sentences ‘one should sacrifice with Vrīhi’ and ‘one should sacrifice with Yava’ taken as complementary (and not as optional alternatives, as they have been taken)?”

What we have said is only what is indicated (by the words of the Text). The Text being the work of a human writer, if he had intended the statements to be optional alternatives, he should, for the sake of brevity, have said ‘the name should be either auspicious or expressive of peace’; when we have two distinct syntactical constructions, there are two verbs, and this becomes too prolix (and the prolixity cannot be justified except by taking the two as complementary). [All this reason ng, based upon intention and propriety of speech, cannot apply to the case of Vedic sentences, where there is no author.]

Rakṣā,’ is ‘protection,’ ‘preservation.’

Puṣṭi’ is ‘prosperity’ as well as ‘security.’ Such names as ‘Govṛddha’ ‘Dhanagupta.’

Preṣya’ is ‘submissive’; such names as ‘Brāhmaṇa-dāsa,’ and ‘Devadāsa,’ which means (respectively) ‘submissive to, dependent upon, the Brāhmaṇa’ and ‘submissive to and dependent upon a deity.’—(32)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 243) also; and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra. p. 55) as laying down the subsidiary titles of the four caste-names;—also in Vidhānapārijāta (p. 309);—and in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 178).

Parāśaramādḥava (Ācāra, p. 441) quoting the verse explains it to mean that ‘śarman’ must be the suffixed word to the Brāhmaṇa’s name.

Nārayaṇa and Rāghavānanda opine that the name of the Brāhmaṇa must always contain the word ‘śarman’ itself. But Medhātithi and several others hold that the name should connote what is connoted by the term ‘śarman.’

The present day practice, however, follows the former explanation—‘śarman’.being regarded now as the suffixed title to every Brāhmaṇa’s name.


Comparative notes by various authors

Pāraskara-Gṛhyasūtrā, 1. 17.4.—‘Śarma for the Brāhmaṇa, Varma for the Kṣatriya, Gupta for the Vaiśya.’

Vyāsa-Smṛti (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 213).—‘Śarma is the name commended for the Brāhmaṇa, Varma for the Kṣatriya, Gupta for the Vaiśya, and Dāsa for the Śūdra.’

Yama-Smṛti (Do.).—‘Śarma and Deva for the Brāhmaṇa, Rājā for the Kṣatriya, Gupta and Datta for the Vaiśya and Dāsa for the Śūdra.

These titles have been thus explained by Āśvalāyanāchārya:—‘The name of the Brāhmaṇa should end with Śarma because he imparts Śarma (happiness) to the world through his religious character, calmness and self-control; that of the Kṣatriya should end with Varmā, because like the Varma (armour), he protects the world from the three kinds of pain; that of the Vaiśya should end with Gupta, because he fosters (gopāyati) the people by giving them money at certain times; that of the Śūdra should end with Dāsa, because he keeps the twice-born people satisfied by constant service.’

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