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:

शय्याऽऽसनेऽध्याचरिते श्रेयसा न समाविशेत् ।
शय्याऽऽसनस्थश्चैवेनं प्रत्युत्थायाभिवादयेत् ॥ ११९ ॥

śayyā''sane'dhyācarite śreyasā na samāviśet |
śayyā''sanasthaścaivenaṃ pratyutthāyābhivādayet || 119 ||

One should not sit with a superior upon the couch or seat prepared for him. and if he himself should happen to be seated on a couch or skat, he should rise to meet (the superior) and salute him.—(119)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The copulative compound ‘śayyāsane’ is formed with the terms ‘śayyā’ and ‘āsana,’ the singular number being in accordance with Pāṇini 2.4.6, by which‘terms expressing in-animate genuses form copulative compounds in the singular.’

On a couch and seat,’ ‘one should not sit’—along with—‘a superior’;—i.e., one who is superior in learning, such as the teacher and others.

In view of the question as to whether one should not sit with his superior anywhere, the text has added the word ‘adhyācarite,’ ‘prepared,’ i.e., made up, as the couch or a seat; so that there is no harm in sitting upon a seat of stone or such other things.

This is only a re-iteration of what is going to be said under 204 below that—‘One may sit with his teacher on slabs of stone, a boat.’

Others explain the term ‘adhyācarite’ to mean ‘occupied’; and ‘should not sit’ to mean that ‘he should not sit upon it even afterwards.’ And (according to this explanation) the present prohibition does not apply only to sitting along with the superior; as this prohibition is already contained in 203; and so long as the present verse can be taken as an independent injunction, it is not right to take it as a mere re-iteration.

(In view of this last objection) some people point to a difference (between what is said here and what comes later on in 203), based upon usage. That couch or seat which is known to belong specifically to the Teacher,—that whereupon he, as a rule, lies down and sits,—on that the pupil should never sit, cither in the presence or absence of the Teacher; while that couch or seat upon which the Teacher has slept or sat, once by the way,—sitting upon that during the Teacher’s presence is what is prohibited. And it is this latter that is meant by the term ‘adhyāca’ in the text; which does not mean actual possession of the couch by the Teacher.

While one is seated upon a couch or seat, if the superior should happen to come, he should rise to meet him and offer hi s salutation. What is meant by the second line of the verse is that the pupil should descend from this seat on the advent of the Teacher; the meaning being that standing upon the bare ground he should entirely relinquish the couch or seat. While as for superior persons other than the Teacher,—in their case the rising to meet is done even while one remains (standing) upon the seat.—(119)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Adhyācarte’—‘Prepared’ (Medhātithi);—‘occupied’ (Kullūka). This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 460).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (1.2.20-21).—‘Within sight of the Teacher one should avoid the following—sitting with a piece of cloth passing round the neck and the two knees, spreading out of the legs, spitting, laughing, yawning, finger-snapping.’

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (1.2.31).—‘One should leave his bed or seat before answering the Teacher’s call.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (1 6.3-5).—‘One should not put forward his legs towards the Teacher;—some people hold that no such spreading is reprehensible when the Teacher is seated on a bedstead;—near the Teacher one should speak to him lying down.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (1.8-11).—‘One should not sit on the bed or the seat before the Teacher.’

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