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:

अभिवादात् परं विप्रो ज्यायांसमभिवादयन् ।
असौ नामाहमस्मीति स्वं नाम परिकीर्तयेत् ॥ १२२ ॥

abhivādāt paraṃ vipro jyāyāṃsamabhivādayan |
asau nāmāhamasmīti svaṃ nāma parikīrtayet || 122 ||

The Brāhmaṇa, when greeting an elder, should, after the accosting, pronounce his name, (saying) “this here, I am named so and so,”—(122)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Accosting’ here stands for that word by which the other person is addressed, is made to answer, either with words of benediction, or with an inquiry after welfare. ‘After this accosting’—i.e., after the word expressing such accosting,—i.e., in immediate sequence to the word, one should pronounce the following expression—‘This here I named so and so.’ ‘This so and so,’ ‘man,’ is a pronoun standing for all particular name-forms. The use of this expression is meant to attract tho attention (of the person accosted); the sense being—‘you are being greeted by me,’ i.e., ‘you are being invited to pronounce your benediction’; and being thus addressed, the other person, having duly comprehended the invitation and request, proceeds to answer the greeting by means of words expressing benediction.

But the mere use of the generic pronoun ‘this’ would not provide the idea that ‘you are being accosted by me who am named this’; and in that case the other person would not fully comprehend the invitation, and hence to whom would be address the words of benediction? For this reason, it has been declared that ‘he should pronounce his name’; so that where accosted with the words ‘I am named Devadatta,’ the person fully comprehends the greeting.

Objection.—“There being no use for the word ‘this,’ we see no purpose in its use.”

Answer.—Writers often make use of expressions borrowed from the usage of other Smṛtis; for example, they use the term ‘Dvitīyā,’ in the sense of the Accusative, in accordance with the usage laid down by Pāṇini in his Sūtra 2.3.2. In regard to the present subject, we find it formulated in the Yajñasūtra that ‘the mentioning of one’s own name is to be done with the word this.’

Objection.—“In that case that the name should be pronounced having been already expressed by the words ‘he should pronounce his name,’—it is superfluous for the text to repeat the term ‘name,’ in the expression ‘this I am named’?”

That expression has been added for the purpose of securing the use of the term ‘name’; the sense being that, one should pronounce his name saying ‘I am named so and so’ (and not merely ‘I am so and so.’)

According to others, both expressions mean the same thing ‘this here I am such and such a person’; so that the use of the one or the other expression is optional.

According to this verse, the exact form of the words of greeting comes to be this—‘abhivādaye devadattanāma’ham bhoḥ,’ ‘I accost thee, Sir, I who am named Devadatta the use of the ‘Sir’ being prescribed in the following verse (124).

Elder’—the addition of this word in the text is meant to imply that there should be accosting of equals and inferiors also, but in their case, the form is not as laid down here, which is meant for the case of elders only.—(122)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 25), where the following notes are added:—‘abhivādāt,’ i.e., after the word ‘ahhivādaye,’ ‘I salute’—one should mention his name, ‘I am so and so’;—the term ‘vipra’ stands for all the twice-born men;—also in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 45), which says that what is meant by ‘abhivādāt’ is ‘after having pronounced the words ‘I salute’;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 96), which adds the explanation ‘one should pronounce his own name, I am Devadatta, after having saluted.’

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 450), where the following explanation is added:—When saluting the elder—i.e., an aged person—‘abhivādātparam’—i.e., after uttering the word ‘abhivādaye’, ‘I salute,’—one should utter his proper name, ‘I am so and so.’ It has been declared in the Yajñasūtra that the generic pronoun ‘asau’ (‘so and so’) indicates the proper name. Since the text uses the term ‘elder,’ it follows that the method here laid down is not to be employed in saluting such uncles and other superior relatives as are younger in age to the saluter; the method for saluting them is going to be described later on. The term ‘Vipra’ includes the Kṣatriya and the rest also; as is clear from the rules regarding the returning of salutation, under verse 127 below.

On the expression ‘ahamasmi,’ this work quotes Medhātithi’s remark that both ‘aham’ and ‘asmi’ meaning the same thing, the use of the one or the other is optional. But this has been quoted as the opinion of ‘others’ by Medhātithi. This view is rejected by Vīramitrodaya as being repugnant to Manu, verse 122. It rejects the view of Kullūka also, who opines that the term ‘nāma’ need not be used in the formula.

This verse is quoted also in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 296) where too the term ‘abhivādātparam’ is explained to mean—‘Having first uttered the words I salute, he should pronounce his name’;—and in Aparārka (p. 52), which says that the formula is ‘abhivādaye caitranāmāhamasmi bhoḥ.’;—and in Aparārka (p. 52), which bìiivādaye caitranāmāhamasmi


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (1.6.5.)—‘Having announced his name he should say Here I am,—such is the form of salutation on the meeting of a learned man.’

Baudhāyana-Dharmasūtra (1.2.27).—‘Saying Here I am Sir, he should touch his ears, for securing attention,’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (1.5-12).—‘In the morning one should salute the Teacher, saving Here I am.’

Vaśiṣṭha-Smṛti.—‘ He should say Here I am Sir to all those persons who are entitled to their feet being clasped by him.’

Viṣṇu-Smṛti (27.17).—‘He should announce his name and at the end of the salutation should pronounce the word bhoḥ.’

Yajñavalkya (1.26).—‘Then he should salute the elders, saying Here I am.’

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