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:

भोःशब्दं कीर्तयेदन्ते स्वस्य नाम्नोऽभिवादने ।
नाम्नां स्वरूपभावो हि भोभाव ऋषिभिः स्मृतः ॥ १२४ ॥

bhoḥśabdaṃ kīrtayedante svasya nāmno'bhivādane |
nāmnāṃ svarūpabhāvo hi bhobhāva ṛṣibhiḥ smṛtaḥ || 124 ||

In saluting, one should pronounce the term “Oh, Sir” at the end op his own name; since it has been declared by the sages that the form “Oh, Sir” represents the form of all names.—(124)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

At the end of his own name one should pronounce the term Oh, Sir.’The epithet ‘own’ has been added with a view to precluding the possibility of the name of the saluted person being understood to be meant.

The rest of the verse is purely valedictory.

The term should be pronounced, immediately after the letters of the name, but after some, other letters also, such as the expression ‘I am’ (as laid down in verse, 122, above). The presence of the particle ‘iti’ (in verse 122, after ‘ahamasmi’) is meant to define the actual form of the expression to be used; the sense being that such is the actual form of the expression to be used; Further, if the expression were wrongly used iu the form ‘Devadatta, Oh, Sir, I am,’ the comprehension of its meaning (by the accosted person) would be delayed, and this would still further delay the inviting of his attention; and this would defeat the purpose of the salutation. And it may also happen that when the expression used is one not amenable to simple construction, the other party does not comprehend it at all.

Form’—the existence of very essence. Or, it may mean that it comes in lieu of the name of the accosted person; i.e., comes in place of the name; and the name of the accosted person is. not pronounced. The term ‘bhāta’ may mean either that which is accomplished by means of existence, or that which is accomplished by means of an agent.

Or, we may read ‘svarūpabhāve,’ with the locative ending.

The form, Oh, Sir’;—i.e., the presence, the existence, of the term‘Oh, Sir’—‘is, the form of all names.’ Just as one is addressed by having his name uttered—‘Oh, Devadatta, listen to me,’ similarly the term bhoḥ’ (Oh, Sir)—which ends in the Vocative case-ending—is used for the purposes of address; this has been so declared by the sages.—(124)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 26) with the following notes:—The term ‘bhoḥ’ is the ‘marūpabhāva’ of names; i.e. it leads the name uttered to reach the person addressed; the sense being that when addressed with the term ‘bhoḥ’, the person catches the saluter’s name. The root in the term ‘bhāva’ denotes reaching. If we read ‘bhobhāvaḥ’ this would mean ‘the bhāva, or presence, of the term bhoḥ:

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 450) where we have the following notes:—At the end of the name pronounced in the salutation, one should utter the term ‘bhoḥ’ for attracting the attention of the person saluted; because it has been declared by the sages that the term ‘bhoḥ’ stands for the names of the persons addressed; so that, even though the name of the saluted person be not uttered, the term ‘bhoḥ’ becomes the proper form of address. Thus then the formula for saluting comes to be ‘abhivādaye amukanāma ahamasmi bhoḥ.’

This is quoted also in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 191);—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 45), which states the complete formula as ‘Ābhivādaye Devadatto’ham bho’;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 96).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu-Smṛti (28.17.)—‘In salutation, he should pronounce his own name and at the end the word bhoḥ.’

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