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:

यो न वेत्त्यभिवादस्य विप्रः प्रत्यभिवादनम् ।
नाभिवाद्यः स विदुषा यथा शूद्रस्तथैव सः ॥ १२६ ॥

yo na vettyabhivādasya vipraḥ pratyabhivādanam |
nābhivādyaḥ sa viduṣā yathā śūdrastathaiva saḥ || 126 ||

The Brāhmaṇa who knows not the return-greeting of the greeting of salutation does not deserve to be saluted by the learned; he is exactly as the śūdra is.—(126)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Objection.—“It would have sufficed to say ‘he who knows not the return-greeting’; the addition of the phrase ‘of the greeting of salutation’ is superfluous and not quite compatible.”

It is not so; the construction is—‘the return-greeting in keeping with the greeting of salutation.’ For instance, propriety demands that (a) if the salutation has been offered with the name of the accoster duly pronounced, then in the return-greeting, the final vowel of the name Should be pronounced ultra-long; (b) and he who salutes with the form ‘It is I, Oh, Sir,’ is to be answered without his name being uttered and without the elongation of any vowel.

Does not deserve to be saluted’;—this prohibits the uttering of the words of greeting; the sense being that ‘salutation may be offered,’ but not with the words ‘it is I, Sir,’—the circumstances under which these words are to be used h aving been shown before (under 123).

As the Śūdra,’—this appears to be by way of illustration; for as a matter of fact the Śūdra also, when of great age, is held to be deserving of salutation.

By the learned’;—this has been added only for the purpose of filling up the metre.—(126)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 450), where the following explanation is added:—The meaning is that the man who does not know the return greeting in strict consonance with rules of salutation does not deserve to be greeted at all, the correct form of the response being as laid down in the preceding verse—the ultra-elongation of the vowel at the end of the name pronounced by the saluter in the formula of salutation. What is prohibited here is only that salutation which is accompanied by the formula containing the saluter’s name; that all salutation is not entirely interdicted is indicated by the words ‘he is exactly as the Śūdra is’;—the Śūdra also, when over ninety years of age, is deserving of salutation, according to Manu 2. 137. The word ‘pratyabhivādanam’ means the pronouncing, by the elder who has been saluted, of benediction with prescribed formula.

This verse is quoted also in Madanapārijāta (p. 28), which adds a verse from Yama to the effect that the Brāhmaṇa who, on being saluted, does not return the proper benediction, is born as a tree in the crematorium, inhabited by crows and vultures.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 297) as laying down that no salutation should be offered to one ignorant of the proper form of the response to it;—in Nityāchārapradīpa (p. 407);—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 57);—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 98).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (13.14).—‘He should simply say Here I am, when saluting one who knows not the form of the return-greeting.’

Yama (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 465).—‘On being saluted, if one does not offer his blessing, a part of the saluter’s sins falls upon the person saluted. To the Brāhmaṇa he should say svasti (all may be well), to the Kṣatriya āyuṣyam (long-life), to the Vaiśya vardhatām (may you prosper), to the Śūdra ārogyam (freedom from disease).’

[Yama also reproduces Manu’s Verse.]

Bhaviṣya-purāṇa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 298).—‘On bring saluted, if one does not return the salutation, or if one does not pronounce the blessing, one falls into many hells.’

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (7.42).—‘Welfare, Freedom from Distemper , Freedom from Loss and Freedom from Disease, the asking of these constitutes the return-greeting; the last being for the Śūdra.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (1.14.26-29).—‘One should ask one who is not senior, also one of the same age, about his welfare; the Kṣatriya about his freedom from distemper;—the Vaiśya about freedom from loss;—the Śūdra about freedom from disease.’

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