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:

अवाच्यो दीक्षितो नाम्ना यवीयानपि यो भवेत् ।
भोभवत्पूर्वकं त्वेनमभिभाषेत धर्मवित् ॥ १२८ ॥

avācyo dīkṣito nāmnā yavīyānapi yo bhavet |
bhobhavatpūrvakaṃ tvenamabhibhāṣeta dharmavit || 128 ||

A person who has been initiated (for a rite), even though he be younger, should not be addressed by name; one who knows the law should address him beginning with such terms as “sir” and “your worship.”—(128)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

At the time of answering a greeting, as also on other occasions, one who has been ‘initiated,’—that is, during the time beginning from the performance of Dīkṣaṇīyā Īṣṭi and ending with the Final Bath—should not be addressed by name; i.e., his name should not he uttered.

Younger’—born not very long ago.

The term ‘api’ ‘even,’ leads us to infer that of the elder person one should not utter the name, even though he he n ot initiated. Says Gautama (2.23)—‘The name and gotra of one’s superior should bo uttered with māna, reverence’;—‘māna’ here stands for reverence’, and the meaning is that the name should he uttered with reverence; e.g., in some such form as ‘the highly revered lord, Janārdana Miśra.’

Question—“How then is one to converse with an initiated person, on matters of business?”

It should begin with such terms as ‘sir’ and ‘your worship.’ That is, ono should address the initiated person, after having pronounced the word ‘Sir,’ and then by such names as ‘Initiate’ (), ‘sacrificer’ (‘yajamāna’) and the like, which are applicable to him in their denotative sense. It does not mean that after having pronounced the term ‘sir,’ he should be addressed by name.

The passage being construed as—‘the address which is preceded by the terms sir and your worship,’—in view of the fact that it is not possible to use both the terms in the same sentence, people have laid down the following rule—(a) when one is conversing with him directly, then he should be addressed with the term sir, Bhoḥ, which contains a vocative ending; (b)and when his qualities are being described to some one else, then one should use such words as ‘such and such a thing has been done by his worship the Initiate,’ ‘his worship does so and so.’ The text mentions only the basic from ‘bhavat’ (‘your worship’), and it is to be used with such case-endings as may fit in with the sentence in which it is contained.—(128)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 466), where the following explanation is added:—At the time of returning the salutation, the person initiated for a sacrifice even though he be younger in age, should not be addressed by name, after the performance of the Dīkṣaṇīyā Iṣṭi, the Initiatory Sacrifice, till the completion of the Final Bath of the Avabhṛtha; he should be addressed by such words as ‘Dīkṣita’ and the like, following after the syllable ‘bhoḥ’ or ‘bhavati. e. ‘bho dīkṣita’.

It is quoted also in Madanapārijāta (p. 28) in support of the view that even in the return greeting, the name of the initiate should not be pronounced; and is explained to mean that the initiate should be addressed with such words as ‘bho dīkṣita or ‘bhavān dīkṣita, or some such other expressions containing a synonym of the word ‘dīkṣita’.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (6.19).—‘The Initiated also, upon the Purchase (of Soma) [should be addressed as Sir].’

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