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:

उत्पादकब्रह्मदात्रोर्गरीयान् ब्रह्मदः पिता ।
ब्रह्मजन्म हि विप्रस्य प्रेत्य चैह च शाश्वतम् ॥ १४६ ॥

utpādakabrahmadātrorgarīyān brahmadaḥ pitā |
brahmajanma hi viprasya pretya caiha ca śāśvatam || 146 ||

Between the progenitor and the imparter of the veda, the imparter op the veda is the more venerable father; for the brāhmaṇa’s “birth” is the veda, eternally,—here as well as after death.—(146)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Progenitor’—is one who gives natural birth; ‘Imparter of the Veda’ is one who teaches;—both these are ‘fathers’; and between these two ‘fathers,’ that Father is ‘more venerable’ who imparts the Veda. So that when the Father and the Preceptor are both present, the Preceptor should be saluted first.

The text adds a valedictory statement in support of what has been said—‘The Brāhmaṇa’s birth is the Veda’; i.e., is for the purpose of learning the Veda; the compound ‘brahmajanma’ being expounded as ‘brahmagrahaṇārtham janma,’ according to the Vārtika on ‘Pāṇini’ 2.1.60. According to this explanation of the compound, the Initiatory Rite would be ‘the birth for the learning of the Veda.’ Or, the compound ‘brahmajanma’ may be explained as ‘birth consisting in the form of learning the Veda.’

This, for the Brāhmaṇa, is eternally—ever—beneficial—‘here’ and ‘beneficial after death’ also.—(110)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

For the apparent inconsistency between this and the preceding verse, see note above.

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 305), in support of the view that the ‘Ācārya’ also, in certain cases, is superior to the Father and Mother;—and in Madanapārijāta (p. 32), which adds the following notes:—‘Brahmajanma’ means birth from Veda, i. e. Upanayana; ‘after death?—because it creates in the boy the capacity to attain all the good, even the Final Release,—as also ‘here’—by reason of creating the capacity to perform all religious rites,—it is ‘eternally’—the bringer about of lasting good.

Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 479) simply quotes the verse.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 97) in support of the view that the orders of the Teacher carry more weight than those of the Father;—it explains ‘brahmadaḥ’ as ‘the teacher’;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 93), which adds that ‘brahmadaḥ’ stands for the Ācārya, not the Upādhyāya, as is clear from the second line which means—‘because he gives that birth which serves the purpose of Vedic study, i.e. the Upanayana, he is superior.’

 

Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu-smṛti, 30.44.—(Reproduces Manu’s Words.)

Gautama-Dharmasūtra, 2.57.—‘Among elders the Ācārya is the highest.’

Vaśiṣṭha, 2.5.—‘They declare the Ācārya to be highest, because of his imparting the Veda.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra, 1.2.21.—‘The Father and Mother bring forth only the physical body.’

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