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:

विप्राणां ज्ञानतो ज्यैष्ठ्यं क्षत्रियाणां तु वीर्यतः ।
वैश्यानां धान्यधनतः शूद्राणामेव जन्मतः ॥ १५५ ॥

viprāṇāṃ jñānato jyaiṣṭhyaṃ kṣatriyāṇāṃ tu vīryataḥ |
vaiśyānāṃ dhānyadhanataḥ śūdrāṇāmeva janmataḥ || 155 ||

Among Brāhmaṇas seniority is by knowledge; among Kṣatriyas by valour; and among Vaiśyas by grains and riches; among Shudras alone it is by age.—(155)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This also is a purely commendatory description.

It has been asserted above that knowledge singly is superior to wealth and other things taken together; and the same idea is re-iterated in greater detail, in this verse.

Among Brāhmaṇas, seniority is by knowledge’—not by wealth, etc.

Among Kṣatriyas by valour’;—‘va lour’ stands for the ‘efficiency’ of a substance and also for ‘firmness of strength.’

Among Vaiśyas by grains and riches’;—‘grains’ being mentioned separately, the term ‘riches’ is to be taken as signifying gold, etc.; just as in the expression ‘brāhamaṇa-pariv rājaka.’ [Where the Brāhmaṇa being mentioned separately, the term ‘parivrājaka’ is taken as standing for the renunciate of other castes.]

The Vaiśya possessing a large quantity of wealth is regarded as senior.

The affiix ‘tasi’ (in the words ‘jñānataḥ,’ etc.) denotes cause, and is used in accordance with Pāṇini 2.3.23.—(155)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vidhānapārijāta II (p. 233);—in Madanapārijāta (p. 32);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 480).

Medhātithi (P. 145,1.16)—‘Brāhmaṇaparivrājakavat’—This maxim is generally cited in cases where an object whose character has become modified is spoken of by a name connotative of its former condition. For instance, when a Brāhmaṇa has become a ‘wandering mendicant’, he is called ‘Brāhmaṇa-mendicant’, in consideration of his past Brahmaṇahood. In the present context however the maxim is used in the sense that where one uses the term ‘Brāhmaṇaparivrājaka’, the Brāhmaṇa being already spoken of by name, the term


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu, 32-18.—(Reproduces Manu.)

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