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:

वेदमेव सदाऽभ्यस्येत् तपस्तप्यन् द्विजोत्तमः ।
वेदाभ्यासो हि विप्रस्य तपः परमिहौच्यते ॥ १६६ ॥

vedameva sadā'bhyasyet tapastapyan dvijottamaḥ |
vedābhyāso hi viprasya tapaḥ paramihaucyate || 166 ||

The best of Brāhmaṇas, desiring to acquire piety, should constantly repeat the Veda; because for the Brāhmaṇa, Veda-repeating is declared to be the highest penance on earth.—(100)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The repeating of the Text for the purpose of getting it up, which comes up as supplementary to the subject-matter of the context, is here re-iterated for the purpose of eulogising it, and not for enjoining it again.

The term ‘constantly’ refers to the time of study only.

The term ‘tapas,’ ‘piety,’ stands for fasting and such other bodily mortifications; but in the present context it denotes figuratively that spiritual faculty produced by the mortifications which consists in the capacity to grant boons and pronounce curses.—‘Tapasyan’ stands for ‘desiring to acquire’ the said piety by means of bodily mortifications; the root (in ‘tapasyan’) denoting the bodily sufferings undergone in the process of acquiring. The Parasmaipada ending (in ‘tapasyan’) is justified on the ground that the participle is not intended to have the force of the reflexive-passive (in which case alone the Ātmanepada ending would be necessary, by Pāṇini’s Sūtra 3.1.88).

The second half of the verse is a recommendatory reiteration, supplying the reason for what lias been asserted in the first half.

Whatever ‘penance’ there is on the Earth, the ‘repeating of Veda’ is superior to all. This is meant to eulogise the act as leading to results similar to those brought about by all the austerities.—(166)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 307) as eulogising Vedic study;—in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 509);—in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 128), to the effect that ‘Vedic study’ forms the best ‘austerity—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Saṃskāra, p. 46 b).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 165-166)

See Comparative notes for Verse 2.165.

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