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:

स सन्धार्यः प्रयत्नेन स्वर्गमक्षयमिच्छता ।
सुखं चेहेच्छताऽत्यन्तं योऽधार्यो दुर्बलेन्द्रियैः ॥ ७९ ॥

sa sandhāryaḥ prayatnena svargamakṣayamicchatā |
sukhaṃ cehecchatā'tyantaṃ yo'dhāryo durbalendriyaiḥ || 79 ||

That state, which cannot be maintained by men with weak organs, should be kept up with care by one desiring imperishable heaven and also undying happiness in this world.—(79)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

That state’—i.e., the Householder’s.

Should be kept up with care’— should be maintained by one who desires Heaven and one who is desirous of obtaining happiness in this world.

Atyantam,’ meaning ‘that of which there is no end,’ implies permanence.

‘This state, which cannot be maintained by men with weak organs.’

The sense is as follows:—For the Householder, intercourse with women, eating of rich food and such other luxuries are inevitable; but if one were to become unduly addicted to such sensuous objects, one would be incurring sin; hence it is said that ‘this has to be kept with greater care than the other states;’ specially as in the Householder’s state great restraint of the organs is called for; such for instance, as one should not have intercourse with one’s wife, except during ‘season,’ he should not have recourse to other people’s wives, he should eat only such food as has been left (after the offering to the gods and the feeding of guests). And Restraint, when the objects of enjoyment are within reach, is extremely difficult.

Imperishable heaven;’—by this it is not meant that the attainment of Heaven is the result of performing all the duties of the Householder; because, as a matter of fact, among the duties of the Householder some are compulsory (and as such not leading to any results), and for others other rewards have been mentioned. It is true that those acts in connection with which no rewards are mentioned are assumed to have their reward in the attainment of Heaven; but in the present context these duties only form subjects of reference; and hence, there would be no point in the specifying of any rewards in connection with them. Hence the phrase in question has to be taken merely as a reference to such desirable results as follow from the prescribed acts. Nor can the present text be taken as stating the desire for a definite result as constituting the occasion for the performance of certain fresh duties; because the same duties that have been prescribed as necessary throughout life might very well be spoken of as to be performed by one who is desirous of obtaining Heaven; specially as the mention of Heaven is clearly found to be on the same footing as ‘desiring happiness in this world,’ which is a reward that can have no connection with anything that is enjoined; for ‘happiness in this world’ can never be recognised as the reward of any religious act, specially as no particular form of happiness is specified; we do not find the happiness in any way specified as that proceeding from the acquisition of landed property, or of a son, and so forth. And if the happiness is not specified, it means the same thing as ‘Heaven.’ But Heaven cannot be said to beloug to ‘this world.’ Hence this phrase should be taken as referring to the experiencing of perceptible (physical) pleasures. Men in the other ‘states’ are without homes, living either under trees or in the house of other people; and as such they live uncomfortably. Hence the phrase ‘desiring happiness’ has to be taken as a mere reiterative reference. And, consequently, the former phrase, ‘desiring Heaven,’ also, standing on the same footing, has to be taken as a re-iterative reference.—(79)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Durbalendriyaiḥ’—‘Of uncontrolled organs’ (Govindarāja and Kullūka; not Medhātithi, to whom this explanation is wrongly attributed by Buhler and Burnell).

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