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:

ज्यायांसमनयोर्विद्याद् यस्य स्यात्श्रोत्रियः पिता ।
मन्त्रसम्पूजनार्थं तु सत्कारमितरोऽर्हति ॥ १३७ ॥

jyāyāṃsamanayorvidyād yasya syātśrotriyaḥ pitā |
mantrasampūjanārthaṃ tu satkāramitaro'rhati || 137 ||

‘Of these two one should regard him as superior whose father is learned in the Veda; while the other deserves honour for the sake of the veneration due to the Veda.—(137)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Having raised the question as to which is superior of the two—one whose father is illiterate, but he himself is ‘thoroughly versed in the Veda,’ i.e., who has read the Veda along with the subsidiary sciences,—and the other whose father is thoroughly versed in the Veda, but he himself is illiterate,—the author now sets forth the established conclusion.

Of these two’—between one who is himself learned in the Veda, but his father is illiterate, and one who is himself illiterate, but his father is learned in the Veda—one should know him to be ‘superior’—more praiseworthy—who is himself illiterate, but his father is learned in the Veda.

The other...... for the sake of the veneration due to the Veda’—He is to be honoured, not because he is a Brāhmaṇa, but because he has learnt the Vedic Mantras, which have to be honoured; and since the honouring of the Veda has not been prescribed in connection with Śrāddhas, such a person does not deserve to be fed at these.

What the author does by means of these two verses, propounding us they do a question and its answer, is to indicate, through a laudatory description, that what entitles a man to eat at Śrāddhas is the fact of his father being learned in the Veda, and that of himself being learned in the Veda (the two combined). The mere fact of he himself being learned in the Veda, does not entitle him to the eating, nor the fact of his father being learned in the Veda, while he himself is illiterate.

It is with reference to this that it has been said above (in 130) that ‘one should examine the Brāhmaṇa from far off etc.;’ and the examination of ‘learning’ there mentioned refers to enquiries concerning the learning of both father and son; while those relating to caste and qualif ications, these have to be extended to higher ancestors also. And since it is this distinction that is sought to be brought out in this verse, it cannot be regarded as a needless repetition.—(137)

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