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:

यक्ष्मी च पशुपालश्च परिवेत्ता निराकृतिः ।
ब्रह्मद्विष्परिवित्तिश्च गणाभ्यन्तर एव च ॥ १५४ ॥

yakṣmī ca paśupālaśca parivettā nirākṛtiḥ |
brahmadviṣparivittiśca gaṇābhyantara eva ca || 154 ||

The invalid, the cattle-tender, one who has superseded h is elder brother, he who neglects the Great Sacrifices, one who is inimical to Brāhmaṇas, he who has been superseded by his younger brother, and one who is member of a company.—(154)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘yakṣmī’ stands here for the invalid in general. Some peope take it as standing for one suffering from consumption.

Cattle-tender’— he who, stick in hand, tends cattle as a profession.

Nirākṛti,’ ‘who neglects the Great Sacrifices,’—one who, though entitled to perform the Great Sacrifices, fails, to perform them. Even now-a-days, one who fails to perform the Great Sacrifices, and is, on that account, regarded as incapable of being served,’ is called ‘Nirākṛti.’ Thus we read in the Śatapatha—‘ one who worships neither gods, nor ancestors nor men.’

Some people quote the definition that—‘the man devoid of Vedic study, learning and wealth is called Nirākṛti;’ but these people are ignorant of the right meaning of words; because the person mentioned in this definition can have no connection with the present context, which deals exclusively with ‘persons learned in the Veda.’ If the term ‘Nirākṛti’ is taken iii the sense of ‘the derider, Nirākartā, of gods, etc.,’ then there is. some compatibility with the literal signification of the root; and even though the term ends with the abstract affix, ‘ktin,’ and as such is an abstract noun denoting a quality, yet its use in the sense of the person having that quality may be justified on the principle that there is no difference between the quality and one possessing the quality.

Then again, the root in the term ‘Nirākṛti,’ when preceded by ‘ni,’ signifies exclusion: people who are excluded are said to be ‘Nirākṛta;’ as we find in such expressions as ‘Nirākṛta, excluded, from dinner,’ ‘Nirākṛta, excluded, from title,’ and so forth. Thus non-exclusion would be ‘ākrti,’ ‘invitation;’ and one from whom this has been set aside, would be ‘Nirākṛti.’

Further, ‘ākṛti’ also means configuration; the prefix ‘ni’ having the sense of reprehensibilty, the term may be taken as excluding the ill-figured person. It has been declared that (one should feed) ‘one who is endowed with speech, beauty, age and diameter:’ here ‘endowed with speech’ means eloquent, of powerful speech; but the man who is garrulous should not be fed; ‘endowed with beauty’ means having a beautiful body and limbs; ‘endowed with age’ means what Gautama (15.10) has said in regard to ‘the feeding of older men before youths,’

Lastly, the term ‘Nirākṛti’ may be taken as ending in ‘ktich,’ and being a proper name,

One who is inimical to Brahman’—one who hates Brāhmaṇas, or the Veda; the term ‘Brahman’ denoting both (Brāhmaṇa and Veda); when, for instance, it is said that ‘the Brāhmaṇa also is called Brahman.’

Company’—corporation; those, who subsist conjointly upon one means of livelihood, are spoken of by the name ‘com pany;’ and those Brāhmaṇas who are members of such a company.

One who has superseded his elder brother’ and ‘one who has been superseded by his younger brother’—these are going to be described later on.—(154)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Yakṣmī’—‘Invalid in general, or (according to ‘others’) one suffering from consumption’ (Medhātithi, who has favoured the latter explanation on p. 159 of the text).

Nirākṛtiḥ’—‘One who omits the Great Sacrifices, even though entitled to their performance’ (Medhātithi, Kullūka and Rāghavānanda);—‘one who forsakes the Vedas’ (Govindarāja);—‘one who does not recite the Veda, or has forgotten it’ (Nārāyaṇa and Nandana).

Gaṇābhyantaraḥ’—‘A member of a corporation of men subsisting conjointly upon one means of livelihood’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa);—‘the headman of a village, or leader of a caravan’ (added by Nārāyaṇa);—‘one who misappropriates the money of a corporation’ (Kullūka and Rāghavānanda).

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 560), which explains ‘paśupālaḥ’ as ‘one who tends cattle as a means of living’,—‘Nirākṛtiḥ’ as ‘atheist,’—and ‘gaṇābhyantaraḥ’ as ‘a Brāhmaṇa who is a member of a Maṭha, a religious corporation.’

Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 687), which adds (on p. 690) the following notes:—The ‘yakṣmī’ is the ‘consumptive’;—the ‘cattle-tender’ meant to be excluded is one who does the work even in normal times,—the ‘parivettā’ is the younger brother who takes a wife or sets up the fire, before his elder brother; and ‘Parivitti’ is the elder brother thus superseded,—the ‘elder brother’ here meant being the ‘uterine brother’, as there is nothing wrong in the ‘superseding’ of other kinds of brothers; though, under certain circumstances, the ‘superseding’ of the elder uterine brother also is not considered wrong; e. g., when the brother happens to be impotent, or away in foreign lands, or become an outcaste, or turn an ascetic, or entirely given to yogic practices, and as such has renounced the world, and so forth;—the ‘nirākṛti’ is one who, having read the Veda, has forgotten it’;—and the ‘gaṇābhyantara’ is ‘one who is a member of a group of men belonging to various castes and engaged in uncertain ways of living.’

It is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 481);—and in Śrāddhakriyākaumudī (p. 40), which explains ‘yakṣmī’ as ‘one suffering from consumption’ and ‘nirākṛtiḥ’ as ‘one who does not perform the Five Daily Sacrifices,’—and ‘gaṇābhyantaraḥ’ as ‘one who makes a living by a temple dedicated to the public.’


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 3.150-166)

See Comparative notes for Verse 3.150.

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