Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

धनुःशराणां कर्ता च यश्चाग्रेदिधिषूपतिः ।
मित्रध्रुग् द्यूतवृत्तिश्च पुत्राचार्यस्तथैव च ॥ १६० ॥

dhanuḥśarāṇāṃ kartā ca yaścāgredidhiṣūpatiḥ |
mitradhrug dyūtavṛttiśca putrācāryastathaiva ca || 160 ||

The maker of bows and arrows, he whose wife dallies with another person and he who makes love to his brother’s widow, he who injures a friend, he who subsists by gambling and he who has his own son for his teacher.—(160)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

He who, as a professional artisan, makes bows and arrows.

Agredidhiṣūpatiḥ;’—the term ‘didhiṣū’ is connected both ways, like the single eye-ball of the crow operating in both sockets. Such a construction is permissible, because the text belongs to the category of a ‘snmṛti-śātra.’ Even (meaningless) lines and clods of earth are made to yield some meaning, in consideration of the requirements of Smṛtis; and they come out useful too. For this reason, the objection need not be raised as to how a single term occurring in the middle of a compound can be construed with two different terms. In fact. Gautama (15.16) has expressly prohibited both (The ‘agredidhiṣū’ and the ‘didhiṣūpati’), and this indicates the plausibility of the above construction; and the compound really contains two terms. Further, there is no such person as ‘agredidhiṣūpati.’ The definition of these two (‘agredidhiṣū and didhiṣūpatī’) will he supplied later on.

Who injures a friend’—who puts obstacles in a friend’s business.

Who subsists by gambling’—The man for whom gambling is the means of subsistence.

“Such a person has already been mentioned in the preceding verse.”

But the person who helps people to gamble (The ‘keeper of a gambling house, mentioned before) is not necessarily one who makes a living by it; in fact, it is one who himself does not know gambling, or who does not do it through fear of his elders; hut, being addicted to it as an amusement, he always makes others gamble; and it is for excluding this kind of man that we had the second ‘Kitava’ (in the preceding verse; the word ‘Kitava’ having been first included in verse 151).

Or, the term ‘dyūtavṛtti’ may stand for those who, without any money themselves, are constant dummy visitors at gambling places.

He whose son is his teacher; it is not possible for the son to be his father’s ‘ācārya’ in the real sense of this term.—(160)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Agredidhiṣūpatiḥ’—According to Medhātithi, this means (a) the ‘Didhiṣūpati’, i.e., one who makes love to his brother’s widow (according to 173 below)—and also (b) the ‘Agredidhisū’, i.e., the man whose wife dallies with another person (according to definition quoted by Medhātithi on 173). This interpretation is supported by Manu 3.173 (read with Prajāpati, quoted by Maskari Bhāṣya on Gautama sūtra 15.16), which adds to Manu 173, the further assertion saṃ caiva jīvato bhrātuḥ sa cāgredidhiṣūḥ samṛtaḥ, which would apply the name agredidhiṣū to that man whose wife dallies with his younger brother, during his own life-time. It may be remarked that Gautama (15.16) contains the compound agredidhiṣūpatididhiṣūpati; and it has been construed by the Maskari-bhāṣya to mean agredidhiṣū and didhiṣūpati (thus supporting Medhātithi); or (1) agredidhiṣūpati (husband of a girl who is married before her elder sister) and didhiṣūpati (husband of a girl whose younger sister is married before her).

Medhātithi does not resolve the compound, as Buhler puts it, into ‘agredidhiṣūpati’ and ‘didhiṣūpati’; in fact he actually denies that there is any such person as ‘agredidhiṣūpati’;—though it is difficult to see how this statement here by Medhātithi is to he reconciled with what he says under verse 173 below, that ‘the definition of Agredidhiṣūpati should be learnt from another Smṛti’,—and this definition is quoted as ‘if the brother is alive, the man is to be known as Agredidhiṣūpati; so that the Didhiṣūpati is the man making love to his dead brother’s wife’ (according to Manu 3.173), while Agredidhiṣūpati is one whose wife dallies with his younger brother during his own life-time.

Kullūka quotes Laugākṣi to the effect that ‘when the younger sister is married while the elder is still unmarried, the former is the Agredidhiṣū and the latter the didhiṣū’; and on the strength of this he would exclude ‘the husband of the younger sister marrying before her elder sister. But as rightly remarked by Buhler, this definition of Laugākṣi cannot be accepted in the interpretation of Manu who has himself (in verse 173) provided a totally different definition. It is interesting to note that the Maskaribhāṣya on Gautama (15.16) attributes to Manu the definition quoted by Kullūka as Laugākṣi’s.

Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, which quotes this text of Manu on p. 688, and explains it on p. 693) cites the verse quoted by Kullūka (from Laugākṣi), but attributes it to Devala, and explains the term ‘agredidhiṣūpati’ in the same manner as Kullūka.

Dyūtavṛttiḥ’—‘He who makes a living by gambling’ (Medhātithi, who does not explain the term to mean ‘one who makes others play for his profit’; also Nārāyaṇa and Nandana);—‘the keeper of a gambling-house’ (Govindarāja, Kullūka and Rāghavānanda).

Putrācāryaḥ’ is explained in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 694) as ‘akṣarapāṭhakaḥ’ the teacher of alphabets. So the status of the Primary School Teacher of ancient days was no better than that of their representatives at the present day!

This verse is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 481).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 3.150-166)

See Comparative notes for Verse 3.150.

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