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:

धर्मध्वजी सदा लुब्धश्छाद्मिको लोकदम्भकः ।
बैडालव्रतिको ज्ञेयो हिंस्रः सर्वाभिसन्धकः ॥ १९५ ॥

dharmadhvajī sadā lubdhaścādmiko lokadambhakaḥ |
baiḍālavratiko jñeyo hiṃsraḥ sarvābhisandhakaḥ
|| 195 ||

He who displays his flag of virtue, is ever covetous, a cheat and a hypocrite, intent on doing harm, and the traducer of all persons, is to be known as “one behaving like the cat.”—(195)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The two terms (‘viḍalavratika’ and ‘vakavratika’) are used figuratively, and the grounds of such figurative use being multifarious, that one is to be accepted, on the basis whereof the term may have been used in a certain case. And it is necessary to Ascertain this exactly, for the purpose of finding out definitely the exact import of the prohibition.

He for whom his virtue is like a flag. The compound is in accordance with Pāṇini 2. 1.56. It may also be taken as a Karmadhāraya compound, the meaning being ‘the virtuous flag.’ The term, ‘dharmadhvajī’ thus means, ‘he who has flag-like virtue,’ the word ending with the possessive affix ‘ṇini.’ This name is applied to the man who performs righteous acts only for the purpose of fame, and not because they are prescribed in the scriptures, i.e., the person who perforins righteous acts only in such places where people see them, and who advertises his righteousness by his own agents, for the purpose of making himself known as righteous, and hence succeeding in receiving gifts, etc.

Covetous,’— jealous and also miserly.

Hypocrite,’— the man who commits fraud on the people.

Cheat,’— he who behaves deceitfully. ‘Cheating’ is deceit. The person who is ostentatiously righteous, while in secret he steals what is guarded and makes known what should be kept secret, people think him to be a avirtuous man and, believing that a secret entrusted to him cannot leak out, convey to him some secret of theirs; and in the end, this secret becomes divulged to just that person from whom it was intended to be kept. This is a form of injuring others.

The traducer of all persons,’—he who cannot bear the good qualities of others, and hence calumniates them. ‘Abhisandhaka’ is formed according to Pāṇini 3. 1. 136, and then the reflexive ‘ka’ and ‘sarvābhisandhaka’ is a Genitive Tatpuruaṣa compound.

Such a person is to be known as ‘one who behaves like a cat’ a ‘viḍalavratika.’

At this place, some people read the following verse (in the text):—

When a man’s flag of virtue is ever raised, like Indra’s flag, and his sins are hidden,—this is the behaviour called “cat-like;” (195A)—and this states, in brief, what has been stated in the foregoing text (195).

The presence of even one of the qualities mentioned, marks out the man as one of cat-like behaviour; and that this is so is inferred from the verse just quoted. The clause, ‘whose sins are hidden,’ does not specifically mention any particular sin, and all the sins mentioned (in 195) are equally ‘sins;’ and thus, by means of these two verses, the same fact has been brought home to the pupils by the Teacher. Some of the pupils were taught the former verse (195) and some the present one (195A); both are equally authoritative. Thus then, when it is asserted that ‘Devadatta is one who is wearing the armlet and the ear-ring, with fat shoulders and full chest,’—where all the qualifications are recognised as collectively distinguishing Devadatta,—yet, in the case in question, each of the qualifications serves singly to distinguish the man of ‘cat-like behaviour.’—(195).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 170);—in Mitākṣarā (on 1.130);—and in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 364).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 4.195-199)

Viṣṇu (93.8-12).—[Same as Manu.]

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