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:

राज्ञो महात्मिके स्थाने सद्यःशौचं विधीयते ।
प्रजानां परिरक्षार्थमासनं चात्र कारणम् ॥ ९३ ॥

rājño mahātmike sthāne sadyaḥśaucaṃ vidhīyate |
prajānāṃ parirakṣārthamāsanaṃ cātra kāraṇam || 93 ||

Immediate purification has been ordained for the king on the majestic throne; and the reason for this lies in his occupying that position for the protection of the people.—(93).

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Majestic’—i.e., that seat whose character is grand, glorious; this ‘majesty’ consists in the fact that it is seated upon this throne that the man is enable to carry on the work of protecting the people; and herein lies his sovereignty over men. This is what is meant by the clause—‘and the reason for this lies in his occupying that position’; and what this means is that mere caste does not entitle the man to the consideration that the rule implies; what entitles him to it is his work of protecting the people. The term ‘āsana’, ‘position,’ also does not mean here a seat or a couch; it stands for the duties incumbent upon one who takes his seat upon it. It is for this reason that the older writers have explained the present rule to mean that there is no impurity in the case of any person who is capable of protecting the people, even if he be a non-Kṣatriya by caste.

For the purpose of protecting the people.’—The meaning of this is that all the observances relating to impurity are not to cease, but only those that would be incompatible with the proper fulfilment of his duty of protecting the people; for example, the giving of food-grains out of his granary during times of scarcity, and so forth, the performance of rites for the allaying of celestial, atmospheric and terrestrial portents. Further, it becomes incumbent upon the king to attend to such business as may be brought up suddenly by gentlemen; or, when it becomes necessary for him to speak out for the purpose of settling disputes and religious doubts that may arise among twice-born persons in the higher stages of life.—(93).

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 94 of others.)

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.27), in support of the view, that the rule that ‘no impurity attaches to the king’ holds only with regard to such acts of making gifts, receiving and honouring people and hearing suits as are essential for the safety of the people; and it does not apply to the performance of the ‘Five Great Sacrifices’ and other religious acts.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 616);—in Śuddhikaumudī (p. 70), which explains ‘māhātmika sthāna’ as the seat of judgement, in connection with which there can be no impurity;—and in Hāralatā (p. 110) which explains the meaning to be ‘for the king who is occupying the position of God, the Lord of all things’, ‘māhātmikasthāna’, there is immediate purification,—not so for one who has lost his kingdom; as the ground for the immediate cessation of impurity lies in the fact that he occupies the judgment seat when he comes to the work of administering justice and protecting the people.’

 

Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (19.47).—(Same as Manu.)

(See above for other texts.)

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