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:

न चोत्पातनिमित्ताभ्यां न नक्षत्राङ्गविद्यया ।
नानुशासनवादाभ्यां भिक्षां लिप्सेत कर्हि चित् ॥ ५० ॥

na cotpātanimittābhyāṃ na nakṣatrāṅgavidyayā |
nānuśāsanavādābhyāṃ bhikṣāṃ lipseta karhi cit || 50 ||

He shall never obtain alms either by means of prodigies and portents, or by means of the science of astrology and palmistry, or by means of counsel and discussion.—(50)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Prodigies’—appearing in the heaven, in the atmosphere and on the earth, e.g., eclipess, the appearance of particular planets, the appearance of a comet, reddening of the atmosphere, earthquake and so forth. The man shall not go about describing the probable effects of these, for the purpose of obtaining alms.

Portents’—the evil effects of planetary aspects.

Science of astrology’— the science which enables one to say—‘To-day the moon is in the asterism of Kṛttikā, which is fit for starting on a journey and so forth.

Science of palmistry’— which describes the effect of marks in the palms and other parts of the body.

Counsel’— offering advice to the King and his subjects,—in such form as ‘It is right to act in this manner,—make peace with this King—declare war with that—why did you do this?—why don’t you do this?’

Discussion’— the urging of arguments in sheer arrogance, for and against certain doctrines in regard to which there is difference of opinion.—(50)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Nakṣatrāṅgavidyā’—‘Astrology and Palmistry’ (Medhātithi and Kullūka);—‘Astrology and the Science of Grammar and other Vedic Subsidiaries’ (Nārāyaṇa);—‘Astrology’ (Govindarāja).

Anuśāsana’—‘Offering advice’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja, Kullūka, and Rāghavānanda);—‘teaching of the Veda’ (Nārāyaṇa and Nandana).

Vāda’—‘Disputation’ (Medhātithi and Nārāyaṇa);—Exposition of the Śāstras’ (Govindarāja and Kullūka);—‘Science of Dialectics’ (Nandana and Rāghavānanda).

Buhler remarks—“This verse is historically important, as it shows that in ancient as in modern times, ascetics followed worldly pursuits and were the teachers and advisers of the people”.

This verse is quoted in Yatidharmasaṅgraha (p. 86).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (10.21).—‘Neither by explaining prodigies and omens, nor by skill in astrology and palmistry, nor by casuistry and expositions, shall he ever seek to obtain alms.’

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