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:

धृतिः क्षमा दमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः ।
धीर्विद्या सत्यमक्रोधो दशकं धर्मलक्षणम् ॥ ९२ ॥

dhṛtiḥ kṣamā damo'steyaṃ śaucamindriyanigrahaḥ |
dhīrvidyā satyamakrodho daśakaṃ dharmalakṣaṇam || 92 ||

(1) Steadiness (2) Forgiveness, (3) Self-control, (4) Abstention from unrighteous appropriation, (5) Purity, (6) Control of the Sense-organs, (7) Discrimination, (8) Knowledge, (9) Truthfulness, and (10) Absence of anger,—these are the ten-fold forms of duty.—(92)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Steadiness and the rest are qualities of the Soul.

(1) ‘Steadiness’—the feeling of contentment even at the loss of property and such things; expressed by such feelings as ‘if it has been lost, what does it matter? It can be acquired again.’ Similarly at separation from a beloved person, the man regains former equanimity by thinking that ‘such is the way of the world.’

(2) ‘Forgiveness’— the excusing of wrongs committed; not seeking to do injury to a person in return for an injury that might have been done by him.

(3) ‘Self-control’—absence of haughtiness, renouncing of pride due to superior learning &c.

(4) ‘Absention from unrighteous appropriation’:—this is well known.

(5) ‘Purity’—cleanliness of food etc.

(6) ‘Control of the Sense-organs’—not allowing them to be drawn even towards unforbidden things.

(7) ‘Discrimination’—true knowledge, following upon the refutation of all doubtful and contrary views.

(8) ‘Knowledge’ of the Soul. The difference between ‘discrimination’ and ‘knowledge’ is that the former refers to Acts, and the latter to the Soul.

In view of this tautology, some people read ‘Dhīvidyā’ (wise discrimination). But this is not right; specially as we have explained the difference between the two.

The rest are well known.

Absence of anger’ is not permitting anger to arise when there is an occasion for it, and ‘forgiveness’ is not doing harm to others even when they may have done harm to one.—(92).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(verses 6.87-93)

See Comparative notes for Verse 6.87.

(verse 6.92)

Dhṛtiḥ’—‘Fortitude, calmness even on the loss of wealth and such other calamities’;—‘firmness of purpose in the discharge of duties’ (Nārāyaṇa and Nandana).

Damaḥ’—‘Humility’ (Medhātithi);—‘patience under sufferings’ (Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa);—‘subjugation of the mind’ (Kullūka and Rāghavānanda).

Dhīḥ’—‘True knowledge, free from doubts and errors (Medhātithi and Govindarāja);—‘knowledge of the true meaning of the śāstras’ (Kullūka and Rāghvānanda);—Nārāyaṇa and Nandana, reading ‘hrīḥ’, explain it as ‘modesty’.

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 972), which explains ‘śaucam’ as ‘purity of mind and body’,—‘dhīḥ’ as ‘discrimination of right and wrong’,—‘dhṛtiḥ’ as ‘keeping the mind from going astray’,—‘damaḥ’ as ‘controlling of the mind by means of the Kṛcchra and other austerties’. It adds that this verse enumerates the duties common to all the four orders;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Saṃskāra, p. 16a);—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 13), which has the following notes;—‘Dhṛti’, firmness,—‘kṣamā’ is nonperturbation of the mind even when wronged,—‘dama’ is control of the ‘mind’,—‘asteya’ is non-appropriation of what is not given,—‘śauca’ is cleanliness, both internal and external,—‘indriyanigraha’ is keeping the senses from all forbidden objects,—‘hrī’ (which is its reading for ‘dhī’) is cessation from improper acts,—‘vidyā’ is self-knowledge—‘satya’ is saying what is true, which should be agreeable also,—‘akrodha’ is freedom from anger.


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (10.30).—‘To avoid backbiting, jealousy, pride, self-consciousness, unbelief, dishonesty, self-praise, blaming others, deceit, covetousness, delusion, anger, and envy is considered to be the duty of all orders.’

Yājñavalkya (3.66).—‘Truthfulness, abstention from unrighteous appropriation and anger, modesty, purity, discrimination, steadiness, self-control, control over sense-organs and learning—these have been declared to be universal dharma.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 30).—‘To all men—desisting from injuring others, truthfulness, purity, freedom from jealousy and cruelty and forgiveness.’

Kāmandaka (3.34-36).—‘Not to find no fault with others, to observe his own duties, to show compassion for the distressed, to address sweet words to all, to save friends even at the cost of his life, to welcome enemies coming to the house, to practise charity commensurate with his resources, to be against sufferings, to conciliate estranged friends, to treat kindly and obey the wishes of all relations,—these are the characteristics of the high-minded.’

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