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:

ब्राह्मं प्राप्तेन संस्कारं क्षत्रियेण यथाविधि ।
सर्वस्यास्य यथान्यायं कर्तव्यं परिरक्षणम् ॥ २ ॥

brāhmaṃ prāptena saṃskāraṃ kṣatriyeṇa yathāvidhi |
sarvasyāsya yathānyāyaṃ kartavyaṃ parirakṣaṇam || 2 ||

The protection of all this shall be done according to law, by the Kṣatriya who has received the Vedic training in due form.—(2).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Brahma’ is Veda; the ‘training under gone according to the Veda is called ‘brāhma’ ‘Vedic’; that which consists in the learning of the meaning of the texts by studying the Veda, and which is accomplished in obedience to the injunction of Vedic study. The Initiatory Ceremony also is rightly called ‘Vedic’, in view of the fact that it is gone through for the purpose of getting up the Veda; as the author is going to say later on (verse 43)—‘From persons learned in the three Sciences he shall learn the Three-Fold science etc’. If this (learning the meaning of the Vedic texts) were not meant by the present verse, then it would he asserting what is already known; as in that case the ‘sacrament’ could only stand for the forty-eight ‘sacramental rites’ laid down in the Smṛtis, beginning with ‘Conception’ and ending with the ‘Final Sacrifice’.

By the Kṣatriya.’—This indicates that the Kṣatriya alone is entitled to Kingship. In the absence of the Kṣatriya however, a substitute also may be accepted; otherwise the people would become exterminated (for want of a protector). Such is the sense of the text.

Of all’—who pay taxes, as well as those who are poor and helpless.

This’;—this refers to the people living in his kingdom, in villages as well in cities.

According to law’.—‘Law’ stands for the scriptures, specially the scriptures dealing with ‘Dharma’ or Duty, and not those relating to ‘Artha’ or ‘Policy’ and composed by Auśanas and other writers. ‘According to this’—i.e., not acting contrary to it.

Protection’—Guarding; i.e., removing troubles, guarding the weak against the strong, and seeing that they do not act against the law. ‘Protection’ means saving from trouble; the transgressing of law brings impercepible trouble; s o that when people do not transgress it, they become saved from that trouble, by the King. It might be argued that the punishment inflicted by the King (for transgressions of the law) is also painful. But the pain caused by such punishment would be infinitesimal, as compared with the terrible sufferings undergone in hell.

Shall be done’;—this is the Injunction.

What prompts and entitles the King to do all this is explained in Discourse VIII—(2)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Saṃskāram’—‘Upanayana, Initiation’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja, Kullūka and Nārāyaṇa);—‘Sacrament of Coronation’ (Nandana).

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 11), in support of the view that it is the Kṣatriya alone whose function it is to protect the people; and it adds the following notes:—‘Brahma’ is Veda; and the ‘saṃskāra,’ ‘embellishment,’ ‘aptitude,’ brought about by the learning, proper study and due understanding of the Veda is called ‘brāhma’)—or the ‘saṃskāra’ ‘initiation,’ which is undergone for the purpose of learning the ‘Brahma’ or Veda, is called the ‘brāhma saṃskāra,’ i.e., the Upanayana;—‘yathāvidhi’ means ‘in accordance with the scriptures;’—this is an adverb modifying ‘prāptena’; ‘yathānyāyam’ means ‘in strict accordance with the law relating to the infliction of punishment, going to be set forth below’;—‘parirakṣaṇam,’ ‘guarding the weak against oppression by the strong.’ This verse shows that the function of Kingship belongs primarily to the Kṣatriya.

It is quoted in Nītimayūkha (p. 1), which explains ‘brāhmam saṃskāram’ as ‘the anointing done by the Brāhmaṇas.’


Comparative notes by various authors

Mārkaṇḍeya-purāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 12).—‘Making gifts, study, sacrifice,—these constitute the threefold duty of the Kṣatriya; protecting the people and fighting constitute his livelihood.’

Yājñavalkya (Do.).—‘Protecting of the people is the principal duty of the Kṣatriya.’

Parāśara (1.61).—‘The Kṣatriya wielding weapons and protecting people, having defeated the armies of the enemy, shall protect the earth according to law.’

Mahābhārata-Śānti (Parāśaramādhava-Āchâra, p. OíiO).—‘The protecting of the people is the highest duty of kings. The king is the protector of all castes and orders; he should protect his people and direct them to devote themselves to their own respective duties.’

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