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:

तस्माद् धर्मं यमिष्टेषु स व्यवस्येन्नराधिपः ।
अनिष्टं चाप्यनिष्टेषु तं धर्मं न विचालयेत् ॥ १३ ॥

tasmād dharmaṃ yamiṣṭeṣu sa vyavasyennarādhipaḥ |
aniṣṭaṃ cāpyaniṣṭeṣu taṃ dharmaṃ na vicālayet || 13 ||

For this reason no one should transgress that favourable decree which the King should ordain in favour of his favourites, or that unfavourable decree that he should ordain against those in his disfavour.—(13).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Because the King ‘contains within himself the splendour of all,’ therefore,—‘in favour of his favourites’— towards those ministers, priests and others who are in favour,—whenever in course of business, a ‘decree’— an ordinance, in consonance with Law and Custom—is ordained or issued by the King;—no one should transgress such a decree. Such a decree of the King’s should not be disobeyed; such a decree for instance us—‘To-day, the city should observe a holiday—there is a marriage in the minister’s house,—all men should be present there,—no animals shall be slaughtered to-day by the soldiers,—no birds are to be caught,—for so many days dancing girls shall be entertained by all wealthy men.’

Similarly ‘against those in disfavour’,—such a decree as—‘no one shall associate with this person,—no one should allow him to enter his house’.

When such decrees are issued by the King by the beat of drum etc. they shall not be transgressed. But the King has no power to control the ordinances pertaining to religions acts, such as. the Agnihotra and the like, of the orders and castes. Such control would be repugnant to other Smṛti texts; and the present text has its application, without offending against any Smṛti text, in cases indicated above.—(13).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 392);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 23), which adds the following notes:—Inasmuch as the king is the centre of all lustre and power, one should never transgress any lawful and fair commands that his majesty may issue in regard to his minister, priest or other favourites;—such commands for instance as—‘To-day should be observed by all the people as a day of rejoicing, there is a marriage in the minister’s house, all should be present there, butchers shall kill no animals today, no birds are to be caught, no debtors are to be imprisoned by their creditors’ and so forth [these in regard to the king’s favourites.]—Similarly in regard to one whom he dislikes, he may issue such orders as—‘none shall associate with him, he should not be permitted to enter any household,’ and so forth.—Such rules promulgated by the king should not be disobeyed. In regard to the performance of the Agnihotra and such religious acts, however, the king has no right to interfere at all.

This verse is quoted also in Rājanītiratnākara (p. 42b).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 7.3-13)

See Comparative notes for Verse 7.3.

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