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:

तस्य सर्वाणि भूतानि स्थावराणि चराणि च ।
भयाद् भोगाय कल्पन्ते स्वधर्मात्न चलन्ति च ॥ १५ ॥

tasya sarvāṇi bhūtāni sthāvarāṇi carāṇi ca |
bhayād bhogāya kalpante svadharmātna calanti ca || 15 ||

It is through fear of him that all living beings, movable as well as immovable, go to subserve the experiences (of men) and do not swerve from their duties.—(15)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Through fear of him.’—As mere relationship in general is meant to be expressed (and Punishment is not meant to be spoken of as the actual source of fear), we have the Genitive (and not the Ablative) ending in ‘tasya’. It is through fear of Punishment that immovable beings Subserve (lie experiences of men—become capable of helping in their enjoyment, by means of flowers, fruits, shade and so forth. The immovable being (tree) that does not bear fruit either dries up: or if it does not dry up, it spreads all over the place and is cut up and made into coal.

By citing the case of the ‘immovable things’ it is meant that such should be the treatment meted out to the person who is found to be deserving of punishment on account of his having done something wrong to the King; that he should he punished with cutting, uprooting (total destruction) and the like.

The mention of the ‘immovable beings’ is for the purpose of eulogising, by its example, the Punishment; the sense being ‘Punishment is such a thing that it is inflicted even upon immovable things, what to say of movable ones?’—and it is not meant that Punishment is actually inflicted upon immovable things.

Do not swerve from their duty’—i.e., they do not flower or fruit out of their proper season.—(15).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Bhogāya kalpante’—‘Become capable of providing enjoyment’ (Medhātithi);—‘are enabled to enjoy’ (Kullūka).

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 646);—in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 284), which adds the following notes:—‘Tasya’, ‘of the punishment;’—Question: “Punishment, a source of fear, should have ended in the Ablative”.—The answer to this is that all that is meant to be expressed is relationship in general (and not the fact of being a source of fear); that is why we have the Genitive.—It is quoted again on p. 292;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 261).


Comparative notes by various authors

Yājñavalkya (1.352).—‘The king, having acquired the kingdom, should inflict punishment upon ill-behaved persons.’

Matsya-purāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 284).—‘Those persons who are not subjugated through the first three means,—the king shall subjugate by means of punishment; punishment being the most effective means of bringing men under control.’

Matsya-purāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 286).—‘It is only through fear of punishment that wicked men abstain from committing offences.’

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