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:

यदि न प्रणयेद् राजा दण्डं दण्ड्येष्वतन्द्रितः ।
शूले मत्स्यानिवापक्ष्यन् दुर्बलान् बलवत्तराः ॥ २० ॥

yadi na praṇayed rājā daṇḍaṃ daṇḍyeṣvatandritaḥ |
śūle matsyānivāpakṣyan durbalān balavattarāḥ || 20 ||

If the King did not untiringly mete out punishment to those that deserve punishment, the stronger would have boasted the weaker, like fish, on the spit;—(20)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

If punishment were not inflicted, then the ‘stronger’—i.e., those possessed of greater strength, or more energetic, or wieding (wielding?) weapons, or being larger in numbers—‘would have roasted the weaker, like fish, on the spit’;—i.e., just as fish are roasted on spit for food, so would the less powerful, be treated, by the more powerful, by suffering pecuniarily as well as physically, and also by being deprived of their wives and so forth.

For this reason the King should ‘untiringly’ punish those that deserve punishment; and he should not entertain any such notions as—‘How can I carry on an investigation into this matter,? I shall not punish any one at all.’—(20)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 648), which explains ‘daṇḍya’ as ‘one who deserves punishment’;—in Virāmitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 292),—and also on p. 284, where the following explanation is added:—Just as people eat fish after cooking it on the spit, so would the strong injure the weak and take away their riches and other belongings;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 263), which explains ‘daṇḍyeṣu’ as ‘those deserving punishment’.


Comparative notes by various authors

Śukranītī (1.129).—‘If the king is not a perfect guide, his subjects will get into trouble, as a boat without a helmsman sinks in the ocean.

Kāmandaka (1.10).—‘If a king does not lead his people to the path of rectitude, these are tossed about.’

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