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:

देवदानवगन्धर्वा रक्षांसि पतगोरगाः ।
तेऽपि भोगाय कल्पन्ते दण्डेनैव निपीडिताः ॥ २३ ॥

devadānavagandharvā rakṣāṃsi patagoragāḥ |
te'pi bhogāya kalpante daṇḍenaiva nipīḍitāḥ || 23 ||

It is only when pressed by Punishment that Devas, Dānavas, Gandharvas, Rākṣasas, Birds and Reptiles subserve the experiences (of others).—(23).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

‘Devas’—i.e., the God of Rain, of Wind, the Sun and so forth.

Subserve the experiences’—e.g., by periodic heat, cold and rain, help in the development of the herbs and so forth.

All this is due to their being afraid of being punished. If it were not so, why should the Sun and the Moon, or Brahmā and the God of Rain, not swerve from their appointed task? If the Sun were not under some such control, he might not rise at all for two or three days; from fear of punishment, however, he never transgresses the prescribed limits. Says the Śruti text—‘It is through fear that the Sun shines, it is through fear that the Moon shines, and it is through fear that Fire and Wind (function.)’

That the Dānavas and other evil spirits do not go on destroying the Universe all day and night, is due to the power of punishment. That the birds that adorn households—such as the parrot and the rest—do not take out the eyes of children,—that kites, crows, vultures and eagles do not devour the young children,—this also is due to the same cause.

Reptiles, serpents, abounding as they do, in anger and poison, do not all gather together and sting all living beings,—this also is due to the power of punishment.

For these reasons the text has provided this eulogy on punishment that, when even the extremely powerful gods and the rest, and the non-intelligent things also do not swerve from their appointed path, through fear of punishment,—what to say of human beings!

In this connection the ancients have quoted the following verse—‘Seeing the humble position of the wild Pāṭala -tree, and the flamboyant floral display of the Kutaja,—by this subversion of relation he laughed (thinking) that even the low-born strikes at an opening’. (?)—(23)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 286), which explains ‘bhogāya kalpante’ as ‘remain fixed on their path.’—It is quoted again on p. 292;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 263).


Comparative notes by various authors

Śukranīti (1.48, 49).—‘Even gods minister to the wants of him by whom the practice of sticking to one’s own Dharma is increased among men.’

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