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...

Verse 7.63 [The Ambassador (dūta)]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

दूतं चैव प्रकुर्वीत सर्वशास्त्रविशारदम् ।
इङ्गिताकारचेष्टज्ञं शुचिं दक्षं कुलोद्गतम् ॥ ६३ ॥

dūtaṃ caiva prakurvīta sarvaśāstraviśāradam |
iṅgitākāraceṣṭajñaṃ śuciṃ dakṣaṃ kulodgatam || 63 ||

As ambassador he shall appoint one who is well versed in all the sciences, who understands hints, expressions and gestures, who is honest, expert and born of a noble family.—(63)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

For the Ambassador the further qualification is necessary,—that he should be able to understand ‘hints, expressions and gestures’. When the Ambassador goes to another king and the latter is deliberating with his ministers on questions of peace, there pass among them certain signs; for instance, the Ambassador is received with studied regard, he is confided in, his entire speeches are frequently praised. [All these he shall take note of.] But of unfavourable signs he shall take no notice.

Expressions’—bodily changes; such as dejected looks, paleness of the face, silence, heaving of sighs, long and hot;—such bodily changes indicate humility, and the clever ambassador infers from these that ‘the man has fallen in some dire calamity, that is why he is pale’. On the other hand, when the man talks glibly, his body wears a bloom, the face is happy,—it shows that he is pleased.

Honest’—in his dealings with women; (this is necessary) since it is through women that secrets generally become divulged and men fall into disgrace.—(63)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 188), which adds the following notes:—‘Sarvaśāstraviśāradam’, ‘expert in several sciences, scriptural as well as temporal’;—‘iṅgitam’, ‘words and accents indicative of people’s intentions’,—‘ākāraḥ’, ‘joyous or pale expression of the face, indicative of joy or grief’;—‘ceṣṭā’, ‘such actions as the throwing about of the arms and so forth, which are indicative of anger and other emotions’;—the man appointed should know all these.

This verse is quoted also in Vīramitrodaya (Lakṣaṇa, p. 225);—and in Rājanītiratnākara (p. 28b).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 7.63-64)

Matsya-purāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 180).—‘The ambassador should he one who is truthful, conversant with dialects, eloquent, capable of endurance, sweet of speech, possesses knowledge of countries and their divisions, as also of time and its divisions; he should be one who acquaints himself with places and things and reports what he knows to the king at the right time.’

Garuḍa-purāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 180).—‘Intelligent, thoughtful, capable of gauging.the minds of others, hard-hearted, truthful,—such should be the ambassador of the king.’

Mahābhārata (Vīramitrodaya-Lakṣaṇa, p. 226).—‘High-born, polite, eloquent, clever, sweet of speech, truthful, of bright complexion,—these seven qualities should mark out the ambassador.’

Viṣṇudharmottara (Vīramitrodaya-Lakṣaṇa, p. 226).—(Same as the Matsya-purāṇa above.)

Arthaśāstra (p. 78).—‘After having completed the consultation, he shall send out ambassadors. The ambassador should be endowed with all the qualities of the minister, if the entire business is to be confided to him; and if he is possessed of only three quarters of these qualities, only a part of the business shall be confided to him; and if he is possessed of only half of those qualities, then he shall only carry orders (without knowledge of the secrets).’

Kāmandaka (12.1).—‘Having previously held the necessary counsel, the wise king shall depute to the court of the monarch against whom he intends to march, an ambassador, confident of his special abilities,—his selection having been approved by the cabinet.’

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