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...

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

गिरिपृष्ठं समारुह्य प्रासादं वा रहोगतः ।
अरण्ये निःशलाके वा मन्त्रयेदविभावितः ॥ १४७ ॥

giripṛṣṭhaṃ samāruhya prāsādaṃ vā rahogataḥ |
araṇye niḥśalāke vā mantrayedavibhāvitaḥ || 147 ||

Having ascended the top of a hill, or a house, and retiring into solitude,—or in a desolate forst he shall hold counsel, unobserved.—(147)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This lays down the place where the council is to be held. ‘Retiring into solitude’— seated in a place where there are no men.

Unobserved’;—he shall arrange it so that men may not be able to infer that such and such a thing is going on there.

Desolate’, ‘niśśalākam’,—‘śalakā’ is tall grass hence the epithet means a place where even grass does not grow, and hence there is no possibility of any person going there.—(147)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Niḥśalāke’—‘Free from grass or such other places of concealment.’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja and Nandana);—‘solitary’ (Kullūka, Nārāyaṇa and Rāghavānanda).

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 410);—in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 159) as laying down the place for holding the Council; it explains ‘Niḥśalāke’ as ‘solitary place;’—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Saṃskāra, p. 72b);—and in Rājanītiratnākara (p. 22a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 7.147-148)

Yājñavalkya (1.313).—‘Kingship is based upon counsel; hence counsel should be always so guarded as people may not know of it till it has borne fruit.’

Agnipurāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 308).—‘The king shall keep his counsel well-guarded; since from unguarded counsel follow troubles; secret counsel is divulged by women and dishonoured persons.’

Viṣṇudharmottara (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 309).—‘The king should always keep his counsel hidden; if he cannot keep it hidden he shall surely fall into trouble. That king alone has the whole earth under his power, whose acts are known only when they have been completed, and never when they have only been begun. Kingship is based upon counsel; hence counsel should be always kept well-guarded by kings.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 71).—‘The place for bolding counsel should be hidden, from where no sound can escape and which shall not be visible even to birds. None should enter it unless permitted by the king.

Arthaśāstra (p. 73).—‘The followers of Parāśara have held that the best way of obtaining advice and yet keeping the project secret is to place before the ministers not the actual project, but a hypothetical case somewhat similar to it.—This is denied by Piśuna on the ground that if questioned in regard to irrelevant issues, the councillors would offer opinions without due consideration and to blab about it; therefore the king shall hold counsel with only those councillors who may be known as experts in the matter under consideration.—This also is not right, says Kauṭilya; as in this case the number of councillors will have to be endless; the king shall therefore hold counsel only with three or four councillors. If only one were consulted he would talk without any restraint, and the right conclusion would not be arrived at;—if two only were consulted, there would be chances of collusion between them and the king might he placed in a difficult situation. These dangers would he avoided by consulting three or four men.’

Kāmandaka (11.72).—‘The king should hold counsel in a place on the roof of his palace,—or in a forest, where there are no pillars, no windows and no nook or corner. He should also see that he is not watched by any one.’

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