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:

जडमूकान्धबधिरांस्तैर्यग्योनान् वयोऽतिगान् ।
स्त्रीम्लेच्छव्याधितव्यङ्गान् मन्त्रकालेऽपसारयेत् ॥ १४९ ॥

jaḍamūkāndhabadhirāṃstairyagyonān vayo'tigān |
strīmleccavyādhitavyaṅgān mantrakāle'pasārayet || 149 ||

At the time of taking counsel, he shall send away the idiot, the dumb and the deaf, animals, very aged persons, women, foreigners, the sick and the maimed.—(149)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

When he is holding counsel, the King shall remove every kind of living being from the place; he shall send them all away from there, for fear of his secrets leaking out.

Among animals also, parrots and such others often disclose secrets; cows and horses also, under the influence of some magical art, have been heard to have their shape transformed and thereby made carriers of good and bad news; and we hear of such Kingly arts as those of making animals to disappear and so forth.

The ‘idiot’ and the rest being already included under the ‘maimed’, the separate mention of all these is analogous to the expression ‘go-balīvarda’ (where even though the balīvarda, ox, is included under the ‘go’, yet it is mentioned separately; and the ‘maimed’ have been mentioned separately with a view to preclude the notion being entertained that ‘the maimed person, being without bands and feet, cannot go out, he must stay locked up on, so that how could he divulge our secret?’

Or, the verse may mean that the persons specified shall not be made councillors, on account of the possibility of their intellect being defective,—and hence they should not be confided in either; so that it becomes necessary that they shall be sent away.—(149)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 309), which adds the following notes:—‘Jaḍa’ is ‘one who is devoid of intelligence, idiot,’—‘tairyagyonāḥ’,—‘parrots, starlings and the like,’—‘vayotigāhi,’ ‘very old persons,’—‘Mleccha’, stands for ‘persons whose language is not intelligible’;—for ‘Mleccho’, another reading is ‘klībo.’

It is quoted in Rājanītiratnākara (p. 22b).

 

Comparative notes by various authors

Agnipurāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 308).—‘Secret counsel is divulged by women and dishonoured persons.’

Mahābhārata (Do., p. 310).—‘The following are the ways by which secret counsel becomes divulged,—hence one who is desirous of continued prosperity should guard against these—intoxication, sleep, ill-treatment, appearance, trust in wicked councillors and inept ambassador.’

Viṣṇudharmottara (Do.)—‘The king shall never hold counsel with illiterate or untrustworthy or unrighteous persons.’

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