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:

स्वयङ्कृतश्च कार्यार्थमकाले काल एव वा ।
मित्रस्य चैवापकृते द्विविधो विग्रहः स्मृतः ॥ १६४ ॥

svayaṅkṛtaśca kāryārthamakāle kāla eva vā |
mitrasya caivāpakṛte dvividho vigrahaḥ smṛtaḥ || 164 ||

War has been declared to be of two kinds:—(1) that which is waged, in season or out of season, by oneself, for his own purpose, and (2) that which is waged on some wrong done to an ally.—(164)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The ‘season’ for the king himself declaring war is that time when he is full of confidence in his own strength and is imbued with courage for reducing his enemy, when his subjects are united and prosperous, fully endowed with the rewards of agriculture and other kinds of business, and ready to deprive the enemy of all this business,—and when the enemy’s subjects are in reduced circumstances and covetous, and as such easily capable of being alienated from him and won over to the other side,—this is the ‘season’ for war to be waged by the king himself. And it is ‘out of season’ when conditions are the reverse of this.

Further, war is also waged, by reason of some wrong inflicted on one’s ally. If the enemy has done some injury to his ally, then, taking this into consideration, the king shall wage war, even though it be out of season. Though he himself may be an ally of the injured king only in the sense that he is the neighbour of the king who has inflicted the wrong (and from whom he himself might expert an attack), yet, with the help of the ally (whose injury he is going to avenge) he would be able to check that enemy. It is true that the enemy’s neighbour is his ally; but the enemy’s enemy has his realm further removed.

Another reading is ‘mitreṇa caivāpdkṛte’; which means that if the king happens to be attacked by his ally, he may wage this war even out of season.

The two kinds of war thus are—(l) that waged for one’s own sake, and (2) that waged for the sake of the ally; or one kind of war is that which is prompted by one’s own prosperity, and another kind is that which is waged when one has been wronged by his ally and is on that account, in trouble.—(164)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Akāle’—This is taken by Medhātithi with the second clause and by Govindarāja with the first.

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 325) to the effect that ‘war’ is of two kinds—(1) That undertaken for some special purpose of one’s own—this being done either in the proper season, such as during the months of November or December, or even out of season; and (2) that undertaken for helping an ally who has been attacked by an enemy.


Comparative notes by various authors

Kāmandaka (10.16-19).—‘Hostilities are of five kinds—(1) produced by rivalry, (2) caused by dispute about lands, (3) caused by women, (4) caused by irresponsible spies, (5) caused by some transgression on the part of one party... Men recognise only two kinds: Hereditary and that caused by some transgression.’

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