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:

अर्थसम्पादनार्थं च पीड्यमानस्य शत्रुभिः ।
साधुषु व्यपदेशश्च द्विविधः संश्रयः स्मृतः ॥ १६८ ॥

arthasampādanārthaṃ ca pīḍyamānasya śatrubhiḥ |
sādhuṣu vyapadeśaśca dvividhaḥ saṃśrayaḥ smṛtaḥ || 168 ||

‘Seeking shelter’, with noble people, has been declared to be of two kinds:—(1) that which is done for the sake of accomplishing a useful purpose, when harassed by enemies, and (2) that in the form of a status.—(168)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

When a king is harassed by bis enemies, he seeks shelter, for the purpose of accomplishing some useful purpose.

The ‘purpose’ to be served is the ceasing of the harassment; and for the attaining of this purpose one should seek shelter with a powerful supporter; e.g. giving up his own territory he should go over to the realms of that supporter.

Status’.—Even though not actually harassed, he shall seek shelter with another king for the purpose of acquiring a status; that would save him from future harassment. The advantage that is secured is that he acquires a status in the eyes of men who realise that ‘he has got such and such a king for his protector, and hence cannot be harassed by others’. The ‘seeking shelter’ for the purpose of acquiring status has been called ‘status’, by regarding the two as co-ordinate.

Vyapadeśārtham’ is another reading, (‘for the purpose of acquiring status’).

In answer to the question—With whom should he seek shelter?—the text has added—‘with noble people’. Shelter should be sought with one of those kings that are noble, at whose hands no ill-treatment could be feared. The term ‘noble’ connotes such qualities as capacity to protect others from harassment, and so forth.—(168)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 326), as describing the two kinds of ‘Refuge’—(a) that taken for the purpose of regaining of what has been lost to. the enemy, and (b) that taken for the averting of future trouble.


Comparative notes by various authors

Kāmandaka (9.55).—‘When assaulted by a powerful adversary, a sovereign should seek shelter inside his forts, whence ho should make vigorous efforts, and, for his own liberation, invoke the assistance of another king more powerful than his assailant.’

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