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...

Verse 8.4-7 [The Eighteen Heads of Dispute enumerated]

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

तेषामाद्यं ऋणादानं निक्षेपोऽस्वामिविक्रयः ।
सम्भूय च समुत्थानं दत्तस्यानपकर्म च ॥ ४ ॥
वेतनस्यैव चादानं संविदश्च व्यतिक्रमः ।
क्रयविक्रयानुशयो विवादः स्वामिपालयोः ॥ ५ ॥
सीमाविवादधर्मश्च पारुष्ये दण्डवाचिके ।
स्तेयं च साहसं चैव स्त्रीसङ्ग्रहणमेव च ॥ ६ ॥
स्त्रीपुन्धर्मो विभागश्च द्यूतमाह्वय एव च ।
पदान्यष्टादशैतानि व्यवहारस्थिताविह ॥ ७ ॥

teṣāmādyaṃ ṛṇādānaṃ nikṣepo'svāmivikrayaḥ |
sambhūya ca samutthānaṃ dattasyānapakarma ca || 4 ||
vetanasyaiva cādānaṃ saṃvidaśca vyatikramaḥ |
krayavikrayānuśayo vivādaḥ svāmipālayoḥ || 5 ||
sīmāvivādadharmaśca pāruṣye daṇḍavācike |
steyaṃ ca sāhasaṃ caiva strīsaṅgrahaṇameva ca || 6 ||
strīpundharmo vibhāgaśca dyūtamāhvaya eva ca |
padānyaṣṭādaśaitāni vyavahārasthitāviha || 7 ||

Of these the first is (1) Non-payment of Debt; (then) (2) Deposits, (3) Selling without ownership, (4) Joint concerns, (5) Non-delivery of what has been given away,—[4]—(6) Non-payment of wages, (7) Breach of Contract, (8) Recision of Sale and Purchase, (9) Dispute between the Owner and the Keeper,—[5]—(10) Disputes regarding Boundaries, (11) and (12) Assault, physical and verbal, (13) Theft, (14) Violence, (15) Adultery,—[6]—(16) Duties of man and wife, (17) Partition, and (18) Gambling and Betting;—these are the eighteen topics that form the basis of law-suits.—(4-7)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

(verses 8.4-7)

‘Non-payment of debt’ is regarded as ‘first,’ foremost, only by reason of the order in which the several heads are found mentioned in the law-books. Or ‘first’ may mean ‘the most important,’—its ‘importance’ lying in the fact that it affects even those who live in the forests.

Connected with the ‘non-payment of debt’ is also the subject of the ‘non-granting of the acquittance-receipt’; when, for instance, the debtor says to the creditor ‘I have repaid your debt, now let me have the acquittance receipt.’ This ‘nongranting of the acquittance-receipt’ is not the same as the ‘non-payment of debt’; but though not directly denoted by that term, it is implied by it.

What are included under the head of ‘non-payment of debt’ are thus enumerated (by Nārada, 3.17)—‘What debt is payable and what non-payable,—when, how and to what extent?—as also the methods of delivery and receipt.’

Now ‘payable debt’ is that contracted by one’s self, that, contracted by his father, and by one whose property he inherits.

‘Non-payable debt’ is that contracted by one’s self, if (along with the interest) it exceeds the double of the principal, or that contracted by his father in gambling, etc.,’ as declared in the text—‘That contracted by the son, or husband or father, etc.’ (Says Nārada, 3.17)—‘A woman may not pay the debt contracted by her husband, or by her son, unless she has promised to pay it, or if the debt he one contracted by her jointly with her husband.’ Though all this is included under ‘payable debt,’ yet when it happens to be such as is contracted in gambling, etc., then by itself, irrespective of all other peculiar circumstances, it becomes ‘non-payable’; but all this ‘payability’ or ‘non-payability’ is in relation to the person called upon to pay; and bonce the names ‘payable’ and ‘non-payable’ may he taken as similar to the expression ‘gobalībarda’ (i.e., generally speaking, by itself, the debt is payable, but under special circumstances, pertaining to the person and the relationship to the original debtor, etc., it becomes non-payable).

To what extent’ (in Nārada’s text) means—‘up to the limit of the double of the principal’; the distinction here also being as before. If we read ‘yatra’ (in Nārada’s text), this term would refer to the place and time of payment; the idea being that the debt shall he repaid where it was taken; but if the creditor so wish it, it may he paid at another place also. The time of payment also should as nearly as possible be the same. As regards time, it has been said that there is no desire to repay debts during the Autumn, the most suitable time being either the Summer, when the harvest has been gathered in, or whenever an income is expected.

How’ (in Nārada’s text);—i.e., so far as possible, the entire debt shall be paid; if this be not possible, then by instalments, till the whole is cleared off; and lastly, in the event of the debtor being entirely reduced to penury, he shall clear off the debt by service, as declared in verso 177 below.

The methods of delivery and receipt,’—i.e., the signature of witnesses, the execution of deeds and so forth.

Assaults, physical and verbal’ (verse 6);—the compound ‘daṇḍavācike’ is formed in accordance with Pāṇini 5.4.106, the final ‘ṭhan’ affix being added according to 5.2.115.

Duties of man and wife’ (verse 7);—the compound ‘strīpumān’ is to be expounded as ‘striyā sahitaḥ pumān,’—the compound belonging to the same class as the compound ‘śākapārthivaḥ.’ If it were formed as ‘stṛī ca pumaṃśca,’ the resultant compound would be ‘strīpuṃsadharmaḥ’ (according to Pāṇini 5.4.77).—(4-7)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(verse 8.4)

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 2. 5);—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 3 b);—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 1) which explains ‘anapākarmaasnon-delivery’;—in Aparārka (p. 596);—in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 1);—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 325);—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 3 b);—in Kṛtyakalpataru (12b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, p. 89b).

(verse 8.5)

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p, 596);—in Mitākṣarā (on 2.5);—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 1), which explains ‘anuśayaḥ’ as ‘paścāttāpaḥ’, ‘revoking—in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 1.)—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 325);—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 3b);—in Kṛtyakalpataru (12b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 896).

(verse 8.6)

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p, 596);—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 1);—in Mitākṣarā (on 2.5);—in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 1);—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 325);—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 3b);—in Kṛtyakalpataru (12b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 89b).

(verse 8.7)

Vyavahārasthitau’—‘Giving rise to law-suits’ (Govindarāja);—‘in deciding law-suits’ (Nārāyaṇa),

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 2.5);—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 1), which explains ‘dyūta’ as ‘gambling with inanimate objects’ and ‘samāhvayaḥ’ as ‘gambling with animals,’ and notes that though theft, adultery, defamation and assault are all only forms of ‘crime’ (‘Sāhasa’) yet they have been mentioned separately, also, on the analogy of such expressions as ‘Gobalīvarda .’

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 596), which explains ‘padāni’ as ‘sthāna’, ‘viṣāya’, ‘subjects;’—in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 1);—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 325);—in Nṛṣiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 3b);—in Kṛtya kalpataru’ (12b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 89b.)

On verses 1-7 Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, p. 4a) has the following notes:—‘Vyavahārān,’ business described above,—‘pārthivaḥ,’ the anointed Kṣatriya;—the term ‘nṛpaḥ’ implies that what is here enjoined applies also to those who, though not themselves kings, are appointed by the king to work for him;—‘seated or standing’ may be options to be determined by the king’s capacity, or by the respectability or otherwise of the parties appearing before him the raising of the right arm is for calling the attention of suitors; the dress etc. are to be humble, so that the parties may not be confounded by his gorgeous attire;—‘pratyaham’ shows that cases should be tried every day ;—‘ deśadṛṣṭa’ are those customs and arguments that may have local application, such as the customs regarding the betrothal of girls (described above) among ‘northerners.’


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.4-8)

Nārada (1.16 et. seq.).—‘Recovery of Debt, Deposits, Partnership, Resumption of Gift, Breach of Contract of Service;—Non-payment of wages, Sales effected by a person other than the rightful owner, Non-delivery of sold chattel, Recission of Purchase, Transgression of a Compact, Boundary-disputes, Mutual Duties of Husband and Wife, Law of Inheritances, Heinous offences, Abuse, Assault, Games, and Miscellaneous;—these are the eighteen topics of legal procedure.’

Bṛhaspati (2.5 et. seq.).—‘Law-suits are of two kinds, according as they originate in demands regarding wealth or ininjuries. Law-suits regarding wealth are divided into fourteen kinds; and those regarding injuries into four kinds. (1) Lending money on interest, (2) Deposits (and Treasure Trove), (3) Invalid gifts, (4) Concerns of Partnership, (5) Nonpayment of wages, (6) Disobedience, (7) Disputes concerning Land, (8) Sale without ownership, (9) Revocation of sale and purchase, (10) Breach of agreements, (11) Law between wife and husband, (12) Theft, (13) Inheritance and (14) Gambling.—These are the fourteen titles regarding wealth.—(l) and (2) Two kinds of Insults, (3) Violence and (4) Criminal connexion with the wife of another man,—these are the four titles originating in injury.’

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