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 8.131 [Measures]

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

लोकसंव्यवहारार्थं याः सञ्ज्ञाः प्रथिता भुवि ।
ताम्ररूप्यसुवर्णानां ताः प्रवक्ष्याम्यशेषतः ॥ १३१ ॥

lokasaṃvyavahārārthaṃ yāḥ sañjñāḥ prathitā bhuvi |
tāmrarūpyasuvarṇānāṃ tāḥ pravakṣyāmyaśeṣataḥ || 131 ||

I am going to describe fully, for the sake of business-transactions, those technical terms that are used in the world in connection with silver and gold.—(131)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Objection.—“Such terms as ‘likṣā’ (Louse-egg) and the rest, pertaining to copper and other metals are already well known in the world; what is the use of propounding a scriptural definition? They could he learnt from the usage of experienced men, just as the exact denotation of such words as ‘cow’ and the like is learnt.”

It is in view of this objection that the author has added the phrase ‘for the sake of business-transactions’; ‘sake’ here denotes sphere; hence the meaning is that what is adopted as the basis here is usage in actual business (and not ordinary usage).

“In that case, standing on the same footing as such words as ‘cow’ and the like, they would he learnt from actual business-usage; what is the use of setting forth a scriptural injunction?”

The answer to this is that the Injunction is put forth for the purposes of restriction. There being several other such terms in use in connection with iron, bell-metal, gold and other metals, it is with a view to preclude these that the author has laid down the present injunction; as also for precluding the difference in the measures, which is met with in certain localities. For instance, in some localities, a pala is regarded as made of 40 māṣas, while in others of 64, and in others again of 108, and so forth. And all this diversity is precluded and one definite measure is laid down here.

The verse is to be construed as follows—‘these terms that are used in the world, I am going to describe for the sake of business-transactions,’—so that the business-transactions of all men may be carried on with the help of those same technical terms; and incidentally the rules relating to these also would become clearer.—(131)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 115);—in Vivādaratnākara (p. 665), which explains the construction as ‘those that are generally used, these I am going to describe, explain, for the purpose of transactions among men’;—in Hemādri (Vrata, p. 53);—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Dāna, p. 4a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.131-137)

Viṣṇu (4.1-13).—

‘The dust-mote discernible in the sunbeam passing through a lattice is called Trasareṇu;—
three Trasareṇus make one nit;
3 nits make 1 Black mustard-seed.
3 Black mustard seeds make 1 white mustard seed.
6 white mustard seeds make 1 Barley-corn.
3 Barley-corns make 1 Kṛṣṇala.
5 Kṛṣṇalas make 1 Māṣa.
12 Māṣas make ½ Akṣa.
½ Akṣa plus 4 Māṣas make 1 Suvarṇa.
4 Suvarṇas make 1 Niṣka.
2 Kṛṣṇalas make 1 Silver Māṣaka.
16 Silver-Māṣakas make 1 Dharaṇa of silver.
1 Karṣa or 80 Raktikas of copper make 1 Kārṣāpaṇa.
250 Copper Paṇas make the first or lowest amercement.
500 Copper Paṇas make the middlemost amercement.
1,000 Copper Paṇas make the Highest amercement.

Yājñavalkya (1.361-364).—

‘One Dust-mote in the Sun’s beam makes 1 Trasareṇu,
8 Trasareṇus make 1 Likṣā,
3 Likṣās make 1 Rājasarṣapa (black mustard seed),
3 Black mustard seed make 1 White mustard seed,
6 White mustard seeds make 1 Barley-corn,
3 Barley-corns make 1 Kṛṣṇala,
5 Kṛṣṇalas make 1 Māṣa,
16 Māṣas make 1 Suvarṇa,
4 or 5 Suvarṇas make 1 Pala,
2 Kṛṣṇalas make 1 Māṣa (silver),
16 Māṣas (silver) make 1 Dharaṇa,
10 Dharaṇas make 1 Śatamāna or Pala (silver),
4 Suvarṇas make 1 Niṣka,
Copper, ¼ Pala (gold) in weight make 1 Paṇa (copper),
1080 Paṇas make the highest amercement,
540 Paṇas make the middlemost amercement,
270 Paṇas make the lowest amercement.’

Nārada (Punishments, 57 et seq.).—‘Kārṣāpaṇa is a silver-coin in the Southern country; in the East it is equal to 20 Paṇas;—a Māṣa is the twentieth part of a Kārṣāpaṇa;—a Kākanī is the fourth part of a Māṣa or Pala;—a Kārṣāpaṇa is equal to an Aṇḍikā; four Aṇḍikās make one Dhānaka; twelve Dhānakas make one Suvarṇa, otherwise called Dīnāra.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 256).—

‘10 Dhānya-māṣaka or 5 Guñjās = 1 Suvarṇa-māṣaka.
16 Suvarṇa-māṣakas = 1 Suvarṇa or 1 Karṣa.
4 Karṣas = 1 Pala.
80 white mustard seeds = 1 Māṣaka (silver).
16 Māṣaka (silver) or 20 Śambya berries = 1 Dharaṇa.
20 Rice-grains = 1 Dharaṇa (Diamond).

The weights are—½ Māṣaka, 1 Māṣaka, 2 Māṣakas, 4 Māṣakas, 8 Māṣakas, Suvarṇa, 2 Suvarṇas, 4 Suvarṇas, 8 Suvarṇas, 10 Suvarṇas, 20 Suvarṇas, 30 Suvarṇas, 40 Suvarṇas, 100 Suvarṇas.’

Bṛhaspati (Parāśaramādhava-Vyavahāra, p. 116).—‘Copper 1 Karṣa in weight makes the coin called Paṇa, also called Candrikā;—4 Paṇas make one Dhānaka;—12 Dhānakas make one Suvarṇa, also called Dīnāra

Vyāsa (Do. p. 117).—‘Eight Palas make 1 Suvarṇa;—14 Suvarṇas make one Niṣka.

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