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:

आधिश्चोपनिधिश्चोभौ न कालात्ययमर्हतः ।
अवहार्यौ भवेतां तौ दीर्घकालमवस्थितौ ॥ १४५ ॥

ādhiścopanidhiścobhau na kālātyayamarhataḥ |
avahāryau bhavetāṃ tau dīrghakālamavasthitau || 145 ||

Pledges and Deposits should not suffer much lapse of time; for being left over for a long time, they would be liable to appropriation.—(145)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Pledges’—already explained;—‘Deposit’—is that which is allowed to be used through considerations of friendship;— these should not he allowed to remain for a very long time; they should he redeemed as soon as the stipulated time arrives.

The time for the redeeming of the pledge is just when the principal, with accrued interest, has become double; and there is ‘lapse’ of this time, if the thing is not redeemed then.

For the deposit also, the right time to recover it is before the other party has occasion to think that the thing belongs to him by reason of his having the use of it. Beyond this time, there is ‘lapse of time.’

Neither pledges nor deposits ‘should suffer much lapse of lime;’—i.e., they should not be allowed to suffer it.

The author explains the reason for this:—‘They would be liable to appropriation’;—if they were allowed to remain longer than the above-mentioned time, and were not recovered till then, they would he liable to be appropriated.

For this reason, one should try to redeem the pledge as soon as the principal has become doubled.

This is merely a friendly advice; as a matter of fact, there can be no ‘appropriation’ of pledges and deposits, by any lapse of time; as it is going to be declared (in 149) that—‘a pledge..... cannot be lost in consequence of use’; and it is the same idea that is referred to in the present text.

Others have held that the present advice refers to pledges only,—in reference to those cases where, even after the principal has become doubled, the party, through sheer wickedness, goes on wasting time, under the idea that the principal cannot increase any further,—and it is not possible to deposit or sell the thing at the time anywhere else,—and he is urged to this step only through his hatred for the creditor, who is prevented from earning more interest on his capital. And it is with reference to such cases that it has been declared that ‘they should be appropriated’ (this being the meaning of the words in this case). That is, if the man desists from redeeming the pledge with such motives, his right over the thing ceases. But if one fails to redeem it, for want of money,—in his case there should be neither ‘transference nor selling’ [as said above (143)].

Or the assertion ‘they become liable to appropriation’ may he taken as referring to the case where the debtor desists from redeeming the pledge, thinking that it lies safest in the custody of another person.—(145)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Upanidhi’—‘Anything lent through affection, for use’ (Medhāttlii, Govindarāja, Kullūka and Rāghavānanda);—‘an additional pledge given in order to complete the security for the loan’ (Nārāyaṇa).

This verse is quoted in Kṛtyakalpataru (47a), which explains ‘ādhi’ as ‘pledged property’, and ‘upanidhi’ as property mortgaged and allowed to be used, such as agricultural land and so forth it cannot stand for property in the form of a sealed packet, as such property cannot be used.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (6.7-8).—‘The pledge shall be restored to the pledgee when the interest has reached its maximum amount; but he should not use an immovable pledge without special agreement.’

Yājñavalkya (2.58).—‘The pledge becomes lost, if it is not redeemed on the principal becoming doubled; if it had been given for a limited time, it becomes lost on the lapse of that time; but there is no such losing in the ease of pledges that have been given for the enjoyment of the usufruct only.’

Śukranīti (4.5.415).—‘The following cannot he lost by length of adverse possession:—Pledge, boundary-land, minor’s property, trust property, sealed deposit, female slaves, government property and property of the Vedic scholar.’

Bṛhaspati (11, 25, 28).—‘When the time for payment has passed, and interest has ceased, the creditor shall become the owner of the pledge; hut till ten days have elapsed, the debtor is entitled to redeem it. Notice having been given to the debtor’s family, a pledge to be kept may he used after the principal has become doubled, and so may the pledge given for a fixed period, on the expiry of that period. When the principal has been doubled, or the stipulated period has expired, in the case of the pledge given for a fixed period, the creditor becomes owner of the pledge after having waited for a fortnight. If the debtor should pay the debt during that interval, he may recover the pledge even then.’

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