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:

आधिः सीमा बालधनं निक्षेपोपनिधिः स्त्रियः ।
राजस्वं श्रोत्रियस्वं च न भोगेन प्रणश्यति ॥ १४९ ॥

ādhiḥ sīmā bāladhanaṃ nikṣepopanidhiḥ striyaḥ |
rājasvaṃ śrotriyasvaṃ ca na bhogena praṇaśyati || 149 ||

A pledge, a boundary, minor’s property, a deposit, a property enjoyed by favour, women, king’s property, and the property of a vedic scholar are not lost by adverse possession.—(149)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Ādhi’ is that which is pledged; an article given as pledge,—such as cattle, land, gold and so forth,—to the creditor; and recovered from him (upon re-payment of the debt).

Upanidhi’ has been explained,—in accordance with another treatise (Yājñavalkya, 2.65) as a deposit, whose form is not shown and which is handed over, covered with cloth and sealed. But this being already included under ‘deposit,’ it is better to take the term ‘upanidhi’ as standing for what is given for use, through friendliness and favour.

Boundary’—the boundary-line between villages, etc. It is quite possible that it being a public concern, men are likely to ignore encroachments upon it. In the case of houses, the boundary-line, marked by ditches or walls, two, three or four cubits in size, is common to both; and if either side of it happens to crumble down in time, as the matter would be a slight one, even encroachment might be ignored for some time by a certain person. But since in such matters also the owner fearing the loss of ownership through gift, etc., his sons or grandsons do discover some hidden marks of the original boundary and assert their claims to the recovery of the boundary encroached upon.

Minor’s property’;—this has been added only by way of illustration; the minor having been already referred to by the name ‘pogaṇḍa’ (in Verse 148).

Women,’—slave-girls or wife; as no other woman, save these two, have anywhere been described as ‘property,’ ownership over which could be lost through possession extending over ten years, as spoken of in Verse 147.

Objection.—“But the text (147) does not speak of ‘property’ at all; the expression used is ‘whatever thing,’ which refers to things in general.”

No; the use of the term ‘dhani,’ ‘owner,’ clearly indicates that the expression ‘whatever thing’ refers to property, which, in this case, is used in the sense of anything that is used; and this mention of women as ‘property’ indicates all kinds of possessions. From this analogy of ‘property,’ males also, as slaves, are actually regarded as ‘property.’

The king’s propety;’—the ‘kings’ meant here are the rulers of provinces; the property belonging to such rulers. These people have vast properties, which they cannot always watch over carefully; so that if their property were liable to be lost through adverse possession, they would soon be reduced to penury.

The properly of Vedic Scholars’—though poor in comparison,—has yet got to be preserved with care.—(149)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Śāstrāntareṇa’—(Medhātithi, p. 965, l. 1)—This refers to Yājñavalkya, 2.65. ‘Vāsanasthamanākhyāya haste nyasya yadarpayet’; and Nārada—‘asaṅkhyātamavijñātam samudram yannidhīyate.’

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 109), which adds that the term ‘śrotriya’ includes also all such persons who have their attention too much taken up by other things to allow their looking after their belongings in Smṛticandrikā (Vyavahāra, p. 158), which notes the following reasons for neglect—(a) In regard to boundaries, people are apt to be lulled into security by the ease with which the boundary-line can be determined,—(b) in regard to women, their natural shyness lulls men into security,—(c) in the case of the king and the scholar, their minds are too much taken up with their temporal and spiritual concerns respectively;—and in Vīramitrodaya, (Vyavahāra, 69b).


Comparative notes by various authors

Śukranīti (4.5.445).—‘The following property cannot be destroyed by length of adverse, possession:—pledge, boundary-land, minor’s property, trust property, sealed deposit, female slaves, government property and the property of Vedic Scholars.’

Nārada (1.81).—‘A pledge, a boundary, property of a child, an open deposit, a sealed deposit, women, what belongs to the King, or to the Vedic Scholar—none of these is lost by adverse possession.’

Bṛhaspati (9.13, 14).—‘Forcible means should not be resorted to by the present occupant, or his son, in maintaining possession of the property of an infant, or of a learned Brāhmaṇa, or the property inherited from one’s father;—nor of cattle, a woman, a slave, or other property.’

Vaśiṣṭha (16.18).—‘They quote the following:—“A pledge, a boundary, the property of minors, an open deposit, a sealed deposit, women, king’s property and property of the Vedic Scholar are not lost by being enjoyed by others.”

Gautama (12.39).—‘Animals, land, and females are not lost by adverse possession.’

Yājñavalkya (2.25).—‘A pledge, a boundary, deposit—: open and sealed, the property of infants, idiots, and of the King, and of women, and of the Vedic scholars;—with the exception of these, all property becomes lost to the owner by adverse possession extending over twenty years.’

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