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:

स्वादानाद् वर्णसंसर्गात् त्वबलानां च रक्षणात् ।
बलं सञ्जायते राज्ञः स प्रेत्यैह च वर्धते ॥ १७२ ॥

svādānād varṇasaṃsargāt tvabalānāṃ ca rakṣaṇāt |
balaṃ sañjāyate rājñaḥ sa pretyaiha ca vardhate || 172 ||

By taking what is his due, by the proper adjustment of castes, and by protecting the weak, the power of the king grows, and he prospers here as also after death.—(172)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Svādānam’;—the ‘ādā na,’ ‘taking’ of his ‘sva,’ ‘what is his due.’ Or it may be explained as ‘su’—‘good’—‘ādāna’—‘receiving’; ‘good’ here standing for what is proper.

Adjustment of castes,’—i.e., the admixture of the persons of two castes with members of the same caste; we take it as ‘two,’ because an ‘admixture’ presupposes two relatives; and as no other relatives are mentioned we take the ‘adjustment’ or ‘admixture’ as pertaining to castes. The mixture that takes place among the subdivisions of various castes cannot be called an ‘adjustment of the castes.’ because it does not pertain to the ‘castes’ pure and simple.

Ṛju however reads a negative particle here; in which case this would be a reiteration of the prohibition of the ‘crossing’ of castes.

Also on account of ‘protecting the weak’ from the ‘strong,’ when they are suffering at the hands of these latter,—‘the power of the king grown.’

The sense of all this is that.—‘The King should investigate the cases properly, and should never inflict illegal penalties’;—and it is as a hortatory supplement to this injunction that we are going to have a number of passages.—(172)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājanīti, p. 275), which adds the following notes;—‘Svādānāt’, ‘by taking what is his own legally, such as taxes and so forth’;—‘varṇasaṃsargāt’, ‘by marriages and such relationships contracted by the Brāhmaṇa’ and other castes with persons of their own respective castes’; the ‘saṃsarga’ of different castes is not meant, as that would lead to the evil of ‘mixed castes.’


Comparative notes by various authors

Nārada (18.5-7, 33, 43).—‘The King shall be careful to protect all orders and the constituent elements of the state... Whenever any caste should remain behind others, or exceed its limits,—seeing that it has strayed from its path,—the King shall bring it back to the path of duty. So also when other wicked acts, opposed to the dictates of the sacred law, have been committed, the King after having reflected upon the matter shall inflict punishment on those who deserve it... The King’s duties are the protecting of his subjects, the honouring of the aged and the wise, the trying of law-suits and making each caste abide by its duties...... If a ruler, though severe, is mindful of his duty, correct in his conduct find quick to punish the wicked and to protect the virtuous,—his wealth is declared to he pure.’

Yājñavalkya (1.315).—‘What he has not obtained, he should seek to obtain lawfully.’

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