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:
कुलजे वृत्तसम्पन्ने धर्मज्ञे सत्यवादिनि ।
महापक्षे धनिन्यार्ये निक्षेपं निक्षिपेद् बुधः ॥ १७९ ॥
kulaje vṛttasampanne dharmajñe satyavādini |
mahāpakṣe dhaninyārye nikṣepaṃ nikṣiped budhaḥ || 179 ||
The wise man shall, entrust a deposit to one who is born of good family, is endowed with character, cognisant of the law, and truthful, has a large following, and is wealthy and honourable—(179)
Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):
He whose birth and family are well known,—whose forefathers are known to have been learned, righteous and rich,—who never have recourse to improper acts, being mindful of the reputation of their family. In fact such a person is incapable of hearing the slightest blame; and yet it is such people! that are subject to severest criticism at the hands of the people.
‘Vṛtta’ is character, conduct; i.e., being naturally mindful of public opinion.
‘Cognisant of the law’;—who has become acquainted with the true meaning of Smṛtis, Purāṇas and Itihāsas by repeatedly studying them.
‘Truthful’—who has found, in all business-relations, to speak in strict accordance with real facts.
‘Has a large following,’—he who is held in high esteem by his friends and relations, as also by the officers of the king,—and is, as such, not amenable to be approached by dishonest state-officials.
The ‘wealthy’ man avoids the misappropriation of other people’s property, with a view to safeguard his own possessions, and also through fear of transcendental results; the idea in his mind being—‘I have enough wealth of my own, why should I think of the property of others? If I were detected, I would be punished.’
‘Honourable,’ who always acts righteously, or who is of a straightforward nature.
The nominal affix ‘ghañ’ (in the noun ‘nikṣepa,’ ‘deposit’) has the force of the passive, and makes the word stand for the gold and other property that are kept as deposits.
‘The wise man’;—the man who entrusts deposits in the said manner is ‘wise’; otherwise he becomes a fool.
The Author here is ottering an advice in the manner of a friend; and the advice has no spiritual purpose behind it, as there is in the case of such acts as the Aṣṭakā and the like.
When a ‘deposit’ is placed with such a person, it is never lost; nor is there any doubt as to who has placed it and with whom. On the other hand, if a person is a pauper, a notorious cheat or drunkard,—even if he he dragged up, no one would even believe that a deposit had been placed with him; when the man is not possessed of a single farthing, how could it he believed that he would have been entrusted with gold or such large properties?—(179)
Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha
This verse is quoted in Kṛtyakalpataru (82b), which explains ‘mahāpakṣa’ as one who has a large family;—in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 204);—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 85), which explains ‘mahāpakṣa’ as ‘one having a large family’,—and ‘nikṣepam’ as ‘nikṣepyam,’ i.e., the thing deposited;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 36), which explains ‘mahāpakṣa’ as ‘one who has a large number of relatives.’
Comparative notes by various authors
Nārada (2.1, 2)—‘When a man entrusts any property of his own to another, in confidence and without suspicion, it is called by the learned a Deposit. A sensible man should make a deposit with one who belongs to a respectable family and who is virtuous, acquainted with his duties, veracious, influential, wealthy, and honourable.’
Bṛhaspasti (12.2, 4).—‘When any chattel is deposited in the house of another man, through fear of the King, robbers or other dangers, or for the purpose of deceiving one’s heirs, it is called a Deposit. Let a man make a deposit, after duly considering the place, house, master of the house, the power, means, quality, veracity and kindred of the depositary.’