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:

निगृह्य दापयेच्चैनं समयव्यभिचारिणम् ।
चतुःसुवर्णान् षण्निष्कांश्शतमानं च राजकम् ॥ २२० ॥

nigṛhya dāpayeccainaṃ samayavyabhicāriṇam |
catuḥsuvarṇān ṣaṇniṣkāṃśśatamānaṃ ca rājakam || 220 ||

Having caught such a breaker of compact, he shall make him pay six ‘niṣkas’ of four ‘suvarṇas’ each, and also one silver ‘śatamāna.’—(220)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Having caught him,’ i.e., detected and put him under restraint—tho king should punish him, without giving him any time.

Theniṣka of four suvarṇas each’—is that which is made up of four ‘suvarṇas.’

Though under 8.317, the ‘niṣka’ has been defined as a measure consisting of four ‘suvarṇas,’ yet the qualification is added here in view of other definitions of the ‘niṣka’ found in other Smṛtis—e.g., one of them describes it as consisting of ‘a hundred suvarṇas.’

It might be argued that, in as much as the author himself has applied the name ‘niṣka’ to four ‘suvarṇas’ only, the mere mention of the name in the present text would be enough to show what is meant.

But, since the work is a metrical treatise, the presence of a superfluous epithet cannot be regarded as a defect.

Others have taken the term ‘catuḥsuvarṇa’ as a Bahuvrīhi compound, having the collective force, and hence explained the verse as prescribing three fines; the meaning being that the fine is to consist of ‘four suvarṇas,’ and ‘six niṣkas’; so that ten niṣkas come to be indicated.

But for the purpose of making the compound a Bahuvrīhi, it would be necessary to fasten the sense of possession on to that of association. For mere association with ‘variegated cows’ does not make Devadatta a ‘Citraguḥ’ (which is a Bahuvrīhi compound meaning possessing variegated cows).

If the fines are to be taken as three distinct ones, then the only construction possible is to take the three as constituting a single penalty.

The penalty hero prescribed is alternative to ‘banishment’ (prescribed in the preceding verse).—(220)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“According to ‘others’ mentioned by Medhātithi, ‘four Suvarṇas, or six Niṣkas, or one Śatamāna; Kullūka and Rāghavānanda also think it possible that three separate fines may be inflicted according to the circumstances of the case.”—Buhler.

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 182), which adds the following notes:—‘Nigṛhya,’ having him hauled up;—‘catuḥsuvarṇān’ qualifying ‘ṣaṭ niṣkān’ means ‘six of those Niṣkas which consists of 4 Suvarṇas each the epithet ‘catuḥsuvarṇān’ being added for the exclusion of the other two measures of the ‘Niṣkas’ that are found in the Śāstras—viz. (a) ‘the Niṣka consists of 108 Suvarṇas,’ (b) ‘the Niṣka consists of 5 Suvarṇas.’—‘Śatamāna’ consists of 320 Raktikās.

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.187), which notes that herein Manu mentions four penalties—(1) Banishment (verse 219), (2) fine of four Suvarṇas, (3) fine of 6 Niṣkas and (4) fine of one Śatamāna; and any one of these may be inflicted in accordance with the peculiar circumstances of each case, such as the caste, the capacity and other things of the persons concerned.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 253), which also regards the four as distinct penalties, to be determined according to the caste, learning and other qualifications of the persons concerned;—in Kṛtyakalpataru (107a), which says that ‘Śatamāna’ is equal to 320 Rattis;—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 132a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.219-221)

See Comparative notes for Verse 8.219.

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