Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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...

Verse 8.245 [Disputes regarding Boundaries]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

सीमां प्रति समुत्पन्ने विवादे ग्रामयोर्द्वयोः ।
ज्येष्ठे मासि नयेत् सीमां सुप्रकाशेषु सेतुषु ॥ २४५ ॥

sīmāṃ prati samutpanne vivāde grāmayordvayoḥ |
jyeṣṭhe māsi nayet sīmāṃ suprakāśeṣu setuṣu || 245 ||

When a dispute regarding boundaries arises between two villages, the king shall settle the boundary during the month of Jyeṣṭha, when the landmarks are distinctly perceptible.—(245)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Dispute regarding boundaries,’—i.e., dispute on account of boundary: the particle ‘prati’ being a preposition, governs the accusative, according to Pāṇini 1.4.90: specially as the cause of a thing also can he spoken of as its characteristic feature.

Boundary’,—the limit of villages, their division, the exact determination of their extent.

Shall settle it’—decide it,—‘during the month of Jyeṣṭha.’

The text adds the reason why the boundary should be settled during this particular month:—‘when the land-marks are distinctly perceptible’— Boundary-marks are going to be described below; such as those consisting of clods of stone or things of that kind, and also thickets of grass and the like. Before the advent of the said month, while grass is growing on all sides, no difference could be perceived between grounds marked by a stone-piece and other grounds. When however, the boundary is marked by a piece of stone, if no grasses are visible, then the boundary is easily determined. Similarly In cases where demarcation has been done by creepers and thickets, the boundary should be settled before the advent of spring; for when trees and creepers are burnt down by forest-fires during the spring, no distinction could be perceived.

In as much as the text has put forward a reason for settling the dispute during a certain month, it is to be concluded that in a case where the marks are easily perceptible, the king should not wait for any particular month, thereby affording time to the parties concerned. It is only for the purpose of finding the necessary marks that one need wait for any particular month. This is the sole purpose served by the mention of the month of Jyeṣṭha.—(245)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 201), which adds the following notes:—‘Nayet’, ‘should find out’;—‘setu’ here stands for any mark of boundary,—where these are ‘saprakāśa,’ i. e., quite perceptible by reason of water having dried up;—the word ‘Jyaiṣṭha’ also should be taken as standing for any time which makes it possible for the boundary-marks to be perceived.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 758), which adds the following notes:—The term ‘grāma’ should be taken including cities, fields and houses in regard to which boundary-disputes arise, so that boundary-disputes fall into these four classes;—when the text mentions the month of ‘Jyeṣṭha’, it does not mean that it must be done during that month; all that it means to imply is convenience, that month being the most convenient for the purpose of determining boundaries;—‘setu’ stands for bunds and other boundary-marks;—in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 92);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 142a), which says that the month of, ‘Jyeṣṭha’ is mentioned only by way of illustration; all that is meant is that it shall be done at a time when the boundary-marks may be perceptible,—and that ‘grāma’ stands for city also.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.245-251)

Yājñavalkya (2.151).—‘They should determine the boundary as indicated by a mound, coal, chaff or trees; as also by dikes, ant-hills, pits, bones, stone-piles and such other things.’

Nārada (11.4-5).—‘They shall determine the boundary in accordance with old landmarks, chaff of grain, coal, potsherds, wells, sanctuaries, trees,—objects of general notoriety, such as ant-hills, artificial mounds, slopes, hills and the like, fields, gardens, roads and old dikes.’

Bṛhaspati (19.2-6).—‘The determination of boundaries should be settled at the time of foundation, and it should be marked by visible and invisible signs, so as to dispel all doubt. Wells, tanks, pools, large trees, gardens, temples, mounds, channels, the course of a river, sands, shrubs, or piles of stones;—by such visible signs as these a boundary line should always be marked; also by other marks deposited underground, which the earth is not likely to destroy;—such as dry cowdung, bones, chaff, charcoal, stones, potsherds, sand, bricks, cow’s tails, cotton-seeds and ashes; after having placed these substances in vessels one should deposit them there underground at the extremities of the boundary.’

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