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:

शिरोभिस्ते गृहीत्वोर्वीं स्रग्विणो रक्तवाससः ।
सुकृतैः शापिताः स्वैः स्वैर्नयेयुस्ते समञ्जसम् ॥ २५६ ॥

śirobhiste gṛhītvorvīṃ sragviṇo raktavāsasaḥ |
sukṛtaiḥ śāpitāḥ svaiḥ svairnayeyuste samañjasam || 256 ||

Placing earth upon their heads, wearing garlands and red clothes, and being sworn by their respective meritorious deeds, they shall decide honestly.—(256)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

On their heads the witnesses shall place ‘earth’—i.e., clods of earth.

Wearing garlands’—wearing chaplets as far as possible of red flowers.

Wearing red clothes’—dressed in red. Though the root ‘rañji’ (from which the term ‘rakta’ is derived) denotes only colouring, i.e., imparting some colour to what is white, yet it is generally used in the sense of red; as we find in such expressions as ‘the rakta cow’ (where the red cow is meant).

All this is meant to strike terror in the minds of the witnesses; and also people dressed in red are supposed to be clean.

In swearing, each man should be made to pronounce the words—‘whatever merit I may have acquired by my deeds, may all that become futile!’

Respective’—‘svaiḥ svaiḥ’;—the repetition is meant to convey the idea that each of them should mention his ‘meritorious deeds,’—such as the giving away of a daughter, bathing in sacred places, and so forth.

Samañjasam,’ ‘honestly,’ is an adverb. The meaning is that they shall decide the case in a way that may he in accordance with truth, straightforward and righteous. The term ‘samañjasa’ is synonymous with ‘honest’ and ‘clear’; and as a ‘truthful act’ is always ‘clear’ the text has used the term ‘samañjasam’—(256).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (p. 152), to the effect that the witnesses, the Sāmantas and others should indicate the boundary after being put on oath.

It adds that the plural number in ‘nayeyuḥ’ indicates that the boundary cannot be determined on the basis of only two witnesses; the admission of one being permitted by Nārada.

Bālambhaṭṭī adds the following notes:—‘Svaiḥ svaiḥ’ means ‘by the deeds of the caste to which each of them belongs’, —‘urvīm’, a piece of earth,—‘tām’ (which is its reading for ‘tam’) boundary,—‘Samañjasam’ is an adverb modifying the verb ‘nayeyuḥ.’

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 762);—in Kṛtyakalpataru (p. 111b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 141a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.253-264)

See Comparative notes for Verse 8.253.

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