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:

साक्ष्यभावे तु चत्वारो ग्रामाः सामन्तवासिनः ।
सीमाविनिर्णयं कुर्युः प्रयता राजसंनिधौ ॥ २५८ ॥

sākṣyabhāve tu catvāro grāmāḥ sāmantavāsinaḥ |
sīmāvinirṇayaṃ kuryuḥ prayatā rājasaṃnidhau || 258 ||

In the absence of witnesses four honest inhabitants of neighbouring villages shall make the determination of the boundary, in the presence of the king.—(258)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Inhabitants of neighbouring villages should he questioned, and decision should be arrived at with the help of what they say.

Honest,’—i.e., possessing the qualifications of the ‘witness’ as laid down in the texts.

In the presence of the king’—This has been added for the purpose of filling up the metre; as neighbours never volunteer to decide disputes, in the manner of kings.—(258)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“Men from the four surrounding villages are meant, as Kullūka suggests. The correctness of this opinion is proved by the fact that the land grants usually mention the four boundaries of the villages given away.”—Buhler.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.152), which remarks that neighbours are to be called in only in the absence of regular witnesses. Bālambhaṭṭī adds the note that the number ‘four’ stands for any number from four upwards,—and that the epithet ‘prayatāḥ’ precludes the calling of wicked men.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 760);—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 206), which adds the following notes:—‘Grāmāḥ,’ villagers,—‘simāntavāsinaḥ,’ persons living near (the disputed boundary),—‘vinirṇayam kuryuḥ,’ should determine the boundary on the basis of the tradition current among them. It explains ‘sāmanta’ as ‘persons living near the disputed boundary.’

Aparārka (p. 759) has explained the term ‘sāmanta’ as ‘people seen near the spot,’ ‘samantataḥ ye upalakṣyante.’ Hence Medhātithi’s reading ‘sāmantavāsinaḥ’ is to be explained as ‘grāmasya samantāt vāsinaḥ,’ ‘people living near about the village.’

It is quoted in Kṛtyakalpataru (111a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.253-264)

See Comparative notes for Verse 8.253.

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