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:

व्याधांशाकुनिकान् गोपान् कैवर्तान् मूलखानकान् ।
व्यालग्राहानुञ्छवृत्तीनन्यांश्च वनचारिणः ॥ २६० ॥

vyādhāṃśākunikān gopān kaivartān mūlakhānakān |
vyālagrāhānuñchavṛttīnanyāṃśca vanacāriṇaḥ || 260 ||

Hunters, Fowlers, Cowherds, Fishermen, Root-diggers, Snake-catchers, Gleaners and other Foresters.—(260)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

These persons wander about in the forests surrounding villages, without entering the villages themselves, and might know the exact boundaries. Passing by that way, they might have seen some persons cultivating the fields lying within the disputed area, and might have asked them—‘what is this village, in which you are cultivating fields?’ In this manner, it is quite possible for them to have acquired the required experience.

Hunters’;—those who live by hunting; these also come into contact with villages, when pursuing game that has escaped from forests.

Similarly ‘fowlers,’ who live by bird-catching, roam about all the villages, in search of birds.

Cowherds’ roam about in search of particular kinds of fodder for their cattle.

Fishermen,’ ‘Dāśas,’—those who live by digging tanks, etc., wander about in search of work.

Boot-diggers,’—those who dig up the roots of thick grasses and other plants.

Snake-catchers,’—those who catch serpents, by way of livelihood. These men are likely to visit several places, and thus come into contact with the inhabitants of several villages.

Gleaners’;—very poor people who, after wandering about several villages, earn just enough to serve as food for the day.

And others’—who go about searching fruits, flowers, fuel and such things.—(260)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Vanācāriṇaḥ’—‘Those who roam about forests in search of flowers, fruits and fuel’ (Medhātithi);—‘śabaras and other foresters’ (Nārāyaṇa).

Medhātithi does not read ‘śataśaḥ’ as Hopkins says.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.152), on which Bālambhaṭṭī has the following notes:—‘Vyādhān,’ fowlers,—‘śākunikān,’ those who live by killing birds,—‘kaivartān,’ those who live by digging tanks etc.,—‘mūlakhātakān,’ those living by digging up the roots of trees etc.,—‘vyālagrahān,’ serpent-catchers,—‘uñchavṛttinaḥ’ those who live by gleaning corn,—‘vanagocarān,’ those who roam about in forests in search of flowers, fruits and such things.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 209);—in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 272), which adds that ‘anyān’ includes persons whose business it is to dig up and raise boundary marks;—in Kṛtyakalpataru (111b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 140b).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.253-264)

See Comparative notes for Verse 8.253.

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