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:

सीमायामविषह्यायां स्वयं राजैव धर्मवित् ।
प्रदिशेद् भूमिमेकेषामुपकारादिति स्थितिः ॥ २६५ ॥

sīmāyāmaviṣahyāyāṃ svayaṃ rājaiva dharmavit |
pradiśed bhūmimekeṣāmupakārāditi sthitiḥ || 265 ||

In the event of the boundary being unascertainable, the righteous king shall himself assign to them their lands, on the basis of advantages. Such is the established law.—(265)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Unascertainable’—incapable of being determined, on account of there being no marks or witnesses available.

The king himself’— of his own will—‘shall assign’—make over—‘their lands’; saying—‘this is your land, that is yours.’

Righteous’;—this is added with a view to point out that the king shall not show partiality to any party.

On the basis of advantages’—i.e., according to considerations of common good ; i.e., he shall indicate the boundary between the two villages in such a manner as to make the decision equally advantageous to both parties; so that if the field assigned to one party is less in size, it is of better quality, being more fertile.

The ablative ending in ‘upakārāt’ has the force of the participal affix; the term standing for the expression ‘upakāram apekṣya,’ ‘taking into consideration the advantages.’

Or, the text may mean that, the land may be assigned to one party, being taken away from the other party, whose rights over it are doubtful. In a case where the complaining village is unable to indicate the boundary, while the other party is able to do it, he shall assign the disputed land to the latter. In this way a great benefit would be conferred upon the king himself, as also upon a large number of villages.—(265)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This Verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.153), to the effect that between the two villages (disputing over their boundary), the king shall allot the disputed plot to that one to which it would be more useful than to the other.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 764), which adds the following notes:—‘Aviṣahyā’, without any means of determination, in the shape persons or proofs,—‘pravishet’ (which is its reading for ‘pradishet’), is equivalent to ‘praveśayet,’ put into possession,—‘upakārāt,’ on the ground of utility.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 216), which adds the following notes:—‘Aviṣahyā’, unascertainable in the absence of witnesses,—‘ekeṣām pradishet upakārāt,’ he should give it to one party, on the ground of ‘utility’ i. e., to that party which is likely to derive greater benefit from the land in dispute; when this benefit is found to be equally possible for both parties, then he should divide the land between both.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhavā (Vyavahāra, p. 275), which explains ‘aviṣahyā’ as ‘there being neither witnesses nor any other indications helping to determine it;’—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, 31a);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 142,) which explains ‘aviṣahyāyam’ as ‘that for which no determinent is available in the shape either of witnesses or marks.’


Comparative notes by various authors

Yājñavalkya (2-153).—‘In the absence of persons conversant with the boundary, and of boundary-marks, the lawful King himself shall determine the boundary.’

Nārada (11.11, 27).—‘Should there he no persons conversant with the true state of things, and no boundary-marks, then the King himself shall fix the boundary between the two estates, as he thinks best.’

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