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...

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

धर्मोपदेशं दर्पेण विप्राणामस्य कुर्वतः ।
तप्तमासेचयेत् तैलं वक्त्रे श्रोत्रे च पार्थिवः ॥ २७२ ॥

dharmopadeśaṃ darpeṇa viprāṇāmasya kurvataḥ |
taptamāsecayet tailaṃ vaktre śrotre ca pārthivaḥ || 272 ||

If through arrogance, he teaches brāhmaṇas their duty, the king shall pour heated oil into his mouth and ears.—(272)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Sometimes Śūdras, ‘through arrogance’ due to a slight knowledge of grammar, address to Brāhmaṇas such advice as—‘this is your duty,’—‘such is the procedure of this rite’—‘do not do it in this manner, you who are learned in the Veda.’ And the text lays down the penalty for such Śūdras. If however a Śūdra has learnt things through his association with Brāhmaṇas, and points out lapses as to proper time and place due to forgetting the details, in a friendly manner, with such words as—‘Do not please omit the morning time,’ ‘fulfil your duties towards the gods,’ ‘satisfy the gods,’ ‘wear the cloth over your right shoulder, and not the reverse,’—then there is nothing wrong in this.

Heated’—put into fire and hence painful.

Pour’—make it flow.

“It is right that it should be poured into his mouth, since it is with the mouth that he offers the advice. But what is the fault of the ears?”

Their fault lies in having listened to misguided reasonings (which make him think himself qualified for offering the advice).—(272)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. 11.115.

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 809), which adds that ‘asya’ stands for the Śūdra;—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 254).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (5-24).—‘If a low-born man, through arrogance, give instruction to a member of the highest caste, concerning his duty, let the King order hot oil to be poured into his mouth.’

Nārada (15-16.24).—‘If the Śūdra is insolent enough to give lessons to Brāhmaṇas regarding their duty, the King shall order hot oil to he poured into his mouth and ears.’

Bṛhaspati (20.12).—‘A Śūdra teaching the precepts of religion, or uttering the words of the Veda, or insulting a Brāhmaṇa, shall he punished by cutting out his tongue.’

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