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:

श्रुतं देशं च जातिं च कर्म शरीरमेव च ?? ।
वितथेन ब्रुवन् दर्पाद् दाप्यः स्याद् द्विशतं दमम् ॥ २७३ ॥

śrutaṃ deśaṃ ca jātiṃ ca karma śarīrameva ca ?? |
vitathena bruvan darpād dāpyaḥ syād dviśataṃ damam || 273 ||

He who, through arrogance, speaks falsely regarding the learning, the habitat, the caste, the occupation, or the bodily details (of another person), should be made to pay a pine of two hundred.—(273)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

When, as a matter of fact, a man is really learned, one may say ‘this has not been properly learnt by him’; or he may defame his learning by declaring—‘what he has learnt is not right.’

With regard to one who regards himself as an inhabitant of Brahmāvarta, he may say ‘he is a foreigner.’

With regard to a real Brāhmaṇa, he may say ‘he is a Kṣatriya’; or through friendship he may call a Kṣatriya, ‘Brāhmaṇa.’

Occupation’;—the ‘student’ may be called ‘one who has finished his studies.’

In regard to one’s ‘bodily details, ho may say ‘he is suffering from skin diseases,’ when, in reality, the man has no defects at all.

Falsely ’;—‘false’ is what is a lie. The instrumental ending being used in accordance with Pāṇini’s rule ‘Prakṛtyādibhya upasaṅkhyānam.’

Or ‘falsity’ may stand for unrighteousness; and it is only right that unrighteousness should be regarded as instrumental in defaming other persons.

Through arrogance’;—‘arrogance’ stands for disregard for others. So that if the assertions in question are made through ignorance, or in joke, there is no harm.

“For whom is this penalty laid down?”

We say—for all castes. Others however hold that, since the context pertains to the Śūdra, it must be regarded as meant for the Śūdra falsely defaming a twice-born person.—(273)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. 2.19-11.

Karma śārīram’—‘With reference to occupation and to the body’ (Medhātithi);—‘bodily sacraments’ (Kullūka and others).

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 254), which adds the following notes:—‘Karma,’ austerities and the like;—‘śārīram,’ limbs of the body,—‘vitathena,’ falsely,—the meaning being that if one, through arrogance, spreads false reports regarding the learning, country, caste, austerities, and limbs of another, he shall be fined 200. The Instrumental ending in ‘Vitathena’ is in accordance with Pāṇini’s SūtraPrakṛtyādibhya upasaṅkhyānam’;—‘Śruta’, ‘learning’ and the rest are mentioned by way of illustration of the false reports; e.g.—‘This man has not learnt the Veda,’ ‘he is not an inhabitant of Āryāvarta,’ ‘he is not a Brāhmaṇa,’ ‘he has performed no austerity at all,’ ‘his skin is not free from disease’ and so forth.—‘Darpa’ stands for the high opinion that one has in regard to his own qualifications and consequently the low opinion that he has with regard to other persons.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (5-26).—‘He who falsely denies the sacred knowledge, the country or the caste, of a member of the higher castes, or who says that his religious duties have not been fulfilled by him,—shall be find 200 Paṇas.’

Bṛhaspati (20-14).—‘He who reviles a person’s native country or other belongings of his, shall be fined 12 Paṇas. He who, through arrogance, imputes an offence to him, shall be compelled to pay the fine of the first degree.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 103).—‘For reviling a man in regard to his body, nature, learning, livelihood and country,—the punishment is a fine of 3 Paṇas.’

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