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:

काणं वाऽप्यथ वा खञ्जमन्यं वाऽपि तथाविधम् ।
तथ्येनापि ब्रुवन् दाप्यो दण्डं कार्षापणावरम् ॥ २७४ ॥

kāṇaṃ vā'pyatha vā khañjamanyaṃ vā'pi tathāvidham |
tathyenāpi bruvan dāpyo daṇḍaṃ kārṣāpaṇāvaram || 274 ||

If a man, even truly, calls another ‘one-eyed’ or ‘lame’ or something else like it,—he should be made to pay a fine of at least one ‘Kārṣāpaṇa.’—(274)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

One-eyed’—he who is deprived of one of his eyes.

Lame’—who is without one leg.

Something else like this’—e.g., a cripple, flat-nosed and so forth.

Even truly’;—the term ‘even’ implies the false defamation also, i.e., when one who is not one-eyed is called so.

The fine in this case shall be ‘at least one Kārṣāpaṇa’—i.e., if, through mercy, the lowest fine be meant to be imposed, a Kārṣāpaṇa should be the lowest amount of it. Otherwise, the flue should be two, three, four or five Kārṣāpaṇas, according to the character of the accused.

This rule may be taken, as before, as referring to either all men, or to the Śūdra only.—(274)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.204), which notes that this rule refers to a case where the defamer is a very wicked person; and Bālambhaṭṭī has the following notes:—‘Tathyena,’ even in truth,—‘kārṣāpaṇāvaram,’ at least one kārṣāpaṇa, never less than that; this refers to cases where a wicked and ill-behaved person insults a caste-fellow.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 806), which adds that this refers to a case where the insulter is a man with very superior qualifications, or where the motive of insulting is very insignificant.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 247), which explains ‘kārṣāpaṇāvaram’ as ‘that than which one kārṣā paṇa is lower,’ i.e., ‘two kārṣāpaṇas—in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 295), which adds that this refers to an extremely wicked person;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, 44b);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 150a).


Comparative notes by various authors

Arthaśāstra (p. 103).—‘If one reviles a man as one-eyed, lame and so forth when he is really so,—the fine is 3 Paṇas; if he is not so, it is 6 Paṇas.’

Viṣṇu (5.27).—‘If a man is blind, with one eye, or lame, or defective in any similar way,—and another calls him so,—the latter shall be fined 2 kārṣāpāṇas, though he speaks the truth.’

Yājñavalkya( 2-204).—‘If a man reviles another—either falsely or truly or ironically—in regard to defective limbs or sense-organs or diseases,—he shall he fined twelve and a half Paṇas.’

Nārada (15-16.18).—(Same as Manu.)

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