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:

भार्या पुत्रश्च दासश्च प्रेष्यो भ्रात्रा च सौदरः ।
प्राप्तापराधास्ताड्याः स्यू रज्ज्वा वेणुदलेन वा ॥ २९९ ॥

bhāryā putraśca dāsaśca preṣyo bhrātrā ca saudaraḥ |
prāptāparādhāstāḍyāḥ syū rajjvā veṇudalena vā || 299 ||

The wife, the son, the slave, the servant and the uterine brother shall be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo, when they have committed a fault.—(299)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Prāptāparādhāḥ,’—those who have fallen upon, committed, a fault. ‘Fault’ means transgression of morality; when any such has been committed by them, they should he beaten.

As a matter of fact, beating is a form of hurt, and as such is forbidden by the general law—‘no living beings shall be injured’; but an exception to this is made in the case of transgressions by the wife and other persons.

All these are relative terms; hence the meaning is that the wife is to be chastised by him whose wife she is, the slave is to be chastised by him who is his master, and so forth.

What is enjoined here is the method of keeping the persons on the right path, and not actual beating; so that chastisement may be administered verbally; and in cases where the fault is serious, there may also be beating.

In the place of ‘uterine’ we should read ‘younger,’ and the right reading would thus be ‘bhrātā tathānujaḥ’; since it is the younger brother that may be chastised by his elder brother, like a child. The half-brother also is under the tutelage of the elder brother, if the latter is a duly qualified person; hence he also, if he takes to the wrong path, should be prevented by all the methods, ending with beating,

Split bamboo’—the bark of the bamboo. This has been mentioned only as illustrative of the lotus-fibre and other such objects which cause only slight pain.—(299)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. 4.164.

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 271), which explains that the younger ‘brother’ is meant;—in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 514);—in Aparārka (p. 610, and also p. 817);—in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (pp. 572 and 919);—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 52);—in Samskāraratnamālā (p. 314), which says that the specific mention of the ‘uterine’ brother indicates that the half-brother shall not be beaten;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 142), which says that this beating should be done only when the boy proves intractable to chiding and other means;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (Calcutta, p. 76).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.299-301)

Gautama (2.42-44).—‘As a rule, a pupil shall not be punished corporally,—if no other course is possible, he may be corrected with a thin rope or a thin cane; if the teacher strikes him with any other thing, he should be punished by the King.’

Āpastamba (1.8.28-29).—‘If the pupil commits faults, the teacher shall always reprove him;—frightening, fasting, bathing in cold water and expulsion from the teacher’s presence are the punishments to be employed, according to the seriousness of the fault, until the pupil leaves off the mischief.’

Yama (Vivādaratnākara, p. 2.).—‘Wife, son, slave, slave-girl and pupil,—when these commit a fault, they should be chastised with a rope or with split bamboo; but in the lower, never in the higher, parts of the body:—if one strikes them otherwise, he should be punished.’

Nārada (Do.).—‘If the pupil docs not obey the teacher, he should be chastised, without hurting him, either with a thin rope or with split bamboo; the teacher shall not beat him much, nor in the head or on the chest. Behaving otherwise than this, the teacher should be punished by the King.’

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