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:

तथा धरिममेयानां शतादभ्यधिके वधः ।
सुवर्णरजतादीनामुत्तमानां च वाससाम् ॥ ३२१ ॥

tathā dharimameyānāṃ śatādabhyadhike vadhaḥ |
suvarṇarajatādīnāmuttamānāṃ ca vāsasām || 321 ||

In the case or articles weighed by scales,—gold, silver and the rest,—if more than a hundred (are stolen),


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Dharima’—scales;—things weighed by means of scales are called ‘dhrimameya.’

In as much as clarified butter and other liquid substances are weighed by the seer and other measures, people might think that solid substances are not meant here; hence the author has added—‘gold, silver and the rest.’

Since silver would have been included under the phrase ‘and the rest,’ its special mention may be taken to indicate that what are meant are only such things as are equal to it in value; it is thus that coral and other precious stones become included, but not copper, iron and Such things.

Of these things, if more than a hundred is stolen, there shall be ‘immolation.’

“What is it of which there should be a hundred? A hundred ‘palas’ or ‘karṣas’ or ‘kārṣāpaṇas’?”

Some people say that ‘hundred palas’ are meant.

But there is no ground available for restricting it to any particular measure. Hence it should be taken as referring to that particular measure which, in the country concerned, happens to be the standard of weighment by scales. The expression ‘a hundred of gold’ pertains, in some places, to ‘tolās’ and in others to ‘palas’; hence the rule is to be interpreted in accordance with local usage.

Also in the ease of fine clothes,’—snoh as silken and coloured raiments; here also we have to construe the words—

if there are more than a hundred, there shall be immolation.’ In the case of Sārīs two pieces (pair) are counted as ‘one,’ while in that of flowered wrappers and such other clothes, it is only one piece.

“In as much as the phrase ‘gold, silver and the rest’ would have sufficed to express what is meant, it was entirety useless to add the term ‘things weighed by scales.’

It has been added for the purpose of including such high-priced things as camphor, aguru, musk and so forth. The phrase ‘and the rest’ (used along with ‘gold and silver’) includes only the igneous substances (metals), or only such substances as are weighed in ‘niṣkas’ and other measures, which are not applicable to camphor and other like things.

Though the limit of ‘a hundred’ is put down in regard to both gold and silver, yet, in actual practice a distinction has to be made in the penalty inflicted in the two cases; just as there is in the expiatory rite imposed in connection with them; and this for the simple reason that things distinctly unequal should not be treated as equal. Hence in the case of silver, there is to be ‘immolation’ only if the value of the quantity stolen is equivalent to ‘a hundred of gold.’

In the case of camphor and other things, the number ‘hundred’ would pertain to ‘palas.’—(321)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Dharimameyānām suvarṇarajatādīnām’—‘Articles weighed by scales such as gold, silver, &c.,’ (Medhātithi; Govindarāja and Kullūka);—‘articles measured by weight, i. e., copper and the rest, other than gold and silver, and of gold, silver, &c.’ (Nārāyaṇa and Rāghavānanda).

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 847), which adds the following notes:—‘Dharimameya’ are those things that are measured by scales,—i.e., ‘gold, silver and so forth’.—If the author had only the expression ‘suvarṇarajatādīnām’, ‘gold, silver &c.,’ then iron and other metals also would become included; similarly if he had only ‘dharimameyānām’ ‘things weighed by scales’, then molasses and such other things also would become included; by having both, even such articles as pearls, corals and the like, which also are ‘weighed by scales,’ become included; these latter also belong to the same category as ‘gold and silver’ by reason of their being highly valuable; the term ‘ādi’, means ‘and the like thus it is that such things as molasses, even though they are ‘weighed by scales’, become excluded; because, being cheap, they have no similarity to ‘gold and silver’; for the same reason such cheap metals as iron, lead and so forth are not included here,—‘uttamāni vāsāṃsi’, ‘excellent clothes’, clothes of patra, (?) ūrṇa (wool), netra (?) paṭī (silk, and so forth).

It is quoted in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 102);—in Vivādaratnākara (p. 323), which explains ‘dharima’ as ‘weight’;—in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 987);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 152a).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (15.13).—‘One who steals more than a hundred māṣas of such things as arc usually sold by weight, shall be put to death.’

Nārada (Theft, 27).—‘For stealing more than a hundred palas of gold, silver or other precious metals, or valuable clothes, or very precious gems, corporal punishment or death shall be inflicted.’

Bṛhaspati (22.27).—‘In the case of stealing women, men, gold, gems, silk and other precious things, the fine shall be equal to the value of the thing stolen; or double the amount shall be inflicted by the King as fine; or the thief shall be executed, to prevent a repetition of the offence.’

Yājñavalkya (2.275).—‘Punishments shall be inflicted in accordance with the nature of the thing stolen, as to its being trifling, mediocre or of high class; and in inflicting punishments, the time, place, age and capacity should be taken into consideration.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vivādaratnākara, p. 324).—‘For stealing gold and gems, corporal punishment.’

Arthaśāstra (Do., p. 100).—‘For stealing gems and metals, the fine shall be of the value of the article stolen, say the followers of Manu,—double the value, say the followers of Uśanas; it shall be in keeping with the nature of the crime, says Kauṭilya.’

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