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:

येन येन यथाङ्गेन स्तेनो नृषु विचेष्टते ।
तत् तदेव हरेत् तस्य प्रत्यादेशाय पार्थिवः ॥ ३३४ ॥

yena yena yathāṅgena steno nṛṣu viceṣṭate |
tat tadeva haret tasya pratyādeśāya pārthivaḥ || 334 ||

By whatever limb the thief operates against men, that shall the king take off, by way of retribution.—(334)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The punishment here laid down is meant for one who is repeatedly addicted to stealing. If even on being found, the man does not remain in the path of rectitude, then, after having been fined thrice or four times, he should have his limb cut off,—irrespectively of the quality or quantity of the article stolen, as also of any considerations regarding his having broken through a wall or other details,—merely on the strength of his having committed the act of stealing.

When the thief acts,—i.e., steals through the strength of any particular limb,—that limb the king should ‘take off’—i.e., cut off. For instance, if the thief depending upon his fleet foot, runs off, under the impression that no one can overtake him,—then his feet should be cut off. When another relies upon his knowledge of the art of breaking through walls, he should have his hands cut off.

By way of retribution’—with a view to make him receive a reward in keeping with his act.

Or ‘pratyādeśa’ may stand for reproach, forcible, dignified, angry and contemptuous; consisting in the king’s declaration ‘he who acts thus, him shall I treat in this manner.’—(334)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Pratyādeśāya’—‘By way of making a deterrent example’ (Medhātithi);—‘for the purpose of preventing repetition’ (Kullūka).

 

Comparative notes by various authors

Nārada (Theft, 34).—‘With whatever limb a thief acts among men, that very limb shall be taken away from him such is the law ordained by Manu.’

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