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:

कार्षापणं भवेद् दण्ड्यो यत्रान्यः प्राकृतो जनः ।
तत्र राजा भवेद् दण्ड्यः सहस्रमिति धारणा ॥ ३३६ ॥

kārṣāpaṇaṃ bhaved daṇḍyo yatrānyaḥ prākṛto janaḥ |
tatra rājā bhaved daṇḍyaḥ sahasramiti dhāraṇā || 336 ||

When an ordinary man would be fined one ‘Kārṣāpaṇa,’ the king should be fined one thousand; such is the established rule.—(336)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Ordinary man’—a common person; who is not possessed of any special qualifications;—for a certain crime the King shall he fined a thousand times the fine that would be imposed upon an ordinary man;—the ‘kārsāpaṇa’ being mentioned only as a standard of fine.

Since punishment is meant to accomplish a visible purpose, it is only right that the king should punish himself also for any crime that he commits; as it is only by doing so that he can keep other men under check, and, in as much as he is very wealthy, he would not mind a small fine.

On the same principle the fine in the case of the king’s officers,—ministers, priests and others,—shall vary.

The fine imposed upon himself should be either given away to Brāhmaṇas, or thrown into water as an offering to Varuṇa; since it is going to be declared that Varuṇa ‘holds the sceptre over kings’ (9.245).—(336)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 654), which adds that the ‘rājās’ meant here are the subsidiary kings.

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