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...

Verse 8.352 [Adultery]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

परदाराभिमर्शेषु प्रवृत्तान्नॄन् महीपतिः ।
उद्वेजनकरैर्दण्डैश्छिन्नयित्वा प्रवासयेत् ॥ ३५२ ॥

paradārābhimarśeṣu pravṛttānnṝn mahīpatiḥ |
udvejanakarairdaṇḍaiśchinnayitvā pravāsayet || 352 ||

Those men who are addicted to intercourse with the wives of other men, the king shall banish after having branded them with terror-inspiring punishments.—(352)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘wife’ is applied to the woman who has gone through the sacrament of marriage.

Persons other than one’s own self are called ‘others.’

Intercourse’ here stands for carnal enjoyment, consisting in embracing and other acts. ‘Embracing’—consisting in the two parties coming together in close contact,—the cultivating of the feeling of pleasure caused by mutual union,—the sending of messengers and so forth,—and the actual sexual act,—all these are included under the term ‘abhimarṣa,’ ‘intercourse.’

The meaning thus comes to be this:—When the king finds that a certain man is addicted to having intercourse with the wife of another person,—he should ‘brand’ him,—by cutting off his nose, for instance,—by means of ‘terror-inspiring’—sharp-edged weapons,—and then ‘banish’ him.

In as much as penalties in connection with each detailed act hare been laid down elsewhere, the present verse should be taken as referring, not to a single act, but to repeated acts; and the right thing appears to be that the ‘banishment’ here prescribed,—which is not applicable to any other act—has to be inflicted along with a fine in money, the purpose served by which is wholly different. All this we shall explain later on.—(352).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 853);—in Vivādaratnākara (p. 388);—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 174), which explains ‘trīn’ (which is its reading for ‘nṛṛn ( nṝn?)’) as ‘persons of the three lower castes, i.e., all except the Brāhmaṇas,’—and ‘udvejanakaraiḥ’ as the ‘cutting of the ears, nose, and so forth.’


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.352-353)

Nārada (14.6).—‘Indecent assault on another man’s wife is called violence of the highest order.’

Nārada (12.60).—‘When a man meets a woman at a house other than her own, it is held to be Adultery.’

Nārada (12.77).—‘Let punishment be inflicted by the King on him who has intercourse with a woman intercourse with whom has been forbidden; and let such sinners be purified by performing penances.’

Bṛhaspati (23.9).—‘For the three grades of adultery, the first, middling and highest fines shall be inflicted respectively; it may be higher in the case of rich men.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vivādaratnākara, p. 388).—‘All men should adhere strictly to their own wives and to their own functions;—by whatever limb one commits an offence, that limb shall be cut off, or a fine of 8,000 shall be inflicted.’

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