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:

शूद्रो गुप्तमगुप्तं वा द्वैजातं वर्णमावसन् ।
अगुप्तमङ्गसर्वस्वैर्गुप्तं सर्वेण हीयते ॥ ३७४ ॥

śūdro guptamaguptaṃ vā dvaijātaṃ varṇamāvasan |
aguptamaṅgasarvasvairguptaṃ sarveṇa hīyate || 374 ||

A śūdra having intercourse with a twice-born woman, protected or unprotected, shall be deprived of his limb and his whole property, in the case of the unprotected woman, and of everything in that of the protected.—(374).

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Śūdra’—i.e., down to the Caṇḍāla;—‘having intercourse’—sexual—‘with a twice-born woman’;—‘protected or unprotected’—by her husband,—shall be punished according to law.

What shall be the punishment?

If he has intercourse with an unprotected woman, he shall be deprived of his ‘limb,’ and also of ‘his whole property.’

As to the question regarding what he is to be deprived of, the answer is provided by the epithet ‘aṅgasarvasvi,’ which mentions the ‘limb’ and the ‘whole properly’; especially as nothing else is mentioned, and no other thing is specified.

The limb of which he is to be deprived is that with which he has offended.

If he has intercourse with a ‘protected’ woman, ‘he is to be deprived of everything,’— not of only one limb, but of the whole body.

The present verse lays down the amputation of the limb, the confiscation of his entire property, and the inflicting of death, as forms of punishment,—the sense being that punishment should be inflicted on the man. Says Gautama (12.2):—In the case of intercourse with women, there should be amputation of the generative organ and also the confiscation of his entire property,—if she happens to be protected’—(374)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra p. 378), to the effect that when a Śūdra has intercourse with an unguarded woman of a higher caste, his organ is to be cut off and all his property confiscated, and if he has recourse to a guarded woman of the higher caste, he shall suffer death and his entire property shall be confiscated.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 395), which adds the following notes:—‘Dvaijātam varṇam’, a woman of the twice-born caste,—‘āvasan’, having recourse to,—‘aguptaikāṅgasarvasvī’ (which is its reading for ‘aguptamaṅgasarvasvī’), if the woman is one who is not guarded, the man shall be deprived of one limb and also of his entire property; and of his entire property as also of his entire body (if the woman is one who is guarded).

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.280), which has the same explanation as the one in para 1 above;—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 100), which also has the same explanation—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 156a).

 

Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.374-378)

(See the texts under 372.)

Gautama (12.2).—‘If a Śūdra has intercourse with an Ārya woman, his organ shall he cut off, and all his property shall be confiscated.’

Baudhāyana (2.3.52).—‘Let him burn in straw-fire a Śūdra who has intercourse with an Ārya woman.’

Āpastamba (2.27.9).—‘A Śūdra committing adultery with a woman of any of the three higher castes shall suffer capital punishment.’

Do. (2-26.20).—‘If a man has actually committed adultery, his organ shall be cut off, together with the testicles.’

Vaśiṣṭha (21.1-5).—(See under 372.)

Yājñavalkya (2.286, 294).—‘If one has intercourse with a woman of the same caste as himself, he shall be punished with the highest fine; if with a woman of a lower caste, with the middle fine; if with a woman of a higher caste, he shall be put to death and the woman’s ears and nose shall be cut off. If a Caṇḍāla has intercourse with an Ārya woman, he shall be put to death.’

Viṣṇu (5.40-43).—‘An adulterer shall be made to pay the highest amercement, if he has had connection with a woman of his own caste;—for adultery with a woman of a lower caste, the middle amercement. He who has had connection with a woman of one of the lowest castes shall be put to death;—as also for having connection with a woman of the highest caste.’

Nārada (12.78).—‘Intercourse is permitted with a wanton woman who belongs to another than a Brāhmaṇa-caste, or a prostitute, or a female slave, or a female not restrained by her master; if these women belong to a lower caste than oneself; but with a woman of a superior caste intercourse is forbidden.’

Bṛhaspati (23.12).—‘The highest fine shall he inflicted for connection with a woman of equal caste; half of that, for connection with a woman of inferior caste; but a man who has connection with a woman of superior caste shall be put to death.’

Yama (Vivādaratnākara, p. 395).—‘If a Śūdra has connection with a Brāhmaṇa woman, the King shall put him to death on a heated iron-bed, burning the sinful man there with wood, leaves and grass.’

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