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:

आश्रमेषु द्विजातीनां कार्ये विवदतां मिथः ।
न विब्रूयान्नृपो धर्मं चिकीर्षन् हितमात्मनः ॥ ३९० ॥

āśrameṣu dvijātīnāṃ kārye vivadatāṃ mithaḥ |
na vibrūyānnṛpo dharmaṃ cikīrṣan hitamātmanaḥ || 390 ||

For twice-born men disputing among themselves regarding any point relating to the orders, the king, desirous of his own welfare, shall not determine the law.—(390)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

In regard to the ‘duties’ of the various orders of the Hermit dwelling in the forests, several disputes arise as to this and not that being the sense of the scriptures.

When these men happen to dispute among themselves, the king shall not, in a hurry, lay down the law; i.e., he should not, in the exercise of his sovereign power, determine what the law on the point is. What he should do and how is going to be explained later on.

By acting in this manner, the king accomplishes his own welfare; i.e., he does not relinquish the injunctions of the scriptures.

In the case of householders, even though they also belong to an ‘order,’—yet, the method of laying down the law should be the same as laid down before (and not as declared in the present text, which pertains to the Hermit and the Recluse only).

Points’—i.e., doubtful questions regarding the duties; that this refers to this particular matter of duties is indicated by the mention of the ‘orders.’—(390)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Āśrameṣu’—‘The hermitages of Vānaprasthas and other hermits living in the forest’ (Medhātithi);—‘the Householder’s and other life-stages’ (Kullūka).

This verse is quoted in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 4);—in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 10a), which explains ‘āśrameṣu kārye’ as ‘business arising out of the life-stages’;—and in Kṛtyakalpataru (10a), which explains ‘āśrameṣu’ as ‘in the matter of the life-stages’,—and ‘na vibrūyāt,’ as ‘should not apportion victory and defeat.’

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