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:

शुल्कस्थानं परिहरन्नकाले क्रयविक्रयी ।
मिथ्यावादी च सङ्ख्याने दाप्योऽष्टगुणमत्ययम् ॥ ४०० ॥

śulkasthānaṃ pariharannakāle krayavikrayī |
mithyāvādī ca saṅkhyāne dāpyo'ṣṭaguṇamatyayam || 400 ||

If one who buts and sells avoids a custom-house, and at the improper time, or makes a wrong statement in counting,—he shall be made to pay a fine eight times the amount evaded.—(400)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Who buys and sells’—i.e., the trader.

Who avoids the custom-house’—by taking to unfrequented roads.

At the improper time’—at night, when the custom-officers have gone away.

Who makes a wrong statement in counting,’—when counting the articles, if he mentions a figure larger than the actual one. ‘Counting’ is mentioned only by way of illustration; hence the same rule applies to case of concealment also.

Such a man should be made to pay a fine ‘eight times the amount evaded’;—i.e., eight times the value of the articles that he conceals; or eight times the duty that he tries to evade. The former is more reasonable; as ‘evading’ would be more applicable to the articles.

Others have offered the construction—‘who buys and sells at the improper time’;—this would he a prohibition of carrying on transactions before the duty has been paid, or in secret.—(400)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 297), which adds the following notes:—‘Śulka’ is the duty realised by the king on all sales and purchases,—the ‘sthānas’ of this are the customs-outposts established by the king on rivers, in cities, on mountains, and so forth;—when themerchant reaches these out-posts, he should pay the custom; he should never seek to avoid their payment by going by untrodden tracks;—if with a view to avoiding customs-outposts, the merchant should seek to carry on his sale and purchases at the improper time—e.g., at night,—or if he declares his goods falsely,—then he should be made to pay a fine which is eight times the value of the commodity in question.

It is quoted in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī, (p. 955).


Comparative notes by various authors

Yājñvalkya (2.262).—‘A. traitor who makes a false declaration of the measure of his commodity, or who evades the customs outpost, or who buys and sells fraudulently, should be made to pay eight times the value of the merchandise.’

Nārada (Aparārka, p. 834).—(Same as Manu.)

Viṣṇu (Do.).—‘If a trader tries to evade the payment of duty he shall have his entire goods confiscated.’

Bṛhaspati (Do.).—‘On arriving at the customs-office the trader shall pay the proper duty, and shall never evade it, as this is meant to be an offering to the King.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vivādaratnākara, p. 298).—‘The trader who uses false weights and measures incurs the penalty of having his limbs cut off, or some corporal punishment.’

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