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:

आगमं निर्गमं स्थानं तथा वृद्धिक्षयावुभौ ।
विचार्य सर्वपण्यानां कारयेत् क्रयविक्रयौ ॥ ४०१ ॥

āgamaṃ nirgamaṃ sthānaṃ tathā vṛddhikṣayāvubhau |
vicārya sarvapaṇyānāṃ kārayet krayavikrayau || 401 ||

The king shall regulate the purchase and sale of all marketable commodities after having taken into consideration their source, destination and detention, as also profit and loss.—(401)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The vendors in the market should not he allowed to fix their prices at their own will; nor should the king buy things at his own arbitrary price. What should be done then? This is what should he done:—‘Source’ from where a certain commodity comes, from a near or a remote country;—so also ‘destination and detention’—whether it is going to be sold immediately, or will have to be kept? When a commodity is sold immediately, even a small profit comes very useful, as the profit can he invested in some other commodity and thus bring in another profit;—while from ‘detention,’ both ‘profit and loss’ are possible—and how much more profit will the detention bring in, and what amount of loss it would involve,—all this should be taken into consideration by the king, who should then regulate the sales and purchases in his realm; and the prices should be fixed in such a manner that there may be no oppression caused to the traders, or to the buyers.—(401)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara, (p. 301), which adds the following notes:—‘Āgamam,’ the import of foreign commodities from countries either remote and inaccessible, or proximate and easily accessible—‘nirgamam,’ export of commodities of the country to the said foreign countries;—‘sthānam,’ the determining of the expenses incurred in the storing of the commodity during the larger or shorter interval between its purchase and sale;—similarily ‘vṛddhikṣayam,’ the profit or loss actually accrued;—‘vicārya,’ having fully considered all this,—the king shall so regulate buying and selling that there may be no undue profit or loss to the traders.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 827);—and in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 942).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.401-402)

Yājñavalkya (2.251-253).—‘Sales should be carried on according to the prices fixed by the King day by day; whatever profit accrues from such sale is lawful for the trader. In the case of commodities purchased in the country itself, the merchant shall take a profit of 5 per cent.; and in that of those imported from outside, 10 per cent.; this rule applies to commodities bought and sold quickly. The King shall consider the intrinsic value of the merchandise and the cost incurred in its marketing and then fix a price which shall be favourable alike to the vendor and the vendee.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vivādaratnākara, p. 302).—‘Fixing of weights and measures, and the fixing of the price of commodities shall be placed in charge of a trustworthy official.’

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