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:

दास्यं तु कारयन्लोभाद् ब्राह्मणः संस्कृतान् द्विजान् ।
अनिच्छतः प्राभवत्याद् राज्ञा दण्ड्यः शतानि षट् ॥ ४१२ ॥

dāsyaṃ tu kārayanlobhād brāhmaṇaḥ saṃskṛtān dvijān |
anicchataḥ prābhavatyād rājñā daṇḍyaḥ śatāni ṣaṭ || 412 ||

If the Brāhmaṇa, through the sense of mastery, and out of greed, makes sanctified twice-born persons do fertile work, against their will,—he should be fined by the king six hundred.—(412)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Sanctified’—those for whom the initiatory rite has been performed. Though this is already implied by the term ‘twice-born’ itself, yet the additional qualification has been added in order to guard against this latter word being taken in the sense of all the three castes promiscuously. The sense of the text is that if a Brāhmaṇa makes fellow caste-men perform such ‘servile work’ as the washing of feet, the removing of offal, sweeping and so forth,—‘against their will’;—because he is their master,—i.e., possessed of the rights of the master over them,—‘he should be fined six hundred,’— if he does it ‘through greed.’ If he does it through hatred and such other motives, the fine shall be heavier.

The form ‘prābhavatya’ is an abstract noun formed from the present participial term ‘prabhavan.’ And since the text speaks of ‘mastery,’ which implies the idea of master and servant, there would be nothing wrong in the preceptor’s menial work being done by the pupil.

Against their will’—this shows that if they are willing, the fine shall be very small.—(412)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 153), which has the following notes:—‘Prabhāvatvāt’ (which is its reading for ‘Prābhavatyāt’), on account of being powerful,—‘saṃskṛtān,’ endowed with character and learning if a Brāhmaṇa employs such twice-born men in work unsuitable for them he should be fined 600 by the king.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 789), which explains ‘prābhavatya,’ as ‘prabhavato bhāvaḥ,’ being powerful;—600 paṇas are meant;—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 126a), which explains ‘prābhavatyāt’ as ‘prabhutvāt’, and adds that the mention of ‘dvijāti’ makes it clear that the penalty here prescribed does not refer to the case of Śūdra -slaves.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.410-418)

See Comparative notes for Verse 8.410.

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