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:

यद्येकरिक्थिनौ स्यातामौरसक्षेत्रजौ सुतौ ।
यस्य यत् पैतृकं रिक्थं स तद् गृह्णीत नैतरः ॥ १६२ ॥

yadyekarikthinau syātāmaurasakṣetrajau sutau |
yasya yat paitṛkaṃ rikthaṃ sa tad gṛhṇīta naitaraḥ || 162 ||

If the ‘Soil-born’ and the ‘body-born’ sons are both entitled to inherit the same property, each shall receive that property which belongs to his own father, and not the other.—(162)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

An impotent man having obtained a son from his ‘authorised’ wife through another man, according to the method described under 167, may happen to have his impotence cured by medicines and then himself beget his own ‘legitimate,’ ‘body-born’ son; and in this ease, the former son would receive the property of his progenitor, who may be called his ‘father’ on the ground of his being the cause of his birth; and on the same ground the child would be called his ‘son’ only figuratively; since in reality he is the ‘Kṣetraja’ son of the other man, just as he is referred to in this verse.

If, however, the progenitor happens to have a ‘legitimate’ son of his own,—and if the father, moved by his great love, does not happen to have made over all his property to that son,—and further, if there are no other Sapiṇḍa relations—under such circumstances, the ‘Kṣetraja;’ son may inherit the property of that progenitor. The sons of ‘unauthorised’ women also inherit the property of their progenitor, if there are no ‘Sapiṇḍa’ relations.

Others explain the verse to mean as follows:—While the rightful ‘heir’ is already there, if a ‘Kṣetraja’ son happen also to be bora, this latter shall inherit the property of his progenitor, and not that of the ‘owner of the soil’ (his mother’s husband),—if there is a ‘legitimate’ son of the latter. In the presence of the legitimate son, what the share of the ‘Kṣetraja’ son shall be is laid down in verses 165 and 164.

The next two verses show how the two sons become entitled to the same property.—(162)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Medhātithi has been mis-represented here by Kullūka and also by Buhler. (See text). Nārāyaṇa and Nandana hold that the rule refers to the case of two undivided brothers, where one having died, the other, who has sons of his own, begets on the other a Kṣetraja son; in which case on the death of the second brother, the Kṣetraja is entitled to receive only the share of his mother’s husband, not any in the estate of his natural father.

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 543), which has the following notes:—The ‘Kṣetraja’ meant here is one begotten by one not ‘commissioned’ (by the elders);—‘paitṛkam riktham’ means ‘that property which the father gave to the mother for the purpose of maintaining the son.’ Others however construe the verse as it stands, in the direct, sense—‘Each takes the property of his own father.’

It is quoted in Aparārka, (p. 739), as laying down that the Dvyāmuṣyāyaṇa-Kṣetraja is entitled to inherit the property of his progenitor-father.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva, (p. 169), which explains the meaning to be that each is to take the property of the man from whose seed he was born;—and by Jīmūtavāhana (Dāyabhāga, p. 229), which says that the son shall inherit the property of that person from whose ‘seed’ he may he horn.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (17.23).—‘Co-parceners descended from different fathers must adjust their shares according to their fathers; let each take the wealth due to his father; no other has a right to it.’

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