Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

सदृशं तु प्रकुर्याद् यं गुणदोषविचक्षणम् ।
पुत्रं पुत्रगुणैर्युक्तं स विज्ञेयश्च कृत्रिमः ॥ १६९ ॥

sadṛśaṃ tu prakuryād yaṃ guṇadoṣavicakṣaṇam |
putraṃ putraguṇairyuktaṃ sa vijñeyaśca kṛtrimaḥ || 169 ||

When one appoints a son who is worthy, capable of discerning right and wrong, and endowed with filial virtues,—that son is to be known as “appointed.’—(169)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Here also the epithet ‘worthy’ refers to qualities.

Some people, however, explain it to mean ‘belonging to the same caste’; b ut if this were meant by the author, the proper. reading would have been ‘sajātīyam’ (in place of ‘sadṛśantu’). And we have already pointed out above that the ‘worthiness’ meant in the present context is not with reference to caste.

Capable of discerning right and wrong.’—Some people have explained this to mean that no one shall be so ‘appointed’ until he has attained his majority; sis until then he is not in a position to discern right and wrong; all that he knows is that he is the ‘son’ of the man who has begotten him and who is maintaining him at the time. So that he would not be able to realise his ‘appointment’ as the son of any other man. For this reason, the ‘appointment’ should be made only when he is able to understand his position.

In reality, however, there is no difference between the two cases. (?)—(169)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Guṇadoṣavicakṣaṇam’.—‘Knowing that by performing or not performing Śrāddhas &c. merit or sin will follow’ (Kullūka);—‘knowing himself to be the son of such and such a person and hence likely to become an out-cast if he did not serve him properly’ (Rāghavānanda);—‘not a minor’ (‘some’ in Medhātithi and Nārāyaṇa).

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 738), which explains ‘sadṛśam’ as referring to caste;—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 572), which adds the following notes:—Here also, according to Medhātithi, ‘sadṛśam’ means‘of similar qualifications’;—‘Guṇadoṣavicakṣaṇam’ means ‘knowing that there is merit in performing the after-death rites for the parents, and sin in not performing them.’—‘putragunaiḥ’, obedience and such qualities.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Prāyaścītta, p. 38),—in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (pp. 546 and 557);—in Kṛtyasārasamuccaya (p. 74), which quotes Vīvādacandra to the effect that ‘sadṛśam’ means ‘of the same caste’;—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra 38a).


Comparative notes by various authors

Baudhāyana (2.3-21).—‘He is called the Kṛtrima, appointed, son whom a man himself makes his son, with only the adoptee’s consent, and who belongs to the same caste as the appointer.’

Yājñavalkya (2.131).—‘The appointed son is one who is made a son by the appointer independently of others.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 41).—‘The appointed son is one who is made a son.’

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