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:

दास्यां वा दासदास्यां वा यः शूद्रस्य सुतो भवेत् ।
सोऽनुज्ञातो हरेदंशमिति धर्मो व्यवस्थितः ॥ १७९ ॥

dāsyāṃ vā dāsadāsyāṃ vā yaḥ śūdrasya suto bhavet |
so'nujñāto haredaṃśamiti dharmo vyavasthitaḥ || 179 ||

If a son is born to a Śūdra from a female slave, or from the female slave of a slave, he shall, when permitted, receive a share; such is the settled law.—(179)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

In the case of a Śūdra, the child born from an unmarried woman, or from an unauthorised woman, is a ‘son.’ From the text, it is clear that if a slave were to beget a child upon a female slave belonging to another slave, that child would belong to the former, and not to the latter.

When permitted’—by his father—‘shall receive a share’—equal to that of the ‘legitimate’ son; when the partition is done during the father’s life-time, or when the father has declared to his sons that ‘this child is entitled to a share equal to yours.’

If, however, the father does not permit it, what should he done has been declared in another Smṛti—‘The son born to a Śūdra from a female slave shall receive a share according to the wish—[of his father, i.e., as much as his father permits him to take],—but on the fathers death, his brothers shall allot to him a half-share; [that is, they shall give him half of their own share; if they themselves take two shares each, they shall give him one];—if he has no brothers, he shall take the entire property, except when there are daughter’s sons;—i.e., in the absence of ‘legitimate’ sons, he shall inherit the whole property, but only if there is no daughter’s son; if the daughter’s son is there, this latter shall be treated like a ‘legitimate’ son; because, nothing else is mentioned in connection with the daughter’s son, and it is he that is presented to the mind by the context.

In the case of the Brāhmaṇa and other castes, the sons of slave-girls are entitled to mere subsistence.

Such is the law.—(179)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 537), which adds the note that the son meant is born to a slave from a slave-girl not married to him;—the Kalpataru holds that the son meant is that born from the slave-girl belonging to a personal servant;—in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 566);—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra, p. 38a);—and by Jīmūtavāhana (Dāyabhāga, p. 222), which says that in the absence of the said sanction, the son is to have only half a share.


Comparative notes by various authors

Yājñavalkya (2.133).—‘A son born to a Śūdra father from a slave-girl may inherit his property, by the desire of his father; on the death of the father, his brothers may allot to him one-half share;—if there are no brothers, nor sons of the father’s daughter born of his married wife, then he shall take the whole property.’

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