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...

Verse 9.219 [Impartible Property]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

वस्त्रं पत्रमलङ्कारं कृतान्नमुदकं स्त्रियः ?? ।
योगक्षेमं प्रचारं च न विभाज्यं प्रचक्षते ॥ २१९ ॥

vastraṃ patramalaṅkāraṃ kṛtānnamudakaṃ striyaḥ ?? |
yogakṣemaṃ pracāraṃ ca na vibhājyaṃ pracakṣate || 219 ||

A cloth, a conveyance, an ornament, cooked food, water, women, what is conducive to welfare and pasture-ground,—these they declare to be impartible.—(219)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The singular number in ‘cloth,’ ‘conveyance‘ornament,’ and ‘cooked food’ is meant to be significant.

Conveyance’—vehicle; such as a chariot, a cart and so forth.

Ornament’—the ring and so forth.

Cloth’—of ordinary quality, not what is exceptionally valuable.

Water’—well, tank and so forth.

Women’—female slaves.

Yogakṣeman’—what is conducive (‘kṣema’) to welfare (‘yoga’); e.g., experienced ministers, priests, councillors and so forth. These are helpful in guarding the household against thieves and others.

In another Smṛti it is found that ‘there is no division of the dwelling-house.’

Pasture-ground’—where the cattle graze.

From what is declared here it would follow that it is not absolutely true that there is nothing wrong in dividing what has been left by the father. But this denial is of that kind of which a transgression involves no sin. (?)—(219)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Striyaḥ’—‘Female slaves’ (Medhātithi);—‘wives’ (Nārāyaṇa).

(a) ‘Yogakṣemam (b) pracāram’.—(a) ‘agencies securing protection; such as councillors, parents, old ministers, who protect people against thieves; (b) pasture land’ (Medhātithi, who is badly misrepresented by Buhler; Kullūka and Raghāvānanda);—(a) ‘means of gain, e.g., a royal grant, and means of protection (b) and roads’ (Nārāyaṇa);—(a) sources of gain, persons for whom one sacrifices, and means of protection, (b) path leading to fields.’ (Nandana).

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 685), which adds the following notes—Only those clothes are impartible which are worn ;—‘patram,’ conveyances, e.g., horses, palanquins and so forth; of these also those are not to be divided which have been in the constant use of any one exclusively;—or ‘patra’ may be taken as ‘property consisting of a written document’;—in Dāyakrama-saṅgraha (p. 37);—and in Vīra mitvodaya (Vyavahāra 221a), which explains ‘patram’ as conveyance.

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.118) as describing property that cannot be partitioned;—it goes on to add that of clothes those only are impartible which have been worn by some one; the clothes that were worn by the father should, on bis death, be given away to persons fed at his Śrāddha. The Bālambhaṭṭī adds that the view of Medhātithi and Kalpataru—that valuable clothes are not included here—is to be rejected

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 725), which adds that the explanation by some people of ‘patram’ as conveyance is opposed to the text of Kātyāyana, by which the word stands for ‘property entered in a written document.’

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 504), which adds the following notes:—‘Patram’ is ‘property entered in a written document,’ as is clear from the texts of Kātyāyana; though Halāyudha has explained it to mean ‘conveyance’;—‘Kṛtānnam,’ flour and rice, says the Pārijāta;—‘Striyāḥ,’ those that are ‘Samyukta,’ ‘attached to,’ any one in particular;—‘Yogakṣemam’ stands for ministers and priests who are the agents of protection;—‘Pracārāḥ,’ paths for the passing of cattle;—Halāyudha has explained ‘Yoga’ as ‘boats and such things’ and ‘Kṣema’ as ‘forts and such means of safety.’

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 380), which has the following notes—‘Clothes’ that are worn;—the clothes worn by the father should, on his death, be given away to the persons fed at his Śrāddha.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (18.44).—‘Apparel, vehicles, and ornaments, prepared food, water, females, property set apart for pious purposes or for sacrifices, a common pasture-ground and document (or books) are impartible.’

Gautama (28.46-47).—‘Water, property set apart for pious uses or for sacrifices, and prepared food shall not be divided;—nor women already connected.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vivādaratnākara, p. 503).—‘There shall he no division of the dwelling house, or of water-vessels, ornaments, employed women, clothes, or water-drains,—so says Prajāpati.’

Vyāsa (Do., pp. 504-505).—‘Persons for whom one officiates at sacrifices, agricultural holdings, conveyance, prepared food, water, and woman are impartible.’

Kātyāyana (Do., pp. 504-505).—‘Property that has been set apart by means of a document for religious purposes, water, wives, hereditary mortgage (nibandha?), clothes and ornaments that have been worn, articles whose division is impossible, pasture-ground, paths,—these should not be divided.’

Bṛhaspati (25.79-85).—‘Those by whom clothes and the like articles have been declared to he impartible have not taken into consideration the fact that the wealth of the rich is based upon clothes and ornaments;—such wealth, when withheld from partition, will yield no profit; but it cannot be allotted to a single co-parcener. Therefore it has to be divided with some skill, or else it would be useless.—Clothes and ornaments are to be divided after selling them (and distributing the proceeds); a written bond is divided after recovering the amount involved; prepared food is divided by means of exchange with unprepared food.—The water of a well or a pool shall be drawn and used according to need. A single female slave shall be successively made to work at the houses of the several co-sharers, according to their respective shares.—If there are many such slaves, they shall be divided equally. The same rule applies to male slaves also. Property obtained for a pious purpose shall he divided in equal shares.—Fields and embankments shall he divided according to the several shares. A common road or pasture-ground shall be always used by the co-sharers in due proportion to their several shares.—The clothes, ornaments, bed and the like, as well as conveyances and such things—appertaining to the father—shall he given to the person who pertakes of his funeral repast, after honouring him with fragrant drugs and flowers.’

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