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 9.313 [The Treatment of Brāhmaṇas]

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

परामप्यापदं प्राप्तो ब्राह्मणान्न प्रकोपयेत् ।
ते ह्येनं कुपिता हन्युः सद्यः सबलवाहनम् ॥ ३१३ ॥

parāmapyāpadaṃ prāpto brāhmaṇānna prakopayet |
te hyenaṃ kupitā hanyuḥ sadyaḥ sabalavāhanam || 313 ||

Even when fallen in the deepest distress, the king shall not provoke the Brāhmaṇas; for if provoked, they would ruin him, along with his army and conveyances.—(313)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Even when a, King with a depleted treasury has a heavy indemnity levied by a powerful enemy,—even in such a distress, he shall not draw upon the wealth of the Brāhmaṇa; nor are they to be provoked to anger by any marks of disrespect etc.—(313)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Rājaniti, p. 151), which adds the following explanations:—‘Parām āpadam’ the w orst calamity, brought about by the depletion of his treasury and by being attacked by a more powerful King;—even though fallen in such, the king should not ‘provoke the Brāhmaṇas to anger’, by forcibly seizing their property or by treating them with disrespect.

It adds that from 313 to 321, it is mere Arthavāda, and all that it means is that even when a Brāhmaṇa commits an offence, he should not be punished.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 9.313-322)

Mahābhārata (13.152.16, 21-23).—‘Brāhmaṇas depend upon the Kṣatriya, not the Kṣatriya on the Brāhmaṇa. There is none who can deprive me—says Arjuna—of any kingdom; I am therefore superior to the Brāhmaṇa.’

Do. (12.56.24).—(Same as Manu 321.)

Do. (12.78.21).—(Same as Manu 320.)

Śatapatha-Brāhmaṇa (

Gautama (11.14).—‘It is declared in the Veda—“Kṣatriyas, who are assisted by Brāhmaṇas, prosper and do not fall into distress.”’

Vaśiṣṭha (19.4).—‘It is declared in the Veda—“A realm where a Brāhmaṇa is appointed domestic priest prospers.”’

Nārada (18.12).—‘On account of their dignity and sanctity, it is not permitted to either advise or rebuke a King or a Brāhmaṇa, unless they swerve from the path of duty.’

Do. (18.34-39).—‘Let a king be constantly intent upon showing honour to the Brāhmaṇas; a field furnished with Brāhmaṇas is the root of the prosperity of the world. A Brāhmaṇa may command respect and a distinguished seat at the King’s Court; the King shall show his face in the morning before the Brāhmaṇas first of all, and shall salute them all.—When nine or seven persons meet, they shall first make room for the Brāhmaṇa to pass by. Brāhmaṇas shall also have free access to the houses of other people, for the purpose of begging alms; also the right to collect fuel, flowers, water and the like, without its being regarded as theft,—and to converse with men’s wives, without restraint;—and also the right to cross rivers without paying any fare, and to be conveyed to the other bank before other people. When engaged in trading and using a ferryboat, they shall pay no toll.—A Brāhmaṇa engaged in travelling, who is tired and has nothing to eat, commits no wrong by taking two canes of sugar or two esculent roots.’

Arthaśāstra (1.47).—‘The Kṣatriya Power is gloriously victorious when it is augmented by the Brāhmaṇas, embellished by the counsel of ministers, and supported by the deductions of the scriptures.’

Viṣṇu-dharmottara (Vīramitrodaya-Rājanīti, p. 150).—‘The King shall never take a Brāhmaṇa’s property; he shall always protect it.... Even though the Brāhmaṇa be devoid of learning or of vicious conduct, he shall never bear ill-will towards him.’

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