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:

प्रतिकूलं वर्तमाना बाह्या बाह्यतरान् पुनः ।
हीना हीनान् प्रसूयन्ते वर्णान् पञ्चदशैव तु ॥ ३१ ॥

pratikūlaṃ vartamānā bāhyā bāhyatarān punaḥ |
hīnā hīnān prasūyante varṇān pañcadaśaiva tu || 31 ||

Aliens behaving discordantly, beget fifteen castes, still more alien, disgraced and not disgraced.—(31)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Each caste gives rise to several ‘mixed castes;’ from some castes proceed castes in the ‘natural order,’ and from some in the ‘inverse order,’ while from some both ‘natural’ and ‘inverse.’ From the Brāhmaṇa only those in the ‘natural’ order (1-3) and from the Śūdra only those in the ‘inverse’ older (4-6); and from the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya proceed those in the ‘natural’ order, as well as those in the ‘inverse’ order. From the Kṣatriya proceed two ‘natural,’ and one ‘inverse’ sub-caste; (1-9) from the Vaiśya two ‘inverse’ and one ‘natural’ (9-12).

These make twelve sub-castes, ‘natural’ and ‘inverse.’

When each of these has intercourse with women of each of the four castes, they give rise to four divisions of each of these twelve.

Among these some are ‘disgraced,’ and others ‘not disgraced’; but all of them are ‘still more alien’ than their fathers;—what is meant by this ‘alien’ character is that they are several degrees removed from their parents, specially on account of their having fallen off from their sacred duties.

All this is explained by means of examples.

We shall enumerate the ‘inverse’ sub-castes in detail—(A) The Āyogava, born from the Śūdra father and the Vaiśya mother, begets four sons on women of the Brāhmaṇa the Kṣatriya, the Vaiśya and the Śūdra castes; these along with the Āyogava himself make five. Similarly the Kṣattṛ and the Caṇḍāla. Thus of the Śūdra there are three groups of five; which make fifteen; (B) Similarly born of the Vaiśya father there are two ‘inverse’ sub-castes,—the ‘Māgadha’ born of a Kṣatriya mother and the ‘Vaidehaha’ of a Brāhmaṇa mother; of the Śūdra mother, the son born is of the ‘natural’ order. Of these when the son born of the Śūdra mother begets sons on the four castes, then the same process takes place. When he has intercourse with a Śūdra woman, then the sub-caste that is born is a degree lower than himself; similarly having intercourse with a Vaiśya woman, he begets one still lower. (C) But those born to the Śūdra father from the Brāhmaṇa and the Kṣatriya women are ‘superior.’ Thus it is that while some are ‘disgraced,’ others are ‘not disgraced.’ The same holds good regarding the Brāhmaṇa and the Kṣatriya father. But in the case of the Brāhmaṇa there is this peculiarity that to him all the sons that are born are in the ‘natural’ order. A combination among these sub-castes gives rise to endless divisions. This is what has been spoken of above (in 29)—‘that beget many alien sons etc.’

Discordantly’— contrary to law.

Behaving’—having intercourse.

Hīnāhīnān’— is one compound word. Or (taken as two distinct words), it may mean—‘while disgraced themselves (hīnāḥ) they beget sons not disgraced (ahīnān).

Fifteen castes’;—inasmuch as it has been declared that ‘there is no fifth caste’ (Verse 4), the term ‘caste’ must be taken here as used figuratively.—(31)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“Kullūka thinks that the terms vāhya and hīna may either refer (a) to two sets of men or (b) to one only; (a) under the former supposition, the Vāhyas must be understood to be the Pratiloma offering of a śūdra, i.e., Āyogavas, Kṣattṛs and Caṇḍālas,—and the Hīnas the Pratiloma offspring of Kṣatriyas and Vaiśyas i.e., Sūtas, Māgadhas and Vaidehas. Each of these two sets produce fifteen lower races by union with women of the four chief castes and of their own (verse 27):—(b) But if the two terms vāhya and hīna are referred to one set of males only, they must be understood to denote the six Pratilomas, Caṇḍālas, Kṣattṛs, Āyogavas, Vaidehas, Māgadhas and Sūtas; and it must be assumed that the verse refers to unions between these six Pratiloma races alone. Then the lowest among them, the Caṇḍāla may produce, with females of the five higher Pratiloma tribes, five more degraded races; the Kṣattṛ with the four above him, four; the Āyogava with the three above him; the Vaideha, ‘two, and the Māgadha one. The total of 5+4+3+2+1 is thus 15.—Rāghavānanda agrees with this interpretation.—Nārāyaṇa, on the other hand, refers the terms vāhya and hīna to one set of males, the three Pritilamas springing from the Śūdra; and assumes that the verse refers to unions of these three with females of the four principal castes and of their own.”—Buhler.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 10.6-41)

See Comparative notes for Verse 10.6.

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