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:

शनकैस्तु क्रियालोपादिमाः क्षत्रियजातयः ।
वृषलत्वं गता लोके ब्राह्मणादर्शनेन च ॥ ४३ ॥

śanakaistu kriyālopādimāḥ kṣatriyajātayaḥ |
vṛṣalatvaṃ gatā loke brāhmaṇādarśanena ca || 43 ||

But by the omission of the sacred rites, and also by their neglect of Brāhmaṇas, the following Kṣatriya castes have gradually sunk to the position of the low-born.—(43)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Now follow the details regarding ‘the omission of one’s duties’ spoken of above.

Omission of sacred rites’— This includes the rites that are done for the person, such as Initiation and the rest, as also those that he does himself, such as the Agnihotra, the Twilight Prayers and so forth. And the ‘omission’ of these is the non-performance of both these sets of rites. Thus one loses his caste not only by the omission of the Initiatory Rite, but also by the neglecting of those that have been enjoined as to be done after the Initiation.

This is what is meant by ‘gradually—which means that the continued neglect of the rites reduces successive generations to the position of the Śūdra; and this does not refer to the new-born child, who loses his title only by the omission of his Initiation.

It is not that the man’s caste becomes lost; all that happens is that he becomes liable to be called by such castes-names as the ‘Bhṛjjakaṇṭaka’ and the rest.

By the neglect of Brāhmaṇas,’—i.e., by transgressing the injunctions pertaining to Brāhmaṇas. Or it may refer to not consulting the Council of Brāhmaṇas in doubtful matters arising out of the scriptures, in regard to expiatory rites and other cognate matters.—(43)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Smṛtattva II (p. 268) to the effect that even in in modern times Kṣatriyas can become degraded to śūdrahood.

 

Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 10.43-44)

Mahabharata (13.33.21-22; 13.35.17-18).—‘Śākas, Yavanas, Kāmbojas and other Kṣatriya castes became degraded by not seeing the Brāhmaṇas. Drāviḍas, Kaliṅgas, Pulindas, Uśīnaras, Kolisarpas and Māhiṣakas and other Kṣatriya castes became degraded by not seeing the Brāhmaṇas. Kirātas, Yavanas and other Kṣatriya castes became degraded because they would not bear with the Brāhmaṇas.’

Śukranīti (4.4.74).—‘The Yavanas have all the four castes mixed together; they recognise authority other than the Vedas and live in the North and West. Their Śāstras have been framed for their welfare by their own teachers.’

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