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:

न शूद्रे पातकं किं चिन्न च संस्कारमर्हति ।
नास्याधिकारो धर्मेऽस्ति न धर्मात् प्रतिषेधनम् ॥ १२६ ॥

na śūdre pātakaṃ kiṃ cinna ca saṃskāramarhati |
nāsyādhikāro dharme'sti na dharmāt pratiṣedhanam || 126 ||

For the Śūdra there is no sin; nor is he worthy of any sacraments; he is not entitled to any sacred rites; but there is no prohibition against sacred rites.—(126)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The whole of this verse is purely reiterative.

Whatever is not directly forbidden for the Śūdra by actual name,—e.g., such acts as injuring living things, stealing, lying, and so forth, which form the subject-matter of general prohibitions (without reference to any particular castes),—by doing these the Śūdra does not incur sin. Guilt does accrue to him in the case of acts that are expressly prohibited for him,—such acts, for instance, as injuring, stealing and so forth.

He is not worthy of sacraments’—such as Initiation and the like; all which have been prescribed for the ‘three twice-born castes.’

Similarly, ‘he is not entitled to the sacred rites’;—that is, such acts as bathing, fasting and worshipping of deities are not enjoined as his compulsory duties; and hence the omission of these does not involve sin.

There is no prohibition against sacred rites’—Even with regard to bathing, fasting and such acts, which are not among his compulsory duties, and the omission whereof does not involve sin,—there is no absolute prohibition; i.e., the performance of such acts is not actually forbidden to him. So that if he does perforin them, it is conducive to his welfare; this on the analogy of the principle that ‘avoidance is conducive to great results.’

Similarly his not eating garlic and such things should also be understood to be conducive to welfare; as the law ‘avoidance is conducive to great results’ is meant to be of universal application.

This is what is meant by the words that ‘there is no prohibition against sacred rites

If the man does perform the acts—(what should be done is laid down in the following verse).—(126)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Na pātakam’—‘no sin, in eating garlic and other forbidden vegetables and fruits’ (Govindarāja and Kullūka),—‘in keeping a slaughter-house’ (Rāghavānanda),

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra p. 134);—and in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 235).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 10.126-127)

Gautama (10.64-65).—‘If permission has been given to him, the Śūdra may use the syllable namaḥ as his mantra. Some people declare that he may himself offer the Pākayajñas.’

Yājñavalkya (1.121).—‘Devoted to his wife, pure, supporting his dependants, devoted to the performance of śrāddha, he should not omit to perform the fire sacrifices with the syllable namaḥ as his mantra.’

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