Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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 11.54 [Offences: their Classification]

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

ब्रह्महत्या सुरापानं स्तेयं गुर्वङ्गनागमः ।
महान्ति पातकान्याहुः संसर्गश्चापि तैः सह ॥ ५४ ॥

brahmahatyā surāpānaṃ steyaṃ gurvaṅganāgamaḥ |
mahānti pātakānyāhuḥ saṃsargaścāpi taiḥ saha || 54 ||

Brāhmaṇa -slaying, wine-drinking, theft, intercourse with the Preceptor’s wife,—are called the ‘heinous offences,’ as also association with these.—(54)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

(a) Intercourse with the Preceptor’s wife, (b) Theft, and (c) Association with outcasts,—these are ‘heinous offences’ for all castes;—‘wine-drinking’ is so only for the Brāhmaṇa.

Theft’—stands here for the stealing of gold belonging to a Brāhmaṇa; as is clear from another Smṛti text, which says that—‘The stealing of Brāhmaṇa’s gold constitutes a heinous offence.’ The term ‘pātaka’ (offence) literally signifying ‘that which degrades,’ is applied to all transgressions, major as well as minor, and, in the name ‘mahā-pātaka,’ the qualifying epithet ‘mahā’ is meant to indicate the great seriousness of the offence.

Association with these’—with any one of them; details regarding this are going to be described under 180 below.—(54)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. 9.235.

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta, (p. 786).—in Aparārka, (p. 1044), which adds that ‘surā’ stands here for the ‘Paiṣṭīi.e., liquor distilled from grains;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda, (prāyaścitta, 3b);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka, (p. 39 and 140).


Comparative notes by various authors

[See above.—9.235.]

Gautama (21.1).—‘The slayer of a Brāhmaṇa, he who drinks wine, the violator of the Guru’s bed, he who has connection with the female relations of his mother and of his father, or with sisters and their female offspring, he who steals gold, an atheist, he who constantly repeats reprehensible acts, he who does not cast off persons guilty of a crime causing loss of caste and he who forsakes blameless relatives,—all these become outcasts.’

Āpastamba (1.21.7-8).—‘Stealing gold, crimes whereby one becomes accused, homicide, neglect of the Vedas, causing abortion, incestuous connection with relations born of the same womb as the mother or the father, and with the offspring of such persons, drinking wine, and intercourse with persons whose intercourse is forbidden; these are actions that cause loss of caste.’

Vaśiṣṭha (1.19-21).—‘They state that there are five Mahāpātakas: stealing gold, the violation of Guru’s bed, drinking Surā, slaying a learned Brāhmaṇa, and associating with outcasts, either spiritually or matrimonially.’

Viṣṇu (35.1-2).—‘Killing a Brāhmaṇa, drinking wine, stealing Brāhmaṇa’s gold, and sexual connection with a Guru’s wives are Mahāpātakas; also social intercourse with such criminals.’

Yājñavalkya (3.227).—‘Brāhmaṇa-slayer, wine-drinker, stealer (of gold), violators of Guru’s bed; these are the Mahāpātakins, as also one who associates with these for one year.’

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