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 11.162 [Expiation for Theft (steya)]

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

धान्यान्नधनचौर्याणि कृत्वा कामाद् द्विजोत्तमः ।
स्वजातीयगृहादेव कृच्छ्राब्देन विशुध्यति ॥ १६२ ॥

dhānyānnadhanacauryāṇi kṛtvā kāmād dvijottamaḥ |
svajātīyagṛhādeva kṛcchrābdena viśudhyati || 162 ||

If a chief of twice-born men intentionally commits theft of grains, cooked food and wealth, from the house of a caste-fellow, he becomes pure by performing the Kṛcchra for one year.—(162)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Chief of twice-born men’— This is only illustrative; it includes the Kṣatriya and the rest also; but inasmuch as the text has used the term ‘chief of twice-born men,’ the phrase ‘from the house of a caste-fellow’ is understood to signify from the house of a Brāhmaṇa. Hence the meaning comes to be this:—‘Men of all castes, on stealing wealth from the house of a Brāhmaṇa, would become pure by performing the Kṛcchra for one year.’

The term ‘wealth’ including all kinds of property, ‘grains’ and ‘cooked food’ have been specially mentioned, for the purpose of indicating the better quality of grains; as for the stealing of grains of inferior quality, another expiation is going to be prescribed; from which it follows that what is here laid down applies to the stealing of the more important varieties of grains of superior quality.

“From among the various castes, if the Brāhmaṇa steals the property of other castes, what shall be the expiation?”

It shall be computed at the ‘fourth,’ the ‘eighth’ and other parts of what is here prescribed; just as we have found in the ease of murder (sec. 127). That is, when the Brāhmaṇa steals the property of a Kṣatriya, he shall perforin the Kṛcchra or three months; in the case of the property of a Vaiśya, for a month and a half, and in that of a Śūdra, for twenty-two days.

“What is the quantity of grains, the stealing of which would make one liable to the said expiation?”

More than,—or even a little less than—ten jarfuls. That such is the meaning is indicated by the heaviness of the expiation prescribed.

A similar computation may he made in regard to ‘wealth’ also.

Intentionally.’— This is added only for the purpose of filling up the verse; as there can be no unintentional stealing of what belongs to another.

Grains’—Vrīhi and the rest,

Cooked food’—grains and meat

When every one of the three tilings is stolen, the Kṛcchra should be performed for three years.

Some people take the expiation here laid down as meant for the stealing of all the three things mentioned, on the ground that it is a very heavy one.—(162)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (3. 265);—in Madanapārijāta (p. 874), which adds the following notes:—‘Dhana’ stands for valuables other than gold,—‘dvijottama,’ Brāhmaṇa,—his ‘svajāti’ is Brāhmaṇa;—this refers to cases where the Brāhmaṇa has stolen;—in Parāśaramādhava (Prāyaścitta p. 427);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 342), which explains ‘anna’ as cooked food, and ‘dhana’ as cattle.


Comparative notes by various authors

Āpastamba (1.25.10).—‘Those who have committed theft of gold, or drunk wine, or had connection with a guru’s wife,—hut not those who have slain a Brāhmaṇa,—shall eat, every fourth meal-time, a little food, bathe at the time of the three libations, passing the day standing and the night sitting. After the lapse of three years, they throw off their guilt.’

Viṣṇu (52.5).—‘He who steals grains or valuable objects must perform the Kṛcchra for a year.’

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