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:

यथैधस्तेजसा वह्निः प्राप्तं निर्दहति क्षणात् ।
तथा ज्ञानाग्निना पापं सर्वं दहति वेदवित् ॥ २४६ ॥

yathaidhastejasā vahniḥ prāptaṃ nirdahati kṣaṇāt |
tathā jñānāgninā pāpaṃ sarvaṃ dahati vedavit || 246 ||

Just as fire, in a moment, consumes with its heat the fuel placed upon it, so does the man learned in the Veda destroy all sins by the fire of knowledge.—(246)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This is the praise of knowledge; and what we learn from this section of the text is that for the learned man purification is secured by a comparatively light expiation.

Knowledge’—here means what is contained in the Veda, along with the esoteric explanations. Mere knowledge of the rules of Expiation cannot bring about purification. If it did, there would be no possibility of any one actually performing the rite. As for the knowledge of the real nature of gods and other things, and the knowledge of purely esoteric matters,—since this also is not acquired for any selfish purpose, it is only right that it should be destructive of sins. To this sense it has been declared—‘Just as water does not touch the lotus-leaf, so does sin not contaminate the man who knows this.’—(Chāndogya Upaniṣad, 4.14.3).

Fuel’—wooden sticks.

Just as dry wood thrown into fire is quickly consumed, so does knowledge destroy all sins;—the only ground of similarity lying in there being destruction in both cases.

Learned in the Veda.’—This serves to qualify the knowledge specially meant; so that the knowledge of Logic, Arts, Poetry and such subjects becomes excluded.—(246)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāsaramādhava (Prāyaścitta, p. 454).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (27.1-2).—‘If a hundred improper acts, and even more, have been committed, and the knowledge of the Veda is retained, the fire of the Veda destroys all the guilt of the man, just as fire consumes fuel. As a fire burning strongly consumes even green trees, even so the fire of the Veda destroys one’s guilt caused by evil deeds.’

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