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:

तस्यैह त्रिविधस्यापि त्र्यधिष्ठानस्य देहिनः ।
दशलक्षणयुक्तस्य मनो विद्यात् प्रवर्तकम् ॥ ४ ॥

tasyaiha trividhasyāpi tryadhiṣṭhānasya dehinaḥ |
daśalakṣaṇayuktasya mano vidyāt pravartakam || 4 ||

Know the mind to be the instigator of all this that is connected with the body, and which is of three kinds, has three substrata and is endowed with ten distinct characteristics.—(4)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Objection—“All actions, good or bad, laid down in such passages as—‘he shall punish the guilty,’ ‘he shall not injure,’ are accomplished by the operation of the body. For instance, (a) the act of giving, which consists in the withdrawing of one’s ownership over a thing and bringing about that of another, is laid down as ‘to be done with the right hand’ and so forth (which involves a bodily action); (b) the act of sacrificing, consisting of the entire procedure ending with the Final Bath, is one that is accomplished by bodily operations; (c) similarly all such acts as desisting from striking others with a stick and so forth are such as are due to bodily operations. What then is that action which springs from the Mind?”

It is in answer to this that the text says—‘Know the Mind to be the instigator of all this.’—Seeing and all such acts are functions of the Mind; as in the absence of Mind, no purely physical action is possible For instance, in the case of every act, the agent first of all conceives of the thing concerned as being of a certain nature and as bringing about pleasure or pain, or leading to something on which pleasure or pain is dependent, and then comes to the determination ‘I shall have this’ or ‘I shall not have it’; and it is only the action to which this determination leads where the functioning of the body or of speech comes in. Thus it is that in the case of ail intentional actions, the Mind is the ‘instigator.’ As for unintentional actions, the said process is not always perceptible; for instance, when wine is drunk under the misapprehension that it is some, other drink, or when one approaches another woman, mistaking her for one’s own wife, or in cases of such chance-actions as the killing of mosquitoes and other insects by the throwing about of the hand, turning on one’s sides during sleep and so forth; though in all these cases also the responsibility for doing it rests on the agent, which renders him liable to expiation.

Which is of three kinds’;—as brought about by speech, mind and body.

Three substrata’;—in accordance with the ‘high,’ ‘low’ and ‘middling’ conditions of the agent.

Endowed with ten distinct characteristics’;—the functions of the mind and the body being of three kinds each [making up six] and those of speech are of four kinds,—thus making up the ‘ten.’ These are going to be described in the next few verses.—(4)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(verses 12.1-4)

See Comparative notes for Verse 12.1.

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: