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:

तमसो लक्षणं कामो रजसस्त्वर्थ उच्यते ।
सत्त्वस्य लक्षणं धर्मः श्रैष्ठ्यमेषां यथोत्तरम् ॥ ३८ ॥

tamaso lakṣaṇaṃ kāmo rajasastvartha ucyate |
sattvasya lakṣaṇaṃ dharmaḥ śraiṣṭhyameṣāṃ yathottaram || 38 ||

Pleasure is the distinguishing feature of ‘Tamas,’ ‘Wealth’ is described to be that of ‘Rajas,’ and ‘Spiritual Merit’ is the distinguishing feature of ‘Sattva,’—each succeeding one of these being superior to the preceding.—(38)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

“There is happiness in pleasure also; so what has been described as the characteristic of ‘Sattva’ (under Verso 27, above)—‘when one feels bliss, etc., etc.,’ would apply to this also; how then can it be the distinguishing feature of ‘Tamas,’ which is of the nature of ‘stupefaction,’ while in Pleasure, there is keen consciousness, which also is a characteristic of ‘Sattva,’ since it has been declared above that ‘Sattva is knowledge, etc.’? (26).”

The answer to the above is as follows:—What is set forth in the present verse is not the condition of the Agent or of the object of experience; what is meant is an excessive longing for a certain end; and certainly at the time of the longing, there is no happiness, since the object longed for is not there.

Thus then, whenever a man has an excessive craving for Pleasure, he becomes deprived of the power to discriminate between right and wrong, and is really in a state of stupefaction. It is this sort of craving that is meant by the term ‘pleasure,’—and such desire as for the company of one’s wife during her ‘season.’—(38)


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 12.32-51)

See Comparative notes for Verse 12.32.

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