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...

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

अज्ञेभ्यो ग्रन्थिनः श्रेष्ठा ग्रन्थिभ्यो धारिणो वराः ।
धारिभ्यो ज्ञानिनः श्रेष्ठा ज्ञानिभ्यो व्यवसायिनः ॥ १०३ ॥

ajñebhyo granthinaḥ śreṣṭhā granthibhyo dhāriṇo varāḥ |
dhāribhyo jñāninaḥ śreṣṭhā jñānibhyo vyavasāyinaḥ || 103 ||

Better than ignoramuses are those who ‘read the books’; better than the ‘reader of books’ are those who ‘retain’ them; better than the ‘retainers’ are those who have ‘knowledge’; and better than those having ‘knowledge’ are those who act.—(103)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Ignoramuses’—ignorant men; those who do not read at all.

Who read the books’—those who have studied the texts, and are just able to mention them.

Better than these are those who ‘retain’ them; those who read the books with care; while the former do not read with sufficient care. The ‘retainers’ also are of the books.

What the superiority of these latter means is that they are qualified for being engaged in recitations, for receiving gifts, and so forth.

Those who have knowledge,’ are qualified for all purposes; and hence these are still better. Recitations and prayers, when done with knowledge, are productive of more excellent results. This is what has been thus described—‘Whatever one does with knowledge, faith and with due regard to the esoteric teachings, turns out to be most effective.’

Those who act’—Those who, without any hesitation, act up to the teachings of the Veda; and who never doubt their correctness.

This also is meant to be mere praise: Mere study of the Veda is capable of accomplishing the ends of man,—how much more so the knowledge of what is contained in it!—(103)

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Ajñebhyaḥ’.—‘Entirely ignorant’ (Medhātithi and Nārāyaṇa), ‘who have not read the Veda’ (Nandana),—‘who have learnt a little’ (Govindarāja and Kullūka).

Granthinaḥ’.—‘Forgetful students’ (Kullūka and Nandana),—‘those who learn the verbal text alone and do not ponder, over the meaning’, (Medhātithi, Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa).

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva II (p. 73), which adds the following notes:—‘Granthinaḥ,’ who can read only with the help of the book,—‘Dhāriṇaḥ,’ who can read without the help of the book,—‘Jñāninaḥ,’ who have studied the scriptures and know their meaning.

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