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:

प्रत्यक्षं चानुमानं च शास्त्रं च विविधाऽऽगमम् ।
त्रयं सुविदितं कार्यं धर्मशुद्धिमभीप्सता ॥ १०५ ॥

pratyakṣaṃ cānumānaṃ ca śāstraṃ ca vividhā''gamam |
trayaṃ suviditaṃ kāryaṃ dharmaśuddhimabhīpsatā || 105 ||

If one desires to obtain the correct knowledge of Dharma, he should become fully acquainted with these three:—Perception, Inference and the Scriptures of various traditions.—(105)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

In a friendly spirit, the author adds a teaching bearing upon the ordinary business of the world.

Dharma’—is what is taught in the Veda.

Śuddhi’—correct knowledge, consisting of the rejection of the prima facie view of things and the acceptance of the correct conclusion, is obtained only when one has formed correct notions regarding Perception and the other means of knowledge. For instance, it is only when one has a correct conception of the perception of things that he is cognizant of the fact that flame is something fleeting, and when he finds that the case with sound is not so, he grasps the truth that ‘sound is eternal.’ If, on the other hand, the man has no correct conception of things perceived, he will entertain the same notion regarding the perception of both sound and flame. So that perceiving that flame is fleeting, he would conclude that sound also is fleeting; and for this man the Veda would only be ‘an aggregate of fleeting sounds’...(?)

Similarly ‘Inference’ should be duly learnt. If a man does not become acquainted with the right process of Inference, he would be liable to draw inferences from the Minor Term only, or only from that which does not contain the major term, and thus infer the existence of an author for the Veda also. When on the other hand, he understands the nature of Inference, he concludes that the Veda is not the work of an author, from the premiss that no work of the nature of the Veda is ever found to be the work of an author.

Scriptures o f various traditions.’—The Scriptures contain many Injunctions and Prohibitions; and hence there are several ‘traditions’ regarding them. ‘Āgama’ literally means ‘āgamyate,’ ‘that which comes down to one.’ There being several rescissions of the Veda, it is spoken of as having ‘several traditions,’ specially with reference to the distinction drawn between ‘Śruti’ and ‘Smṛti.’

This fact, already implied by the Injunction of ‘Vedic Study,’ has been recalled here by the Author, in a friendly spirit. All this may be regarded as mere praise.—(105)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Śāstram’.—‘Veda’ (Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa);—‘Veda and Smṛti’ (Medhātithi),—‘Smṛti’ (Kullūka).

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