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:

त्रैविद्यो हेतुकस्तर्की नैरुक्तो धर्मपाठकः ।
त्रयश्चाश्रमिणः पूर्वे परिषत् स्याद् दशावरा ॥ १११ ॥

traividyo hetukastarkī nairukto dharmapāṭhakaḥ |
trayaścāśramiṇaḥ pūrve pariṣat syād daśāvarā || 111 ||

A person learned in the three Vedas, a logician, an investigator, a person knowing the Nirukta, a lawyer and three men belonging to the first three life-stages, shall constitute the ‘Assembly’; which shall consist of at least ten members.—(111)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Though the text speaks of the number of members as the more important factor, yet it should be understood as laying greater stress upon the qualifications.

A person learned in the three Vedas’—he who has learnt the three Vedas, and knows their meaning.

Logician’—who is an expert in drawing Inferences; endowed with the faculty of considering the pros and cons of a subject.

“It has been said under that a Logician can never be learned in the Veda.”

True; but, even though he may not himself learn the Veda, yet he may know its contents from other men; and the knowledge of Logic will enable him to put forth special efforts in this line.

This same remark applies to the person knowing the Nirukta also.

Lawyer’—one who has studied the Ordinances of Manu and other law-books.

Three men belonging to the life-stages’;—those who are devoted to the actual performance of their duties become specially adept in matters relating to Dharma.

First.’—Some people explain this to mean, (1) the Religions Student, (2) the Householder and (3) the Wandering

Mendicant; since it is only these persons whose entry into villages has not been forbidden; and it is in this order that the life-stages have been named by Gautama (3. 2)—‘The Student, the Householder, the Wandering Mendicant, and the Recluse.’ Others however argue that ‘causing injury’ being not permitted for the Mendicant, how could he decide points of law (which may involve loss and injury to certain persons)? Hence the Recluse should be the third.—(111)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (3.301) as describing the constitution of the Assembly or Court; it adds the following notes:—‘Haitukaḥ’, who is conversant with the essential principles of the Mimānsā,—‘tarkī,’ who is expert in the science of reasoning;—in Madanapārijāta (p. 77 4), which adds the following notes:—‘Hetukaḥ’ (which is its reading for ‘haitukaḥ’), expert, in inference;—‘tarkī’, one who is expert in ‘Tarka’, which is the name given to that process of reasoning by which one comes to the correct conclusion on a definite question, by rejecting all other possible alternatives; the ‘tarka’ ‘argumentation’ meant here is one that does not go against the Vedic scriptures.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva II (p. 199), which adds the following notes—‘Traividyaḥ’, one who knows the three Vedas,—‘haitukaḥ’, one who acts in a reasonable manner;—and in Aparārka (p. 22).


Comparative notes by various authors

Baudhāyana (1.1, 8).—‘They quote the following:—“Four men, each of whom knows one of the four Vedas, a Mīmāṃsaka, one who is conversant with the subsidiary sciences, one who recites the sacred law, and three Brāhmaṇas belonging to three different orders, constitute an Assembly consisting of at least ten members.’

Gautama (28.49).—(See above under CX.)

Vaśiṣṭha (3.20).—‘Four students of the four Vedas, one knowing Mīmāṃsā, one knowing the subsidiary sciences, a teacher of the sacred law, and three eminent men of the three different orders compose a legal assembly consisting of at least ten members.’

Parāśara (8.34).—(Same as Manu.)

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