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:

सर्वमात्मनि सम्पश्येत् सत्चासत्च समाहितः ।
सर्वं ह्यात्मनि सम्पश्यन्नाधर्मे कुरुते मनः ॥ ११८ ॥

sarvamātmani sampaśyet satcāsatca samāhitaḥ |
sarvaṃ hyātmani sampaśyannādharme kurute manaḥ || 118 ||

With a concentrated mind, one should perceive in the Self all things, real as well as unreal. One who perceives all things in the Self never turns his mind towards wrong.—(118)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

All things’—the world—‘real and unreal’—i.e., which is liable to be produced and to be destroyed; or that which is eternal like the Ākāśa, or what is an absolute non-entity, like the ‘hare’s horn’—all this one should perceive in the Self;—that is, he should contemplate upon all this as centred in the Self.

What ‘perceiving’ connotes is a clear conception; and this can only be obtained by constant contemplation; as no dear conception of a thing can be obtained by merely seeing it once. It is for this reason that the Esoteric Science has been propounded. And in connection with the contemplation of the Self, we have such texts as—‘It should be listened to, thought, upon and meditated upon,’ where the act of seeing is spoken of as extending up to meditation.

That is called ‘Contemplation of the Self’ which consists in repeated meditation upon It, without the intervention of any other foreign object.

Or, mere repetition (of the act of seeing) may be taken as what is implied by the term ‘perceive’ As a matter of fact, all purificatory acts have their purpose fulfilled only when they impart to the purified object a certain peculiar excellence; as is found in the case of the thumping of the corn; where, even though the repetition of the act of thumping is not directly laid down, yet it becomes implied by the fact that without such repeated thumping the corns cannot be cleared of all their husk. If the act were to be left off before this had been accomplished, it could only be regarded as leading to some invisible (transcendental) result; and in that case the act would cease to be ‘purificatory’.

For this reason the term ‘should perceive’ should be taken to mean the giving up of all other acts, and the repeating of the act of perceiving of the one object in view.

In regard to the ‘Self’ spoken of here, people dispute over its exact meaning:—“What is it that is called ‘Self,’ ‘ātman’? (A) If it stands for the Conscious Entity ensouling the body, then this is inconsistent with what follows regarding ‘the Ruler, the Soul, bright like gold, eta, etc.’ (in 122); since we do not hear of anybody appearing for such a being,—since what is declared regarding It is—‘O Gārgi, the Sun and the Moon remain under the control of this Imperishable One, so also Heaven and Earth have been upheld by him’ (Bṛhadāraṇyaka

Upaniṣad). For those reasons the transmigratory process cannot belong to that Self with regard to which we have the notion of ‘I’; so that some other form will have to be pointed out as belonging to the ‘Self’ spoken of here. Further, under the said explanation, by virtue of what the text lays down regarding ‘perceiving all things in the Self,’ even things external, at least in their spiritual aspects, will have to be regarded as being resolved into the Individual Soul (which is absurd). The only alternative left is to regard the ‘Self’ as standing for that which is the original source of all Being, of the whole Universe, one that interpenetrates all entities. Hut in regard to this it will be necessary to explain what exactly would be meant byperceiving all things in the Self.’ Others have held that what is referred to is the Bodily Self, in which all things are to be perceived.

Our explanation is as follows—As regards the term ‘ātman,’ ‘Self,’ it has been already shown that all authorities agree in pointing to its standing for the Supreme Self. As for what has been said above regarding the necessity for pointing out the exact form of the ‘Self’ here meant,—what else could be said on the point, except what is found asserted under the Injunctions of ‘listening to......and knowing’ this Self;—all such injunctions can be found out from the various Upaniṣads belonging to the various Vedic texts. Then again, it is because there are other proofs also of the unity of this Self that Miśra has taken such pains to explain the actual facts of perception (which point to diversity). The following passage is found in the Vākyapadīya—‘There is nothing in name, etc.’ The fact of this Self being comprehended with the help of Injunctions may be ascertained from the fact of the Body being Its covering, etc.

As for the objection as to how what is ‘asat’ (unreal) can be seen;—in the phrase ‘the real and the unreal’ the term ‘real’ stands for the whole aggregate of worldly products, and ‘unreal’ for such subtle objects as are ordinarily not perceptible.

Another question that has been raised is—“How can the Supreme Self have any connection with hearing (such as is mentioned in the Injunction that ‘the Self should be heard, etc., etc.)?’”

But what to say of connection with Hearing? In fact the birth, existence and dissolution of the entire Universe has been proved to have its source in that Self.

As for the Injunction regarding the resolving of all things into the Self,—what is actually meant is that ‘whatever appears to be diverse, all that one should resolve into that One Entity.’ And what is meant by everything subsisting in the Self, is that one should cease to have any hankering for the things of the world.

With concentrated mind.’—This ‘Concentration’ means ‘the controlling of the operation of the mind’; and how this is to be done is to be learnt from the Yoga-śāstra.

Never turns his mind towards wrong.’—This connotes the immobility of the intellect and the mind. What is here prescribed should be practised until the mind ceases to be perturbed by disputants; and whatever there may be of diversity should he resolved into the one Supreme Self.—118


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Ātmani’.—‘In the supreme self’ (Kullūka and Nandana),—‘in his Own individual self’ (Govindarāja).

Sadasat’.—‘The products and the causes, or the intelligent and the non-intelligent’ (Nandana),—‘that which has shape and which is shapeless’ (Govindarāja),—‘that which comes into existence and perishes,’ or ‘that which is an absolute non-entity and that which is eternal’ (proposed by Medhātithi).

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 1027).

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