Open main menu

Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 25.djvu/134

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

verbal paraphrase of Manu's text. In the main it is an abstract of Medhâtithi's Bhâshya from which Govinda has appropriated whatever seemed to him most valuable. He has discarded the greater number of his predecessor's optional explanations, as well as his lengthy controversial disquisitions on difficult points of law, while he has greatly condensed others. He has added explanations of those words on which Medhâtithi does not comment, and he sometimes also puts forward opinions, not traceable in the earlier work, which may be either his own or derived from sources inaccessible to us. But in such cases he is occasionally unlucky, and arrives at results which his successor Kullûka ridicules, not without reason. Thus in his remarks on Manu III, 50, where the text says that a man who restricts conjugal intercourse to a minimum, is equal in chastity to a student 'in whichever order he may live,' Govinda takes the last words in too literal a sense and enunciates the, for a Hindu, monstrous doctrine that Manu intends to permit ascetics, whose children have all died, to return to conjugal life and to repair the loss which they have suffered. Some other strange errors have been pointed out by Professor Jolly in his Tagore Lectures, p. 9, note 1. These occasional eccentricities do not, however, seriously diminish the usefulness of the Manutîkâ. It remains not only the earliest, but the best complete explanation of Manu's text. It frequently assists the student to find his way through the tangled forest of the Bhâshya, and it contains many valuable interpretations of words left unexplained by Medhâtithi. The MS. used for the notes is the unique copy, acquired by myself for the Government of Bombay (Deccan College Library, Coll. of 1879–1880, No. 239). It is in a very fair condition, and contains the whole text and the commentary, excepting that on IX, 71–336. It was written at Stambhatîrtha or Cambay, probably about 250–300 years ago.

The chronological position of the next commentary on our list, Sarvagṅa-Nârâyana's Manvarthavivriti or Manvarthanibandha, is fixed, as Professor Jolly has first pointed out, by a passage in the introduction to Râghavânanda's