Question of the sages
Commentary by Medhātithi. Translation by Ganganath Jha.
मनुमेकाग्रमासीनमभिगम्य महर्षयः। प्रतिपूज्य यथान्यायमिदं वचनमब्रुवन् ।१।
भगवन् सर्ववर्णानां यथावदनुपूर्वशः। अन्तरप्रभवाणां च धर्मान्नो वक्तुमर्हसि ।२।
त्वमेको ह्यस्य सर्वस्य विधानस्य स्वयंभुवः। अचिन्त्यस्याप्रमेयस्य कार्यतत्त्वार्थवित्प्रभो ।३।
मनुमेकाग्रमासीनमभिगम्य महर्षयः । प्रतिपूज्य यथान्यायमिदं वचनमब्रुवन् ॥ १ ॥
The great sages, having approached Manu, paid their respects to him in due form, and finding him seated with mind calm and collected, addressed him these words.
वेदान्तवेद्यतत्त्वाय जगत्त्रितयहेतवे। प्रध्वस्ताशेषदोषाय परस्मै ब्रह्मणे नमः॥१॥
Salutation to the Supreme Brahman! His real character can be known only from the Vedānta texts; He is the cause of the three worlds; and He destroys all evil.
चतुर्भिः पदश्लोकैः विशिष्टकर्तृत्वमनन्यप्रमाणवेद्यपुरुषार्थोपदेशकत्वं चास्य शास्त्रस्य प्रतिपाद्यते प्रतिष्ठार्थम्। प्रतिष्ठिते हि शास्त्रे कर्तृभिः स्वर्गयशसी प्राप्येते यावत् संसारमनपायिनी च भवतः। शास्त्रं च प्रतिष्ठां लभते यदि तत्र केचिदध्ययनश्रवणचिन्तनादिषु प्रवर्तन्ते। न च बुद्धिपूर्वव्यवहारिणः अध्ययनादिषु अनवधृतप्रयोजनाः प्रवर्तितुमर्हन्ति। अतः पुरुषार्थसिद्धौ उपायपरिज्ञानार्थमिदं शास्त्रम् आरभ्यते इत्येतत् प्रतिपादनार्थं श्लोकचतुष्टयमाचार्यः पपाठ।
The first four verses describe the fact of the treatise being the work of a highly qualified author, and of its providing instructions bearing upon such ends of man as are not knowable by means of any other source of knowledge; and this is done for the purpose of indicating its importance (and raising it in the estimation of men). When a treatise has secured high position in the estimation of men, its author obtains fame, and also heaven; and both these continue to exist as long as the world exists. A scientific treatise has its position established only when people engage in studying, in listening to lectures on, and in pondering over it. Intelligent persons cannot undertake the said study etc. until they have satisfied themselves as to the purposes served by them. It is for this reason that the teacher has composed the four verses with a view to point out that the treatise is put forth for the purpose of making known the means of accomplishing the ends of man.
न च वाच्यम् ― “अन्तरेणैवादितः प्रयोजनवचनं वक्ष्यमाणशास्त्रपौर्वापर्यपर्यालोचनयैवेदं पर्यवस्यामः किं तत्प्रतिपादनार्थेन यत्नेनेति। किञ्च। उक्तमपि प्रयोजनं यावत्परस्तान्नावमृष्टं तावन्न निश्चीयते। न हि सर्वाणि पुरुषवचांस्यर्थे निश्चयनिमित्तम्। न चैष नियमः सर्वत्र प्रयोजनपरिज्ञानपूर्विकैव प्रवृत्तिः स्वाध्यायाध्ययनेऽतन्निबन्धनायाः प्रवृत्तेर्दर्शनात्। पौरुषेयेष्वपि ग्रन्थेषु नैव सर्वेषु प्रयोजनाभिधानमाद्रियते। तथाहि। भगवान्पाणिनिरनुक्त्वैव प्रयोजनम् ‘अथ शब्दानुशासनमिति’ सूत्रसंदर्भमारभते”।
It would not be right here to argue as follows – “Even without the purpose of the treatise being stated at the very outset, we could easily ascertain what that purpose is, by examining the several parts of the treatise going to be propounded; what then is the use of making an effort to describe that purpose? Further, even if the purpose is stated at the very outset, one cannot be sure of it until he has fully examined the subsequent portions of the treatise; as a matter of fact, all the assertions that a man may make do not always bring conviction. Nor is it necessary that every undertaking must be preceded by the knowledge of purposes served by it; for instance, we find pupils undertaking the study of the Veda, without knowing beforehand the purposes to be served by that study. In the works of human authors also, the practice of stating the purpose is not always followed. For instance, the revered Pāṇini begins his sūtras with the words ‘Now follows the teaching of words’ without having stated the purpose to be served by his treatise.”
अत्र उच्यते। आरंभेऽनवधृतप्रयोजना नैव प्रथमतो ग्रन्थमुपाददीरन्। अनुपादानाच्च कुतः शास्त्रं कार्त्स्येन पर्यालोचयेयुः। किञ्च पौर्वापर्यपर्यालोचनया योऽर्थो बुद्धिगोचरतामावहति स एव त्वादितः संक्षेपेणोच्यमानः सुग्रहो भवति। तदुक्तम् “इष्टं हि विदुषां लोके समासव्यासधारणमिति”।
Our answer to the above is as follows – Unless people have ascertained the purpose served by a particular treatise, they would not, in the first place, take it up at all; and unless they take it up, how could they examine the whole of it? Then again, that same idea which is got at by the examination of the entire treatise, becomes more easily comprehended if it has been briefly indicated in the beginning. It is with reference to this that there is the assertion that – ‘in ordinary experience, the learned always consider it desirable to carry ideas in the minds briefly as well as in greater detail.’
यत्तु ― “उक्तमपि न निश्चीयते, पौरुषेयेभ्यो वाक्येभ्योऽर्थनिश्चयाभावात्। एवमेवायं पुरुषो वेदेति प्रत्ययो न त्वेवमर्थ इति” ― नात्र विवदामहे निश्चयोऽस्ति नास्तीति, ग्रन्थगौरवप्रसंगात्। अर्थसंशयेऽपि प्रवृत्तिसिद्धौ नियतविषयसंशयोत्पत्तिर्नान्तरेण प्रयोजनवचनम्। अनुक्ते हि किमिदं धर्मशास्त्रमर्थशास्त्रं काकदन्तपरीक्षादिलक्षणरूपं वेत्यपि संशयः स्यात्। अभिहिते तु प्रयोजनेऽयं तावदेवमाह नः श्रेयसः पन्थानं दर्शयामीति न च मे प्रवृत्तस्य काचित्क्षतिरस्ति। भवतु, पर्यालोचयामीति प्रवृत्तिसिद्धिः।
As regards the argument that – “even when the purpose has been stated there can be no certainty about it, for the simple reason that we do not derive conviction from the words of human beings – in whose case the idea that we have is that this man knows the matter as he says and not that the fact is really as he asserts,” – our answer is that we do not quarrel over the question as to whether the words of human beings do, or do not, bring about conviction; because discussion over this question would swell the size of our work. But as a matter of fact, even though it is possible for a man to have recourse to a certain course of action, even when he is in doubt as to the exact purpose served by it – yet until there is some statement as to the purpose served by a particular action even doubts could not arise in regard to it. In fact, if some statement had not been made in regard to the purpose to be served by the present treatise, the doubt that would arise in men’s minds would be (not as to whether or not it was going to serve any useful purpose but) as to whether it is a treatise on law or on economics or an aimless attempt in the nature of an examination of such subjects as the “crow’s teeth” and the like. On the other hand, when the aim of the work has been stated, the idea arising in our minds is – ‘the author of this work asserts that he is going to show us the path leading to our welfare – there is no harm done by our undertaking the study of the work – well, let us look into it’ and forthwith we take up the work.
या तु स्वाध्यायाध्ययने प्रवृत्तिः साऽऽचार्यप्रयुक्तस्य, न स्वाधिकारप्रतिपत्त्या। नहि तदानीं बालत्वात्स्वाधिकारं प्रतिपत्तुमुत्सहते। परप्रयुक्तैव च प्रवृत्तिसिद्धिः। नाधिकारप्रतिपादनेनापि चावेद्यते। अतस्तत्र प्रवृत्तस्य प्रयोजनमर्थावबोधोऽतश्च प्रवृत्तिः। इह तु “योऽनधीत्य द्विजः वेदमन्यत्र कुरुते श्रममिति” (मनु २.१६८) गृहीतवेदस्याध्ययनाधिकारः। तदानीं चाभ्युत्पन्नबुद्धित्वात्प्रयोजनमन्विच्छति। भगवतः पुनः पाणिनेरतिसंक्षिप्तानि सूत्राणि। नैवार्थान्तराभिधानपरत्वाशंका। तत्र आकुमारं च यशः पाणिनेः प्रख्यातमिति सुप्रसिद्धप्रयोजनत्वादनुपन्यासः। अयं तु विततो ग्रन्थो अनेकार्थवादबहुलः सर्वपुरुषार्थोपयोगी। तत्र सुखावबोधार्थे प्रयोजनाभिधाने न किञ्चित्परिहीणम्।
Next as regards the case (cited by the opponent) of pupils taking up Vedic study (without being told of the exact purpose to be accomplished thereby) – the fact of the matter is that the action of the pupil is due to his being urged to it by his teacher and not to his recognition of the fact that it behoves him to take up the study (for the accomplishment of any purpose of his own); in fact being quite a child at the time (of beginning Vedic study) it is not possible for him to have any idea as to his being entitled to the study (by virtue of his having an aim that could be served only by that study) and his activity, therefore, is brought about entirely by the direction of another person (his teacher) who does not bewilder him by pointing out to him that he is entitled to take up the study and when once the boy has taken up Vedic study (entirely under advice of his teacher), the motive for further study is provided by the desire to know the meaning of the Vedic texts studied; and thus the study continues to be carried on. [This is the case with the study of the Veda.] As regards the study of the present treatise (on law), only such persons are entitled to it as have already studied the Veda, as is clearly indicated by the text – ‘the twice-born person who, without having studied the Vedas, devotes his energies to other subjects [becoms a śudra]’ (Manu 2.168) and by that time the pupil has his intelligence aroused, and consequently seeks to know what purpose is to be served by any further action that he is going to undertake.
As regards the revered Pāṇini, his aphorisms are extremely brief; so that there is no possibility of their having any other meaning (or serving any other purpose) than the one directly expressed by them; and further, the fame of Pāṇini is well known to even the smallest boy; so that the purpose served by his work is too well known to need reiteration. The present treatise (of Manu) on the other hand is on an extensive scale, abounding in several (commendatory and condemnatory) ‘descriptions’ and it helps in the accomplishment of all human ends; so that if its aim is stated in easily intelligible words, there is no harm done.
द्वये च प्रतिपत्तारः ― न्यायप्रतिसरणाः प्रसिद्धिप्रतिसरणाः च। तत्र “मनुर्वै यत्किञ्चावदत्तद्भेषजमिति” (काठक ११.५) ― “ऋचो यजूंषि सामानि मन्त्रा आथर्वणाश्च ये सप्तर्षिभिस्तु यत्प्रोक्तं तत्सर्वं मनुरब्रवीदि” त्याद्यर्थवादेतिहासपुराणादिभ्यः प्रख्यातप्रभावः ― लोके तत्प्रसिद्ध्यैव वा निरूपितमूलपातेन प्रजापतिनैतत्प्रणीतमिति एतावतैव ― श्रोत्रियाः प्रवर्तन्त इति। तान्प्रति कर्तृविशेषसंबन्धोऽपि प्रवृत्त्यङ्गम्। अत एव च प्रश्नप्रतिवचनभङ्ग्या प्रयोजनोपन्यासः। महर्षयः प्रष्टारः प्रजापतिर्वक्ता, धर्मलक्षणश्चार्थो न लोकावगम्यः, शास्त्रैकगोचरोऽयं यत्र महर्षयोऽपि संशेरत इति एवंपर आदेशऽपि ― स तैः पृष्ट इति, नाहं पृष्ट इति ― तथाऽऽत्मनो ब्रह्मणोऽकृत्रिमप्रतिमत्वं (१२.१२३) चेत्येवमादिः। तद्व्युत्पादनार्थो युक्तः शास्त्रारंभ इति श्लोकचतुष्टयस्य तात्पर्यं।
Of enquirers (and students) there are two classes – one following reasoning and another following tradition. The former of these take up the study of Manu because they know the importance and greatness of the author and his work from such texts as ‘whatever Manu said is wholesome’ (Kāṭhaka 11.5) and ‘Manu has said all that has been said in the Ṛgveda, the Yajurveda, the Sāmaveda and the Mantras of the Atharva, as also by the Seven Great Sages.’ And those of the latter class undertake it merely under the influence of the tradition, the source of which they have carefully investigated – that the treatise has been composed by Prajāpati himself. And for the sake of such persons, the mentioning of the name of the author also is a factor leading to action (towards study).
It is for these reasons that we have here the laying out of the aim of the treatise in the form of question and answers: the great sages are the questioners, Prajāpati is the expounder and the subject is dharma, which being not amenable to the ordinary means of knowledge, can be known only from the śāstras – it is so difficult that even the great sages have doubts in regard to it. That Prajāpati is the actual expounder is indicated by the words of the text itself, which says – ‘He, being questioned by them’ and not ‘I, being questioned by them’ and of himself again Manu speaks (12.123) as being the natural image (representative) of Brahmā. Thus an effort is necessary for the expounding of the law. Such is the sense of the first four verses.
यथा चानेन पुरुषार्थोपदेशपरता शास्त्रस्योच्यते तथा पदार्थयोजनात्प्रतिपादयिष्यामः। तत्र मनुमभिगम्य महर्षय इदं वचनं अब्रुवन् ‘धर्मन्नो वक्तुमर्हसीति’। स पृष्टः प्रत्युवाच ‘श्रूयतामिति’। एवं प्रश्नप्रतिवचने एकार्थप्रतिपादके तात्पर्येण भवतः। अतो धर्मा अत्र प्रतिपाद्यन्त इत्युक्तं भवति। धर्मशब्दश्च लोके श्रेयःसाधने प्रत्यक्षादिभिर्लौकिकैः प्रमाणैः शब्दादितरैरविहिते प्रयुज्यते। अतः स श्रूयतामिति संबन्धे विशिष्टपुरुषार्थसाधनत्वंमुक्तं भवति।
In what manner the present treatise is made up of instructions bearing upon the ends of man we shall show by the interpretation of the words of the text. Now, in the text we have the declaration – (1) ‘the great sages, having approached Manu, said to him – do please expound to us the duties of man’ and (2) ‘being thus questioned by them, he said – listen’ and these two – the question and its answer – in their import are expressive of the one idea that the treatise expounds the dharma; the word ‘dharma’ is in common parlance used in the sense of that means of accomplishing one’s good which is not cognisable by any of the ordinary means of knowledge, with the sole exception of ‘word.’ Hence when it is said ‘listen to dharma’ what is meant is that what is going to be expounded is conducive to the fulfilment of the higher ends of man.
मनुर्नाम कश्चित्पुरुषविशेषोऽनेकवेदशाखाध्ययनविज्ञानानुष्ठानसंपन्नः स्मृतिपरंपराप्रसिद्धः। तमभिगम्याभिमुख्येन तत्समीपं गत्वा, व्यापारान्तरत्यागेन, न यदृच्छया, संगम्य। अनेन चाभिगमनप्रयत्नेन पृछ्यमानवस्तुगौरवं वक्तुश्च प्रामाण्यं ख्याप्यते। न ह्यकुशलः प्रतिवचने यत्नेन पृच्छ्यते आगत्य।
‘Manu’ is the name of a particular person known in long continued tradition as having studied several Vedic texts, as knowing their meaning and as practising the precepts therein contained: ‘Having approached’ him i.e. having gone forward near him, intentionally, giving up all other actions, and not by mere chance, having met with him – the special effort made by the sages to get near Manu shows the importance of the subject matter of their question, as also the authoritative and trustworthy character of the expounder; a man who is not capable of rightly expounding a subject is never questioned by persons going up to him for that purpose.
एकाग्रमासीनमेकाग्रं स्थितमेकाग्रं सन्तम्। न त्वत्र वृस्याद्युपवेशनमासनमनुपयोगात्। आसनेन स्वस्थवृत्तिता लक्ष्यते। तथाभूतः प्रतिवचनसमर्थो भवति। ‘अभिगम्येति’ केवल एव मनुः कर्म। प्रश्नक्रियायास्त्वेकाग्रमासीनमिति विशेषणम्। कुशलप्रश्नानुरूपकथाप्रवृत्त्यादिनैकाग्रमविक्षिप्तमनस्कं ज्ञात्वा प्रश्नश्रवणे दत्तावधानमिदं वचनमब्रुवन्। एकाग्रशब्दो रूढ्या निश्चलतामाह। प्रत्याहारेण परिहृतरागादिदोषसंसर्गस्य विकल्पनिवृत्तौ तत्त्वावबोधचिन्तायां मनसः स्थैर्यमेकाग्रता। तथाभूत एव च संनिहितरूपशब्दादिविषयावधारणे योग्यो भवति, न सदसद्विकल्पयुक्तः। अथवा योगतोऽग्रशब्दो मनसि वर्तते, अर्थग्रहणे चक्षुःरादिभ्योऽग्रगामित्वात्। प्रथमप्रवृत्तियुक्तः पुरःसरो लोकेऽग्र उच्यते। एकस्मिन् ध्येये ग्राह्ये वाऽग्रमस्येति विग्रहः, व्यधिकरणानामपि बहुव्रीहिर्गमकत्वात्। अत्रापि व्याक्षेपनिवृत्तिरेवैकाग्रता।
‘Whose mind was calm and collected’ – ‘Seated with mind calm and collected’ – i.e. whose mind was in a tranquil state; and it does not mean that he was actually seated upon a mat or some such seat; as there would be no point in stating this; in fact the word ‘seated’ merely connotes calmness; it is only when one’s mind is calm that he is capable of answering questions. ‘Having approached’ has for its object simply Manu; ‘seated with mind calm and collected’ being an adverbial clause modifying the act of questioning (by the sages). The sense of the sentence thus is ‘they said to him the following words, on finding, from the manner in which he engaged into conversation with them in making enquiries about their welfare, that his mind was not preoccupied but calm and collected and he was therefore attentive to their questioning.
The term ekāgra by ordinary usage connotes immobility; what is meant by the term is steadiness of the mind, it being concentrated upon the contemplation of the knowledge of truth, following upon the cessation of all doubts and illusions of the person in whom the contact of all defects of passion and the like is set aside by inhibition. It is only when one has his mind in this condition that he is capable of apprehending sound and other objects that lie within reach of his senses; which is not the case when he is in doubt as to the object being real entity or otherwise. Or, etymologically, the term agra denotes the mind, by reason of the fact that in the act of apprehending things it is the mind that goes before (agragāmi) the eye and other sense organs; and in ordinary parlance that which acts first or goes ahead is called agra; so that the compound ekāgra is to be expounded as ‘he who has his agra or mind fixed upon one perceptible object’ there being nothing incongruous in a bahuvrīhi compound being taken, if its sense demand it, as referring to things that are not co-existent. By this explanation also ekāgra connotes absence of distraction.
प्रतिपूज्य यथान्यायम् । न्यायः शास्त्रविहिता मर्यादा – तामनतिक्रम्य – यादृशी शास्त्रेणाभिवादनोपासनादिका गुरोः प्रथमोपसर्पणे पूजा विहिता तथा पूजयित्वा भक्त्यादरौ दर्शयित्वा ।
‘Having paid their respects in due form’ – ‘due form’ stands for the rule prescribed in the scriptures; and they did not transgress any such rule; the scriptures have laid down the rule that on first approaching the teacher, the pupil should offer his obeisance, attend upon him, and so forth; and it was in this prescribed manner that the sages paid their respects to Manu; which means that they showed due devotion and respect.
महर्षयः । ऋषिर्वेदः तदध्ययनविज्ञानतदर्थानुष्ठानातिशययोगात् पुरुषेऽप्यृषिशब्दः । महान्तश्च ते ऋषयश्च – तेषामेव गुणानामत्यन्तातिशयेन महान्तो भवन्ति यथा “युधिष्ठिरः श्रेष्ठतमः कुरूणामिति” । अथवा तपोविशेषात् पूजाख्यातिविशेषाद्वा महान्तः ।
The great sages. The word ṛṣi means the Veda and the word ṛṣi is applied also to a person by virtue of his possessing excellent knowledge of the Veda and all that is prescribed therein and acting up to these. The ṛṣis, sages, who approached Manu, were great; the said persons become ‘great’ when the above-mentioned qualities become developed in them to a very high degree; just as Yudhiṣṭhira is called the ‘greatest of the Kurus’ (because he possessed in a very high degree the qualities that distinguished the members of the Kuru race). Or the sages may be regarded as great by virtue of their superior austerities or of the great respect and fame enjoyed by them.
इदं वचनमब्रुवन् । उच्यतेऽनेनेति वचनम् – वक्ष्यमाणं द्वितीयश्लोकप्रश्नवाक्यमिति । तदेव प्रत्यासन्नत्वादिदमिति प्रतिनिर्दिशति । येषामपि प्रत्यक्षवस्तुप्रतिनिर्देशक इदंशब्दस्तेषामपि बुद्धिस्थत्वात् प्रश्नस्य प्रत्यक्षता । अथवोच्यत इति वचनं पृच्छ्यमानं वस्त्वब्रुवन् । वाक्यपक्ष इदं वाक्यमुच्चारितवन्तः । कर्मसाधने तु वचनशब्द इदमपृच्छन् । द्विकर्मश्च तदा ब्रूञ् अकथितकर्मणा मनुना । तिसृणां क्रियाणां मनुः कर्म ॥१॥
The addressed these words – vacana is that by which something is spoken of; this refers to the question formulated in the second verse; these being the nearest ‘words’ are what are referred to by the pronoun ‘these.’ Some people have held that the pronoun ‘this’ always refers to something directly perceived at the time; for these people also the question may be regarded as ‘perceived’ on account of its being present in the mind. Or vacana may mean that which is spoken of and in that case it would stand for the subject matter questioned about. If it be taken as referring to the sentence (and not to the subject matter) then the meaning would be that ‘they pronounced this sentence.’ If the term vacana means that which is spoken of, the sense is that ‘they asked the following question’ and in that case the verb abruvan ‘addressed’ would have two objects – Manu being the indirect object. In fact, Manu is the object of all the three verbs in the sentence (approach, pay respects to and address).
अभिगम्य प्रतिपूज्य किमब्रुवन्नित्यपेक्षायां द्वितीयः श्लोकः ।
The second verse describes what the sages said to Manu after having approached and worshipped him.
भगवन् सर्ववर्णानां यथावदनुपूर्वशः । अन्तरप्रभवाणां च धर्मान्नो वक्तु मर्हसि ॥ २ ॥
May thou, O Blessed One, explain to us, in due form and in proper order, the duties of all castes and intermediate castes.
ऐश्वर्यौदार्ययशोवीर्यादौ भगशब्दः । सोऽस्यास्तीति मनुः । तेन संबोधनं भगवन्निति । वर्णशब्दश्च तिसृषु ब्राह्मणादिजातिषु वर्तते । सर्वग्रहणं शूद्रावरोधार्थम् । इतरथा महर्षीणां प्रष्टृत्वात् त्रैवर्णिकविषये प्रश्नः कृतः स्यात् । अन्तरं तन्मध्यम् । द्वयोर्जात्योः सङ्करादेकाऽप्यपरिपूर्णा जातिः । अन्तरे प्रभव उत्पत्तिर्येषां तेऽन्तरप्रभवाः अनुलोमप्रतिलोमा मूर्धावसिक्तांबष्ठक्षत्तृवैदेहकादयः । न हि ते मातापित्रोरन्यतरयाऽपि जात्या व्यपदेष्टुं युज्यन्ते । यथा रासभाश्वसंयोगजः खरो न रासभो नाश्वो जात्यन्तरमेव । अतः वर्णग्रहणेनाग्रहणात्पृथगुपादीयन्ते ।
The term bhaga ‘blessings’ is used for superiority, magnanimity, fame, strength and so forth; and bhagavān is he who possesses all this; that is (in the present context) Manu; hence it is he who is addressed by the term ‘O blessed one’.
The term ‘caste’ is applied to the three castes – brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya, vaiśya – the term ‘all’ has been added for the purpose of including the śūdra; if this was not done then the question emanating from the great sages (who represent only the three higher castes) would be restricted to the three castes only.
‘Intermediate’ means middle; from the mixture of two castes there arises another imperfect caste; those that are born out of those imperfect unions are the ‘intermediate castes’ born in the natural order or the reverse; those known under the names Mūrdhāvasikta, Ambaṣṭha, Kṣattṛ, Vaidehika and so forth (vide Manu 10.7 et. seq.); these could not be classed under the caste either of the mother or that of the father; just as the mule born out of the union of the horse and the ass is a distinct species, it is neither the horse nor the ass; on this ground these would not be included under the castes; hence they have been mentioned separately.
“नन्वनुलोमा मातृजातीया इष्यन्ते” । नेति ब्रूमः । सदृशानेव तानाहुरिति मातृजातिसदृशास्ते न तज्जातीया एव । सोऽप्येषां धर्मो वाचनिको न वस्तुस्वभावसिद्धः । अतः प्रमाणांतरागोचरत्वाद्धर्मपक्षपतितत्वे शास्त्रोपदेशार्हा एव । प्रतिलोमानामप्यहिंसादयो धर्मा वक्ष्यन्ते । यत्तु धर्महीना इति तद्व्रतोपवासादिधर्माभावाभिप्रायेण । सर्वपुरुषोपकारिता चानेन शास्त्रस्य प्रदर्श्यते ।
Objection: “But the offspring of the union of castes mixed in the natural order is regarded as belonging to the caste of the mother.”
It is not so, we reply. From what is said under 10.6 as to these castes being similar, it is clear that they are only similar to the caste of the mother and not quite the same as this latter. The functions of these intermediate castes also are such as can be learnt only from scriptures; they cannot be ascertained entirely from their natural inclinations (as in the case of lower animals); and in as much as these functions cannot be ascertained by the help of any other source of knowledge, they fall under the term dharma ‘duties’ and as such deserve to be expounded in the scriptures. Of the intermediate castes born of unions in the reverse order, such duties as ‘not harming others’ and so forth are going to be described (by Many himself under 10.63). When they are spoken of as being ‘without any duties’ the ‘duties’ meant are such as observances, fasts and so forth.
यथावत् । ‘अर्हत्यर्थे वतिः’ – येन प्रकारेणानुष्ठानमर्हति । इदं नित्यमिदं काम्यमिदमङ्गमिदं प्रधानम् । द्रव्यदेशकालकर्त्रादिनियमश्च प्रकारोऽर्हतेर्विषयः । अनुपूर्वशः । अनुपूर्वः क्रमः । येन क्रमेणानुष्ठेयानि सोऽप्युच्यताम् । “जातकर्मानन्तरं चौडमौञ्जीनिबन्धनेत्यादि” । यथावदित्यत्र पदार्थविषयं कार्त्स्न्यमुपात्तम् । क्रमस्तु पदार्थो न भवत्यतः पृथगनुपूर्वशः इत्युपात्तम् ।
‘In due form’ – the suffix ‘vati’ denotes propriety; the meaning being ‘in the form in which performance would be proper.’ This propriety also includes such details as – ‘this is compulsory, that is optional’, ‘this is primary, that is secondary’ as also rules relating to substance, place, time, agent and so forth.
‘In due order’ – order means sequences; the meaning is – ‘please explain also the order in which the several duties have to be performed.’ The order meant is such as – after the performance of the birth-rite come respectively tonsure, initiation and so forth. The phrase ‘in due form’ implies completeness in regard to subject matter; ‘order’ does not form part of the subject matter, hence the qualification ‘in due order’ has been added separately.
धर्मशब्दः कर्तव्याकर्तव्ययोर्विधिप्रतिषेधयोरदृष्टार्थयोस्तद्विषयायां च क्रियायां दृष्टप्रयोगः । तस्य तु किमुभयं पदार्थ उतान्यतरत्र गौण इति नायं विचारः क्रियते ग्रन्थातरे विस्तरेण कृतत्वादिहानुपयोगाच्च । सर्वथा तावत् ‘अष्टकाः कर्तव्याः’ ‘न कलञ्जं भक्षयेत्’ इत्यादावष्टका विषया कर्तव्यता प्रतीयते कलञ्जभक्षणविषयश्च प्रतिषेधः । तदष्टकाख्यं कर्म धर्मस्तद्विषया वा कर्तव्यतेति फले न विशेषः । धर्मरूपोपदेशाच्च यत्तद्विपरीतमधर्मोऽसावित्यर्थात्सिध्यति । अतो धर्माधर्मावुभावपि शास्त्रस्य विषय इत्युक्तं भवति । तत्राष्टकाकरणं धर्मो ब्रह्महत्यादिवर्जनं च धर्मः अष्टकानामकरणमधर्मो ब्रह्महत्यायाश्च करणमधर्मः अयं धर्माधर्मयोर्विवेकः । अर्हसीति सामर्थ्यलक्षणया योग्यतया प्रवचनाधिकारमाचार्यस्याहुः – यतस्त्वं समर्थो धर्मान्वक्तुमतोऽधिकृतः सन्नध्येष्यसे ब्रूहीति । यो यत्राधिकृतस्तत्तेन कर्तव्यमिति सामर्थ्यगम्यं ब्रूहीत्यध्येषण?पदमध्याह्रियते ॥२॥
The word dharma ‘duty’ is found to be used in reference to (1) the injunction of what should be done (2) the prohibition of what should not be done, both these bearing upon transcendental purposes, and also (3) action in accordance with the said injunctions and prohibitions. Whether the denotation of the term applies equally to both or it applies primarily to one only and to another only secondarily – this we do not discuss on the present occasion; and we have already discussed this in detail in another work (the smṛtiviveka) and it has no direct bearing on the present context. In any case, when it is declared that the aṣṭakās should be performed, what is clearly understood is the propriety of performing in relation to the aṣṭakās and when it is declared that the meat of the animal killed by a poisonous arrow should not be eaten, what is clearly understood is the impropriety of performing in relation to the eating of the said meat. Whether the action of the aṣṭakā is regarded as duty or the propriety of performing that act, it does not make any difference in the ultimate result. And when the form of duty has been duly expounded, that is contrary constitutes adharma (sin) follows naturally by implication. Thus what is meant is that dharma as also adharma both form the subject matter of the scriptural treatise; the performance of the aṣṭakā is a duty also is the avoidance of brāhmaṇa-murder; the non-performance of aṣṭakā is a sin as also is the performance of brāhmaṇa-murder; such is the distinction between duty and sin as described in the scriptures.
‘May you’ indicates ability in the shape of possessing the requisite capacity and as such expresses the fact of the teacher being a fit and proper person for the expounding the duties; the sense being ‘in as much as you are fully able to expound the duties, hence you are a fit and proper person for that work, as such you are entreated by us to explain to us the said duties.’ It follows by implication that when a man is a fit and proper person for doing a certain act, that act should be done by him. The term of entreaty ‘do please explain to us’ is supplied from without. (2)
त्वमेको ह्यस्य सर्वस्य विधानस्य स्वयम्भुवः । अचिन्त्यस्याप्रमेयस्य कार्यतत्त्वार्थवित्प्रभो ॥ ३ ॥
Thou alone, O Lord, are conversant with what ought to be done, which forms the true import of this entire Veda - which is eternal, inconceivable and not directly cognisable.
उक्तमदृष्टार्थे व्यापारमात्रे धर्मशब्दो वर्तते । तत्र यथाऽष्टकादौ तस्य प्रयोग एवं चैत्यवन्दनादावपीति । तत्र कतमे धर्मा अत्रोच्यन्त इति संशये धर्मविशेषप्रतिपादनार्थमुक्तसामर्थ्यप्रतिपादनार्थं च ‘त्वमेक इति’ । त्वमेवैकोऽसहायोऽद्वितीयः ।
At this stage the following question arises - “It has been said that the term ‘duty’ is used in the sense of only that activity which tends to accomplish a transcendental purpose; and such activity may consist in the performing of the aṣṭakā as also in bowing to caityas and such other acts (prescribed in the heterodox scriptures); and what sort of duties is going to be expounded in the present treatise?”
In answer to this we have the third verse, which serves the purpose of pointing out what duties are going to be expounded and also of further indicating the aptitude of Manu already mentioned. ‘You alone’ - without anyone to help you; without a second.
सर्वस्य विधानस्य कार्यतत्त्वार्थवित् । विधानं शास्त्रं विधीयन्तेऽनेन कर्माणीति । तस्य स्वयम्भुवो नित्यस्याकृतकस्यापौरुषेयस्य वेदाख्यस्य ।
sarvasya vidhānasya kāryatattvārthavit. The term vidhāna meaning that by which acts are enjoined stands for the scripture. It is called svayambhu in the sense that it is eternal, not a product, not the work of man; and its name is the Veda.
सर्वस्य प्रत्यक्षाक्षरस्यानुमेयाक्षरस्य च । ‘अग्निहोत्रं जुहुयादयं सहस्रमानव’ इत्येतया आहवनीयमुपतिष्ठते इति प्रत्यक्ष एव वेदोऽयं होमं विधत्ते । एतयेति च तृतीयया प्रत्यक्षस्यैव मन्त्रस्याहवनीयोपस्थाने विनियोगः ।
‘Entire’ i.e. including the text which is directly found in the Veda as also the exact words of which are only inferred; for instance (a) in the text ‘one should perform the agnihotra, it pertains to thousand men’ - by means of this verse one should worship the āhavanīya - we have the Veda directly enjoining what is to be done; the term ‘by means of this’ ending as it does with the instrumental case-termination serving to point out the employment of the mantra text directly quoted.
‘अष्टकाः कर्तव्या’ इत्यत्र तु स्मृत्याऽनुमीयते वेदः । ‘बर्हिर्देवसदनं दामीति’ लिङ्गादनेन बर्हिर्लुनातीति श्रुतेरनुमानम् ।
While in the case of the injunction ‘the aṣṭakās should be performed’ which is found in the smṛti, we infer, on the strength of this smṛti, the corresponding Veda text; similarly, when we read the mantra-text ‘I am chopping grass, the seat of the gods’ we at once infer, on the basis of the indicative power of the words of that text, the Vedic injunction that ‘the said text is to be employed in the chopping of grass.’
अयं हि मन्त्रो दर्शपूर्णमासप्रकरणे पठितो बर्हिर्लवनं च तत्राम्नातम् । अनेन मन्त्रेण लुनीयात् इत्येतत्तु नास्ति । मन्त्रः पुना रूपाद्बर्हिर्लवनप्रकाशनसमर्थः ।
This mantra is found in that section of the Veda which deals with the darśapūrṇamāsa sacrifice and the chopping of grass is laid down as to be done in course of that sacrifice; but there is no such direct injunction as that ‘the chopping should be done with such and such a mantra’ and the above-mentioned mantra-text is found to be capable, by its very form, of indicating the chopping of grass.
प्रकरणात्सामान्यतः सिद्धो दर्शपूर्णमाससंबन्धः । स्वसामर्थ्येन तु बर्हिर्लवनं प्रयुज्यते ।
While as regards its being connected in a general way with the darśapūrṇamāsa sacrifice, this follows the fact of its occurring in the same ‘context’ as the injunction of that sacrifice; and it is by virtue of its own indicative force that it comes to be employed in the chopping of grass.
एषा ह्यत्र प्रतीतिः । प्रकरणाद्दर्शपूर्णमासावनेन मन्त्रेण कुर्यात् - कथमिति - यथा शक्नुयादित्यनुक्ताऽपि शक्तिः सर्वत्र सहकारिणी ।
The idea arising in the mind of the student (on noticing the above facts) is as follows: ‘from the context it follows that the mantra-text in question should be used in the performance of the darśapūrṇamāsa sacrifices - how is this to be done? - well, the natural answer is that it is to be used in the manner in which it is capable of being used; the capacity of a thing, even though not directly mentioned, always helps in determining its use.
किं च शक्नोति मन्त्रः कर्तुम् । बर्हिर्लवनं प्रकाशयितुम् । ततः प्रकरणात् स्वसामर्थ्याच्चानेन मन्त्रेण ‘बर्हिर्लुनीतीति’ बुद्धौ शब्द आगच्छति ।
What then is the mantra-text capable of doing? It is capable of indicating the chopping of grass. Hence, from the context and from the capability of the mantra itself, it follows that it should be employed in the chopping of grass. As soon as this idea has been arrived at, the corresponding words, ‘by this mantra the chopping of grass should be done’ present themselves to the mind.
सविकल्पकविज्ञानैः पूर्व शब्दः प्रतीयत इति । स बुद्धिस्थः शब्दोऽनुमेयो वेद उच्यते । वेदत्वं च तस्य दर्शपूर्णमासवाक्यमन्त्रवाक्याभ्यां श्रुत्यन्तराभ्यां स्वसामर्थ्येनोत्थापितत्वादितिकुमारिलपक्षः ।
Because, as a matter of fact, every concrete conception is preceded by the corresponding verbal expression. The said verbal expression, thus presenting itself to the mind, is called the inferred Vedic text. The text thus inferred is regarded as Veda by virtue of the fact that it owes its existence to the force of two other Vedic texts - the text laying down the darśapūrṇamāsa and the mantra-text referred to above. Such is the opinion of Kumārila.
अथवा विधिर्विधानमनुष्ठानं प्रयोजनसंपत्तिः । तस्य स्वयंभुवो नित्यस्यानादिपरंपरायातस्य स्वयंभुवा वेदेन वा प्रतिपाद्यस्य सर्वस्य श्रूयमाणाक्षरप्रतिपाद्यस्य प्रतिपन्नार्थसामर्थ्यगम्यस्य च ।
Or the term vidhāna may be taken as equivalent to vidhi, meaning actual operation, the accomplishment of purpose; this is called ‘svayambhu’ in the sense that it is eternal i.e. handed down by beginningless tradition - or that it is prescribed in the eternal Veda; entire i.e. what is prescribed in the directly available verbal texts and what is only implied by the force of what is directly expressed by the words of the texts.
द्विविधो हि वैदिको विधिः । कश्चित्साक्षाच्छब्दप्रतिपाद्यः । यथा ‘सौर्यं चरुं निर्वपेत् ब्रह्मवर्चसकाम’ इति सौर्यचरौ ब्रह्मवर्चसकामोऽधिक्रियते । तस्य चरोर्ब्रह्मवर्चसं साधयत इयमितिकर्तव्यता आग्नेयवदित्यवगम्यते ।
The Vedic injunction is of two kinds: (a) There is one kind of injunction which is directly expressed by the words; eg. ‘desirous of Brahmic glory, one should offer the saurya-caru’. Here what is expressed is that one who desires Brahmic glory is the fit and proper person to offer the saurya-caru and when one proceeds to secure Brahmic glory by means of the said offering, he learns that the procedure of the offering is analogous to the āgneya offering (which is the archetype of all caru-offerings).
उभयत्रापि चेयं प्रतीतिः शब्दावगममूलत्वात् शब्द एव । उभावपि शब्दादभिधानतः प्रतीयेते तथा चाभिधेयप्रतिपत्तितः । विशेषस्तु व्यवधानादिकृतो न शब्दतां विहन्ति ।
In both these cases the idea got at, being derived from the words of the texts, is regarded as ‘derived directly from the words’ though the former is derived directly from the words and the latter from what is ‘expressed by the words’. Yet this difference, due to the removal of the latter by one step, does not deprive it of the character of ‘being derived from words’.
यथा वापीस्थमुदकं हस्तेनाभिहतं प्रदेशान्तरमभिहन्ति तदपि हस्तसंयोगेनैवाभिहतं भवति न तु साक्षात् । शर्कराणां रेचककर्मण्याद्यप्रयत्नकृता एवोत्प्लुत्योत्प्लुत्य पाताः ।
For instance, when the water in the pool is struck by the hand and it in its turn strikes against some other place and yet this latter place is regarded as being struck by the hand, though not directly; similarly when pieces of rubber are thrown down, they rise and fall, and all the subsequent acts of rising and falling are the indirect effects of the first downward impulse imparted to them.
तादृशमेतत् । वैकृते कर्मणि विशिष्टेतिकर्तव्यतासंबन्धः । एवं विश्वजिता यजेतेत्युत्पत्तिर्नाधिकारशून्याऽस्तीति स्वर्गकाम इत्यधिकारावगतिः प्रतिपन्नार्थसामर्थ्यगम्या ।
Exactly analogous is the case of the injunctions in question. Every ectypal sacrifice is related to a particular form of procedure (borrowed from its archetype). Similarly when we meet with the injunction ‘one should perform the viśvajit sacrifice’ we argue that no injunction is possible except in reference to a fit and proper person capable of (and having a motive for) performing it, and hence come to the conclusion that the person so capable is one who desires heaven; this idea being thus implied by the force of what is directly expressed by the words of the text.
अतो द्वैरूप्ये विधानस्य सर्वस्येतिपदम् । सर्वस्य तात्पर्यमेवं रूपम् - वेदमूलाः स्मृतय इति ज्ञापयितुम् । द्वितीये चैतद्दर्शयिष्यामः ।
It is in view of this two-fold character of injunctions (and enjoined acts) that we have the term ‘entire’. In fact, the purpose of adding the epithet ‘entire’ is to indicate that smṛtis have their source in the Veda. This we shall explain under Discourse II.
“ननु लिङादिप्रतिपाद्योऽर्थः कर्तव्यतारूपो विधिः । स च सर्वत्र प्रत्यक्षशब्दप्रतिपाद्य एव । तत्र किमुच्यते द्विविधो हि वैदिको विधिरिति । निर्वपेदिति कर्तव्यताऽवगम्यते । इतिकर्तव्यताऽर्थसामर्थ्यगम्या उक्तेन प्रकारेण” ।
An objection is raised: As a matter of fact, vidhi is something in the form of what should be done, expressed by the injunctive and such other verbal expressions; and this in all cases, must be directly expressed by actual words; under the circumstances, what do you mean by saying that there are two kinds of injunctions - that the term ‘one should offer’ denotes something to be done and the procedure of the offering is indicated by implication in the manner described above?
नैष दोषः । निर्वपेद्यजेतेति न केवले धात्वर्थविषयत्वेऽवगते परिपूर्णा कर्तव्यता भवति यावदंशान्तराण्यधिकारेतिकर्तव्यताप्रयोगरूपाणि नावगतानि । एतैरंशैर्विततरूपो विधिः प्रतीयते । अतोंऽशरूपाण्यपि विधिशब्दाभिलप्यतया न विरुद्धानि ।
There is no force in this objection. As a matter of fact, in the case of the injunctive words nirvapet ‘should offer’, yajeta ‘should sacrifice’ and the like, even though what is expressed by the verbal root itself may be comprehended, the full conception of what is to be done is not obtained until we have comprehended the other factors - such as the character of the person fit for the performance, the procedure to be adopted, and the actual details of the act to be performed; it is only as equipped with all these factors that the injunction becomes comprehended in its complete form. In view of this fact, there is nothing incongruous in regarding the said factors also as denoted by the injunctive word.
एतदेवाह अचिन्त्यस्येति । अप्रत्यक्षस्येत्यर्थः । प्रत्यक्षं ह्यनुभूयत इत्युच्यते न चिन्त्यते इति न स्मर्यत इति ।
This is what the text means by the epithet acintya ‘inconceivable’ - which means ‘not directly perceptible’. What is directly perceived is said to be ‘apprehended’ and not ‘conceived’ or ‘rememebered’ [so that if the Veda were something directly perceived, the epithet ‘inconceivable’ would have no force; things like the Veda can only be conceived of and the Veda is not even that.]
अप्रमेयस्य कल्प्यस्य प्रायशः स्मृतिवाक्यमूलस्य । न हि प्रत्यक्षेण प्रमीयते । अतोऽप्रमेयस्येत्युच्यते ।
'Not directly cognisable’ i.e. that which has got to be assumed or inferred as forming the source of several assertions made in the smṛti. As a matter of fact, such Vedic texts are not perceived, hence it is called ‘not directly cognisable’.
अथवाऽप्रमेयस्येयत्तया परिमातुमशक्यस्यातिमहत्त्वात् । अनेकशाखाभेदभिन्नो वेदो न शक्यते सर्वैः प्रमातुम् । अत एवाचिन्त्यस्य । यदतिबहु तद्दुर्ग्रहत्वादचिन्त्यमित्युच्यते । यथा च लोके वक्तारो भवन्ति अन्येषां का गतिः चिन्तयितुमप्येतन्न युज्यत इति ।
Or ‘not directly cognisable’ may be taken in the sense of incapable of having its extent exactly defined by reason of its being extensive; the Veda being divided into several recensions, cannot be exactly defined by all persons; and on this account also it may be called inconceivable; even in ordinary parlance people are found to say - ‘what to say of others, this cannot be even conceived of’.
मनः किल सर्वविषयमयं चातिमहत्तवात्तस्यापि न विषय इति । पदद्वयेन बाह्यान्तःकरणाविषयतया महत्त्वस्य ख्यापनेनाचार्यः प्रोत्साह्यते । त्वयैव केवलेनैवंविधो वेद आगमितोऽतस्तस्य यः कार्यरूपस्ततत्त्वार्थस्तं वेत्सि जानीषे ।
The mind can conceive of all things but the Veda is so extensive that it cannot be conceived of even by the mind. Thus the two epithets (‘inconceivable’ and ‘not directly cognisable’) serve to indicate that the Veda is beyond the reach of the internal as well as the external organs of perception i.e. it is very extensive and this mention of the extensiveness of the Veda serves as an inducement to the teacher; the meaning being - ‘it is you alone who have learnt the Veda which is so extensive, hence you alone are conversant with what ought to be done, which forms the true import of the said Veda.’
कार्यमनुष्ठेयमुच्यते । यत्र पुरुषोऽनुष्ठातृत्वेन विनियुज्यते - इदं त्वया कर्तव्यमिदं त्वया न कर्तव्यमिति - अग्निहोत्रादि कर्तव्यं कलञ्जभक्षणादि न कर्तव्यम् । प्रतिषेधोऽप्यनुष्ठानमेव । यद्ब्राह्मणवधस्याननुष्ठानं तदेव प्रतिषेधस्यानुष्ठानम् ।
The term kārya ‘what ought to be done’ stands for the act to be performed; in reference to which the man is prompted to be the performer (in such terms as) - this should be done by you, this should not be done by you, the agnihotra should be performed, the eating of the flesh of an animal killed by a poisoned arrow should not be done. Avoidance also is a kind of acting eg. the non-doing of brāhmaṇa-murder constitutes the performance or acting of the avoidance of it.
प्रवृत्तिश्च क्रियानिवृत्तिश्च क्रियेति । न हि परिस्पन्दमानसाधनसाध्यमेवानुष्ठानमुच्यते किं तर्हि प्राप्ते तद्रूपे तन्निवृत्तिरपि यथा हितसेवी चिरायुरिति यः प्राप्ते काले भुङ्क्तेऽप्राप्ते न भुङ्क्ते । अभोजनमपि हितमेव ।
Activity is acting so is also desisting from activity and the name ‘acting’ is not restricted to only that which is accomplished by means of instruments and agents set in motion. In fact, when such acting is possible, if one desists from it, this desisting also is acting. For instance, when it is asserted that the man who takes wholesome food lives long, what is meant is that the man who takes his food at the proper time and who does not eat at the improper time, as desisting from eating is also wholesome.
अथवा कार्यशब्दः प्रदर्शनार्थो विधेः प्रतिषेधस्य च । एतावदेव वेदस्य तत्त्वरूपः पारमार्थिकोऽर्थः यस्त्वितिवृत्तसंवर्णनरूपः “सोऽरोदीद्यदरोदीत्तद्रुद्रस्य रुद्रत्वमिति” स न तत्त्वार्थः विध्यन्तरेणैकवाक्यत्वात्प्रशंसापरत्वेन स्वार्थनिष्ठत्वाभावात् । अस्ति ह्यत्र विध्यन्तरं तस्माद्बर्हिषि रजतं न देयमिति । सोऽरोदीदित्यादीनि पुराऽस्य संवत्सराद् गृहे रोदनं भवतीत्यन्तानि तदेकवाक्यतापन्नानि बर्हिषि रजतदाननिन्दया तत्प्रतिषेधं स्तुवन्ति ।
Or the word kārya may be taken as indicating the injunction and the prohibition; as these alone form the essence of the Veda; the other parts of it, which are merely descriptive of certain happenings - such passages for instance as ‘he wept, and because he wept, he became known as Rudra’ are not true; they are not meant to be taken in their literal sense, they are meant to be construed along with an injunctive passage and serving the purpose of commending what has been laid down in that injunctive passage. For instance, the descriptive passage just quoted - beginning with ‘he wept’ and ending with ‘there is weeping in his house within a year’ - is to be construed with the injunctive passage - ‘therefore silver should not be placed on the grass’ and being deprecatory of the placing of silver, it serves the purpose of commending the prohibition of that placing of silver.
तदुक्तं साध्यऽर्थे वेदः प्रमाणं न सिद्धरूपे । अर्थावादानां हि सिद्धरूपोऽर्थः न हि तदर्थस्य कर्तव्यता प्रतीयते । विध्युपदेशपरत्वं च प्रतीयते । यदि च स्वार्थपरा अपि स्युस्तदा विधिपरत्वं व्याहन्येत् । ततश्च प्रतीयमानैकवाक्यता बाध्येत । न च संभवत्येकवाक्यत्वे वाक्यभेदो न्याय्यः ।
This is what is meant by the dictum - ‘the Veda is an authoritative source of knowledge in regard to what has to be accomplished and not what is already accomplished’ and what is mentioned in the arthavāda or descriptive passages is what is already accomplished and what is already accomplished cannot be cognised as something to be done; what however is cognised is that the description is supplementary to some injunction. If then it were taken to be true in its own literal sense, it could not be supplementary to any injunction; and this would militate against the syntactical connection between the two passages - descriptive and injunctive; and so long as two passages can be taken as syntactically connected and constituting a single compound sentence, it is not right to take them as two distinct sentences.
न च साध्यस्य सिद्धार्थपरत्वेनैकवाक्यता घटते । तथाहि न किञ्चिद्वेदेनोपदिश्यते कर्तव्यम् । अतश्चाप्रमाणमेव वेदः स्यात् । विध्यर्थता चावगम्यमाना लिङादीनां त्यक्ता स्यात् । तस्मात्कार्यरूपो वेदस्य तत्त्वार्थ इति मनुर्भगवानाह । जैमिनिना ऽप्युक्तं कार्येऽर्थे वेदः प्रमाणं चोदनालक्षणोऽर्थो धर्म इति ।
[The reverse process of taking the injunction as supplementary to the description would not be right for] as a matter of fact, what is yet to be accomplished could not be subservient to what is already accomplished; specially because, if this were so (and the injunction itself were not literally true), then the Veda would contain no injunction of anything at all; and it would thereby cease to be an authoritative source of knowledge. This would involve the further incongruity that we would have to deny the well-recognised fact of the injunctive and other words denoting injunction. It is with a view to all this that the revered Manu has declared ‘something to be done’ as the essence of the Veda. Jaimini also in the pūrvamīmāṃsa sūtra (1.1.2) - ‘duty is that desirable thing which is prescribed by the Vedic injunction’ - has distinctly declared that the Veda is an authoritative source of knowledge in regard to what is to be done.
अतश्च निरवशेषपदार्थपरिज्ञानातिशययोगाद्धर्मप्रवचनसामर्थ्यं सिद्धवदुपादाय प्रभो इत्यामन्त्रणम् - हे प्रभो धर्माभिधानशक्त त्वमनुब्रूहि धर्मानिति । एवमनया त्रिश्लोक्या धर्मान् पृष्ट उत्तरेण श्लोकेन प्रतिजज्ञे ॥ ३ ॥
The term of address ‘lord’ has been used on the understanding that the personage addressed is well-known to be possessed of the capacity to expound duty - such capacity being due to his being endowed with a high degree of knowledge of all things. The meaning thus is - ‘O lord, may you, who are fully able to expound duty, explain the duties to us.’ Being thus questioned by means of the first three verses, he promised, in the following verse, what he was asked to do. (3)