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Report No. 60

2.2. Interpretation as old as language.-

Interpretation is as old as language. Elaborate rules of interpretation were evolved even at a very early stage of the Hindu civilisation and culture. The rules given by Jaimini, the author of the Mimansat Sutras, originally meant for the Srutis, were employed for the interpretation of the Smritis also. All the commentators and writers of Niband has invariably adopted these canons of interpretation for their own purposes, so much so that these interpretations or comments sometimes became more difficult and abstruse than the original texts commented upon1. K.A. Nilkanta Sastry, a distinguished scholar, has observed2:

"With reference to the system of Jaimini (Mimansa) it has for its main object, the determination of doubtful points in the elaborate rituals enjoined by the Vedas by discussion and interpretation. It raises and answers, incidentally, some questions of great interest."

The importance of avoiding literal interpretation has also been stressed in one of the ancient text books3:

"Merely following the texts of the law, decisions are not to be rendered, for, if such decisions are wanting in Equity, a gross failure of Dharma is caused4."

The Bhavishya Purana5 has an apt verse dealing with the rule to be followed for the resolution of conflict between Smriti and Artha as well as for the resolution of inconsistency between the rules of the Smritis themselves. And Kalidas has described, in ringing words which have become immortal, the indissoluble link between "word" and "meaning6".

According to Narada7, when Smritis and Arthasastra are inconsistent, the presumption of Arthasastra is superseded by Smritis8. In case of mutual inconsistency, however, that rule is authentic which is in accord with equity9.

1. U.C. Sarkar Epoche in Hindu Legal History, (1958), p. 167.

2. K.A. Nilakanta Sastry, Mimamsa Doctrine of Works, (1921) Indian Antiquary, p. 211.

3. Brihaspati.

4. dsoye~ 'kkeL=ekfJR; u drZO;ks fg fu.kZ;% ;wfDrghus fopkjsrq /keZKkfu% izt;rs

5- LeqR;HkZ;ks fojks/ksrq vFkZ'kkL=L; ca/kue~ ijLgj fojksa/ksrq ;qfDu;qDrks fof/k% LeZr% Hkfo";iqjk

6- ckxFkkZfofo% laiD;ks okxFkZizfrizris txr% firjkS oUns ikHkZrhijes JjkSA

7- Narada Ch. 1, vrese 40.

8- Translation by Dr. Ludo Rocher, Vyavahar Chintameni of Vachaspati (Chent., 1956).

9- /kqeZ'kkL= fojks/ks rq lafEr;qDrks fof/k% Leu%

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