bhāryā putraśca dāsaśca preṣyo bhrātrā ca saudaraḥ |
prāptāparādhāstāḍyāḥ syū rajjvā veṇudalena vā || 8.299 ||
The wife, the son, the slave, the servant and the uterine brother shall be beaten with a rope or a split bamboo, when they have committed a fault.—(8.299)
pṛṣṭhatastu śarīrasya nottamāṅge kathaṃ cana |
ato'nyathā tu praharan prāptaḥ syāccaurakilbiṣam || 8.300 ||
But only on the back part of the body, and never on the upper part; he who strikes otherwise than this incurs the guilt of a thief.—(8.300)
Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):
‘Prāptāparādhāḥ,’—those who have fallen upon, committed, a fault. ‘Fault’ means transgression of morality; when any such has been committed by them, they should he beaten.
As a matter of fact, beating is a form of hurt, and as such is forbidden by the general law—‘no living beings shall be injured’; but an exception to this is made in the case of transgressions by the wife and other persons.
All these are relative terms; hence the meaning is that the wife is to be chastised by him whose wife she is, the slave is to be chastised by him who is his master, and so forth.
What is enjoined here is the method of keeping the persons on the right path, and not actual beating; so that chastisement may be administered verbally; and in cases where the fault is serious, there may also be beating.
In the place of ‘uterine’ we should read ‘younger,’ and the right reading would thus be ‘bhrātā tathānujaḥ’; since it is the younger brother that may be chastised by his elder brother, like a child. The half-brother also is under the tutelage of the elder brother, if the latter is a duly qualified person; hence he also, if he takes to the wrong path, should be prevented by all the methods, ending with beating,
‘Split bamboo’—the bark of the bamboo. This has been mentioned only as illustrative of the lotus-fibre and other such objects which cause only slight pain.
He who strikes with things other than those specified—i.e., with a stick or such things—or on a part of the body other than those mentioned,—i.e., on the eye, etc.—‘incurs the guilt of a thief.’
This is only meant to be deprecatory of the act referred to; and is not the injunction of an actual punishment; so that in this case also the penalty shall be the same as that in other oases of ‘hurt.’