Jayasthiti Malla

King Jayasthiti Malla in Patan

Malla era and Jayasthiti Malla

History is quite confusing and during Malla era many monumental task were completed. But these would not be possible without some of the great kings. One of them was Jayasthiti Malla.

He ruled over Nepal  from 1438 to 1452 BS. Jayasthiti Malla is the only king whose origin is not clear in history. It is said that he came from karnali region. And he got the throne despite being born in the same royal family. As history says he came to Bhaktapur and married princess Rajalla Devi and that marital bonding made him King later on. But the question here is why would King marry his daughter to someone whose origin is unknown.  But this is how history is. He got the throne as husband of the then princess . It is said that he brought many reformation during his reign.

An artist portraying the figure of King Jayasthiti Mall

Jayasthiti Malla ascended the throne of Nepal in 1350 A.D. (1438 B.S.). At that time the condition of the country was very bad. There was political disturbance in the palace. The country was economically weak. There was social disorder. A competent and resolute ruler was necessary. Jayasthiti Malla made reforms. He reorganized the caste system. Each caste had its own occupation, dress and manners. He made temples and placed idols in them. He performed Kotihom. He was a lover of literature. He encouraged Sanskrit and Newari languages. Poems and dramas were written. He brought economic reforms. Land was divided into four classes according to the production of crops. He introduced measuring units called mana, pathi, pau and dharni. The work of measuring land and house was given to the kshetrakar and Takshakar respectively. He introduced the system of imposing fines on criminals.

Jayasthiti Mall was a great reformist. He was an expert politician. He brought political stability in the country. There was peace and prosperity in the country. He died in 1452 B.S.

During his era he made rules and regulations for the benefit for the country and it’s inhabitant. One of the major law is written in NYAYAVIKASINI (Manavanayashastrat). Some of the rules he imposed on debt are as follows

  • Where, whatever property is given and taken as a debt, such an act of giving and taking debt is called debt transaction (Rinadana)
  • After the death of the father his sons must pay the debts taken by the father in proportion to their shares. Whether they are partitioned or not, the sons have to pay back equally the debt like a burden of the father.
  • The debts taken by the paternal uncle, elder or younger brother or mother to support the family in a joint family should be paid at the time of partition of the inheritance
  • If the debt taken by the father is not paid by the sons, grandsons have to pay the debt taken by the grandfather after the death of his father. The forth generation of the family after the grandson i.e. great grandsons shall not be compelled to pay the debt.
  • Fathers wish son for their own interest wishing that he will release me from my creditor, also collect money from my debtor and make me released. Thus son should assiduously forsake his own interest in order to release his father from debt by which father would not fall into hell.
  • Neither father nor son shall be liable to pay each other’s debt which is taken out of lust, anger, for liquor, gambling and some others guarantee.
  • Debt taken by the son with an advice of the father to support family at the time of peril should be repaid by the father.
  • Debt taken by a disciple, a resident disciple, a slave, a woman and a servant should be paid by the head of the family.
  • The debt taken by the father, paternal uncle and elder brother, who has gone to abroad shall not require to be paid back before twenty years.
  • Debt taken in a joint family should be paid back by the living members after the death of other members. Even after his death it should by paid back by his son.
  • A woman shall not be compelled to pay a debt taken by her husband or son except it was taken with her consent.
  • A woman so ordered by her dying husband or a widow should pay debts taken by her husband; or one who enjoys that property should pay such debt because credit(wealth) and debt come together with.
  • Except taken in exigencies, a husband shall not be compelled to pay a debt taken by his wife. But the debt taken by wife, to support family, at the time when her husband had gone abroad should be paid by the husband. Debt taken by the wives of a washerman, hunter, cowherd and purveyors of liquor (Sudhi) should be paid by their husbands. Because there is mutual trust among them and family is also dependent on the ladies.
  • If a widow having a son abandons him and goes for second marriage with another man the second husband shall get her woman-property. The property of first husband shall go to the son from the first husband; it shall not go to the second husband.
  • When poor and sonless widow accepts second husband, such a second husband has to pay the debt taken by the first husband. Because woman is a resource and he who takes resource have to accept the debt as well.
  • If a widow accepts second husband along with the son and debt taken by the deceased husband, the husband shall have to release the woman from debt upon paying it.
  • The learned people say that the transactions, undertaken by a woman shall not be considered valid, especially donating, pledging, and selling of house and land.
  • A transaction done by a wife with the consent of her husband is valid. In the absence of husband, it shall be valid if there is consent of the son. In the absence of both the husband and son, the king must have granted consent, only then transaction done by a woman is proved valid.
  • Even after the death of husband, wife is free to use the property given by the husband out of affection except the immovable property i.e. house or land etc.
  • A transaction made by the son against the will of father shall not be valid, because son and slave are on the equal footing in respect of validity.


Jayastihi Malla believed to rule a country and keep the country in peace , there must be some sort of reforms. His constitution law still lingers in our current constitution. Words and ways have changed but he contributed much during the history. He happened to have throne at the right time as the country was going through turbulence situation

In this world only three types of people are independent; they are the king, the
teacher (Acharaya) and the householder (chief of the family).
k King Jayasthiti Malla (15 Sep 1382–5 Sep 1395)

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