Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi
Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:
कालशाकं महाशल्काः खङ्गलोहामिषं मधु ।
आनन्त्यायैव कल्प्यन्ते मुन्यन्नानि च सर्वशः ॥ २७२ ॥
kālaśākaṃ mahāśalkāḥ khaṅgalohāmiṣaṃ madhu |
ānantyāyaiva kalpyante munyannāni ca sarvaśaḥ || 272 ||
The “Kālaśāka,” the porcupine, the meat of the rhinoceros and the red goat, and honey serve for endless time; as also all kinds ok her mit’s food.—(272)
Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):
‘Kālaśāka’—is a well-known variety of vegetable; applying to the darker variety of the ‘Vāstūka.’
‘Mahāśalka’ stands for the porcupine. Others have explained it as standing for a special kind of fish.
‘Loha’—the black goat, or one whiçh is red all over. Says the Purāṇa—‘the red goat, and the black one, serve for endless time.’ Though the term ‘loha’ denotes the colour, it indirectly indicates the goat having that colour. The term ‘loha’ is used in the sense of ‘black’ as well as ‘red’—being applied to iron, which is black, as also to copper which is red. Though this variety of colour is found in sheep and other animals also, yet, on the strength of other Smṛtis, it has been explained here as standing for the goat only.
Others, however, have explained the term ‘loha’ as standing for the bird, called ‘lohapṛṣṭha,’ the Heron; which is mentioned by means of a part of the name only. Just as Devadatta is often spoken of as simply ‘Datta.’
It is necessary to find the support of usage in the case of both these explanations.
‘Honey’—that collected by bees.
In the case of all the things mentioned in the present contest, all that is meant is the great satisfaction produced by the offerings; and stress is not meant to be laid upon the exact period of time mentioned in each case. If this were really meant, then one might be justified in omitting the performance of Śrāddhas for twelve years; and this would be contrary to what has been declared, to the effect that ‘Rites in honour of the Pitṛs should be performed till death.’ (Verse 279).—(272)
Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha
‘Kālaśāka’—Buhler has misread Medhātithi; there is no such expression in Medhātithi as ‘Kṛṣṇavāsudeva’; the word used is Kṛṣṇe vāstukabhede, which means ‘the darker variety of the vāstuka herb’. According to Nandana, it stands for the ‘Black neem’.—Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 706) quoting the verse, explains it as ‘well known in the northern country’.
‘Mahāśalka’—Medhātithi explains this as ‘śalyakā’, ‘the porcupine’, or (according to ‘others’, a kind of fish). [Medhātithi says nothing as to ‘others’ reading ‘saśalkhān’].—Parāśaramādhava explains it as ‘a particular kind of fish’;—‘loha’ as ‘the red-coloured goat’—and ‘munyanna’ as ‘Nīvāra and the like’.
This verse is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, pp. 541 and 586);—in Śrāddhakriyākaumudī (p. 14), which says that according to the ‘ancients’, ‘mahāśalka’ stands for the Rohita fish;—and in Gadādharapaddhati (Kāla, p. 536).
Comparative notes by various authors
Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (2.17.1-3).—‘For endless time, with the meat of the rhinoceros; so also with the meat of the Śātabali fish, and that of the old goat.’
Viṣṇu (80.23-24).—‘Here is the song sung by the Pitṛs—Kālaśāka, porcupine, the meat of the old goat, and the rhinoceros without horns,—these we eat constantly.’
Yājñavalkya (1.260).—‘The meat of the rhinoceros, the porcupine, honey, hermit’s food, meat of the red goat, Mahāśāka, and the meat of the old goat.’
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