Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550

This is the English translation of the Manusmriti, which is a collection of Sanskrit verses dealing with ‘Dharma’, a collective name for human purpose, their duties and the law. Various topics will be dealt with, but this volume of the series includes 12 discourses (adhyaya). The commentary on this text by Medhatithi elaborately explains various t...

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

स्त्रीणां सुखौद्यमक्रूरं विस्पष्टार्थं मनोहरम् ।
मङ्गल्यं दीर्घवर्णान्तमाशीर्वादाभिधानवत् ॥ ३३ ॥

strīṇāṃ sukhaudyamakrūraṃ vispaṣṭārthaṃ manoharam |
maṅgalyaṃ dīrghavarṇāntamāśīrvādābhidhānavat || 33 ||

That of women should be easily pronouncible, not harsh, of plain meaning, heart-captivating and auspicious; it should end in a long vowel and contain a benedictory term.—(33)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Inasmuch as significance has been attached to the mention of the ‘male’ child (in verse 29), what has been said in the preceding verses is not applicable to women; and the present verse is going to lay down rules regarding the names of women.

Easily pronouncible’;—that which can be easily pronounced; the name of women should be such as can be uttered, with ease, even by women and children. It is mostly women and children that have got to deal with women; and the woman’s organ of speech being not very efficient, she cannot pronounce each and every Sanskrit word; hence the Text lays stress upon this pronouncibility in the case of feminine names. This however docs not mean that the masculine names may be unpronouncible. As examples of ‘pronouncible’ names wo have, ‘Maṅgala-devī,’ ‘Chārudati,’ ‘Suvadanā,’ etc., and as counter-examples (i.e., of unpronouncible names), ‘Śarmiṣṭhā,’ ‘Suśliṣṭāṅgī,’ and the like.

Not harsh,’—i.e., not denoting any thing harsh; names denoting harsh things are such as ‘Ḍākinī’ (Sorceress), ‘Paruṣā’ (Rough) and so forth.

Of plain meaning,’—whose moaning does not need to be explained before it is comprehended; which, as soon as it is heard, couveys its meaning to the learned and the unlearned alike. As examples of names with meanings not plain, we have, (a) ‘Kāmaniḍhā’ and (b) ‘Kāriṣagandhī’; the meaning of these terms is not comprehended until the following explanations have been provided:—(a) ‘who is, as if it were, the very receptacle of love, she in whom all love is contained,’ and (b) ‘Kārīṣagandhī’ is the ‘daughter of Kariṣagandhi.’

Heart-captivating,’—that which pleases the mind; e.g., ‘Śreyasī’; while of the contrary kind we have the name ‘Kālākṣī.’

Auspicious,’—such as ‘Śarmavatī’; of the contrary kind is the name ‘Abhāgā,’ ‘M andabhāgā.’ ‘Ending in a long vowel,’—that which has a long vowel at the end. Contrary to this is the name ‘Śarat.’

Āśīrvāda’ is that which denotes benediction; ‘abhidhāna’ is term; and when the two are compounded in tho dhāraya form, we get the meaning ‘benedictory term’; and the name that contains such a term is called ‘āśīrvādābhidhānavat,’ ‘containing a benedictory term.’ Examples of such names—‘Saputrā,’ ‘Bahuputrā,’ ‘Kulavāhikā’; these are benedictory names; of the contrary kind are such names as, ‘Apraśastā,’ ‘Alakṣaṇā.’

“What is the difference between ‘auspicious’ and ‘benedictory’?”

None whatsoever. The second epithet has been added only for the purpose of filling up the metre.—(33)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 441), which cites the typical female name ‘Śrīdāsī.’

This is quoted also in Smṛtitattva (p. 631).

Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 243) quotes the verse, and having explained the words, cites as examples—‘Yaśodā’ (easily pronouncible) ‘Kulaghnī’ (harsh)—‘Indirā’ (not of plain meaning)—‘Kamahīyā’ (heart-captivating)—‘Subhadrā’ (auspicious)—and ‘Saubhāgyavatī’ (containing a benedictory term).

Vidhānapārijāta (p. 310) simply quotes the verse;—and Aparārka (p. 27) quotes it as laying down rules regarding the first part of female names.

This is quoted in Smṛti candrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 55), which adds the following notes—‘sukhodyam,’ easily pronouncible,—‘maṅgalyam’ denoting auspiciousness;—‘dīrghavarṇa, the long ī. or ā.


Comparative notes by various authors

Laghuśātātapa, 35.—‘The girl should not be named after a river or an asterism or a tree; nor should she have a terrifying name.’

Āśvalāyana-Gṛhyasūtra, 1.15.9.—‘The names of girls should consist of an odd number of letters.’

Gobhila-Gṛhyasūtrā, 2.7.15.—‘The names of girls should be soft and consisting of an odd number of letters.’

Śaunaka (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 213).—‘The name of males should contain even, and of females odd, number of letters.’

Baijavāpa (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 243).—‘The name of the woman should consist of three letters and should end in the long ī.’

Āśvalāyana (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 243).—‘The name of males should contain an even number of letters, and of females odd number of letters.’

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