Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

समाहृत्य तु तद् भैक्षं यावदन्नममायया ।
निवेद्य गुरवेऽश्नीयादाचम्य प्राङ्मुखः शुचिः ॥ ५१ ॥

samāhṛtya tu tad bhaikṣaṃ yāvadannamamāyayā |
nivedya gurave'śnīyādācamya prāṅmukhaḥ śuciḥ || 51 ||

Having collected as much food as may be needed, and having offered it, without guile, to his Teacher, he should eat it, with his face to the east, after having sipped water and become pure.—(51)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘having collected’ shows that the food should be obtained from several ladies, and a large quantity should not be obtained from a single lady.

It’—refers to that which has gone immediately before this, i.e., the food begged for ordinary eating, and not that which is done as part of the Initiation-rites, with which the context deals; specially as with regard to the latter all that the Gṛḥya-Sūtra prescribes is that the food should be ‘cooked,’ and nothing is said regarding ‘eating.’ Further, the injunction that ‘the boy should fast for the rest of the day’ shows that the boy undergoes the Initiatory rite after breakfast; so that the actual eating of the food cannot be part of that rite.

As much os way he needed’;—i.e., just as much food as may be necessary for the satisfaction of hunger; large quantities of food should not be begged.

Having offered it without guile to the Teacher;’—i.e., he should not show the teacher only the inferior articles of food, hiding with these the superior ones, with the view that the Teacher would not take any thing out of the inferior articles. The ‘offering’ consists of presenting it to him, saying ‘this is what I have obtained.’

What the teacher does not take, ‘he should eat,’ after having been permitted by the teacher to do so.

“Why should not the offering be regarded merely as an act producing in the food some transcendental effect (and not as a real offering meant to be accepted by the teacher)?”

That it is not so is proved by historical evidence: says the revered Vyāsa in the story of Hṛtakūpa, where it is distinctly stated that the teacher actually took what was offered.

That the boy should eat only after being permitted to do so, is laid down in several Gṛhyasūtras.

With his face to the east, after having sipped tenter.’—Some people have asserted that the facing of the east is meant to be connected with the sipping of water,—the two being in close proximity. But this is not right; as the rule regarding sipping—that it should be done with the face towards the east or north,—will come later on. Hence what is mentioned here is connected with the eating.

Pure.’—This means that after rinsing the mouth he should avoid, during meals, such tilings as looking at the Cāṇḍāla going to unclean places, spitting and so forth.—(51)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 936);—in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 454), which latter adds that in the event of the Teacher not being near at hand, the food is to be offered to the Teacher’s wife or son, or to his own companions,—in Aparārka (p. 60);—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 61), which explains ‘Amāyayā’ as that he should not conceal the better quality of food obtained - out of fear that the Teacher will take it for himself;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 113).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama-Dharmasūtra, 2.46-47.—‘Having offered it to the Teacher, he should eat it when permitted; in the absence of the Teacher, he should offer it to his wife or to his son or to his own fellow-students.’

Gautama-Dharmasūtra (Parāśaramādhava, p. 454).—‘Morning and evening, he shall eat food which is respected, never decried.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasutra, 1.3.31-35.—‘Having collected it, he should describe it to the Teacher; he should eat it on being permitted by him; during the Teacher’s absence, he should offer it to the Teacher’s family; during the absence of these also, to other Vedic scholars; he should never beg alms for himself alone.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra, 11.37.1.—‘Food should be eaten, with face towards the East.’

Viṣṇu-Smṛti, 27.9.—‘Alms should be begged from qualified persons, never from the Teacher’s family; the food obtained should be eaten only with his permission.’

Yājñavalkya, 1.31.—‘Having done his duty to the Fires, he should eat his food silently, with the Teacher’s permission, after having sipped water.’

Āśvalāyana-Gṛhyasūtra, 1.22.9.—‘he should offer it to the Teacher and then rest during the rest of the day.’

Pāraskara-Gṛhyasūtra, 2.5.8.—‘He offers the alms obtained to the Teacher; and then he should rest (luring the rest of the day, with speech controlled,—‘so say some.’

Gobhila-Gṛhyasūtra, 2.10.11.—‘He offers the food to the Teacher.’

Baudhāyana-Dharmasūtra, 20.2.0.—‘He should cat seated, facing the East, not disparaging the food, with attention fixed thereon; and after having eaten, he should touch fire.’

Yama (Parāśaramādhava, p. 154).—‘He shall never receive more alms than what would suffice for his meal; if he accepts more, he incurs the sin of theft.’

Gautama-Smṛti (Do.).—‘In the absence of the Teacher, he shall seek the permission (to eat) from the Teacher’s wife, or his son, or from his fellow-students.’

Hārīta (Do.).—‘The alms, examined, taken round the fire, shown to the sun, offered to the Teacher and granted by him, is called Nectar.’

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