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:

ये पाकयज्ञाः चत्वारो विधियज्ञसमन्विताः ।
सर्वे ते जपयज्ञस्य कलां नार्हन्ति षोडशीम् ॥ ८६ ॥

ye pākayajñāḥ catvāro vidhiyajñasamanvitāḥ |
sarve te japayajñasya kalāṃ nārhanti ṣoḍaśīm || 86 ||

The four cooked offerings, along with the enjoined sacrifices,—all these are not worth the sixteenth part of the offering that consists in the repeating of mantras.—(86)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The five ‘great sacrifices,’ leaving off the are what are meant by the ‘four cooked offerings.’

Enjoined sacrifices’—those already described (under the preceding verse); along with these latter, the former (four) ‘are not worth the sixteenth part’—i.e., are not equal to the sixteenth part.

Or, the root ‘arha’ may be taken in the sense of the price paid for the obtaining of a certain thing. The root ‘arha’ with the Present-Tense-ending ‘tip’ gives the form ‘arhanti.’—(86)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Pākayajñāḥ’—This term stands for the last four of the five ‘Mahāyajña’—

  1. Brahmayajña (Vedic study),
  2. Devayajña (the Vaiśvadeva offerings),
  3. Pitṛyajña (daily Śrāddha offerings),
  4. Bhūtayajña (Bali offerings)
  5. and Manuṣyayajña (Feeding of guests),

according to Medhātithi, Kullūka, Nārāyaṇa and Nandana.

According to Govindarāja and Rāghvānanda, it stands for all Śrauta and Smārta offerings.

The main classification of sacrifices is based upon the difference in the substances offered. On this basis they have been classified as under:—

(l) Haviryajñas, also called ‘Iṣti’, consisting in the offering of such substances as milk, butter, rice, barley and other grains;—the principal representatives of this class are (a) the Darśapūrṇamāsa, which is described in detail in the Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa (I and II); and its six ectypes—(b) the Agnyādhāna, (c) the Agnihotra (d) the Āgrahāyaṇeṣṭi (e) the Cāturmāsya, (f) the Paśubandha and (g) the Sautrāmaṇi; all these are offered into fire specially consecrated by the Agnyādhāna rite, which serving as it does only the purpose of preparing the fire for other sacrifices, is not a sacrifice in the strict sense of the term,—as has been remarked by Karka in his commentary on Kātyāyana’s Śrautasūtra.

(2) Pākayajñas consisting of the offering of cooked substances, not in the consecrated fire, but in the domestic fire and other receptacles. The seven principal sacrifices included under this category are—the five ‘great sacrifices’ (described in Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa 10-5.7 and in Manu, 3.70), the Aṣṭakās, the Pārvaṇa offerings, the Śrāvaṇī, the Āgrahāyaṇī, the Caitrī and the Āśvāyujī. These are described in the Gṛhya—not Śrauta—Sūtras. Though the substances offered in these are not very different from those in the Iṣṭis on Haviryajñas, yet they are classed separately, on the ground that the receptacle of the offerings in their case is not the consecrated fire.

(3) Somayajñas in which the substance offered is the Soma-juice; it includes the following seven sacrifices—(a) Agniṣṭoma, (b) Atyagniṣṭoma, (c) Ukthya, (d) Śoḍaśin (e) Vājapeya, (f) Atirātra and (g) Āptoryamā. Almost all Somayajñas involve the killing of an animal, hence the Animal-sacrifices, Paśuyāgas, have been included by older writers under this category; though later writers have drawn a distinction between the Somayāga and the Paśuyāga. The very elaborate sacrifices, such as the Aśvamedha, the Rājasūya, the Pauṇḍarīka and the Gosava (according to Devala)—are generally classed apart, under the generic name of Mahāyajñakratu’.

(See in this connection, Prābhākara-Mīmāṃsā, pp. 251-253).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu-smṛti, 55.20 and Vasiṣṭha, 26.11—[reproduce the Words of Manu].

Bhagavadgītā.—‘Among sacrifices, I am the Japa-offering.’

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