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:

अपां समीपे नियतो नैत्यकं विधिमास्थितः ।
सावित्रीमप्यधीयीत गत्वाऽरण्यं समाहितः ॥ १०४ ॥

apāṃ samīpe niyato naityakaṃ vidhimāsthitaḥ |
sāvitrīmapyadhīyīta gatvā'raṇyaṃ samāhitaḥ || 104 ||

Convinced of the necessary character of the injunction, and retiring to the forest on a spot near water, one may even recite the Sāvitrī only, with a clean body and a collected mind.—(104)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This is another injunction in connection with Vedic study; and as what is here stated has not been mentioned in any other context, the ‘study’ herein laid down must be different from that ‘study’ which is undertaken for the purpose of getting up the Text.

Forest’—stands for some solitary spot outside the village;—‘retiring’ to such a spot;—‘near water’—on the bank of a river or tank, etc.; or in the absence of these, even near water contained in the water-pot and such other vessels.

Niyataḥ'—may mean either ‘with clean body,’ or‘with due effort.’

Samāhitaḥ,’ ‘with collected mind,’—i.e., free from all mental distractions.

One may even recite the Sāvitrī,’—i.e., if on account of the interference of some sort of business, he is unable to recite many hymns or sections or chapters.

Convinced of the necessary character of the injunction.’—‘Naityaka’ is the same as ‘nitya.’—Having made up his mind that the injunction is a compulsory one.

The injunction of studying the Veda for the purpose of getting up the Text forms the ‘archetype’; and of that the present injunction is the ‘ectype,’ and as such it includes all the details of the former; so that the rules regarding the pronouncing of the syllable ‘om’ at the beginning of Vedic Study (laid down in 74) and the sitting upon Kuśa-grass with ends pointing towards the East (laid down in 75), appertain to the present injunction also.

Others have explained the term ‘vidhi’ to stand for ‘vidhā,’ method, procedure; the meaning (of the phrase ‘naityakam vidhimāsthitaḥ’) being ‘taking his stand upon the procedure laid down for the study of the Veda, which is necessary for,—must be done by—the Religious Student.’ The compulsory character of this method would have to be deduced from what follows in verse 106 below, regarding ‘this being called Brahmasatra.’

The former explanation appears to be the right one; for as a matter of fact, the term ‘vi dhi’ is not known to be denotative of method. Further, if the term ‘naityakam’ stands for what should be done by the Religious Student, then the same term as occurring in verse 106 will also have to be taken in the same sense; and in that case the prohibition of ‘non-study’ therein contained would come to apply to the same,—i.e., to that which must be done by the Religious Student (which is absurd).—(101)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 312), as laying down the place and other details in connection with the Twilight’ Prayers;—in Madanapārijāta (p. 281); in Aparārka (p. 70), as indicating that in the event of the man being unable to perform the entire Brahmayajña he may do it by means of the Sāvitrī alone; and again on p. 136;—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Saṃskāra, p. 38a).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vyāsa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 275).—‘In the house, the Twilight prayer is onefold; in cow-pen, tenfold; on the river ten-thousandfold; near Viṣṇu, it is infinite.’

Mahābhārata (Parāśaramādhava, p. 275).—‘Twilight prayer is tenfold, when performed outside, near a tank or a stream; at a sacred tîrtha, it is a hundredfold; and thousandfold on the bank of the Ganges.’

Baudhāyana-Dharmasūtra (2. 5. 14-15),—‘They declare that the Praṇava, the Vyāhṛtis and the Sāvitrī,—the five Brahmic Sacrifices,—all this done daily absolves the Brāhmaṇa from sins.—Being purified by the five Brahmic Sacrifices they appease the lords.’

Śātātapa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 276).—‘Lying, smell of liquor, sexual intercourse during the day, eating of Śūdra’s food,—all these sins are removed by offering the Twilight Prayer outside.’

Śātātapa (Parāśaramādhava 6. 6. 7).—‘Daily he should carry on Vedic Study beginning with the Praṇava; thus does he fulfil the Brahmic Sacrifice;—Vedic Study constituting the Brahmic Sacrifice.’

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