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:

पितुर्भगिन्यां मातुश्च ज्यायस्यां च स्वसर्यपि ।
मातृवद् वृत्तिमातिष्ठेन् माता ताभ्यो गरीयसी ॥ १३३ ॥

piturbhaginyāṃ mātuśca jyāyasyāṃ ca svasaryapi |
mātṛvad vṛttimātiṣṭhen mātā tābhyo garīyasī || 133 ||

Towards his father’s sister, his mother’s sister, and his own elder sister, one should adopt the same behaviour as towards his mother; but the mother is more venerable than these.—(133)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The present text serves to indicate the propriety of behaving, as towards one’s mother, towards the sister of his father, and the sister of his mother, and also towards bis own elder sister.

Objection.—“The treatment to be accorded towards the father’s and the mother’s sister has already been prescribed under 131 above. It might be argued that in verse 131 it is said that they should be treated like the Teacher’s wife, while in the present verse they are described as to be treated like one’s mother. But this makes no difference; as the behaviour towards the mother is precisely the same as that towards the Teacher’s wife.”

To this some people make the following answer: The venerable character of the father’s and the mother’s sister has been re-asserted only for the purpose of adding that ‘the mother is more venerable than these.’ The meaning is that when one’s mother directs him one way, and the father’s sister and the rest another way, he should act according to the directions of his mother, and not according to those of the others. It will not be right to argue that this (superiority of the mother) is also already declared under verse 145; because this latter verse is purely valedictory.

Others however hold that, there is some difference in the treatment to be accorded to the mother and to the Teacher’s wife. In the case of the Teacher’s wife, worship, etc., are necessary; while in the case of the mother, it is often otherwise also, because of the son being too young, or because of the mother being too fond of him. And since the father’s sister and the mother’s sister also fondle the child (like his mother), it is only natural that these should be treated like the mother. Fondling during childhood is done by one’s own older sister also. But when one has passed beyond childhood, his treatment of these relatives should be like that of his teacher’s wife. All this is not got out of the present verse only. And if we did not have both declarations (one in the present verse, and Another in 131), then the mere assertion of ‘behaviour as towards his mother’ would be liable to be understood as referring to salutation only, as it is this that forms the subject-matter of the context; while as a matter of fact, it is the loving behaviour that is here intended to be accorded.—(133)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra p. 459) in support of the view that the ladies herein mentioned should be accosted by the clasping of the feet, as they are here declared to be treated ‘like the mother’;—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 90).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu-Smṛti (32.3).—‘Mother’s sister, father’s sister, and the elder sister also.’

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