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:

शूद्रां शयनमारोप्य ब्राह्मणो यात्यधोगतिम् ।
जनयित्वा सुतं तस्यां ब्राह्मण्यादेव हीयते ॥ १७ ॥

śūdrāṃ śayanamāropya brāhmaṇo yātyadhogatim |
janayitvā sutaṃ tasyāṃ brāhmaṇyādeva hīyate || 17 ||

Having placed a Śūdrā woman on his bed, the Brāhmaṇa goes to perdition; and having begotten a son by her, he falls from Brāhmaṇahood itself.—(17).

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This is a laudatory exaggeration.

If on the Śūdra wife he begets a son, he falls from Brāhmaṇahood itself i.e., the son becomes a non-Brāhmaṇa. This also is a deprecatory exaggeration.

Son’—is in the masculine gender. So that (in the preceding verse also) the term ‘begetting of children,’ ‘sutotpattyā,’ should be taken to refer to the male child; even though in the compound the word can be taken both ways—either as ‘sutā’ in the Feminine, or as ‘suta’ in the Masculine. It is with this view that we have pointed out above that what is prohibited is intercourse with the woman on the even days of her ‘period’ (as it is only by intercourse on those days that a male child is born).—(17).

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Hopkin’s remarks—“A significant alteration in the Mahābhārata 13.47.9 makes the last part of this verse read—‘He is nevertheless purified by a ceremony known in law’.”—One fails to see what is ‘significant’ in this, when Hindu law bristles with expiatory ceremonies in connection with much more heinous offences than the marrying of a Śūdra wife.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.265, p. 1326) as meant to indicate the gravity of the offence, and as laying down the actual irrevocable loss of Brāhmaṇahood;—in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 495) as prohibiting the marrying of the Śūdra by the twice-born;—in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 750);—in Aparārka (p. 87);—in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 361);—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 208), which notes that what this forbids is the marrying and begetting of child on a Śūdra wife before a Brāhmaṇa wife.

 

Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 3.13-19)

See Comparative notes for Verse 3.13.

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