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...

Verse 3.67 [Duties of the Householder]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

वैवाहिकेऽग्नौ कुर्वीत गृह्यं कर्म यथाविधि ।
पञ्चयज्ञविधानं च पक्तिं चान्वाहिकीं गृही ॥ ६७ ॥

vaivāhike'gnau kurvīta gṛhyaṃ karma yathāvidhi |
pañcayajñavidhānaṃ ca paktiṃ cānvāhikīṃ gṛhī || 67 ||

In the marriage-fire the householder should perform the ‘gṛhya’ rites; as also the rite of the ‘five sacrifices’ and the daily cooking.—(67)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The section on Marriage is finished.

In the fire in which the marriage-rites have been performed, one should perform the ‘Gṛhya rites,’—i.e., rites that have been prescribed by the authors of Gṛhyasūtras as to be performed with the help of fire; e.g., the Aṣṭakā śrāddha, the Pārvaṇaśrāddha, Libations, and so forth.

Five sacrifices’—to be described later on;—‘the rite,’ the performance of these—(should be done) in that same fire.

“Though the text speaks of the ‘five sacrifices’ without any specification, yet (among them) the Vaiśvadeva-offering alone is to be made in the fire; in the offering of the water-libations, etc., there is no need for the fire. Why then should the text speak of the ‘rite of five sacrfices’ as to be performed in the fire?”

Some people explain that, though the locative ending is one only, yet it may be regarded as diverse in reference to the diversity in the objects; hence, in the present context, the term ‘five sacrifices’ has been used in the sense of a part only of the five sacrifices.’

Or (another explanation is that), the phrase, ‘in the f ire,’ is not to be construed with the ‘rite of the five sacrifices,’—the Vaiśvadeva-offering, which is made into fire, being already included in the preceding phrase (‘gṛhya rite ’). The construction in this case would be—‘the Householder should perform the rite of the five sacrifices, and in the Marriage-fire he should perform the gṛhya or domestic rites, as also the daily cooking.’

The term ‘gṛha,’ house,’ denotes wife; hence what is meant is that the ‘householder,’ i.e., one, who has married a wife, should perform the rites, in association with one’s wife.

Some writers on the Gṛhyasūtras have declared that at marriage, fire should be produced by the friction of two sticks; while, according to others, one may bring burning fire from anywhere he likes and make his offerings into that.

The injunction that the domestic rites shall be performed in the marriage-fire implies that the fire kindled at marriage shall be kept up.

On this point some people make the following observations:—The maintaining of the marriage-fire should be necessary for the Śūdra also; as for him. also the performance of the ‘Pākayajña’ has been ordained; nor does the present text specify any particular caste; all that is found is the general term ‘householder,’ and the Śūdra also is a ‘householder,’ the marrying of a wife being prescribed for him also. This is what has beeu declared elsewhere (in Yājñavalkya, Ācāra, 97)—‘The householder should everyday perform the smārta rites in the marriage-tire.’”

Our answer to the above is as follows:—What has been declared is that ‘Gṛhya rites are to be performed in the marriage-fire;’ but there is no special rite named ‘gṛhya;’ hence the name ‘gṛhya’ should be taken as indirectly indicating the rites prescribed by writers on Gṛhyasūtras; and these writers have prescribed the rites for the three higher castes only, and not for the Śūdra. In fact, in the Gṛhyasūtras we find a summing up in the words—‘The sacrificial rites have been described, we are now going to describe the Gṛhya rites;’ and the purpose for which these words have beeu added is to imply that ‘those persons only are entitled to the performance of the Gṛhya rites who are entitled to that of the sacrificial ones;’ and it is not meant, as it has been explained by others, that the latter constitute the duty of others also. If this had been meant, then it would not have been asserted that—‘the times for Prāduṣkaraṇa and Homa are analogous to those of the Agnihotra.’ Nor, again, is it right to take the term ‘gṛhya’ to mean ‘pertaining to the home’ (domestic); for the term ‘home’ (gṛha) could only mean either ‘house’ or ‘wife;’ now, as a matter of fact, for no rite has the ‘house’ been specifically prescribed as the location, in view of which the rite could be prescribed for the householder in terms of the ‘house,’ Then, again, such rites also as are performed for the sanctification of one’s house—such for instance, as the testing of the building-site, and so forth—have been prescribed for the three higher castes only, and not for the Śūdra. If, on the other hand, the term ‘home’ means the ‘wife,’ then the act meant having been already implied by the term ‘householder,’ the name ‘gṛhya’ would be superfluous.

As for the statement in the other Smṛti (Yājavalkya, Ācāra 97)—‘The householder should every-day perform Smārta rites in the Marriage-fire, or in the fire set up at the time of partition, and the Śrauta rites in the sacrificial fires,’—here also, since it has not been specifically stated what the ‘smārta rites’ are, the statement must be taken as qualified by some other statement; specially because, as a matter of fact, all smārta rites cannot be performed in fire; nor is there anything to indicate that the term refers to Homa (offerings into fire) only; nor, again, is it necessary that all Homa -offerings shall be made into fire.

From all this the term ‘gṛhya’ has to be explained as standing for the rites prescribed by the authors of Gṛhyasūtras. Both these smṛti- texts (the present one, and Yājñavalkya I, 97) only refer to what has been prescribed by the authors of Gṛhyasūtras. So that how could there be any setting up of the fire by a Śūdra?

Further, Yājñavalkya’s text lays down the additional fact that ‘Śrauta rites are to be performed in the sacrificial fire;’ and this must be taken as pertaining to the three higher castes only. Under the circumstances, if the former statement (regarding smārta rites) were taken as pertaining to all the four castes, and the latter (regarding the śrauta rites) to three castes only, then this would involve the incongruity of one and the same set of words having two different imports. And, so long as a uniform import can be found, there can be no justification for admitting such a diversity.

Daily’—that which is done day after day; e.g., the cooking that is done every day for one’s own food;—this also is to be done in the same fire.—(67)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Medhātithi (P. 217, l. 27)—‘Etadevānyatra paṭhitam’.—The verse is quoted from Yājñavalkya (1.97), where Mitākṣarā explains the phrase ‘smārtam karma’ as ‘the Vaiśvadeva and other religious rites prescribed in the Smṛtis’, as also ‘the ordinary worldly acts of cooking and the like’, while Aparārka explains it simply as ‘acts laid down in the Smṛtis’.

This verse is quoted in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 301);—and in Śāntimayūkha (p. 4).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (5.7-9).—‘The installation of Fire begins either with marriage or with succession to property; in that are the Gṛhya-rites to be performed; as also the sacrifices to Gods, Pitṛs and Men, and also Vedic Study.’

Yājñavalkya (1. 97).—‘The Householder should every day perform the Smārta-rites in the marriage-tire, or in the fire installed at the time of succession to property; and the Śrauta rites are to he performed in the Śrauta Fire.’

Viṣṇu (59.1-3).—‘The Householder shall perform the Pākayajñas in the Marriage-Fire; also the Agnihotra, both morning and evening; he shall also pour libations to the Gods.’

Baudhāyana (2.2.75).—‘The installation of Fire begins with marriage; in that should the rites be performed till such time as the regular Laying of the Fire.’

Śātātapa (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 393).—‘The Vaiśvadeva offering may be made either in the ordinary fire or in the Vedic fire.’

Aṅgiras (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 393).—‘Homa is prescribed as to be done in that fire in which one cooks his food.’

Vyāsa (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 393).—‘All the Pākayajñas are to he offered in the Marriage Fire.’

Kāmandaka (2.25-26).—‘The duties of a Householder are to perform the Agnihotra, to live by the prescribed professions and to avoid sexual intercourse on the Parvas. The duties of those who have married and settled down are—to worship gods, pitṛs and guests, to show mercy to the poor and the distressed and to live according to Śruti and Smṛti.’

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