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:

देवताऽतिथिभृत्यानां पितॄणामात्मनश्च यः ।
न निर्वपति पञ्चानामुच्छ्वसन्न स जीवति ॥ ७२ ॥

devatā'tithibhṛtyānāṃ pitṝṇāmātmanaśca yaḥ |
na nirvapati pañcānāmucchvasanna sa jīvati || 72 ||

He who does not make offerings to the five—viz., gods, guests, dependents, Pitṛs and himself,—does not live, even though breathing.—(72)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This verse praises the original injunction by deprecating its omission. Some people read this verse with the Dative ending—‘devatātithibhṛtyebhyaḥ pitṛbhyaścātmane tathā na nirvapati panchabhyaḥ.’

‘Offering’ here stands for actual giving away, not merely assignment; hence, the Dative should be the right form.

He who does not make gifts to these,—even though he may be ‘breathing,’—carrying on the function of inhaling and exhaling air,—‘does not live;’ i.e., is as good as dead, his living being absolutely fruitless.

The term ‘dependents’ here should be taken as standing for ‘old parents’ and others mentioned below (in 11.10); it does not stand for servants; as gifts to these latter are made in return for services rendered. Or, it may be taken as indicating such born slaves as become incapable of rendering further service, on account of old age. We shall also explain later on that it is necessary to feed old bulls, etc. Gautama also has declared that ‘decrepit people, and those devoid of livelihood, should be supported by him’ (10. 61).

The ‘offering’ to the gods consists of (a) pouring libations into fire, (b) throwing ‘bali’-offerings on prepared altars; for what other ‘offering’ could there be, except these?—which is what is found in other cases also;—e.g., those of the offerings made to the Viśvedevas and other deities of the Darśapūrṇamāsa sacrifices, where the offerings are made with such mantras as ‘Agnaye tvā juṣṭam nirvapāmi;’ where also mere relationship (with the gods) is what is meant. It is for this reason that the ‘elementals’ (to whom the bali- offerings are made) become included under ‘gods,’ and hence not mentioned separately.

Himself’ has been added by way of illustration; the sense being—“just as, without eating, one’s own living is not possible, and for that purpose the use of food is absolutely necessary, in view of one’s life being a very desirable thing,—specially according to the direct injunction that ‘one should guard oneself against all things’—so also is the feeding of gods and the rest absolutely essential.”—(72)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Bhṛtya’ stands for ‘aged parents and others’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja and Kullūka),—or ‘born slaves and others too old to work for them living,’ also aged cattle &c., which is the alternative explanation, suggested by Medhātithi, and not only ‘animals unfit for work,’ as noted by Buhler. Nārāyaṇa, and Nandana read ‘bhūtānām’ and explain it as ‘goblins or living beings.’

This verse is quoted in Viramītrodaya (Āhnika, p. 392), which reads ‘bhūtānām’ for ‘pāñcānām’;—and in Aparārka (p. 146), in support of the view that there is nothing wrong in doing the cooking for one’s own self along with the gods and Pitṛs; it is only when one cooks for himself alone that it is wrong.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 3.71-72)

See Comparative notes for Verse 3.71.

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