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:

भिक्षामप्युदपात्रं वा सत्कृत्य विधिपूर्वकम् ।
वेदतत्त्वार्थविदुषे ब्राह्मणायोपपादयेत् ॥ ९६ ॥

bhikṣāmapyudapātraṃ vā satkṛtya vidhipūrvakam |
vedatattvārthaviduṣe brāhmaṇāyopapādayet || 96 ||

In accordance with scriptural injunctions, one should make over to the Brāhmaṇa knowing the true meaning of the Veda even alms and a water-put, after having honoured him.—(90)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

It has been said above that the alms is to be given ‘in the proper form;’ and this form is now described.

The mention of the ‘water-pot,’ which has not been referred to in this context before, is meant to indicate that in all cases one need not always give alms only.

Having honoured,’—after having worshipped.

Vidhipūrvakam,’—‘in accordance with scriptural injun ctions’—means ‘that which has scriptural injunctions for its precedent;’ the term ‘precedent’ meaning reason; the compound therefore means that what is here stated is on the basis of scriptural injunctions.

Or, the term ‘vidhi’ may stand for method; the sense being that the right, method should be adopted first; the method being that ‘he should be honoured,’ as already mentioned.

The true meaning of the Veda’—the real, the undoubted, sense of the Veda; he who knows this meaning—to such a Brāhmaṇa one should ‘make over’ the things.

The term ‘to the Brāhmaṇa’ restricts the gift to the particular caste; and the term ‘knowing, &c.’ restricts it to persons possessing a certain qualification.

Hence, in connection with the act of giving, three things are enjoined here—

  1. ‘whatever is to be given should be given to the Brāhmaṇa,’
  2. ‘to a Brāhmaṇa who knows the meaning of the Veda,’
  3. and ‘only after having honoured him,’

And this multiplicity of injunctions (in a single verse) (though inadmissible in a Vedic text) may be admissible in the work of a human author.

The next, verse proceeds to point out the danger in connection with the act of ‘giving’ enjoined above.—(96).



Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Satkṛtya’—‘Having honoured’ (the Brāhmaṇa) (Medhātithi and Govindarāja);—‘having garnished’ (the food) (Kullūka and Rāghávānanda).

This is quoted, without comment, in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 434).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (11.12).—‘It is Vaiśvānara that enters the household as a Brāhmaṇa-guest; hence they offer him water and food; thereby attaining calm and peace extending over one year.’

Yājñavalkya (1.108).—‘Food should be given, with due honour, to the Recluse who is strict in his vows.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (2.9.8.).—‘All gifts are preceded by water.’

Bṛhaspati (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 434).—‘By the offer of welcome to the guest, Agni is pleased; by the offer of food, Indra; by washing his feet, the Pitṛs; and by feeding him, Prajāpati.’

Śātātapa (Do., p. 435).—‘The alms offered should be either Bhikṣā (i.e., enough for one meal), or Puṣkala (enough for four meals); or Hantakāra (enough for sixteen meals); if none of these is possible then only a pot of water.’

Gautama (5.19).—‘If food is offered after having made the guest pronounce the syllable svasti,—it is excellent.’

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