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:

न भोजनार्थं स्वे विप्रः कुलगोत्रे निवेदयेत् ।
भोजनार्थं हि ते शंसन् वान्ताशीत्युच्यते बुधैः ॥ १०९ ॥

na bhojanārthaṃ sve vipraḥ kulagotre nivedayet |
bhojanārthaṃ hi te śaṃsan vāntāśītyucyate budhaiḥ || 109 ||

A Brāhmaṇa should not advertise his family and Gotra for the purpose of obtaining a meal. Bragging about these, for the purpose of obtaining a meal, he comes to be called a “feeder on filth” by the wise.—(109)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

This verse contains an advice offered, by the way, to the guest.

Seeking for food, he shall not say—‘I belong to such and such a family, I am the son of so and son; in this fashion he shall not advertise his ‘family or gotra.’ The ‘family’ consists of his father, grandfather, and so forth;—‘gotra’—may stand either for such Ṛṣi-names as ‘Garga,’ ‘Bhārgava,’ etc.; or for one’s name. That the term ‘gotra’ means name also is shown by such usage as ‘mistake in names,’ ‘gotraskhalita’ which term is used in the event of a man pronouncing a name other than the one he intended to pronounce.

His ‘learning’ also he should not advertise; as this also has been prohibited in another Smṛti.

The Text adds a declamatory, assertion:—‘For the purpose of obtaining a meal’—i.e., with the motive that by advertising my family and gotra I shall succeed in obtaining a meal, if one brags about these—family and gotra,—he is called by the wise ‘Vāntāśin,’ ‘feeder-on filth,’—he who swallows what has been vomitted.—(109)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted^ in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 358) in support of the view that ‘just as the host should not enquire after the gotra and other details regarding the guest, so the guest also should not declare these’;—and in Smṛtitattva (p. 426) without comment.


Comparative notes by various authors

Baudhāyana (Parāśaramadhava, p. 357).—‘If one offers food after asking about country, name, family and learning,—he does not obtain the reward of that act, and does not go to heaven.’

Parāśara (1.405).—‘If one offers food after making enquiries regarding the name, the family and the learning of the guest, he does not obtain its reward, nor does he go to heaven.’

Parāśara (1.48).—‘One should not ask the guest his gotra or Vedic text, nor the extent of his knowledge of Veda or learning; one should think of him as the god, since he embodies all the gods.’

Yama (Parāśaramādhava, p. 357).—‘One shall not ask his gotra or Vedic text, or country or family or name or learning—when a Brāhmaṇa traveller arrives seeking for food.’

Viṣṇu-purāṇa (Do.)—‘The householder shall honour the guest as Hiraṇyagarbha, not asking him about his study, gotra, Vedic text or family.’

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