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:

अदत्त्वा तु य एतेभ्यः पूर्वं भुङ्क्तेऽविचक्षणः ।
स भुञ्जानो न जानाति श्वगृध्रैर्जग्धिमात्मनः ॥ ११५ ॥

adattvā tu ya etebhyaḥ pūrvaṃ bhuṅkte'vicakṣaṇaḥ |
sa bhuñjāno na jānāti śvagṛdhrairjagdhimātmanaḥ || 115 ||

The foolish man, who eats before giving food to these, does not understand, that, in thus eating, he is himself devoured by dogs and vultures.—(115)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Before giving food to these’—i.e., to those just mentioned, beginning with the guest and ending with the servant—‘the foolish man’— who does not know the law—‘eats’— is devoured, after death, by dogs and vultures.

This ‘being devoured’—being eaten—by them, he does not understand. The foolish man simply feels that ‘I am eating now,’ and he does not understand that his eating in this manner means the eating of his own body by dogs and vultures. This latter is the result of such eating; hence it has been thus described.—(115)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 455) without comment; and also on p. 395, where it is explained as setting aside the view that the Vaiśvadeva and Bali offerings should be made only once in the morning when the man himself eats,—and as indicating the necessity of making them both in the morning and in the evening, even though the man himself may not eat at both times. There is this difference, however, that if the man omits the offerings while he himself eats, he incurs two sins—that of eating without offering, and that of omitting the offerings; whereas if he drops them when he himself does not eat, he incurs only one sin, that of omitting the offerings. Thus on the Ekādaśī and other fasting days also, the said offerings have got to be made; and food has got to be cooked for that purpose; but in the event of his being unable to do the cooking, the offerings may be made even with uncooked food.

This is quoted also in Aparārka (p. 147), which explains the second line to mean ‘he does not understand that he is himself being devoured by dogs and vultures’, and deduces the conclusion that it is not sinful to eat along with the persons mentioned in the preceding verse.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (67.40).—[Reproduces Manu.]

Baudhāyana (2.7.20).—‘If one eats before having fed these in the proper manner, he is himself eaten; he does not eat; though he knows not this.’

Baudhāyana (3.17.18).—‘They quote the following declaration made by the Food:—If one eats rice without offering rice to the Pitṛs, the gods, dependents, guests and friends, he eats poison; him I devour; for him I am Death.’

Viṣṇu-purāṇa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 364).—‘If one eats before these have been fed, he eats sin, and after death, he goes to hell and is born as a feeder on phlegm.’

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