Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

अकारणे परित्यक्ता मातापित्रोर्गुरोस्तथा ।
ब्राह्मैर्यौनैश्च सम्बन्धैः संयोगं पतितैर्गतः ॥ १५७ ॥

akāraṇe parityaktā mātāpitrorgurostathā |
brāhmairyaunaiśca sambandhaiḥ saṃyogaṃ patitairgataḥ || 157 ||

The forsaker, without cause, of his mother, father and superior; and he who has formed a connection, through the relationship of either Veda or marriage, with outcasts.—(157)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

He who, in the absence of any cause, forsakes his Mother, Father and Preceptor. The term ‘guru,’ ‘superior’ here being used in its general sense, includes the Teacher also.

Some people argue that—“in that case (if ‘guru ’ stands for the superior in general), the Father and the Mother need not have been mentioned, these also being included under the term ‘guru; for this reason, this term ‘guru’ should be taken as standing for the Preceptor only.”

This, however, is not right. If the ‘father’ and ‘mother’ wore not specifically mentioned, then the term ‘superior’ would stand for the father only, by the law of the ‘natural and artificial’ [i.e., where both are possible, the natural one is to be given the preference, and the Father is the natural superior, while the Teacher is only an artificial one]. When, however, these two are mentioned separately, then it becomes clear that the term ‘superior’ has been used in its most general sense; specially in view of what other scriptures have said regarding the Teacher being ‘the best of superiors.’

Reasons for forsaking these superiors are such as are mentioned in the text—‘one should forsake one’s father, if one has injured the king,’ and so forth.

The ‘forsaking’ of one’s parents means omitting to wash and shampoo their feet and to do such other services, i.e., being inattentive to their service. Similarly, with the Teacher, in whose case going for study to another teacher, while one’s teacher is capable of teaching one, also constitutes ‘forsaking.’

Who has formed connection with outcasts’—i.e., established relationship with them.

Through the Veda’—i.e., by officiating at their sacrifices, by teaching them, and so forth.

Through marriage,’—i.e., by giving his daughter in marriage to them, and so forth.

“The man who forms such connection, would himself become an outcast; and it would he as an outcast himself that he would be avoided at rites.”

In answer to this, some people say, in view of what is said below (290) regarding a man becoming an1 outcast’ by associating with outcasts for one gear, that the present prohibition should be taken as pertaining to the time before the lapse of the twelve months.

“What is this peculiar form of expression—formed a connection through relationship?’”

As a matter of fact, the term ‘samyoga,’ ‘connection’ is not used here in the sense of ‘conjunction,’ according to the usage of the Vaiśeṣikas; it is the act itself that is called ‘connection,’ by reason of its being the cause of connection. In connection with the acts of ‘officiating at sacrifices’ and the like, the term ‘connection’ indicates and stands for mere relationship in general.—(157)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Guroḥ’—‘The Upādhyāya’, Sub-teacher (Medhātithi);—‘the Ācārya Teacher (Nārāyaṇa).

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 687), which (on p. 693) adds that the person meant to be excluded by the second half of the verse is the person who contracts the said alliances with one associating with a person who has committed a heinous crime,—and not with the latter person himself, as such a relation of the ‘heinous criminal’ would be an ‘outcaste’ himself, and hence liable to be excluded as such;—in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 481);—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Śrāddha, p. 9a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 3.150-166)

See Comparative notes for Verse 3.150.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: