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:

भ्रातुर्मृतस्य भार्यायां योऽनुरज्येत कामतः ।
धर्मेणापि नियुक्तायां स ज्ञेयो दिधिषूपतिः ॥ १७३ ॥

bhrāturmṛtasya bhāryāyāṃ yo'nurajyeta kāmataḥ |
dharmeṇāpi niyuktāyāṃ sa jñeyo didhiṣūpatiḥ || 173 ||

He who would lasciviously make love to the wife of his dead brother, even though she may have been appointed according to law (to bear a child by him), should be known as the “didhiṣūpati.”—(173)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

He who, acting in accordance with the law of ‘Niyoga,’ should happen to make love to—take delight in intercourse with—the wife of his dead brother;—‘lasciviously’—i.e., in transgression of the exact form of ‘Niyoga,’—i.e., renouncing the injunction that ‘one should have intercourse with his brother’s wife only once during her periods,’—if he should have recourse, at will, to such advances as cousist in firm embrace, kissing, and so forth,—or if he should have intercourse with her more than once,—or even allow his mind to be inclined that way,—then, such a person, impressed with the mark of passion by such signs, as casting longing glances upon the woman, and so forth, is to be known as the ‘didhiṣūpati.’

The exact definition of the ‘agredidhiṣūpati’ is to be learnt from another Smṛti, which says—‘when the brother is alive, the man is to be known as the agredidhiṣūpati.’

Some people have held that the present verse does not form part of the text at all; and as a reason for this, they urge the fact of its being incomplete. It being necessary to provide definitions of both (the didhiṣūpati and the agredidhiṣūpati), it is not possible for authors who know their business to provide the definition of only one of them; specially, as another Smṛti has provided the definitions of both:—(a) ‘the wise men regard him as didhiṣūpati, who is the husband of a woman who has had a previous husband; and (b) that Brāhmaṇa is to be regarded as the agredidhiṣūpati of whom that woman was the wife;’—and

these definitions are not applicable to the present context (which might have justified the omission by our author); as (the husband of a woman who has had a previous husband’ has been excluded already before (in verse 160). Hence the ‘didhiṣūpati’ must be different from the one defined as such in the passage just quoted (from another Smṛti).—(173)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha


It is interesting to note that Medhātithi states that “some people have held that the present verse does not form part of the text at all.” (Trans, p. 194).

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 452) as providing a definition of ‘didhiṣūpati’ as distinct from that provided by Devala, according to whom he is the husband of the girl whose younger sister is married before her;—and it adds that the implication of the definition itself is that such a person is to be excluded.


Comparative notes by various authors

Vyāghrī Smṛti (quoted in the Gautama-sūtravṛtti).—‘One who is the husband of a woman who has had a previous husband,—the wise called Didhiṣūpati.’

Prajāpati (quoted in do.).—[Reproduces Manu.]

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: