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:

नास्रमापातयेज् जातु न कुप्येन्नानृतं वदेत् ।
न पादेन स्पृशेदन्नं न चैतदवधूनयेत् ॥ २२९ ॥

nāsramāpātayej jātu na kupyennānṛtaṃ vadet |
na pādena spṛśedannaṃ na caitadavadhūnayet || 229 ||

Never should he shed tears; nor should he become angry; nor tell a lie. He should not touch the food with his foot, nob shake it.—(229)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Asra’ is tear; this he should not ‘shed’—drop. As a rule, during the performance of Śrāddha in honour of the dead, one is apt to recall the grief caused by the loss of the loved person, which leads to the shedding of tears; and this is what is prohibited here; there is no harm in the sudden dropping of the tears of joy.

Never’—on no account—shall he shed tears.

He should not become angry,’—should not take up an angry attitude.

The telling of a lie having been already prohibited with a view to the fulfilment of man’s purpose in general, it is again prohibited here, with a view to the due fulfilment of the act of śrāddha.

He should not touch the food with his foot’—any food, either in the form of leavings or otherwise.

He should not shake it’—i.e., he shall not throw it by hand and then again take it in.

Others have explained this verse to mean that he shall not shake a piece of cloth over the food, as is often done for the removing of dust, etc., from it.—(229)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Avadhūnayet’—‘Shake; i.e., throw it by the hand and then take it in’ (Medhātithi);—‘Shake a piece of cloth over the food, as is often done for the removing of dust etc.’ (‘Others’ mentioned in Medhātithi).

This verse is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 1029), which explains the meaning to be that ‘there should be no weeping’, and goes on to add—what is forbidden is not the tear of joy (at the offering), but the tears that may come to the eyes by reason of the death of the beloved relative,—the telling of lies which has already been prohibited elsewhere from moral considerations, is here forbidden as affecting the performance of the offering;—one should not touch with his feet any kind of food, whether, clean or unclean,—nor should cloth be shaken over the food;—in Śrāddhakriyākaumudī (p. 161), which explains ‘asram’ as tears of grief, and in regard to the ‘shaking of cloth’, it says that some people explain it as dusting the doth over the food, while according to others, what is forbidden is the fanning of the food with a piece of cloth;—and in Gadādharapaddhati (Kāla, p. 549).


Comparative notes by various authors

Āpastamba Dharmasūtra (2.17, 3).—‘[He shall avoid] non-haviṣya food, untruth, anger and also that which would make others angry.’

Viṣṇu (79.19-20).—‘He shall avoid anger;—he shall not shed tears.’

Viṣṇu (81.1).—‘He shall not place the food on the seat; nor shall he touch it with the foot.’

Brahmāṇḍapurāṇa (Caturvarga-cintāmaṇi-Śrāddha, p. 1029).—‘He shall not shed tears at the Śrāddha; nor shall he utter words of grief; he shall not hear ill-will towards those eating nor be jealous of them.’

Devala (Caturvarga-cintāmaṇi-Śrāddha, p. 1029).—‘At the Śrāddha, people should not shed tears, nor converse, nor laugh among themselves, nor wander about, nor be angry, nor be worried; even though there be sufficient cause, one shall not utter words of anger; near the Pitṛs one shall not sit either supported or perspiring.’

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