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:

यद् यद् रोचेत विप्रेभ्यस्तत् तद् दद्यादमत्सरः ।
ब्रह्मोद्याश्च कथाः कुर्यात् पितॄणामेतदीप्सितम् ॥ २३१ ॥

yad yad roceta viprebhyastat tad dadyādamatsaraḥ |
brahmodyāśca kathāḥ kuryāt pitṝṇāmetadīpsitam || 231 ||

Whatever may be agreeable to the Brāhmaṇas, that he shall give ungrudgingly. He shall relate stories told in the Veda; as this is liked by the Pitṛs.—(231)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Whatever food, vegetable or drink they may ask for,—all this he shall give ‘ungrudgingly’—without the least hesitation or covetousness. The term ‘matsara’ stands here for avarice.

Be agreeable to’—i.e., cause pleasure to.

Told in the Veda’—those that are related in the Veda; such, e.g., as the story of the war between the gods and demons, that of the death of Vṛttra, the doings of Saramā, and so forth. Or, it may stand for such stories as ‘Kaḥ svidekākī charati,’ etc. (Vājasaneya Saṃhitā, 23.9).

Another reading is ‘brahmādyāśca kathāḥ’—i.e., discourses, in ordinary language, upon the meaning of mantras bearing upon Brahman.

This is liked by the Pitṛs;’—this is a commendatory supplement.—(231)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Brahmodyāḥ kathāḥ’—Buhler does not represent Medhātithi quite rightly: The explanation that he attributes to him, ‘riddles from the Veda’, is not found in Medhātithi at all. Medhātithi’s first explanation is—‘stories related in the Veda’;—the second alternative proposed is ‘such Vedic texts as the one contained in 23.9 of the Vājasaneya Saṃhitā’;—and the third explanation, ‘discourses, inordinary language, on the meaning of Mantras bearing upon Brāhmaṇ’, is offered as that of the reading ‘Brahmodyāḥ kathāḥ’. It will thus be seen that ‘riddles from the Veda’ are not found in Medhātithi at all. It is the third explanation apparently that has misled Buhler. Hopkins has quoted Medhātithi correctly.

This verse is quoted in Gadādharapaddhati (Kāla, p. 546);—in Śrāddhakriyākaumudī (p. 158);—and in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 1027), which adds the following notes:—‘Brahmodyāḥ’, stories that are related by the Brāhmaṇa, such as accounts of the war between the Gods and the Asuras, of the killing of Vṛttra, of Saramā and so forth,—or it may refer to such texts as ‘Kaścidekāki charati etc.’; ‘Brahmādyāḥ’ is another reading, which means—‘Those mantras and Arthavāda texts which deal with Brahman’; ‘Kathāḥ’, conversations in the ordinary language should be carried on, in connection with the said subjects;—‘this is liked by the Pitṛs’—this is Arthavāda.


Comparative notes by various authors

Yājñavalkya (1.240).—‘Free from anger and without hurry, one shall offer such food as may be desired and pure—reciting the Pavitra mantras till complete satisfaction.’

Laghu-Āśvalāyana (23.68).—‘After the Brāhmaṇas have eaten to their heart’s content, he shall pronounce the Gāyatrī.’

Varūha-purāṇa (Caturvarga-cintāmaṇi-Śrāddha, p. 1388).—‘The offerer having offered food, clean, profuse and carefully prepared,—he should politely say —please fall to.’

Yama (Parāśaramādhava, p. 423).—‘So long as the food is pure, so long as what is desired is offered, and so long as the offerer does not say I give,—so long do the Pitṛs partake of the food.’

Sumantu (Parāśaramādhava, p. 424).—‘Without anger, he shall offer to each such dishes as he may relish; they should be fed till they are fully satisfied; and he shall not selfishly keep back any food.’

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