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:

श्राद्धभुग् वृषलीतल्पं तदहर्योऽधिगच्छति ।
तस्याः पुरीषे तं मासं पितरस्तस्य शेरते ॥ २५० ॥

śrāddhabhug vṛṣalītalpaṃ tadaharyo'dhigacchati |
tasyāḥ purīṣe taṃ māsaṃ pitarastasya śerate || 250 ||

Having eaten at a Śrāddha, if one enters the bed of a woman on that day, his ancestors lie in her ordure for the whole of that month.—(250)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

They say that the term ‘vṛṣalī’ in this verse stands for woman generally; and in this sense they explain the etymology of the term to mean—‘vṛṣasyati’—chālayati, ‘moves’—‘bhartāram.’ ‘her husband,’ Be this woman a Brāhmaṇī or any other caste—all are prohibited. Says another Smṛti (Gautama, 15.23)—‘On that day he shall remain firmly continent.’

Bed’ denotes sexual intercourse; the prohibition does not apply to merely entering the bed.

Day’ stands for day and night; hence the prohibition applies to the night also.

Ordure’—this is a deprecatory exaggeration, intended to dissuade men.

His ancestors’—i.e., the ancestors of the man eating at the śrāddha.

This also has to be explained as before; that is, the rule applies to both (the feeder and the eater). As regards the eater, what is here laid down is only ‘circumstantial;’ that is, it is enjoined as to be observed by him only when the circumstance of eating at śrāddhas is present. From the context, however, it is clear that it pertains to the Rite (and hence to the Performer) also.—(250)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Vṛṣalī’—Neither Medhātithi nor Kullūka takes this in the sense of a ‘Śūdra female.’ Buhler is not right in attributing this explanation to them. Both of them explain it as ‘any woman’; and they derive this meaning etymologically, by using the term ‘vṛṣasyati,’ ‘one who attracts to herself the male.’ Nor is Buhler right in attributing to Nārāyaṇa the explanation that the word ‘vṛṣalī’ means ‘a seducing woman’; as Nārāyaṇa also uses the term ‘vṛṣasyanti’ only by way of pointing out the etymological signification of the term ‘vṛṣalī’.


Comparative notes by various authors

Mahābhārata (13.90,12).—‘Having eaten at a Śrāddha, if one reads the Veda, or enters the bed of a woman (the rest as in Manu).’

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