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:

मुन्यन्नानि पयः सोमो मांसं यच्चानुपस्कृतम् ।
अक्सारलवणं चैव प्रकृत्या हविरुच्यते ॥ २५७ ॥

munyannāni payaḥ somo māṃsaṃ yaccānupaskṛtam |
aksāralavaṇaṃ caiva prakṛtyā havirucyate || 257 ||

The food of hermits, milk, the soma-herb, meat that is not forbidden, salt other than alkaline. are, by nature, called “sacrificial food.”—(257)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Hermit’—i.e., the Vānaprastha; his ‘food’ consists of the Nīvāra and other wild-growing grains; this is mentioned only by way of illustration; it indicates the Vrīhi and other similar grains; and it is in view of this that in the preceding verse we have the phrase ‘of all kinds,’ and also in the verse 266, the expression, ‘sacrificial food which serves for a long time,’ which introduces the enumeration of artificially grown grains also, such as ‘tila, vrīhi, yava, māṣa,’ and so forth.

Milk’—which includes its preparations, such as curds and the like; such being the sense of Smṛtis and also sanctioned by usage.

Unforbidden’—sanctioned, not prohibited. Meat obtained from slaughter-houses is regarded as ‘forbidden.’

Akṣāralavaṇa’—A doubt arises here as to whether this is a negative compound containing a copulative one, or a purely negative compound. Does it mean merely ‘absence of salts and alkalines’ (as it would, if it were a negative compound with a copulative one), or is ‘kṣāra-kavaṇa’ (alkaline salt) the name of a particular kind of salt, and the text permits the use of salts other than that kind ? It appears better to take it as standing for a particular kind of salt. If it meant the mere negation of a copulative compound, there would be two compounds, and the negative particle would have to be construed with each of the two members of the copulative compound; and all this would involve a great deal of complication.

Sacrificial food, by nature;’—that is, all this is to be regarded as ‘sacrificial food,’ without any qualifications; this is what is to be understood to be the meaning in all such general injunctions as ‘he lives upon sacrificial food,’ breakfasts on sacrificial food,’ and so forth—(257).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Anupaskṛtam’—‘Not forbidden’ (Medhātithi);—‘not prepared with spices’ (Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa);—‘not dressed as usual’ (Nandana);—‘not tainted by bad smell’ (Kullūka and Rāghavānanda).

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 225), which explains ‘anupaskṛtam’ as ‘of such seasonings as are brought about by cooking &c.’ It rejects the explanation of Kullūka (‘free from bad smell’) on the ground that the word can have no such meaning;—and in Aparārka (p. 500), which explains it as ‘what has not been cooked for some other purpose’—and again on p. 551, as enumerating what is haviṣya;—also in Hemādri (Śrāddha, pp. 541 and 573);—in Śrāddhakriyākaumudī (p. 4220), which explains ‘anupaskṛtam’ as ‘not rotten’, ‘not foul smelling’,—Soma as the juice of the Soma-creeper;—and in Gadādharapaddhati (Kāla, p. 538).

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