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:

यथा चैवापरः पक्षः पूर्वपक्षाद् विशिष्यते ।
तथा श्राद्धस्य पूर्वाह्णादपराह्णो विशिष्यते ॥ २७८ ॥

yathā caivāparaḥ pakṣaḥ pūrvapakṣād viśiṣyate |
tathā śrāddhasya pūrvāhṇādaparāhṇo viśiṣyate || 278 ||

Just as, for purposes of śrāddha, the latter half of the month is preferable to the former half, so also, the afternoon is preferable to the forenoon.—(278)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Fortner halt of the month’ is the brighter fortnight; and ‘latter half’ is the darker fortnight;—months being counted from the brighter fortnight of Caitra onwards.

Just as, for purposes of Śrāddha, the darker fortnight is preferable to—is productive of better results than -the brighter fortnight, so is the afternoon preferable to the forenoon. From the declaration of this ‘preference,’ it follows that in some cases one might perform a śrāddha during the forenoon also.

“As a rule, the illustration should be well known; as a matter of fact, however, nowhere has the text declared the superiority of the darker fortnight to the brighter fortnight, for purposes of Śrāddha. [Hence the illustration is not apt].”

Some people explain that the said superiority is understood from what has been said under 276, regarding the ‘darker fortnight’ and ‘days beginning with the tenth.’ Our explanation, however, is as follows:—According to the principle laid down in Mīmāṃsāsūtra 3. 5. 21, even an unknown fact can serve as an illustration; so that, in the case in question, from the citation of the illustration itself we may even deduce the necessary injunction (regarding the performance of Sharddhas ( Śrāddhas?) during the darker fortnight).—(278)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Medhātithi (P. 297, l. 16)—‘Vacanāni tvapūrvatvāt.’—This is Mīmāṃsā sūtra 3.5.21. The question arising as to whether or not there should be an ‘eating of remnants’ in the case of the Soma juice,—the conclusion is that there should be the eating of it; and this conclusion is based upon a passage referring to a totally different subject; which shows that even an unknown fact can serve as an illustration in support of a definite conclusion.

This verse is quoted in Kālaviveka (p. 366), which explains that the precise meaning of the verse is that ‘from the three parts into which the day is divided, forenoon, mid-day and afternoon, the afternoon is superior to the other two.’

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 465), which adds that the term ‘aparāhṇa’ stands here, not for the fourth part of the day divided into five parts, but simply for ‘the latter half of the day,’ which is its etymological meaning;—in Puruṣārthacintāmaṇi (p. 373);—in Śrāddhakriyakaumudī (p. 314);—in Varṣakriyākaumudī (p. 236);—in Śrāddhakaumudī (p. 248); and in Kālamādhava (p. 109).


Comparative notes by various authors

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra. (2.16.45).—‘The afternoon of the darker fortnight is more commendable.’

Yājñavalkya (1.226).—‘Having worshipped the Brāhmaṇas in the afternoon, etc.’

Vyāsa (Aparārka, p. 465).—‘Three muhurtas constitute the morning, three muhūrtas again form the Saṅgava; three, midday; another three, afternoon.

Śruti (Do.).—‘The morning is for the gods, the midday for men and the afternoon for Pitṛs.’

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