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:

वर्तयंश्च शिलौञ्छाभ्यामग्निहोत्रपरायणः ।
इष्टीः पार्वायणान्तीयाः केवला निर्वपेत् सदा ॥ १० ॥

vartayaṃśca śilauñchābhyāmagnihotraparāyaṇaḥ |
iṣṭīḥ pārvāyaṇāntīyāḥ kevalā nirvapet sadā || 10 ||

‘Living by gleanings and pickings, intent upon the performance of Agnihotra, one should constantly offer only those Iṣṭi-sacrificer that pertain to the moonless and full-moon days and to the solstices.—(10);


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘pārvāyaṇāntīyāḥ’ is to be expound as ‘those pertaining to the Parvas and the Ayanāntas;’—the term being formed with the reflexive ‘aṇ’ and the correlative ‘cha’ (according to Pāṇini, 4.2.114).

‘Iṣṭi-sacritices pertaining to the Parvas (the moonless and the full-moon days) are the Darśa-pūrṇamāsa sacrifices; and that ‘pertaining to the solstices’ is the sacrifice called the ‘Agrayaṇa.’

The adding of ‘only’ precludes the voluntary sacrifices that are performed with special ends in view. For the man here referred to, the offering of the Vaiśvadeva oblations and the making of Bali -offerings are not necessary every day; because he does not possess the requisite amount of wealth. Hence the term ‘only’ precludes all the more elaborate sacrifices.

“For that same reason, the Agnihotra also would not be possible for the man; as wealth is needed for that also.”

Yes; but he could offer the fortnightly oblations.

“How would such a man maintain his wife?”

She also will have recourse to the same means of living (i.e., picking and gleaning). In the event of the wife being disabled and unable to carry on this method of livelihood, the husband would not be entitled to the performance of the Agnihotra (or to the livelihood by pickings and gleanings).

“How would the wife, in such cases, manage to live, when the man would be keeping the Cāndrāyaṇa and such other fasts and observances?”

There is no room for this question, in face of the direction that ‘the wife shall eat what is left by the guest and others.’

“In the event of the man not being able to offer the Vaiśvadeva -offerings, the wife could not live upon her own private property; as it has been laid down that both husband and wife shall live upon ‘remnants,’ Hence, the man shall make the Vaiśvadeva -offerings with the help of his wife’s property; specially, as the use of the wife’s property for religious purposes has been sanctioned by the scriptures.”

It is not so; under the circumstances mentioned, it is the Agnihotra, and not the Vaiśvadeva -offering, that is religiously binding.

Or, even granting what you say. How would that woman live who has no private property of her own?

From all this it follows that the man, whose wife is disabled, is not entitled to have recourse to the ‘picking and gleaning’ method of livelihood.

Living’—maintaining himself.—(10)


Comparative notes by various authors

Laghu-Viṣṇu (2.27.29).—‘Whatever means of Dharma have been laid down in the Śruti and in the Smṛti,—every one of these should be carried out in practice by one living in the house; otherwise he becomes open to censure.’

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