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:

मत्तक्रुद्धातुराणां च न भुञ्जीत कदा चन ।
केशकीटावपन्नं च पदा स्पृष्टं च कामतः ॥ २०७ ॥

mattakruddhāturāṇāṃ ca na bhuñjīta kadā cana |
keśakīṭāvapannaṃ ca padā spṛṣṭaṃ ca kāmataḥ || 207 ||

He shalll never eat food offered by intoxicated or angry or sick persons; nor that which is contaminated by hair or insects, or that which has been intentionally touched with the foot.—(207)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The food offered by such persons is to be avoided, so long as the intoxication and other conditions are actually on them.

Others explain the text to refer to habit; the sense being that one should avoid the food offered by such persons as are frequently drunk,—who are habitual drunkards.

Similarly, with one who has bad temper and is frequently obssessed by rage; or one who is mostly sick, a confirmed invalid.

What is contaminated by’—spoilt by the touch of—‘hair and insect.’ Among insects, there are some which contaminate the food by their presence when they are dead; e.g., flies and lizards; while others spoil it even when living.

The term ‘insect’ includes all small creatures, such as worms, flies, etc. And ‘hair’ includes nails and bristles, as also dirt and other things;—on the basis of usage.

What is touched with the foot intentionally;’—there is no harm if it is touched simply through chance carelessness—(207).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

The first half of this verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3. 290);—in Madanapārijāta (p. 944);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 494), which explains ‘mattaḥ’ as ‘intoxicated, either by wine or by wealth etc.’—and ‘āturaḥ’ as ‘afflicted with a very serious disease.’

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 451), which explains ‘Keśakītāvapanna’ as ‘defiled by the presence of hair or insects’;—and ‘Kāmataḥ’ as ‘intentionally’;—in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 517), which adds that since the text has added the qualification ‘Kāmataḥ’, there should be no harm if the food happens to be touched by the foot unintentionally;—in Hemādri (Śrāddha, pp. 610 and 770);—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 296);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 260), which explains ‘Keśakītāvapannam’ as ‘cooked along with hairs or insects’.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.9-10).—‘What has been contaminated by hair or insect, or what has been defiled by the touch of the feet of a woman in her courses, or of the black bird.’

Āpastamba (1.16.23-28).—‘That food in which there may be hair,—or some other unclean thing;—what has been defiled by unclean things:—or by such insects as live on unclean things:—or by the tail of the mouse;—or what has been defiled by the foot.’

Viṣṇu (5.18-19).—‘What has been intentionally touched by the foot or sneezed upon;—also that belonging to the intoxicated, the enraged and the diseased.’

Yājñavalkya (1.162, 167, 168).—‘The food offered by the physician, the diseased, the enraged, the loose woman, the intoxicated, the enemy, of one who is cruel or of the ‘Ugra,’ the outcast, the apostate, the hypocrite or persons feeding upon leavings;—flesh needlessly prepared and not offered to gods or Pitṛs, what contains hair or insects, food turned sour or kept overnight, touched by the dog or seen by the outcast; or touched by the woman in her courses, or what has been offered publicly or by mistake; what has been smelt by the cow, or partaken of by the dog, or touched by the foot intentionally.’

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