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:

भ्रूणघ्नावेक्षितं चैव संस्पृष्टं चाप्युदक्यया ।
पतत्रिणावलीढं च शुना संस्पृष्टमेव च ॥ २०८ ॥

bhrūṇaghnāvekṣitaṃ caiva saṃspṛṣṭaṃ cāpyudakyayā |
patatriṇāvalīḍhaṃ ca śunā saṃspṛṣṭameva ca || 208 ||

Nor that which has been looked at by the Brāhmaṇa-slayer, or what has been toughed by a woman in her courses, or what has been pecked by the birds, or what has been touched by a dog.—(208)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Bhrūnahā’ is the Brāhmaṇa-slayer; what has been ‘looked at’—eagerly seen—by such a person. This is only illustrative; it indicates other sinful persons also. The prohibition of food touched by these persons follows from the rule that lays down the necessity of bathing on being touched by such sinners.

Udakyā’ is the woman in her courses; and what is forbidden is food touched—not merely seen—by her.

“As a matter of fact, the Text is going to lay down the necessity of bathing on touching a woman in her courses; this alone being sufficient to indicate her impurity, how could there be any possibility of any one taking the food touched by her (that the Author should have found it necessary to forbid it)?”

Our answer to this is as follows:—[ This prohibition was thought necessary, because ] in the first place, people might be led to eat food touched by her after having washed it; or secondly, in view of what has been said regarding the mention of the ‘Brāhmaṇa-slayer’ being illustrative, some one might be led to believe that this latter term is indicative of all those that are mentioned in verse 5.85; and, in that case, the prohibition would apply to the food even seen by the woman in her courses.

This same explanation applies to the prohibition of ‘what has been touched by a dog.’

It has been said that the term ‘Brāhmaṇa-slayer’ is indicative of other sinful outcasts also; and what are thus included are the ‘outcast,’ ‘the newly-delivered woman’ and others mentioned later on (in 5.85); and the ‘woman in her courses.’ also includes the newly-delivered woman.

Patatri’ is bird; and the birds meant are the carnivorous ones, the vulture, etc., and not the swan and other non-carnivorous ones; such being the usage among men.—(208)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 451), which explains ‘bhrūṇaghna’ as ‘an outcast,’—‘udakīyā’ as ‘the woman in her courses,’—and ‘patatriṇavalīḍham’ as ‘what has been eaten by the crow and other birds.’

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 518), which explains ‘udakīyā’ as ‘the woman in her courses,’—‘patatrin’ as ‘birds,’—and ‘avalīḍham’ as ‘eaten’;—in Hemādri (Shraddha, p. 610);—in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 260);—and in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 296).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.10-11).—‘Touched by the woman in the courses or by the feet of birds;—seen by an abortionist, or smelt by the cow, or defiled in thought.’

Āpastamba (1.16.29-30).—‘Seen by the dog or by an improper person.’

Viṣṇu (51.17).—‘Seen by the abortionist, touched by the woman in her courses, pecked by birds, touched by the dog, smelt by the cow.’

Yājñavalkya (1.167.168).—(See above.)

Āpastamba (1.19.1).—‘One who is intoxicated or insane or imprisoned, the paramour living in the house of his ladylove, or one who permits his wife’s paramour to live in the house—(the food of these should he avoided).’

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