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:

गवा चान्नमुपघ्रातं घुष्टान्नं च विशेषतः ।
गणान्नं गणिकान्नं च विदुषा च जुगुप्सितम् ॥ २०९ ॥

gavā cānnamupaghrātaṃ ghuṣṭānnaṃ ca viśeṣataḥ |
gaṇānnaṃ gaṇikānnaṃ ca viduṣā ca jugupsitam || 209 ||

Nor the food that has been smelt by the cow, nor particularly that food which has been publicly offered, nor the food that belongs to a multitude, nor the food of the harlot, nor that which has been censured by the learned.—(209)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Food publicly offered,’—the food that is given at temples or sacrificial sessions, by public notice, to all coiners, without any invitation to individuals. Or, it may mean ‘what is given to one person after having been promised to another.’

The root, ‘Ghuṣ’ has been declared to mean to announce; so that people regard the present verse as refering to cases where there is no announcement; and what is forbidden, therefore, is eating, without invitation, at sacrifices, marriages and such other functions.

The ‘gaṇa,’ meant by the text is multitude, company; hence the name is not applied to a number of brothers living together undivided. It is declared in Discourse IX that ‘there is a single duty operating among brothers living jointly’; and the duty therein referred to is the receiving of guests, and so forth; all which is made clear under 9.105, where the ‘eldest brother’ is declared as inheriting the entire parental property; and it is this inheritance that indicates his liability to fulfil the duties also.

What is forbidden is what is not induced in the parental heritage, even though it belong in common to all.

Harlot’ is the public woman.

Censured’— deprecated,—‘by the learned’,—even though it be something edible; e.g., the lotus-stalk, the oil-cake, and so forth.—(209)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

The second half of this verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.290).

The verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 451), which explains ‘ghuṣṭānnam’ as ‘the food that is offered at sacrificial sessions and other similar occasions, to all and sundry by public proclamation’;—and in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 495), which explains ‘ghuṣṭānna’ in the same manner as Smṛtitattva, but quotes Medhātithi’s second alternative explanation of it as ‘what had been previously promised to another person’; ‘viśeṣataḥ’ has been added with a view to indicate the exceptional objectionability of the food;—‘gaṇa’ is ‘multitude,’—this term is not applicable to brothers who have not separated;—‘gaṇikā’ is a ‘prostitute’;—‘what has been condemned by a disinterested person learned in the Veda, even without his detecting any of the specified defects.’

It is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, pp. 510 and 771);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 260), which adds the following notes: —‘Ghuṣṭānnam’, that food which is offered publicly with such words as ‘who is there who will take this food?’,—‘gaṇānnam’ food cooked by several persons jointly.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.11).—(See above.)

(Do.) (17. 15).—‘What has been touched by the unchaste woman, the accused person, or one who is unknown, or one who is undergoing punishment, or the carpenter, the miser, the physician, the fowler, one who lives upon leavings,—of the multitude or of enemies.’

Āpastamba (17.5).—‘What has been smelt by men, or by other unclean animals.’

(Do.) (18.16-17).—‘The food belonging to a multitude should not be eaten, or what has been censured.’

Vaśiṣṭha (14.4).—‘What has been publicly offered, or the food belonging to a multitude or to a harlot.’

Viṣṇu (61.7, 9, 17).—‘The food belonging to a multitude or to a harlot or to a thief or to a singer—if one eats this he should live for seven days on milk only,—also the food belonging to a woman, a miser, one who has been initiated for a sacrifice, one who is accused of a crime, or the eunuch. What has been seen by the abortionist, or touched by the woman in her courses, or pecked by birds, or touched by the dog or smelt by the cow.’

Yājñavalkya (1.168).—(See above.)

(Do.) (1.161.).—‘Food belonging to a miser, a prisoner, a thief, a eunuch, an actor, a dealer in bamboos, one accused of a crime, an usurer, a harlot, a multitude, or the person initiated for a sacrifice.’

Help me keep this site Ad-Free

For over a decade, this site has never bothered you with ads. I want to keep it that way. But I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased truth, wisdom and knowledge.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: