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:

चिकित्सकस्य मृगयोः क्रूरस्योच्छिष्टभोजिनः ।
उग्रान्नं सूतिकान्नं च पर्याचान्तमनिर्दशम् ॥ २१२ ॥

cikitsakasya mṛgayoḥ krūrasyocchiṣṭabhojinaḥ |
ugrānnaṃ sūtikānnaṃ ca paryācāntamanirdaśam || 212 ||

Nor the food of this physician, or of the hunter, or of a cruel person, or of one who lives on leavings; nor the food of the “Ugra;” nor what has been cooked for the newly-delivered woman, until ten days have passed; nor that which has been interrupted by washing.—(212)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Hunter,’—the professional hunter of animals; one who kills animals for purposes of hunting, or for the purpose of selling their flesh.

Cruel,’—whose nature is not straightforward, who is difficult to please.

One who lives on leavings,’—i.e., one who eats such leavings as have been forbidden.

Ugra’—is the name of a special sub-caste. In the Veda, the term is applied to a kind of king, one who forms the central link in the chain of the king’s alliance. There is no other prohibition regarding such a king; it is only in course of showing the evils arising from eating the food of such kings that we rend—‘the food given by kings deprives one of one’s energy,’ from which some sort of prohibition may be inferred. [For all these reasons, the term ‘Ugra’ in the text must be taken to stand for a particular mixed caste, and not for the king ].

Sūtikānnam’ is food prepared for the woman in childbed; and this should not be eaten even by men of her own family.

This food is to be avoided ‘until, ten days have passed.’ Though, in the case of the Kṣatriya and other castes, the period of impurity lasts longer than ten days, yet the food is to be avoided for ten days only.

Another reading is ‘sūtakānnam;’ and the term ‘sūtaka,’ ‘impurity,’ due to child-birth, in this case, would indicate the persons under that impurity; the meaning being that ‘one should not eat for ten days the food offered by persons, in whose family there is impurity due to child-birth.’ This prohibition applies to those cases in which, for all persons, the period of impurity due to child-birth extends over ten days. But if the view be taken that impurity due to childbirth applies to the parents only, or to the mother only,—then food is to be avoided as long as the period of impurity may last in each particular case;—the term ‘until ten days have passed’ being indicative of the ‘period of impurity.’ Thus Kṣattñyas and others would have their food avoided during such time as the period of impurity may last in each individual case.

Sūtikānnamanirdaśam’ being the right form of the expression, the term ‘paryācāntam,’ ‘that which has been interrupted by washing,’ has been made to intervene (between the words, ‘sūtikānnam’ and ‘anirdaśam’) by considerations of metrical exegencies.

Others have taken ‘anirdaśam’ separately, by itself (and not as qualifying ‘sūtakānnam’). Under this, the term ‘sūtaka’ would indicate the period of impurity, and ‘anirdaśam’ would stand for the milk of the cow and other animals (within ten days of their calving).

Interrupted by washing’— in course of which rinsing and washing have been done. If, for some reason, the person washes his hand, then he should not eat of the food left in the dish.—(212)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Ugra’—‘A man of the Ugra caste’ (Medhātithi, Govindarāja, Nārāyaṇa and Nandana)—‘a king’ (suggested by Medhātithi, and Govindarāja);—‘one who perpetrates dreadful deeds’ (Kullūka and Rāghavānanda).

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.290);—in Smṛtitattva (p. 451), which adds the following notes:—The food that has been cooked for the newly-delivered woman should not he eaten by members of her family;—‘paryācānta’—when several men are eating in a line, if any one of them happen to rinse his mouth, the others should not continue to eat;—‘anirdaśam’ is the food of a man who has not got rid of the impurity due to child-birth.

It is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 945);—and in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 495), which adds—‘chikitsaka’ is ‘one who makes a living by administering medicine’;—‘mṛgayu’ is one who kills animals by means other than arrows, i.e., by means of traps and such contrivances;—‘Krūra’ is the man who harbours within him much anger, i.e., ill-tempered;—‘ucchiṣṭabhojī’—who eats such leavings as are forbidden;—‘ugra’ is one who does cruel deeds, or one who is born of a Kṣatriya father and Vaiśya mother, or a king;—‘Sūtikānnam’—the food that has been cooked for a newly-delivered woman should not be eaten even by members of her own family;—‘paryācāntam,’—when several men are eating in a line, if some one should ignore the presence of others and rinse his mouth, then the food before the others becomes ‘paryācānta’; but there is no harm if the person rinsing his mouth happen to be one’s ‘elder’;—or ‘paryācānta’ may be explained as that food over which the water of mouth-washing has been thrown;—‘anirdaśam’ is the food of a person still impure by reason of child-birth.

It is quoted in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 772);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 200) which has the following notes:—‘sūtikānnam’, food cooked for a woman newly delivered; ‘within ten days of the delivery’ (‘anirdaśam’), according to the commentator who says that ‘anirdaśam’ qualifies ‘sūtikānnam’;—‘paryācāntam’, which is in close proximity to the water dropped in rinsing the mouth.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.15).—(See above.)

(Do.) (17. 20).—‘The milk of the cow before the lapse of ten days since her calving.’

Āpastamba (1.19.14-16).—(See above.)

(Do.) (1. 16. 18).—‘When any one dies in a family, one should not eat there until ten days have passed.’ Āpastamba (1.18.21).—‘The physician.’

Viṣṇu (51.10).—‘The food of the loose woman, the hypocrite, the physician, the fowler, the cruel man, and those who live upon leavings.’

Yājñavalkya (1.162).—(See above.)

Mahābhārata (Śānti, 35.30)—‘The food of the physician, of the guard, of the multitude, of people accused of crimes, and of those who make a living by acting or by women.’

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