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:

वृथा कृसरसंयावं पायसापूपमेव च ।
अनुपाकृतमांसानि देवान्नानि हवींषि च ॥ ७ ॥

vṛthā kṛsarasaṃyāvaṃ pāyasāpūpameva ca |
anupākṛtamāṃsāni devānnāni havīṃṣi ca || 7 ||

Needlessly cooked Rice-sesamum and Butter-sugar-sesamum, milk-rice and flour-cakes, unconsecrated meat, food of the gods and sacrificial viands;—(7)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Kṛsarasaṃyāran’ is an aggregative copulative compound. Rice cooked with Sesamum is called ‘kṛsara’;—‘saṃyāva’ is a particular article of food, made up of butter, sugar, sesamum and such things, well-known in cities.

Some people, on the strength of the root ‘yu’ (from which the term ‘saṃyāva’ is derived) signifying the act of mixing, explain the term ‘saṃyāva’ as standing for all those articles of food that are prepared by-mixing together different kinds of grains,—such as the mudga, the kuṣṭhaka and the rest.

For these persons the separate mention of ‘kṛsara’ would be superfluous; as this would be included under ‘saṃyāva’, as just explained.

The term ‘needlessly cooked’ is to be construed with all the terms. It stands for what the householder cooks for himself, and not for the sake of Gods, Pitṛs or guests.

This however does not appear to be right. Because the ordinary cooking chat the Householder Hoes is not always for any such set purpose as that of inn king offerings out of it. What happens is that the cooking having been done, without reference to any particular purpose, and only in a general way, the Five Sacrifices have been laid down, as to be offered out of the food thus cooked. So that if the man eats the food without having made the offering to the Viśvedevas out of it, he transgresses a direct injunction; but no prohibition enters into the cuse. According to the present text however, as just explained, such eating would necessitate two expiatory rites,—one due to transgressing an injunction (by not making the offering to the Viśvedevas), and another due to the doing of a prohibited act (of cooking the Rice-sesamum needlessly). If however such articles of food as ‘Rice-sesamum’ and the rest, are cooked without reference to a particular God, or to a particular sacrificial rite,—this involves a transgression of the rules pertaining to one’s daily duties also.

As regards the text ‘one shall not cook for himself’,—this cannot be regarded as a prohibition (; because it being absolutely necessary to Ho the cooking, all that the sentence does is simply to make a reference to the act of eating done by one who has disobeyed the rules (regarding the daily ‘sacrifices’). For, as already pointed out above, if it were a prohibition, there would be a twofold expiatory rite involved. Then again, even when the cooking is done for some other purpose, it cannot be absolutely denied that it has been done by the man ‘for himself’ also. ‘Cooking’ means the act of cooking food, and the fact of its being done for one’s own self cannot be denied by means of the same word; as the man is directed to live upon the same food (i.e., what is left after the feeding of the guests &c). The eating of the remnant, of food, after the guests and others have been fed, (which has been laid down for the Householder) is not meant to be a mere ‘embellishment’ of the Remnant (and not an act necessary for the maintenance of the man himself). Nor has it been laid down anywhere that at the time of cooking the Householder is to make use of any such formula of determination as ‘cook food for me’, which would be regarded as forbidden (by the sentence ‘one shall not cook for himself’) In fact the cooking is said to be ‘for himself’ only in consideration of what happens subsequently. That is to say, if the food were cooked wjth the determination to make an offering to the Gods, and then subsequently the man were to eat it all himself, this would involve the wrong of being false to one’s own resolve also. From all this it is clear that the sentence in question is a mere reiterative reference, the sense being—‘what one cooks, he should not use for himself until he has made the offering to the Viśvedevas’.

It is in view of all this that this same rule has been held to be applicable also to the case of the man eating uncooked food; in accordance with the assertion—‘the Gods of a man have the same food as the man himselt’ (Vālmīkīya Rāmāyaṇa.)

Further, cooking is not to be done only by the hungry householder; in fact, the act of cooking every day forms an integral factor of Householder ship itself. So that even on the day on which the man himself does not eat, if he omits the act of cooking, he incurs sin.

The upshot of the whole is this:—The man may cook for himself, or for others; the words ‘shall not cook for himself’ can only mean that people should not undertake the act, if they do not intend to make the offering to the Viśvedevas. So that this only reiterates the obligatory character of the offering. Similarly also the text that—‘For the removal of the sin of the Five Slaughters, the Viśvedeva-offering shall be made in the ordinary fire, in the Vedic sacrificial fire, in the fire in which oblations have been already poured and the deity dismissed, in water or on the ground, only reiterates the obligatory character of the offering to the Viśvedevas. Because the said offering cannot be made into the Vedic sacrificial fire; specially as there is no authority attaching to a Smṛti text (as against a Śruti text) [so that the text just quoted cannot be taken in its literal sense].

Milk-rice and flour-cakes’.—‘Pāyasa’, ‘Milk-rice,’ stands for rice cooked in milk, and not for preparations of milk;—‘Puroḍāśa (?)’ is flour-cake.

Food of the Gods’:—what these are can only be ascertained from usage.

Sacrificial viands—the materials laid down in the Śruti as to be offered into the Fire.

These are ‘unlit to be eaten only before the Grahahomas; as the text is going to lay down the necessity of eating the remnants of the offerings.

The meat of an animal that has not been ‘consecrated,’—i.e. which has not been killed at a sacrifice.Consecration’ is a peculiar form of purification of the animal, prescribed in connection with the ‘Animal-Sacrifice.’ The mention of this indicates that one should eat the remnant of the meat that has been offered at a sacrifice.

Though the Text has already used the qualification ‘needlessly prepared’, yet the epithet ‘unconsecrated’ has been added with a view to forbid the merit of the cow, the sheep and the goa (goat?) that may have been left by the guest and other persons to whom they may have been offered. Or, the term unconsecrated may be taken as refering specially to the meat of the cow, the sheep and the goat; since it is the killing of these animals only that has been enjoined in connection with sacrifices; the other animals being described as already ‘prokṣita’, ‘washed clean’ (fit for cating).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. The Mahābhārata 13.104.41.

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (p. 448), which explains ‘vṛthā’ as ‘what is cooked for oneself, and not for being offered to gods or pitṛs’,—and quotes the Chandogapariśiṣṭa as defining ‘kṛsara’ to be ‘rice and sesamum cooked together,’—‘saṃyāva’ is a preparation of ‘butter, milk, molasses, and the flour of wheat and other grains,’—‘anupākṛtomāṃsa’ is ‘meat not consecrated by mantras,’—‘devānna’ is ‘food prepared for offering to gods,’—‘haviṣ’ is the ‘sacrificial cake’ and such things;—and in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 610.)


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.31).—‘Flesh of animals with teeth not fallen out, flesh of diseased animals, and flesh got without any religious purpose.’

Viṣṇu (51.37).—‘Śālūka, needlessly cooked rice-sesamum and butter, sugar-wheat, rice-milk, cakes, breads fried in butter, food of the gods and sacrificial viands.’

Yājñavalkya (1.171, 173).—‘Offerings meant for gods... unconsecrated meat, rice-sesamum or butter-sugar-wheat, or milk-rice or flour-cakes or wheaten bread fried in butter,—needlessly cooked.’

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