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:

आरण्यानां च सर्वेषां मृगाणां माहिषं विना ।
स्त्रीक्षीरं चैव वर्ज्यानि सर्वशुक्तानि चैव हि ॥ ९ ॥

āraṇyānāṃ ca sarveṣāṃ mṛgāṇāṃ māhiṣaṃ vinā |
strīkṣīraṃ caiva varjyāni sarvaśuktāni caiva hi || 9 ||

That of all wild animals, except the buffalo; the milk of females (women) and all soured substances should be avoided.—(9)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Wild animals’—cows, elephants, monkeys and so forth.

There can be no milk of males; hence the masculine gender used in connection with the words ‘sarvī(?)ṣām mṛgāṇam’ is to be taken as standing for the genus, and the connection is with the female members of that genus: the term ‘mṛgakṣīram’ thus being similar tokukkuṭāṇḍam’. This has been made clear by the author of the Mahābhāṣyu in connection with the rules relating to the change of the feminine form into the masculine, (when occurring within a compound).

Māhiṣam vinā’;—the neuter form has been used, in view of the neuter form ‘payaḥmilk’.

Females,’—hum in females, women. Though in such passages asstrī gauḥ somakrayiṇī’,the female cow is the price of the soma’,—the term ‘strī’, ‘female’, is found to be used in connection with the animal with the dew(?)lap also,—yet it is to be understood here in the sense of thewoman’, in as much as in the present context the term cannot apply to any other species of animals, and as it is better known as standing for thehuman female’ only. In all such assertions as—‘females desire sweets’, ‘females are the best jewels’—the word is understood as standing for the woman.

The termeva’ in the text has been explained as indicating the prohibition of applying the woman’s milk to the eye and such other uses of it: the it caning being that the milk of the woman is to be avoided, not only in eating, but also in all similar uses. The word can be taken as indicative of all this only on the strength of usage and other Smṛti texts; and it cannot be regarded as directly expressive of it.—(9).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Cf. Śatapatha Brāhmaṇa, for an early list of animals whose flesh is forbidden”—Hopkins.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.290);—and in Smṛtitattva (p. 448), which adds that the term ‘mṛga’ here stands for animals, and not for the deer only; since the ‘buffalo’ is cited as an exception;—‘śukta’ is the name of those things that, by themselves sweet, become soured by keeping.

The first half is quoted in Aparārka (p. 246), which adds that the phrase ‘payovarjyam’ has to be supplied.

The verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika p. 525), which takes ‘āraṅyānām mṛgāṇām’ together, and explains it as standing for the Ruru, Mahiṣa, Pṛṣata and the rest;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Śrāddha p. 13a);—in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 567);—in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 335);—and in Śuddhikaumudī (p. 323).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (17.14).—‘All soured substances by themselves with the exception of curds.’

Baudhāyana (1.12-15).—‘Nor soured substances nor molasses turned sour.’

Āpastamba (1.17.15).—‘Also soured substances.’

Vaśiṣṭha (14.37-38).—‘Let him avoid wheat-cakes, fried grain, porridge, barley-meal, pulse-cakes, oil, milk-rice and vegetables that have turned sour; like other kinds of sour food prepared with milk and barley-flour.’

Viṣṇu (51.1-42).—‘Also soured substances by themselves, with the exception of curds.’

Yājñavalkya (1.167, 170),—‘Things turned sour, food cooked overnight, leavings, &c.’

Bhaviṣyapurāṇa (Aparārka, p. 241).—‘That should be regarded as spoilt by time, which has been cooked on the preceding day; among such soured substances, curds may be eaten, but not molasses.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita.—‘Nor what has been cooked twice, nor what has been kept over-night, with the exception of rice cooked in sugar, curds, molasses, or preparations of wheat and barley-flour.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: