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:

न भक्षयेदेकचरानज्ञातांश्च मृगद्विजान् ।
भक्ष्येष्वपि समुद्दिष्टान् सर्वान् पञ्चनखांस्तथा ॥ १७ ॥

na bhakṣayedekacarānajñātāṃśca mṛgadvijān |
bhakṣyeṣvapi samuddiṣṭān sarvān pañcanakhāṃstathā || 17 ||

He shall not eat solitary animals, nor unknown beasts and birds, even though indicated among those fit to be eaten; nor any five-nailed animals.—(17).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Solitary’—those animals that move about singly (not in herds); such as serpents, owls and the like.

Unknown’—as regards name and kind.

Beasts and birds;’—neither beasts nor birds are fit to be taken.

Even though indicated among those fit to be eaten’—Those that are not actually forbidden are, to that extent, regarded as fit to be eaten; and hence indirectly ‘indicated’ as such. In reality, there is no direct indication of those fit to be eaten. Those that are not specially recognised as to be avoided come to be regarded as fit to be eaten; and these are spoken of as ‘indicated as fit to be eaten’.

Fire-nailed animals:’—e.g. the Monkey, the Jackal and the like.

Any’—has been added for filling up the metre.—(17)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 544), which adds the following notes:—‘Ekacara’ are those animals which, as a rule, roam about alone, such for instance as serpents;—‘ajñātāḥ’—whose name and species are unknown, i.e., one should not eat unknown animals which, though not falling under any species either generally or specifically prohibited, are understood by implication to be included under those that are permitted;—nor should one eat any five-nailed animals, with the exception of the śaśaka and the rest (enumerated in the next verse).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 5.17-18)

Gautama (17-27).—‘Five-nailed animals should not be eaten, excepting the hedge-hog, the hare, the porcupine, the iguana, the rhinoceros and the tortoise.’

Baudhāyana (1.12-5).—‘Five five-nailed animals may be eaten—viz., the porcupine, the iguana, the hare, the hedge-hog, the tortoise and the rhinoceros, except (perhaps) the rhinoceros.’

Āpastamba (1.17-37).—‘Five-nailed animals should not be eaten, excepting the iguana, the tortoise, the porcupine, the rhinoceros, the hare and the Putīkaśa.’

Vaśiṣṭha (14.39, 40, 44, 47).—‘Among five-nailed animals, the porcupine, the hedge-hog, the hare, the tortoise and the iguana may he eaten; among domestic animals, those having only one row of teeth, except the camel; those not mentioned as fit for eating should not be eaten; regarding the wild boar and the rhinoceros, there are conflicting opinions.’

Viṣṇu (51.6, 26, 27).—‘On eating the flesh of five-nailed animals,—except the hare, the porcupine, the hedge-hog, the rhinoceros and the tortoise,—one should fast seven days; on eating the flesh of the ass, the camel and the crow, one should perform the Cāndrāyana,—also on eating unknown flesh, or flesh from the slaughter-house, or dried flesh.’

Yājñavalkya (1.174, 177).—‘Unknown animals and birds, flesh from the slaughter-house and dried flesh (should not be eaten). Among five-nailed animals, the following may be eaten: the porcupine, the hedge-hog, the alligator, the tortoise and the have.’

Devala (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 543).—‘Among animals, the following should not be eaten: the cow, the camel, the ass, the horse, the elephant, the lion, the leopard, the bear, the Śarubha, serpents and boa constrictors, the rat, the mouse, the cat, the mongoose, the village-hog, the dog, the jackal, the tiger, the black-faced monkey, the man and the monkey.’

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