Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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...

Verse 5.24 [Stale Food]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

यत् किं चित् स्नेहसंयुक्तं भक्ष्यं भोज्यमगर्हितम् ।
तत् पर्युषितमप्याद्यं हविःशेषं च यद् भवेत् ॥ २४ ॥

yat kiṃ cit snehasaṃyuktaṃ bhakṣyaṃ bhojyamagarhitam |
tat paryuṣitamapyādyaṃ haviḥśeṣaṃ ca yad bhavet || 24 ||

Such Food and eatables as are mixed with oils may be eaten though stale, if unspoilt; so also what may be the remnant of a sacrificial offering.—(24)

 

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Whatever food is mixed with oils.’—‘Food’ stands for Rice etc. Though the roots to ‘eat’ and to ‘feed’ are synonymous, yet the two terms ‘food’ and ‘eatables’ have been used with a view to the various articles of food.

Unspoilt’—here stands for what has not become sour by keeping.

Such food ‘may b e eaten, though stale’. That is called ‘stale’ which has been kept over night. What is cooked on one day also becomes ‘stale’ the next day.

Mixed with oils.’—In regard to this the following question is raised:—

“Does this mean that whatever in the shape of vegetable-juice etc. has been cooked with oils should be eaten even when stale?—Or, that oils are to be mixed up with dry articles of food, at the time that they are going to be eaten stale? According to the latter view stale cakes and sweets also would have to be eaten only after having been mixed with oils.”

There is, it is argued, no room for any such doubt; since what is asserted by the words ‘may be eaten though stale’ is only the eatability of food mixed with oils; so that the epithet ‘mixed with oils’ is part of the Subject, and not of the Predicate. Nor do we find it referred to by the pronoun ‘tat’, ‘that’, by any such form of expression as ‘what is stale, that may be eaten mixed with oils’ (which would make the epithet part of the Predicate).

The answer to this is that there is still some ground for doubt; as (according to the explanation just suggested) there would be no point in the separate mention of the ‘remnants of sacrificial offering’, which are stale and not mixed with oils (the latter being implied by their being mentioned apart from ‘food mixed with oils;’ because there is no chance of these remnants being ‘mixed with oils’ and becoming ‘stale’. Consequently the separate mention of these can have some sense only if in their case it were not considered necessary to mix oils at the time of eating. So that the separate mention of these becomes justified only if, in the case of these Remnants, it be not necessary to mix oils at the time of eating (which is considered necessary in the case of the other articles of food.)

But, even so, there need not be any doubt. For in that case, it would be only right to take the epithet ‘mixed with oils’ as part of the Predicate, for the purpose of justifying the separate mention of the ‘Remnants of sacrificial offerings’. [So that thus also, the meaning would be quite clear, though different from what we had explained before.]

In answer to this it is argued that there is only this ground for doubt that in view of the fact that the direct construction of the words as they stand is always to be preferred to any other roundabout constructions,—would it be right to regard the mention of the ‘sacrificial remnants’ as merely reiterative (and not injunctive) [ in which case it may well be left pointless]? Or that, inorder to guard against the mention being pointless, the words should be construed to mean that whatever is stale should be mixed with oils at the time of eating?

On this point there is no doubt; rather than allow the words of the text to be regarded us pointless, it is far more reasonable to have recourse to the indirect method of construction. The real decision however depends entirely upon usage.

Oils.’—This term stands for butter, oil, fat and bone-marrow—(24).

 

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 523);—in Smṛtitattva (p. 452);—in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 616);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 291).

 

Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 5.24-25)

Viṣṇu (51.35).—‘Preparations of barley and wheat mixed with oils, soured substances and sugar-candy—barring these, if one eats anything kept overnight, he should fast.’

Yājñavalkya (1.169).—‘Food kept: overnight, or kept for a long time, may he eaten if mixed with oils: as also preparations of wheat, barley and milk, even without, oils.’

Yama (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 523).—‘Cakes, gruel, fried grains, fried-barley flour, vegetables, meat, curries, rice-sesamum, barley-meal, milk-vice, and things mixed with oils,—all this may he eaten, even though kept overnight; hut substances soured by keeping should he avoided.’

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