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:

नाद्यादविधिना मांसं विधिज्ञोऽनापदि द्विजः ।
जग्ध्वा ह्यविधिना मांसं प्रेतस्तैरद्यतेऽवशः ॥ ३३ ॥

nādyādavidhinā māṃsaṃ vidhijño'nāpadi dvijaḥ |
jagdhvā hyavidhinā māṃsaṃ pretastairadyate'vaśaḥ || 33 ||

In normal times the twice-born man conversant with the law shall not eat meat unlawfully; having eaten it unlawfully, he shall, after death, be devoured by them helplessly. (33)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

That is called ‘unlawful’ which is done apart from the above-sanctioned occasions—of the worshipping of the Gods, the wish of the Brāhmaṇas and so forth; and in this ‘unlawful’ manner one shall not eat meat.

This is only a reiteration of what has been said before.

In normal times’.—In abnormal times of distress, when one’s life is in danger, he need not wait for the worship of the Gods etc.

Danger to life has already been sanctioned as one of the occasions on which meat may be eaten; so that such eating would be quite lawful, not unlawful.”

True; but what has been said on the previous occasion was in connection with the consecrated meat of the cow, the sheep and the goat; and in the present text the phrase ‘in normal times’ has been added with a view to extend the sanction to the meat of the hare and other animals also.

It is not the mere knower of the law that is called ‘conversant with the late’ but one who, in practice acts up to the law. In connection with ordinary worldly acts also the term ‘know,’ ‘be conversant with,’ is used in this sense; when it is said of a man ‘he knows this’, what is meant is that ‘he acts up to it’.

When the question arises regarding the effect of the act in question, the text says —‘Having eaten meat unlawfully,’—i.e. in a manner not prescribed in the scriptures—‘he shall, on death, he devoured’, by those animals. All that is meant—is that when a man eats meat in an unlawful manner, he suffers various kinds of pain. If these were not meant by the passage (and if it were taken in its literal sense),—then, in as much us it is the meat of the goat that is commonly eaten by people, and the goat is a not carnivorous animal [how could it ‘devour’ its eater?]

Or, the meaning may be that the eater, by virtue of the sin of that act, comes to be devoured by carnivorous animals; and as this would be the result of his having eaten the goat, he would be described as being devoured by the goat.—(33)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 531);—in Smṛtitattva (p. 449);—and in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 301).


Comparative notes by various authors

Yama (Vīramitrodaya-Āhnika, pp. 5-30).—‘One should not eat needlessly-prepared meat.’

Āpastamba (1.16.16).—‘He shall not eat meat which has been cut with a knife used for killing.’

Viṣṇu (51.59).—‘The Brāhmaṇa shall never eat meat that has not been consecrated with mantras; that however which has been duly consecrated he shall eat, following the eternal law.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: