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...

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

नृणामकृतचूडानां विशुद्धिर्नैशिकी स्मृता ।
निर्वृत्तचूडकानां तु त्रिरात्रात्शुद्धिरिष्यते ॥ ६६ ॥

nṛṇāmakṛtacūḍānāṃ viśuddhirnaiśikī smṛtā |
nirvṛttacūḍakānāṃ tu trirātrātśuddhiriṣyate || 66 ||

In the case of persons whose tonsure has not been performed purification has been declared to come after a night; but in the case of those whose tonsure has been performed, purification is held to come after three days.—(66).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The genetive endings in this verse some people explain as having the sense of the Nominative, according to Pāṇini’s Sūtra 3,3,83; and in that case the meaning would be—‘the person whose tonsure has not been performed is purified in one day;’ and it has already been explained that some options in this connection are also based upon the age and condition of the person observing the impurity; and the present verse lays down specific rules in accordance with the general principle there enunciated.

Others, however, explain the genetive ending as denoting relationship; and in this case they have to supply some words; the meaning being—the Sapiṇḍa relation of persons whose tonsure has not been performed etc;, etc.?’

This latter view is what is in keeping with usage.

Another Smṛti text has declared immediate purification; and the same text has laid down the exact scope of that rule—Till the appearance of teeth, it is immediate: till the performance of the Tonsure, it comes after one day; and in the case of those whose Tonsure has been performed, it lasts for three days.’—(66)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 67 of other commentators.)

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.23), where it is explained that all that this means is that in the case of all before initiation, the impurity lasts for three days;—in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 373);—and in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 271), which remarks that the second half of the verse makes it clear to what case the following two verses refer.

Medhātithi offers two constructions:—(1) By one the verse is made to provide a rule for the impurity of the untonsured child on the death of others;—(2) by the other, for the impurity of others on the death of the untonsured children.


Comparative notes by various authors


Viṣṇu (22-29-30).—‘On the death of a child after teething, hut before tonsure, the impurity lasts for a day and night; after tonsure, but before initiation, for three days.’

Yājñavalkya (3.23).—‘Before teething, the impurity is for the moment only; till tonsure, for one night; till initiation, three nights; after that, ten days.’

Kātyāyana (Aparārka, p. 909).—‘If the child dies within ten days, the impurity ceases at once; in fact, in this case there is neither death nor impurity.’

Vṛddha-Manu (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘If the child happen to die within ten days, one need not observe anything due to death.’

Hārīta (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘If the child is born dead, or if it dies immediately on birth, the Sapiṇḍas remain impure for ten days.’

Bṛhat-Mann (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘If the child dies immediately after birth, or if it is still-born, then for the mother there is impurity for the entire period; for the father and others, for three days.’

Bṛhat-Pracetas (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘If the child dies after living for just one moment, the mother is purified in ten days, and the Sagotras at the same moment.’

Śaṅkha (Aparārka, 910).—‘If the child dies before the lapse of ten days, the mother is affected by the entire impurity due to child-birth; but the father becomes purified by bathing. In the case of the child dying before teething, the purification is immediate; after tonsure, in one day; before initiation, its relations become purified in three days. Before the naming ceremony, it is immediate.’

Paiṭhīnasi (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘In the case of children dying before teething, the impurity due to their death lasts three days.’

Kaśyapa (Aparārka, p. 910).—‘In the case of children dying before teething, purification comes in throe days.’

Yama (Aparārka, p. 911).—‘On the death of a child before teething, as also on miscarriage, all the Sapiṇḍas become pure after a day.’

Aṅgiras (Aparārka, p. 911).—‘When a child dies before tonsure, and after teething, one should remain impure for three days after cremating it On the death of a Brāhmaṇa child before it is throe years old, the impurity lasts one night; on that of a Kṣatriya, three days; of a Vaiśya, three days.

......In the case of the Brāhmaṇa dying after tonsure, the impurity lasts for three days; of the Kṣattnya, six days; of the Vaiśya, nine days. If a Śūdra child dies before three years, the impurity lasts five days.’

Ṛṣyaśṛṅga (Aparārka, p. 911).—‘Where the impurity for the Brāhmaṇa lasts three days, that for the Kṣatriya, Vaiśya and Śūdra, lasts for six, nine and twelve days respectively.’

Hārīta (Aparārka, p. 911.).—‘Before the Upanayana, for all castes, the impurity lasts for three days in the case of the death of the boy, and for one day in that of a girl.’

Pāraskara (Aparārka, p. 911).—‘On the death of a child less than two years old, the impurity attaches to the parents only.’

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