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:

ऊनद्विवार्षिकं प्रेतं निदध्युर्बान्धवा बहिः ।
अलङ्कृत्य शुचौ भूमावस्थिसञ्चयनाद् ऋते ॥ ६७ ॥

ūnadvivārṣikaṃ pretaṃ nidadhyurbāndhavā bahiḥ |
alaṅkṛtya śucau bhūmāvasthisañcayanād ṛte || 67 ||

The child that dies while less than two years old, the relations should, after having decked it, place outside, under the ground that is clean and not defiled by heaps of bones.—(67)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The child whose sacramental rites have not been performed, and since whose birth less than two years have elapsed, is called ‘less than two years old’. Such a child, when it dies, ‘the relations should place outside’—the village —‘under the ground,’ that has been dug out.

Another Smṛti -text contains the word ‘nikhavet (?)’. should bury’.

Having decked’—with ornaments befitting the dead. The ‘decking’, mentioned here in connection with the child ‘few than two years old’, should be understood, on the strength of usage, to apply to those also whose sacramental rites have been performed.

Clean’—where there are no bones. That is, the ground that is clean by reason of the absence of heaps of bones,—under such a ground should the child he placed. As a rule, the crematorium abounds in heaps of bones; hence what the present text means is that the child should be buried in a place other than the crematorium; and it does not mean that in this case the rite of ‘bone-collecting’ shall not be performed: because this later fact is already implied by the absence of burning in the case.—(67)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 68 of other commentators.)

Asthisañcayanādṛte’—‘Place free from bones’ (Medhātithi, also Mitākṣarā);—‘without the rite of bonecollecting’ (Kullūka, who quotes Viśvarupa’s explanation which agrees with Medhātithi’s).

This verse is quoted in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 271), which says that this refers to the case of the death of a child who has had his tonsure performed during the first year;—in Mitākṣarā (on 3.2) which explains the meaning to be that ‘the child should be decked with garlands and sandal-paint and should be buried in a clean place, away from the burning grounds, hut outside the village,—which should he free from bones.

It is quoted in Hāralatā (p. 121), which has the following notes:—‘ūnadvivārṣikam’, one whose tonsure has not been performed ,—‘alaṅkṛtya’, having endowed the dead body with rings, clothes, flowers, garlands and so forth, they should bury it in some pure spot outside the village; and even though the body would soon become decomposed and hence the rite of picking of the, bones might he possible, it should not be done.


Comparative notes by various authors

Bodhāyana (1.11.4).—‘In the case of a child that dies before the completion of the third year, or before teething, offerings of halls and water are not proscribed, and one should not burn its body.’

Yājñavalkya (3.1)—‘The child less than two years old one should bury; nor should any water-offerings be made.’

Yama (Aparārka, p. 870).—‘If the dead child is less than two years old, one should smear the body with butter and bury it in the ground.’

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