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:

नास्य कार्योऽग्निसंस्कारो न च कार्यौदकक्रिया ।
अरण्ये काष्ठवत् त्यक्त्वा क्षपेयुस्त्र्यहमेव तु ॥ ६८ ॥

nāsya kāryo'gnisaṃskāro na ca kāryaudakakriyā |
araṇye kāṣṭhavat tyaktvā kṣapeyustryahameva tu || 68 ||

For this child no sanctification by fire shall be performed; nor shall water-offering he made to it; having left it like a log of wood, in the forest, one shall keep aloof for three days.—(68)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Like a log of wood;’—this signifies absence of attachment, indifference.

The morning is that in thin case no Śrāddha, nor any water, is to be offered; the prohibition of ‘water-offering’ implying that of the Śrāddha also, through the relation of whole and part. It is thus that we have to get at the omission of Śrāddha, which is in accordance with usage.

Others explain this to mean the prohibition of burial laid down in other Smṛti -texts. And in this case there would be option.

Keep aloof’—abstain from all religious acts prescribed in the scriptures.—(68)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 69 of other commentators).

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.2), which explains ‘araṇye kāṣṭhavat tyaktvā’ as follows:—‘Just as on throwing a log of wood in the forest, people take no notice of it, so having buried the child, they should take no further notice of him, in the way of performing his Śrāddha and other after-death rites.’

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 870), which explains the meaning to he that, the child less than two years old, which has not had its Tonsure, should be either buried or thrown into the water, without any after-death rites;—and again on p. 911, where it is said that the digging &c. are meant for the child who has had his Tonsure done during the first year. It is difficult to reconcile the two statements.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 271), which also says that, these two verses refer to the case of the child who has had his Tonsure performed during the first year;—and in Hāralatā (p. 122), which explains ‘araṇye,’ ‘in forest,’ as meaning in ‘uncultivated ground,’ and ‘Kāṣṭhavat’ as implying that they should not grieve over it;—and in Śuddhimayūkha (p. 6).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 68-69)

Bodhāyana (1.11.4).—(See above.)

Āpastamba (2.15.3-4).—‘On account of the death of the child that has not completed its first year, the parents alone shall bathe,—and those who bury it.’

Vaśiṣṭha (4.33-34).—‘On the death of a child less than two years old the impurity of the Sapiṇḍas lasts three days;—Gautama declares that they become pure at once.’

Viṣṇu (22.27-28).—‘On the death of a child before teething, the impurity ceases at once; there should be no cremation for it, nor any water-offerings.’

Yājñavalkya (31.1).—(See above.)

Āśvalāyana Gṛhyasūtra (4.4.24).—‘On the death of a child without teeth (impurity lasts three days).’

Pāraskara (3.10.2-7).—‘When a child that is less than two years in age dies, its parents become impure; the impurity lasts for one or three days. They bury the body without burning it. In this case there are no water-libations.’

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