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:

नात्रिवर्षस्य कर्तव्या बान्धवैरुदकक्रिया ।
जातदन्तस्य वा कुर्युर्नाम्नि वाऽपि कृते सति ॥ ६९ ॥

nātrivarṣasya kartavyā bāndhavairudakakriyā |
jātadantasya vā kuryurnāmni vā'pi kṛte sati || 69 ||

For the child up to three years of age, the relations shall not make water-offerings; but for one whose teeth had appeared, or whose naming had been done, it may be done optionally.—(69)


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

Upto three years of age’;—this prohibition applies till the end of the third year; and not from the fourth year upwards. It is in this sense that some people read an ‘ādi’, the line being read as—‘trivarṣādeva kartavyā’. Such also is the ordinary usage.

For one whose teeth had appeared it may be done optionally.’—By association with the ‘water-offering’, burning by fire also becomes permitted.

Objection—“When there is option, one may do what he likes; under the circumstances, who would ever have recourse to that alternative which involves much effort and expenditure of wealth? Thus then, the laying down of such a course of action is absolutely useless.”

The answer to this is as follows:—What is mentioned here is for the parents, as distinguished from all other persons; the offerings that are made are for the benefit of the deceased; and bring of the nature of an ‘occasional duty,’ it is one that must be done, as we have explained before. So that the option mentioned in the present verse is dearly understood as containing, on the one hand, the prohibition of a necessary duty; while, on the other, it permits its performance on the ground of its being beneficial to the deceased. So that if one omits the act, it does not involve the transgression of an injunction: while by performing it, one confers a benefit upon the deceased; so that there is no incompatibility between the Injunction and the Prohibition.—(69)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 70 of other commentators).

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 871) to the effect that in the case of a child (less than three years old) whose Tonsure has not been performed, the water-offerings (which imply also cremation by fire) is optional in a case where the ‘naming’ ceremony has been performed.

It is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 384), which adds the following notes:—‘udakakriyā’ indicates cremation by fire also; if the child had teethed, and had its Tonsure,—then whether it is cremated or not—its parents remain impure for three days.

It is quoted in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 372), which also notes that ‘udaka’ includes cremation also;—and again on p. 374, to the effect that (a) if the child dies before the ‘naming’ ceremony it must be burned,—and (b) if it dies after naming and before it is three years old, it may be either burned or cremated;—in Śuddhimayūkha (p. 6);—and in Hāralatā (p. 122), which draws the following conclusions from these three verses:—‘In the case of the two-year old child, from the time of its teething onwards, if cremation and the offerings are made, they are helpful to the dead, but if the relations do not do all this, they do not incur any sin; hut if the child has completed its two years, the rites are compulsory, and their omission involves sin’;—‘nāmni vāpi’ which emphasises the view that it is right to perform the rites even on death occurring after the naming-ceremony, and it is all the more incumbent when the child has teethed. It combats Viśvarūpa’s explanation of ‘atrivarṣa’ as standing for ‘one whose age was over two, and below three years’; as being incompatible with the qualification ‘jātadantasya.’

It is quoted in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 215), which adds that ‘udakakriyā’, stands for ‘agnikriyā’, cremation also.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 68-69)

See Comparative notes for Verse 5.68.

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