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:

विगतं तु विदेशस्थं शृणुयाद् यो ह्यनिर्दशम् ।
यत्शेषं दशरात्रस्य तावदेवाशुचिर्भवेत् ॥ ७४ ॥

vigataṃ tu videśasthaṃ śṛṇuyād yo hyanirdaśam |
yatśeṣaṃ daśarātrasya tāvadevāśucirbhavet || 74 ||

He who hears, within ten days, of a relation resident in a foreign land having died, shall, remain impure for the remainder of the period of ten days.—(74).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Foreign country,’—means another village, &c., as before.


Within ten days’.—This is only by way of illustration: what is meant is the period of impurity that has been prescribed in each case;—the remainder of that period would be the period to be observed in the special case mentioned. The repeated mention of ‘ten days’ is for the purpose of filling up the metre.

The period of impurity due to birth and death is determined by their origin; so that the periods of ‘ten days’ and the rest are to be counted from the day on which the birth or the death may have taken place, and not from the day on which it may become known to the relations. As a result of this, if the guest happen to know of the birth, &c., having occurred in the house, he should not take his food in that house, even though the master of that house himself may still be ignorant of it. Thus in both cases (of death and birth) the counting is to be done from the day of origination.

Thus those who are subject to impurity for ‘ten days’ shall remain impure for the remainder of that period; and for those who are subject to a period of ‘three days’, purification is obtained immediately, by bathing along with all the clothing that may be on them.—(74).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 75 of others.)

This verse is quoted in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 385), in support of the view that if one cause of impurity should happen during the period of impurity due to another cause, then the former should be regarded as over by the end of the latter.

Videśa or Deśāntara is thus defined by ‘Vṛddha-Manu’ quoted in Aparārka (p. 905):—‘That which is interposed by a great river (a river falling directly into the sea) or by a mountain, or where the language is different.’

It is quoted in Kṛtyasārasamuccaya (p. 70);—in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 232), which explains ‘vigatam’ as ‘dead’ and adds that this rule applies to cases of birth also, and that ‘ten days’ stands for the full period of impurity under normal conditions;—in Śuddhikaumudī (p. 36);—and in Hāralatā (p. 32) which has the following notes:—‘videśastham’ in another country, i.e., from where the news of death cannot come quickly,—‘anirdaśam,’ before the end of ten days.

In regard to ‘videśa’, Kṛtyasārasamuccaya (p. 71) quotes Rudradhara as saying that even though there be no intervening mountains or rivers, if the distance between two countries is more than 60 yojanase.g., Tirhut and Prayāga,—they are ‘videśa’ to each other, but not so between Tirhut and Kaśi, the distance between which is only 30 yojanas.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 5.73-74)

See Comparative notes for Verse 5.73.

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