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:

नारं स्पृष्ट्वाऽस्थि सस्नेहं स्नात्वा विप्रो विशुध्यति ।
आचम्यैव तु निःस्नेहं गामालभ्यार्कमीक्ष्य वा ॥ ८६ ॥

nāraṃ spṛṣṭvā'sthi sasnehaṃ snātvā vipro viśudhyati |
ācamyaiva tu niḥsnehaṃ gāmālabhyārkamīkṣya vā || 86 ||

Having touched a fatty human bone, the Brāhmaṇa becomes pure by bathing, but if it be free from fat, then by sipping water and touching a cow, or looking at the sun—(86).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Nāra,’ ‘human,’—belonging to man.

Fatty’—i.e. Besmeared with flesh, marrow &c.

Ālabhya’ means touching.

The touching of the cow and looking at the sun are meant to be optional alternatives.—(86).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 87 of others.)

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 924), which notes that what is meant is the combination of all the three—(1) ācamana, (2) touching of the cow, and (3) looking at the sun; and that this pertains to the case of touching the bone unintentionally; for intentional touching, there is impurity for three days (when fat is adhering to the bone), and one day (when the bone is dry).

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.30), which remarks that this refers to the bone of a twice-born person;—in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 293), which, explains ‘ālabhya’ as ‘having touched,’ and adds that this refers to the unintentional touching of the bone;—in Madanapārijāta (p. 257), which adds that ‘this refers to twice-born persons’;—in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 214);—in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 796);—in Śuddhikaumudī, (p. 329), which explains ‘ālabhya’ as ‘having touched’;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Āhnika, p. 16b);—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 485), which says that this refers to cases of unintentional touching


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (Aparārka, p. 925).—‘On touching a fatty human bone, there is impurity lasting for three days; when it is not fatty, for one day and night.’

Devala (Do.).—‘Human bone, human fat, ordure, menstrual blood, wine, semen, marrow, blood,—on touching these one should bathe.’

Chyavana—(See under 84.)

Saṃvarta (Viramitrodaya-Āhnika, p. 214)—‘Indigo, indigo-products, human bone, or the shadow cast by the Caṇḍāla and the outcast,—on touching these, the twice-born person shall bathe.’

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