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:

शूद्राणां मासिकं कार्यं वपनं न्यायवर्तिनाम् ।
वैश्यवत्शौचकल्पश्च द्विजोच्छिष्टं च भोजनम् ॥ १३८ ॥

śūdrāṇāṃ māsikaṃ kāryaṃ vapanaṃ nyāyavartinām |
vaiśyavatśaucakalpaśca dvijocchiṣṭaṃ ca bhojanam || 138 ||

By śūdras living according to law, shaving should be done every month; thus manner of purification should be like that of the Vaiśya; and their food shall consist of the leavings of twice-born men.—(139).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

A general rule of conduct is here laid down for the better class of Śūdras.

Living according to law;’—i.e. attending on twice-born men and performing the great sacrifices. By these ‘shaving’—of the head—shall be done ‘every month’. The Genitive in Śūdrāṇām has the sense of the Instrumental. Or, in as much as śūdras are entirely dependent upon Brāhmaṇas their shaving shall be got done by these latter; and in this case the root ‘kṛ,’ which has several meanings, is to be taken in the sense of advising.

The details of the manner of purification—in connection with births, deaths and the rest—should be like those of the Vaisḥya.

Their food shall consist of the leavings, or twice-born men.’—This has been already explained before.—(138).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 140 of others.)

Māsikam mpanam kāryam’ means, according to Nandana, ‘shall offer the monthly Śrāddha.’

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 906), which adds the following notes:—The rule of purity pertaining to the Vaiśya means a period of impurity extending over fifteen days;—‘Nyāyavartinām’ means devoted to the service of the twice-born, the offering of the Five Great Sacrifices, the supporting of dependents, the loving of wife and so forth.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva (II, p. 111);—in Vidhānapārijāta (II, p. 318), which leads ‘ārya’ (for ‘Vaiśya’) and explains it as Vaiśya;—in Hāralatā (p. 10), which has the following notes:—That ‘Śūdra’ is called Nyāyavartin who, with a purely religious motive, serves the Brāhmaṇa honestly and earnestly, performs the Five Sacrifices with ‘namaḥ’ as the mantra, avoids all forbidden food and forbidden acts,—such a Śūdra becomes purified in Fifteen days, in the manner of a Vaiśya,—he should shave every month,—or vapanam may mean ‘offering of Piṇḍas’ i.e., the Śrāddha on the Moonless Day,—it is only such a Śūdra that is entitled to eat the food-leavings of the Brāhmaṇa,—this curtailment of the period of impurity (from one month to fifteen days) is only for the purpose of the man serving the Brāhmaṇa, and for that of offering the Five Sacrifices and so forth,—in Varṣakriyākaumudī (p. 573), which explains vapanam as shaving and says that the Śūdra should not keep long hair,—or it may stand for the Amāvasyā Śrāddha;—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 352).


Comparative notes by various authors

Āpastamba (2.3.5-8).—‘For Śūdras is prescribed the same rule of sipping water as for their masters; besides the Śūdra cooks shall daily have shaved the hair of their heads, of their beards, on their bodies, and also their nails; and they shall bathe with clothes on; or they may trim their hair and nails on the eighth day of each month, or on the Full moon and Moonless days.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: