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:

यस्मै दद्यात् पिता त्वेनां भ्राता वाऽनुमते पितुः ।
तं शुश्रूषेत जीवन्तं संस्थितं च न लङ्घयेत् ॥ १४९ ॥

yasmai dadyāt pitā tvenāṃ bhrātā vā'numate pituḥ |
taṃ śuśrūṣeta jīvantaṃ saṃsthitaṃ ca na laṅghayet || 149 ||

Him to whom her father may give her,—or her brother with the father’s permission,—she shall attend upon as long as he lives, and shall not disregard him when he is dead.—(149).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Or her brother with the father’s permission’— Just as the brother is entitled to give away the girl only with the father’s permission, so also is the father entitled to give her away only with the consent of her mother, though the present text speaks of the father as if he were free to give her away without consulting anyone else. And the reason for this lies in the fact that in all things the husband and wife have joint title, and the daughter belongs to both the parents. In fact in Discourse IX it is pointed oat that if the father is not alive, the girl may be given away by the mother. The child is born of both parents, and on this rests their right over her; hence it is only right that both should consult each other.

Attend upon’—Serve.

When he dead, she shall not disregard him.’—‘Disregarding’ means not minding. The meaning is that she should not behave as if she were her own mistress; just as during her husband’s life-time she is dependent upon him, so after his death also, she should ever remain subservient to him. Since it has been declared that—‘the fact that she has been given away constitutes the ground of his ownership over her’,—as soon as the father gives away his daughter, his ownership over her ceases, and then comes into existence the ownership of the man to whom she is given away. This ‘giving away’ happens not only at the time of marriage, but even at the time at which the bridegroom is chosen.

“For what purpose then is the marriage performed?”

[The answer is given in the next verse.]


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

(Verse 151 of others.)

This verse is quoted in Varṣakriyākaumudī (p. 579);—and in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 223), which says that the Father and the Brother are the chief persons to give away a girl, and it does not preclude others from giving her away.


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (25.13-14).—‘To remain subject............ to her husband, in her youth...... after the death of her husband, to preserve her chastity, or to ascend the pile after him.’

Do. (25.17).—‘A good wife who perseveres in a chaste life after her lord’s death will go to heaven like life-long students, even though she has no son.’

Yājñavalkya (l.83).—(See above.)

Do. (1.75).—‘On the death of her husband, or while he is alive, if she never approaches another man, she attains fame in this world and rejoices in the company of the Goddess Umā.’

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