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...

Verse 6.1 [Introductory]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

एवं गृहाश्रमे स्थित्वा विधिवत् स्नातको द्विजः ।
वने वसेत् तु नियतो यथावद् विजितैन्द्रियः ॥ १ ॥

evaṃ gṛhāśrame sthitvā vidhivat snātako dvijaḥ |
vane vaset tu niyato yathāvad vijitaindriyaḥ || 1 ||

The twice-born accomplished student, having, in the afore- said manner, lived, according to law, the life of the householder, should dwell in the forest, in the proper manner, self-controlled and with his organs under subjection—(1).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘gṛhāśrama’ means that ‘āśrama’, life-stage which is characterised by the ‘gṛha’, house,—i.e., the presence of the wife.

Having ‘lived’ there,—i.e., having duly fulfilled the duties of that stage of life—he should dwell in, the forest. This is the injunction here set forth.

The affix in ‘sthitvā’, ‘having lived’, indicates the priority of the Householder’s life to that of the Hermit; and the meaning is that one should proceed from, stage to stage in the right order; it is only one who has lived the Householder’s life that is entitled to the forest-life of the Hermit.

What is said here is in accordance with the view that a man should pass through each and all the four stages. There is however the other view that from the life of the purely celebate student also one can proceed at once to the forest-life; as is going to be described later on.

With his organs under subjection ’—with his impurities washed off, his passions calmed down.

The phrases ‘according to law’ and ‘in the proper manner’ have been added only for the purpose of filling up the metre; as we have already explained in several places.

All that is meant to be enjoined here is that ‘having completed the Householder’s life, he shall betake himself to the life in the forest.’—(1).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Niyataḥ’—‘Taking a firm resolution’ (Govindarāja and Kullūka);—‘devoted to the duties, austerities, reciting the Veda and so forth’ (Nārāyaṇa).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 6.1-2)

Gautama (3.1).—‘Some people declare that he who has studied the Veda may make his choice regarding the particular stage that he will enter.’

Baudhāyana (2.11.14).—‘A hermit is one who regulates his conduct according to the institutes proclaimed by Vikhānas.’

Āpastamba (2.21.1-2, 18-10).—‘There are four stages—that of the Householder, that of the Student, that of the Renunciate and that of the Hermit. If he lives in all these four according to the law, without allowing himself to he disturbed, he will obtain salvation. Only after completing studentship shall he go forth as a Hermit.’

Āpastamba. (2.22.78).—‘After having finished the study of the Veda, having taken a wife and kindled the sacred fires, he shall begin the rites ending with the Soma-sacrifices, performing as many as are prescribed in the Veda:—afterwards he shall build a dwelling outside the village and dwell there with his children and wife.’

Āpastamba (2.21.8).—‘After having fulfilled the duties of the Student, he shall go forth as a Renunciate.’

Āpastamba (2.24.14).—‘He may accomplish his objects as he pleases; there is no reason to place any one order before the other.’

Viṣṇu (94.1-2).—‘A householder, when he sees his skin wrinkled and his hair turned grey, must go to live in a forest; or when he sees the son of his son.’

Yājñavalkya (3.45).—‘Entrusting his wife to his sons, or accompanied by his wife, the Hermit, taking the vow of celibacy, shall repair to the forest, along with his tires and the Upāsanās.’

Yama (Aparārka, p. 940).—‘Having lawfully begotten children, having performed the sacrifices to the best of his ability, and having seen his son’s child, the Brāhmaṇa shall repair to the forest.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Do.).—‘Having begotten children, having performed their sacraments, taught them the Veda, provided them with the means of living, united them to their wives, entrusting his family to his son, and making preparations for departure, he should have recourse to special means of livelihood. In due course, after having passed through the Yāyāvara stage, he should repair to the forest.’

Yama (Do.).—‘faking with himself the sacrificial implements, the sacred fire, the cows and other accessories, and accompanied by his wife, the twice-born man shall repair to the forest.’

Jābāla (Parāśaramādhava, Ācāra, p. 525).—‘Having completed religious studentship, one shall become a Householder; after having become a House-holder, he shall go out.’

Chāgalega (Do., p. 526).—‘Being without his wife, he shall deposit his fire in himself, and the Brāhmaṇa shall go out of his house.’

Baudhāyana (2.17.2-5)—‘Some teachers say that he who has finished his studentship may become a renunciate immediately on the completion of that; hut according to others, renunciation is fit only for those Śālīnas and Yāyāvaras who are childless, or a widower; in general they prescribe renunciation after the completion of the seventieth year, after the children have been finally settled in their sacred duties.’

Vaśiṣṭha (7.1-3).—‘There are four orders: the Student, the Householder, the Hermit and the Renunciate; a man who has studied one, two or three Vedas without violating the rules of studentship may enter any of these, whichsoever he pleases.’

Kāmandaka (2.27-28).—‘The duties of the Hermit are to keep matted hair, to perform Agnihotra, to sleep on the bare ground, to wear black deer-skin, to live in solitary places, to sustain himself on water, succulent roots, Nīvāra corn and fruits, to refuse alms, to bathe thrice, to observe vows and to adore gods and guests.’

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