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:

यद्भक्ष्यं स्याद् ततो दद्याद् बलिं भिक्षां च शक्तितः ।
अब्मूलफलभिक्षाभिरर्चयेदाश्रमागतान् ॥ ७ ॥

yadbhakṣyaṃ syād tato dadyād baliṃ bhikṣāṃ ca śaktitaḥ |
abmūlaphalabhikṣābhirarcayedāśramāgatān || 7 ||

What he eats, cut of that he should make the offerings and give alms, according to his capacity; and those who come to his hermitage he should honour with water, roots and fruits and alms—(7).


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

It has been said that ‘food fit for hermits’ should be used; this consists of wild grains, such as Nīvāra and the rest, and of wild-growing herbs, etc. The term ‘anna’, ‘food’, is generally used in the sense of some preparation of grains,— such as rice, fried flour, cake and so forth; and it is for this reason that, though herbs, &c., also are ‘food fit for hermits’, they have been mentioned separately. ‘Hermits’ are ascetics, and their food is called ‘food fit for hermits.’ And what is meant (by verse 5) is that the man should perform the Five Sacrifices, which are duties related to cooking on the household fire. This might give rise to the notion that when the man lives upon ripe season-fruits (and does not cook his food) he should not offer the said sacrifices: it is with a view to preclude such a notion that the Text adds—‘what he eats’; the meaning is that whatever, in the shape of flour, &.c., be eats, that he should offer to the best of his capacity.

Offerings’— apart for the Agnihotra-libations; those that are laid down as to be ‘Indra’ ‘Indrapuruṣa’ and so forth.

In this view, there are no offerings poured into the fire,—they say.

But this is not right; as the term ‘bali’, ‘offering’, is a generic name for all kinds of oblations; and hence it stands equally for those offered into the fire, and those not offered Into the fire.

If the right view to hike were this that(one shall offer only what he eats;—and that also into the file only,—and that offerings into the fire must consist of cooked food then the hermit would cook just that much herb, &c. as would be needed for the offerings, and he himself would cat the ripe fruits of the season. Even for one who lives upon season-fruits, it is necessary to offer the Vaiśvadeva oblations into fire.

The compound in the second line is a copulative one, formed of ‘ap’, ‘water’, and the rest; the meaning being that ‘the traveller that happens to come to his hermitage he shall honour with water, roots, fruits and alms—consisting of Nīvāra and other grains’.—(7).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (on 3.45) in support of the view that it is the Hermit’s duty to feed guests.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (3.29-30).—‘He shall worship gods, Pitṛs, men, elementals, and sages; he shall receive hospitably men of all castes except those intercourse with whom is forbidden.’

Baudhāyana (2.11-15).—(See under 3.)

Baudhāyana (3.3.5-7, 20).—‘Fetching shrubs, etc., and cooking them, they offer the Agnihotra in the evening and in the morning, give food to ascetics, guests and students, and eat the remainder. A devotee shall first honour the guests who have come to his hermitage at dinner time, he shall be sedulous in worshipping gods and Brāhmaṇas, in offering Agnihotra and in practising austerities.’

Āpastamba (2.22.17).—‘After that time he shall offer the burnt oblations, sustain his life, feed his guests, and prepare his clothes with materials produced in the forest.’

Vaśiṣṭha (9.7).—‘he shall honour guests coming to his hermitage, with alms of roots and fruits.’

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