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 6.33 [The Renunciate]

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

वनेषु च विहृत्यैवं तृतीयं भागमायुषः ।
चतुर्थमायुषो भागं त्यक्वा सङ्गान् परिव्रजेत् ॥ ३३ ॥

vaneṣu ca vihṛtyaivaṃ tṛtīyaṃ bhāgamāyuṣaḥ |
caturthamāyuṣo bhāgaṃ tyakvā saṅgān parivrajet || 33 ||

Having thus passed the third part of his life in the forest, the man shall, during the fourth part, renounce all attachments and go forth (a wandering mendicant).—(33)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Henceforward we have the description of the fourth life-stage.

Third part.’—i.e, having remained, in the forest for some time; for such time as would suffice for the due performance of austerities and the proper allayment of longing for objects of enjoyment. The phrase cannot be taken as standing precisely for the exact ‘third part’ of the man’s life; because the period of the life-stage is not determined precisely with reference to one hundred years (the alleged span of man’s life); because the time for entering on the third life-stage has been indicated as that marked by the appearance of ‘wrinkles and grey hair’; and in every man these do not always appear at the completion of fifty years. Then again, elsewhere it has been declared that ‘one should go forth on the completion of his austerities’.

“In the case of the other life-stages the time has been precisely indicated—e.g. (a) Studentship shall continue till the Veda has been got up, (b) the life of the Householder shall continue till the appearance of wrinkles and grey hairs; in the present instance however no such time is indicated; whether we take it to be the ‘third part’ as asserted in the present text, or ‘on the completion of austerities,’—even so we stand in need of information regarding the exact time meant; for there is no knowing by what time one’s austerities might be completed. For these reasons it is necessary that the time should be indicated by the words of the text”

It has already been explained that the ‘third part of life’ cannot be determined with reference to ‘a hundred years’; and as regards the exact time, it has been clearly indicated by such words as—‘one should take to the life of the Wandering Mendicant after the body has fully ripened’; which means that ‘one should go forth after he has performed enough austerities, and till sufficiently advanced age, to be convinced that there is no more chance of any recrudescence of the passions.’

Having passed’— having lived through; i.e. having carried on the duties as detailed above.

‘Renouncing of attachment’ consists in not harbouring notions of I and mine, in resting within one’s self.—(33).


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Saṅga’—‘Attachment to sense-objects’ (Kullūka);—‘possessions’ (Nārāyaṇa).

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 532);—in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 562);—and in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 64), which says that the division is to be made on the basis of the life-span of one hundred years.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 6.33-34)

Baudhāyana (2.17.1-6).—‘Now we shall explain the rule for entering the order of Renunciates. Some say that he who has finished his studentship may become a renunciate immediately after that. But according to others renunciation is fit only for such Śālīnas and Yāyāvaras as are childless, or widowers. In general, they prescribe renunciation after the completion of the seventieth year and after the children have been firmly settled in their sacred duties. Or a Hermit may become a Renunciate on the completion of the special rites prescribed for him.’

Baudhāyana (2.17.15-17).—‘It is declared in the Veda that “entering stage after stage man becomes one with Brahman.” They quote also the following verse—“Ho who has passed from stage to stage, has offered burnt oblations and kept his organs under subjection, becomes afterwards, tired with giving alms and making offerings, a Renunciate. Such a Renunciate becomes one with the Infinite.’

Viṣṇu (96.1).—‘After having passed through the first three stages, and having annihilated passion, he should offer an oblation to Prajāpati in which he gives away all his belongings as the sacrificial fee, and enter the stage of the Renunciate.’

Yājñavalkya (3.55-56).—‘Passing on from the stage of the Householder or from that of the Hermit, he shall perform the sacrifice to Prajāpati, at which he gives away all his belongings as the sacrificial fee, and on its completion, withdrawing the fires within himself, he shall turn his mind towards Liberation, after having studied the Veda, performed Japa, begotten sons, made gifts of food, maintained the fires, and performed sacrifices to the best of his capacity.’

Jābāla-smṛti (Aparārka, p. 946).—‘Having completed Studentship, he shall become a Householder; after having been a Householder, he shall become a Hermit; after having been a Hermit he shall go forth as a Renunciate; or he may go forth directly after Studentship or Householdership or Hermitship.’

Jābāla (Parāśaramādhava, p, 535).—‘One should go forth the very day on which he becomes freed from all attachments.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Aparārka, p. 947).—‘After he has lived in the forest as a Hermit, the man, calm and advanced in age, should make up his mind to go forth as a Renunciate. Having withdrawn the fires within himself, free from all such feelings as fear, avarice, delusion, anger, sorrow, envy, pride and jealousy, he should not wait for any time; as men’s determinations are evanescent; hence he shall not wait for to-morrow, to-morrow; that very day he shall renounce all activities and go forth as a Renunciate.’

Vāyupurāṇa (Do., p. 949).—‘Leading the life of the Hermit, having his sins burnt by austerities, the twice-born man shall take to renunciation and enter the fourth stage. ì laving made offerings to Brāhmaṇas, gods and his own Pitṛs and men, and having performed the Vaiśvānarī or the Prājāpatya sacrifice, he shall deposit the fires within himself and shall go forth, uttering the proper mantras: thenceforward he shall renounce all affection and longing for sons and others.’

Nṛsiṃhapurāṇa (Aparārka, p. 951).—‘The Brāhmaṇa, whose gestatory, generative and digestive organs and the head are well-controlled, may go forth as a Renunciate, even without having married, and live on alms. Renunciation consists in the giving up of the affections, attachment to objects of sense, son, wife, good and evil, as also the anxiety for worldly affairs.’

Dakṣa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 533).—‘If any one reverses the order of the stages, he is the most sinful among men. If one having been a Householder, becomes a Religious Student, he is neither a Renunciate nor a Hermit; he is beyond the pale of all the stages.’

Aṅgiras (Do., p. 534).—‘Having found the world to be devoid of essence, and longing for the essential substance, the man, being free from all attachment, goes forth, without marrying. One may go forth either directly after Studentship or after having led the life of the Householder, or after having lived as a Hermit in the forest.’

Yama (Do., p. 536).—‘On the death of his wife, if he does not take to another wife, he should go forth as a Renunciate; or this highest path may be taken up by one who, having lived as a Hermit, has shaken off all his sins.’

Nārada (Do, p. 537).—‘Even from the very first stage, if the Brāhmaṇa becomes freed from all attachment for this ocean of worldliness, and desires liberation, he should renounce relationships and go forth as a Renunciate.’

Yogi-Yājñavalkya (Parāśaramādhava, p. 537).—‘There are four stages prescribed by the Veda for the Brāhmaṇa, three for the Kṣatriya, two for the Vaiśya and one for the Śūdra.’

Vāmanapurāṇa (Do.).—‘Pour stages have been spoken of for the Brāhmaṇa; three only, i.e., those of the Householder, the Student, the Hermit, for the Kṣatriva; only two—Householdership and Hermitship—for the Vaiśya; only one, that of Householdership, is proper for the Śūdra.’

Yājñavalkya (3.60).—‘Controlling his senses, renouncing all love and hatred and fear of things, the twice-born man becomes immortal.’

Smṛtyantara (Aparārka, p. 966; Parāśaramādhava, p. 538).—‘Having paid off the three debts, being freed from all notions of I and mine, the Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya, may go forth from the house.’

Kūrmapurāṇa (Parāśaramādhava, p. 538).—‘Having deposited the fires within himself, the twice-born man should become a Renunciate.’

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