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:

पाणिग्रहणिका मन्त्राः कन्यास्वेव प्रतिष्ठिताः ।
नाकन्यासु क्व चिन्नॄणां लुप्तधर्मक्रिया हि ताः ॥ २२६ ॥

pāṇigrahaṇikā mantrāḥ kanyāsveva pratiṣṭhitāḥ |
nākanyāsu kva cinnṝṇāṃ luptadharmakriyā hi tāḥ || 226 ||

The marriage-ritual texts are applicable to virgins only, and nowhere among men, to non-virgins; and this because these latter are excluded from religious acts.—(220)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Pāṇigrahaṇa’ is marriage, the taking of a wife; in connection with the ritual of marriage, there are certain mantra - texts—such as ‘kanyā agnimayakṣata, etc.’ (‘the virgin offered a sacrifice to Agni’)—which indicate that it is virgins alone that can undergo the ceremonies of marriage. In fact, the very injunction of marriage itself says—‘one should marry a virgin,’ and it is this that is reiterated in the mantra-texts; and the mere fact of the term ‘virgin,’ being found in these mantra-texts could not be regarded as indicative of the restriction of marriage to virgins only; and this for the simple reason that mantra-texts, by their very nature have no injunctive force.

The same idea is further emphasised by means of a negative assertion—‘and nowhere among men, to non-virgins.’—That is, in no Vedic text is marriage with a non-virgin found to be mentioned.

Excluded from religions acts’— In as much as such girls would not be entitled to help in the performance of the Agni-hotra and other rites, or in the proper begetting of children, they are not fit for being married.

For this reason, when a man calls a virgin a ‘non-virgin,’ he should be punished with a heavy fine. This is what is meant by the adding of the present verse after what has been said in the preceding one.—(226)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 741), to the effect that the mantric marriage rites are meant only for those girls who are entitled to the name ‘Kanyā’ (virgin), i. e., those whose generative organs have not been ‘penetrated’;—and in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (p. 1019).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 8.226-227)

Vaśiṣṭha (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 741).—‘On the completion of the ceremony of Joining Hands, the maiden is married only in mantras; even after that, until she has had intercourse, she may be married again.’

Smṛti (Do., p. 585).—‘The maiden becomes separated from her gotra on marriage, on the completion of the Seventh Step.’

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