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:

कर्णौ चर्म च वालांश्च बस्तिं स्नायुं च रोचनाम् ।
पशुषु स्वामिनां दद्यान् मृतेष्वङ्कानि दर्शयेत् ॥ २३४ ॥

karṇau carma ca vālāṃśca bastiṃ snāyuṃ ca rocanām |
paśuṣu svāmināṃ dadyān mṛteṣvaṅkāni darśayet || 234 ||

On the death of the animals, he shall make over to the owner their ears, skin, tail-hairs, bladder and tendons and the concrete bile, and also point out their marks.—(231)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

When, on the expiry of their lives, the animals have died, the ears and other limbs should be made over to the owner.

The ‘concrete bile’ is a powder obtained from the horns of cows.

Bladder’—is a particular part of the body.

Marks’—such as ‘cleft ears’ and the like, which serve to distinguish the animals;—these should be pointed out.

In this manner, does the keeper become absolved from blame.

By seeing the marks the particular animal becomes identified.—(234)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.164), to the effect, that if the cattle placed in charge of a keeper should die by chance, then he should make over its ear and other things to the owner;—where Bālambhaṭṭī adds the following notes:—‘Charma’, skin;—‘bālān’, hairs, as indicating the death of the animal;—‘basti,’ a part of the urinary organ;—‘snāyu’ is fat;—‘pūyāni’ is another reading;—‘rocanā’, the yellow pigment in the cow’s eyes;—all these should be shown to the owner of the cattle;—when these die; and other parts of its body also should be brought up; such as the horns, hoofs and so forth, which would indicate the particular animal that may have died. If we read ‘Aṅkāṃśca,’ it would mean the marks made on the body of the animal should be shown; in the reading ‘aṅkāni’ or ‘aṅgāni,’ the meaning would be that while showing the marks, he should hand over the ears &c.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 175), which notes that all that is meant by mentioning the ‘ears’ &c. is that the distinguishing features of the dead animal should be shown. It explains ‘mṛteṣu’ as ‘in the case of those dying at a distance’, and ‘aṅgāni’ as such comparatively lasting parts of the body as the horns and so forth. It notes that ‘aṅgādi’ is another reading for ‘aṅgāni’, in which case ‘ādi’ stands for such other signs of this animal as may be well known.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 265), as laying down that in the case of animals dying by chance, its ear &c. should be shown to the owner;—in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 96), as laying down sure evidence of the death of cattle; it explains ‘aṅka’ as the horn and so forth, ‘as explained by Madana’;—and in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, 137a), which notes the readings ‘aṅgādi’, ‘aṅgāni’ and ‘aṅkādi’,—it explains ‘aṅka’ as ‘such marks of recognition as the horn, the ears and so forth’,—and adds that ‘ādi’ is meant to include witnesses.


Comparative notes by various authors

Nārada (6.17).—‘In the ease of the death of an animal entrusted to his care, the herdsman is free from blame, if he can produce the tail, the horns and other things.’

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