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:

अन्नादे भ्रूणहा मार्ष्टि पत्यौ भार्याऽपचारिणी ।
गुरौ शिष्यश्च याज्यश्च स्तेनो राजनि किल्बिषम् ॥ ३१७ ॥

annāde bhrūṇahā mārṣṭi patyau bhāryā'pacāriṇī |
gurau śiṣyaśca yājyaśca steno rājani kilbiṣam || 317 ||

The Embryo-killer expurgates his guilt on him who eats his food, the misbehaving wife on her husband, the disciple and the sacrificer on the preceptor, and the thief on the king.—(317)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Annāda’—one who eats food.

Bhrūṇahā’—he who has killed a Brāhmaṇa.

This latter ‘expurgates’ throws upon ‘the man who eats his food’—‘the guilt,’ of killing the Brāhmaṇa; just as when the dirty cloth is washed in water, its dirt becomes thrown into the water.

This is a purely valedictory declaration. The meaning is that the guilt becomes separated from the Brāhmaṇa-killer, and attaches itself to the other man.

On the ‘pati’—the husband —‘the mishaving’—adulterous—‘wife’—if he condones the act. Here also the guilt disappears from the wife and attaches itself to the husband.

On the preceptor, the disciple and the sacrificer’;—if the disciple transgresses the laws relating to sun-rise, etc., and the preceptor condones it, the guilt becomes thrown upon the latter. Similarly the ‘sacrificer’ on the officiating priest; since the latter is a ‘preceptor’; that is why the ‘officiating priest’ has not been mentioned separately.

Similarly ‘the thief on the King,’—if he is not punished by the King.

If the sacrificer, in course of the sacrificial performances, transgresses the rules, and does not adhere to the advice of the officiating priest,—then he should be abandoned by the latter; and he is not to be chastised and beaten, in the manner of a disciple.

In regard to the ‘man who eats his food’ and the rest, the present text should not he taken as laying down an injunction; the whole of it is purely declamatory.—(317)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

Mss. N and S place 317 and its Bhāṣya after 318 but both add a note to the effect—‘ayam shloko rājabhirityasmāt pūrvam lekhanīyaḥ’, ‘this verse should be written after the verse rājabhiḥ &c.’ This is apparently a corrector’s note on the mistake committed by a copyist.

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika, p. 509), which adds the following note:—‘Kilviṣam’ is to be construed with each of the four—‘annāda’, ‘pati’, ‘guru’ and ‘rājā’—and ‘mārṣṭi’ means ‘passes on.’

It is quoted in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 146), which explains ‘mārṣṭi’ as ‘transfer’;—and in Hemādri (Śrāddha, p. 781).


Comparative notes by various authors

Vaśiṣṭha (19.44).—‘They quote the following verse:—“The slayer of a learned Brāhmaṇa casts his guilt on him who eats his food; a misbehaving wife on her husband; a student and a sacrificer on the teacher and the officiating priest; and a thief on the King.” The guilt falls on the King who pardons an offender, if he causes him to he slain, he destroys sin in accordance with the sacred law.’

Āpastamba (1.19.15).—‘They quote the following:—“The murderer of a Brāhmaṇa learned in the Veda heaps his guilt on his guest; an innocent man on his calumniator; a thief set at liberty, on the King; and the petitioner, on him who makes false promises.”

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