Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi

by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN-10: 8120811550 | ISBN-13: 9788120811553

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:

भर्तारं लङ्घयेद् या तु स्त्री ज्ञातिगुणदर्पिता ।
तां श्वभिः खादयेद् राजा संस्थाने बहुसंस्थिते ॥ ३७१ ॥

bhartāraṃ laṅghayed yā tu strī jñātiguṇadarpitā |
tāṃ śvabhiḥ khādayed rājā saṃsthāne bahusaṃsthite || 371 ||

If a woman, proud of relations and her qualities, passes over her husband, the king shall have her devoured by dogs in a place frequented by many.—(371)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Passing over’ means neglecting the husband and going over to another man; if a woman does this through ‘pride,’—the pride consisting in the idea,—‘I have several relations who are powerful and wealthy, and I myself am possessed of all the excellent qualities of a woman, such as beauty and love,—why then should I mind my character?’

Such women the king shall get devoured, till they die.

Place’—spot; where many people congregate, such as road-crossings, market-squares and so forth.—(371)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 119);—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 399), which adds the following notes:—‘Laṅghayet’, disregarding her husband, if she goes to another man,—‘jñātistrīguṇadarpitā’, being insolent on account of her relatives and such feminine qualities as beauty and the like.


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (Aparārka, p. 857).—‘If one commits adultery with a woman of a superior caste, his organ shall he cut off, and his property confiscated.’

Gautama (23.14).—‘A woman who commits adultery with a man of lower caste, the King shall cause to he devoured by dogs in a public place.’

Vaśiṣṭha (21.1).—(See under next verse.)

Viṣṇu (5.18).—‘A woman who violates the duty which she owes to her lord shall be put to death.’

Nārada (12.91).—‘When a married woman commits adultery, her head shall be shaved, she shall have to he on the ground, receive bad food and bad clothing and the removal of sweepings shall he assigned to her as her occupation.’

Kātyāyana (Vivādaratnākara, p. 400).—‘If during her husband’s absence, a woman is detected in illicit intercourse, she shall he kept confined till her husband’s return.’

Yama (Vivādaratnākara, p. 398).—‘If a Brāhmaṇa woman, deluded by pride, has recourse to a Śūdra, her the King shall have devoured by dogs at the place of execution. If a Brāhmaṇa woman has recourse to a Vaiśya or a Kṣatriya, her head shall be shaved and she shall be paraded on an ass.’

Mahābhārata (12.165.64).—‘If a woman forsakes a superior bed and has recourse to an inferior one, the King shall have her torn by dogs in a crowded place.’

Arthaśāstra (p. 171).—‘If during her husband’s absence a woman has intercourse with her husband’s relative or servant, she should await her husband’s return; if the husband forgives them, the two parties shall be released; if he does not forgive, the woman’s ears and nose shall be cut off and her lover shall be put to death.’

Yājñavalkya (2.286).—‘If both parties to an adultery belong to the same caste, the highest fine shall he inflicted on the man; if the woman is of an inferior caste, the man shall he fined with the middle amercement; if she belongs to a superior caste, the man shall be put to death and the woman’s ears and other parts shall he cut off.’

Matsyapurāṇa (Vivādaratnākara, p. 400).—‘If during her husband’s absence a man defiles a woman forcibly, he should he punished with death, and there is no blame attaching to the woman.’

Hārīta (Vivādaratnākara, p. 396).—‘If a man violates the bed of one of inferior caste, he should be made to be devoured by dogs, and the woman should be burnt by wood-fire.’

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