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:

न माता न पिता न स्त्री न पुत्रस्त्यागमर्हति ।
त्यजन्नपतितानेतान् राज्ञा दण्ड्यः शतानि षट् ॥ ३८९ ॥

na mātā na pitā na strī na putrastyāgamarhati |
tyajannapatitānetān rājñā daṇḍyaḥ śatāni ṣaṭ || 389 ||

Neither the mother, nor the father, nor the wife, nor the son deserve to be forsaken; he who forsakes these, unless they are outcasts, should be fined six hundred by the king.—(389)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The mother does not deserve to be forsaken,—should net be cast off. ‘Forsaking’ consists in turning her out of the house, if she has failed in her maternal duties; i.e., if she fails to do what she ought to do in return for what she receives at the bands of her son.

The same explanation applies to the case of the father and the rest also.

The term ‘strī’ (woman) stands for the wife, as is clear from the fact that the text mentions only relatives.

These should not be forsaken, unless they are outcasts. As regards the mother, Śātātapa has declared that ‘to the son the mother never becomes an outcast.’

The ‘forsaking’ of the outcast, wife consists in giving up all intercourse with her and in forbidding her to do household work; but the giving of food and clothing is not forbidden; as it is declared that—‘food and clothing should be given to even outcast wives, and these should live near the house.’—(389)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 357), which notes that ‘tyāga,’ ‘abandonment,’ here means ‘not according such treatment to them as has been prescribed in the scriptures’;—and that ‘strī’ here stands for the wife.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 823), which remarks that this rule refers to the abandoning of all the four collectively;—and in Vivādacintāmaṇi (p. 154).


Comparative notes by various authors

Viṣṇu (5.163).—‘A husband forsaking a blameless wife shall be punished as a thief.’

Yājñavalkya (2.237).—‘Between father and son, brother and sister, husband and wife, teacher and disciple,—if one forsakes the other, unless he or she has become an outcast, he shall be fined one hundred.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Aparārka, p. 823).—‘The father and the mother should never be forsaken; indeed no Sapiṇḍas possessing good qualities should be forsaken; if one forsakes these arbitrarily, unless they have become outcasts, he should he fined 200. Nor should one misbehave towards the father, mother, or teacher; one who misbehaves towards them shall have his limb cut off.’

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