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...

Verse 9.77 [The Recalcitrant Wife: Supersession, Divorce]

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha:

संवत्सरं प्रतीक्षेत द्विषन्तीं योषितं पतिः ।
ऊर्ध्वं संवत्सरात् त्वेनां दायं हृत्वा न संवसेत् ॥ ७७ ॥

saṃvatsaraṃ pratīkṣeta dviṣantīṃ yoṣitaṃ patiḥ |
ūrdhvaṃ saṃvatsarāt tvenāṃ dāyaṃ hṛtvā na saṃvaset || 77 ||

For one year the husband shall bear with a hating wife; after the year he shall wrest her property and cease to co-habit with her.—(77)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Hating’—she who hates her husband.

The meaning of the verse is that he shall not turn her out of the house. Though the use of the root ‘vas’ with ‘sam’ is not compatible with the Accusative ending in ‘enam’; and ‘samvaset’, ‘co-habit’, would stand for ‘samvāsayet’, ‘allowed to live with him yet it should be taken to mean ‘chiding’. Even in the case of grievious sins, the woman is not to be turned away, since it has been laid down that ‘she is to be kept imprisoned in one room’; similarly, in the case of expiatory rites in connection with such sins. The confiscation of her property also is for the purpose of bringing her to her senses; and it does not mean absolute taking away of all her belongings.—(77)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 423).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 9.77-84)

Nārada (12.92-95).—‘The woman who wastes the entire property of her husband under the pretence that it is her own strīdhana, or who procures abortion, or who makes an attempt on her husband’s life,—the King shall banish her from the town. One who always shows malice to him, or makes unkind speeches, or eats before her husband,—he shall expel from his house. Let not a husband show love to a barren woman, or to one who gives birth to female children only, or whoso conduct is reprehensible, or who constantly contradicts him; if he does love conjugal intercourse with her, he becomes liable to censure himself. If a man forsakes a wife who is obedient, sweet-spoken, skilful, virtuous and the mother of male issue,—the King shall make him mindful of his duty by inflicting severe punishment.’

Yājñavalkya (1.73).—‘One who drinks wine, or is diseased, or guileful, or barren, or destructive of wealth, or harsh-tongued, or brings forth only female children, or bears malice towards her man,—shall be superseded.’

Āpastamba (Aparārka, p. 100).—‘So long as one’s wife is endowed with virtue and offspring, one shall not take to another wife; if she be wanting in either of the two, he shall take to another.’

Baudhāyana (2.4-516).—‘Let him abandon a barren wife in the tenth year; one who bears daughters only, in the twelfth; one whose children all die, in the fifteenth; but her who is quarelsome, without delay.’

Do. (Vivādaratnākara, p. 425).—‘If she does not attend upon him, or is barren or inimical to her husband,—such a wife the wise men always abandon; as also one who talks hurriedly and harshly.’

Viṣṇu (Vivādaratnākara, p. 423).—‘He who forsakes a faultless wife should be punished like a thief.’

Devala (Do.).—‘There is no expiation for the man who forsakes his wife, through folly and unjustly, and thereby abandons his duty and also progeny; hut he may abandon her if she is leprous or outcast or barren, or insane or with menstruation disorganised, or inimical towards himself.’

Vaśiṣṭha (Do.).—‘One who is averse to sexual intercourse, or to pilgrimage, or to the performance of her duties, or who has intercourse with a disciple or an elder,—these four kinds of wife should he abandoned; specially one who is prone to injure her husband.’

Hārīta (Do.).—‘He shall avoid a wife who destroys her embryo, has intercourse with lower castes, or with his disciples and sons, or is addicted to vicious habits, or is in the habit of wasting money and-grains.’

Do. (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 873).—‘The childless wife should be abandoned in the ninth year; one who loses her children, in the tenth year; one who gives birth to daughters only, during the eleventh year; and one of harsh words, immediately.’

Śaṅkha-Likhita (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 872),—‘One shall supersede a wife who is habitually unpleasant or inimical towards men, or disagreeable.’

Devala (Do.).—‘If a wife gives birth to too many children, the husband shall wait for eight years; if she is barren and otherwise defective, ten years; if she gives birth to daughters only, for twelve years,—and then, desirous of male issue, he shall take another wife in the lawful manner.’

Brahmapurāṇa (Parāśaramādhava—Ācara, p. 508).—‘If the wife is one that puts obstacles in the way of the performance of religious acts, or is unchaste, or is very much diseased,—the husband shall abandon her, for the; preservation of his righteousness;—if she is harsh of speech, he shall not abandon her, but supersede her; nor shall he give up having intercourse with her.’

Dakṣa (Aparārka, p. 113).—‘If the first wife, who is the wife-in-law, becomes faulty, then alone he shall take another wife with better qualities.’

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: