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:

मद्यपाऽसाधुवृत्ता च प्रतिकूला च या भवेत् ।
व्याधिता वाऽधिवेत्तव्या हिंस्राऽर्थघ्नी च सर्वदा ॥ ८० ॥

madyapā'sādhuvṛttā ca pratikūlā ca yā bhavet |
vyādhitā vā'dhivettavyā hiṃsrā'rthaghnī ca sarvadā || 80 ||

If the wife is a drunkard, or false in conduct, or rebellious, or diseased or mischievous, or wasteful,—she should be superseded.—(80)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Drunkard’—addicted to drinking wine; and hence incapable of looking after cooking, and other household work. Such a woman deserves “supersession.” If she persists in drinking, even after she has been forbidden by her elders, she shall undergo the punishment laid down later on, in verse 84. For the sin of transgressing what she ought to observe, she should perform an expiatory rite; but on repetition, she shall be superseded.

Other grounds for supersession have been laid down as hampering the due fulfilment of religious rites, begetting of children and other household duties.

In the case of the Brāhmaṇa woman, for whom wine-drinking has been forbidden by the scriptures, there is to be expiation of the sin of drinking, if the act is not repeated. She does not become an outcast, since the grounds for women being outcasts have been enumerated—‘abortion, and service of low-born men are the grounds for women becoming outcasts’—(says Gautama, 21.9.) All this we shall explain under Discourse XI; it has been dealt with under Discourse V also.

False in Conduct’—whose conduct is not good; for instance, whose treatment of servants is harsh, who takes her food even before the religious offerings have been made, who has no faith in rites in honour of gods and pitṛs, or in the feeding of Brāhmṇnas and such religious acts.

Wasteful’—who is a spendthrift, and does not take proper care of her utensils and furniture, and buys them at high prices and so forth.

Mischievous’—who is inclined to inflict punishments for very small offences (?), and who is prone to interfere with ordinary daily expenditure (?).

Supersession’—i.e., marrying of a wife over and above the said one.—(80)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 508), which explains ‘vyādhitā’ as ‘suffering from a long lingering disease—in Madanapārijāta (p. 188), which adds the following notes:—‘Madyapā’, the woman who is addicted to drinking what is forbidden for the caste to which she belongs,—‘asatyavṛttā,’ whose conduct is not good,—‘pratikūlā,’ in the habit of doing tilings disagreeable to her husband and of beating her children, servants and others,—‘arthaghnī,’ prone, through idleness, to wasting money,—‘adhivedana’ means the taking of another wife.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 100), which adds the note that ‘vyādhitā’ means suffering from a lingering disease;—it quotes this verse in support of the view that what is meant to be a ground for superseding the wife is not the drinking of liquor, but the drinking of any intoxicant; the drinking of wine being one of the ‘serious’ sins, it would make the woman liable to be renounced, and not only superseded.

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 871), whieh adds that ‘Madyapā’ here has been held by older writers to refer only to women of the twice-born castes; but in reality it refers to all the four castes, for all of whom the drinking of all the three kinds of ‘wine’—Gauḍī, Mādhvī and Paiṣṭī—is forbidden;—‘asatyavṛttā’ is ill-behaved or untruthful;—‘pratikūlā,’ acting in ways injurious to her husband;—‘vyādhitā,’ suffering from such diseases as render her unfit for household work;—‘hiṃsrā’, addicted to beating children and maidservants;—‘arthaghnī’, ‘prone to wasting the wealth acquired;’—‘sarvadā’ is to be construed as qualifying ‘asatyavṛttā’ and the other epithets,—the meaning being the wife who is always untruthful.

It is quoted in Saṃskāraratnamālā (p. 592), which explains ‘vyādhitā’ as a ‘confirmed invalid.’


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 9.77-84)

See Comparative notes for Verse 9.77.

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