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:

त्रिंशद्वर्षो वहेत् कन्यां हृद्यां द्वादशवार्षिकीम् ।
त्र्यष्टवर्षोऽष्टवर्षां वा धर्मे सीदति सत्वरः ॥ ९४ ॥

triṃśadvarṣo vahet kanyāṃ hṛdyāṃ dvādaśavārṣikīm |
tryaṣṭavarṣo'ṣṭavarṣāṃ vā dharme sīdati satvaraḥ || 94 ||

A man thirty years old shall marry a charming maiden twelve years old; or one twenty four years old, a damsel eight years old; in the event of his duties suffering, he may do it sooner.—(94)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

What the injunction means is that the maiden married should be so much younger than the man;—and not that marriage must be done only at. the age stated. Nor is any stress meant to be laid upon the exact number of years mentioned; all that is meant is that one should many a girl very much younger than himself.

This injunction does not occur in the section dealing with Marriage; hence, what is stated here cannot he regarded as a qualification of the persons undergoing that sacrament, and consequently, as an essential factor in the rite itself; for this same reason, it cannot be taken as precluding the age of ‘ten’ or ‘twenty-five’ or such others.

“But it is often found that even though laid down in a distinct passage, a detail does form an essential factor of an act”

True; but the very fact that the teacher has thought it fit to place the present text apart from the section on marriage is clearly indicative of the fact that he had some special purpose in this.

The practice of cultured men is also as we have stated.

Further, the age here stated can never be observed in the case of one’s son marrying a second time; so that, if the injunction were meant to be taken literally, it would mean that there should be no second marriage; and this would be absurd.—(94)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 766), which says that the following is the upshot of the texts bearing on this subject:—If the age of the girl is 8 years or less, she should be married to a man whose age is three times that of hers; if it is between 8 and 12, the age of the bidegroom should two and a half times;—if her age is between 12 and 16 then that of the bridegroom shall be two years less than the double of her age. Of the sentence ‘dharme sīdati satvaraḥ,’ it gives two explanations:—(a) if he finds that his religious duties would otherwise suffer, he may marry earlier; and (b) if he marries in haste,—i.e., if he marries before he has reached the prescribed age, or if he marries a girl whose age is lower than the one prescribed,—then he suffers in spiritual merit

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Ācāra, p. 474), as laying down the extent to which the bride should be younger than the bridegroom;—in Parāśaramādhava (Prāyaścitta, p. 121), which adds that this verse applies to cases where the girl has not menstruated upto 12 years;—in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 215);—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 82), which explains ‘tryaṣṭavarṣaḥ’ as ‘twenty-four years old’;—in Hemādri (Kāla, p. 801);—in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 112), which explains ‘satvara’ as ‘one of lower age,’ and deduces the conclusion that there is nothing wrong if the girl is married before her menstruation;—and in Gadādharapaddhati (Kāla, p. 222), which explains ‘satvaraḥ’ as one who is in a hurry to enter the Householder’s stage.’


Comparative notes by various authors

Mahābhārata (13.41.14).—‘One who is thirty or twenty-one years old shall take a wife sixteen years old, but before she has attained puberty.’

Viṣṇupurāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 766).—‘A man shall select a wife whose age is one-third of his own.’

Yama (Do.)—(Same as Manu.)

Āpastamba (Do., p. 767).—‘A man thirty-years old shall take a wife ten years old, before she has attained puberty; and one twenty-one years old, a girl seven years old.’

Āśvalāyana (Do.).—‘A maiden seven years old is called Śaiśavī; a man eighteen years of age shall marry her; a maiden eight years old is called Gaurī, conducive to richness of sons and grandsons; and she shall be married by a man twenty-five years old; a girl nine years old is called Rohiṇī conducive to richness of wealth; a wise man shall wed her for the accomplishment of all his desires; a girl over ten years age, until she has her courses, is called Gāndhārī; and she shall be married by a man desirous of living long.’

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