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 9.101 [Summary of the Law Relating to Husband and Wife]

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

अन्योन्यस्याव्यभिचारो भवेदामरणान्तिकः ।
एष धर्मः समासेन ज्ञेयः स्त्रीपुंसयोः परः ॥ १०१ ॥

anyonyasyāvyabhicāro bhavedāmaraṇāntikaḥ |
eṣa dharmaḥ samāsena jñeyaḥ strīpuṃsayoḥ paraḥ || 101 ||

‘May mutual fidelity continue till death’,—this, in brief should be understood as the highest duty between husband and wife.—(101)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Fidelity’—unstinted obedience in all actions. Says Āpastamba: (a) ‘The wife should not be neglected in matters relating to Duties, Wealth and Pleasure’;—(b) ‘The highest good of man consists in Duty, Wealth and Pleasure, as it is declared that the whole fabric rests upon these three factors.’

Some people hold the following view:—“What is meant by ‘fidelity’ here is non-abandonment; otherwise, as to the woman, so to the man also, it would not he open to many more than one wife.”

This however is not right; because in regard to men there is a distinct sanction—(a) ‘Those who act through mere lust, etc.,’ (b) ‘the barren wife shall be superseded in the eighth year,’ and so forth; while there is no such sanction in the case of women. There is another text also which is indicative of the same fact—‘There are several wives for one man, but not several husbands for a woman at the same time.’

Until death,’—till they die; i.e., it ends only when either of them dies.

This should be understood to be the highest duty of man and wife, stated in brief.—(101)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 110), which adds that fidelity to each other is an obligatory duty, the transgression of which necessitates expiation;—and in Vivādaratnākara (p. 421).

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