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:

मातुस्तु यौतकं यत् स्यात् कुमारीभाग एव सः ।
दौहित्र एव च हरेदपुत्रस्याखिलं धनम् ॥ १३१ ॥

mātustu yautakaṃ yat syāt kumārībhāga eva saḥ |
dauhitra eva ca haredaputrasyākhilaṃ dhanam || 131 ||

Whatever may be the separate property of the mother is the share of the unmarried daughter alone; and the daughter’s son shall inherit the entire property of the man who has no son.—(131)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

The term ‘yautaka’ is applied to the separate property of a woman; of which she alone is the sole owner.—Others apply it to only what she receives at marriage, and not to all that belongs to her; it is only over the former that she has an absolute right; as it is said that ‘women become their own mistresses, on obtaining presents at their marriage.’

Others again hold that the term ‘yautaka’ applies to the savings that the young woman makes out of what she receives from her husband for her clothing and ornaments, and also for the daily household expenses.

Is the share of the unmarried daughter only.’—Since the text adds the qualification ‘unmarried,’ it is clear that what is said here does not apply to one who has been married. Further, the term ‘eva,’ ‘only,’ referring to what is well known, sets aside the implications of the context; consequently, what is said here (regarding the mother’s property) cannot apply to the ‘appointed daughter’ (who would be married).

Gautama—after having declared that the woman’s property descends to her children’ (28.24)—adds—‘To her daughters who are unmarried and unsettled;’ where ‘unsettled’ stands for those who, though married, are childless, and without any property of their own, not having obtained a footing in the house of their husbands.

The grandson alone is to inherit’—the entire property of the man who dies without a legitimate son. What would be the share of the grandson, when the man dies leaving a legitimate son, shall he declared Inter on.

The term ‘grandson’ stands for the son of the appointed daughter, in the present sentence only, not throughout the context; as it is only in connection with the ‘mother’s separate property’ (mentioned in the first half of the verse) that there is any authority for rejecting the implications of the context (which refers to the Appointed Daughter).—(131)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“According to Medhātithi, Kullūka and Nārāyaṇa, all Strīdhana is meant;—according to ‘others’ mentioned by Medhātithi, Nandana and Rāghavānanda, the so-called ‘saudāyika’ or property derived from the father’s family.”—Buhler.

Kumārī’—‘an unmarried daughter (Medhātithi and Kullūka);—‘a daughter who has no sons’ (Nārāyaṇa).

The first half of this verse is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 517) which adds the following notes:—‘Yautakam’ here stands for what has been given to the girl at the time of her marriage, by her father and other relatives. Halāyudha however holds that it stands for what has been given to the woman for such household purposes as the purchase of vegetables and other things, out of which, by her clever management, she may have saved and increased by judicious handling. To such property of the mother either the sons or the married daughters can have no right, as a rule; but if among the married daughters there be such as are childless or otherwise ill-conditioned, these are to have an equal share in the property.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 372), which explains ‘yautakam’ as ‘property obtained from the father’s family’;—in Aparārka (p. 721), to the effect that when the mother’s property comes to be divided among her daughters, the unmarried ones have the preference over the married ones;—in Smṛtitattva II (p. 186), which has the following note:—The term ‘yautaka’ is derived from the root ‘yu’ (to join), and hence signifying junction, or union, it stands for ‘what is given at marriage’;—in Vyavahāra-Bālambhaṭṭī (pp. 631 and 750);—in Dāyakramasaṅgraha (p. 21);—and by Jīmūtavāhana (Dāyabhāga, p. 132), which says ‘yautakam’ stands for the dowry obtained at marriage,—this being indicated by the root ‘yu’ (to join) from which the word is derived,—marriage being the ‘joining’ of the husband and wife.


Comparative notes by various authors

(See below 192.)

Mahābhārata (13.45-12).—(Same as Manu.)

Gautama (2.8.24).—‘A woman’s separate property goes to her unmarried daughters, and on failure of such, to unsettled married daughters.’

Baudhāyana (2.3.43).—‘The daughters shall obtain the ornaments of their mother, as many as are presented according to the custom of the caste; or anything else may be given.’

Vaśiṣṭha (17.46).—‘Let the daughters divide the nuptial present of their mother.’

Viṣṇu (17.21).—‘If she died leaving children, her wealth goes in every case to her daughter.’

Yājñavalkya (2.145).—‘If a woman has died without issue, her property goes to her husband, in the case of her having been married by the first four forms of marriage; but to her father, in the case of her having been married by the other forms of marriage; if she has died leaving children, her property goes to her daughters.’

Devala (Vivādaratnākara, p. 519).—‘On the mother’s death her Strīdhana belongs equally to her sons and daughters; if she dies childless, it goes to her husband, or to her mother, or brother or father.’

Bṛhaspati (25.87 Aparārka, p. 721).—‘A woman’s Strīdhana goes to her children; her daughter also has a share in it, if she is unmarried; if married, she receives only some honorific trifle.’

Pāraskara (Parāśaramādhana-Vyāvahāra, p. 372).—‘A woman’s Strīdhana has been declared to belong to her unmarried daughter; if the daughter has been married, she shares it equally with her brothers.’

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