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:

अकृता वा कृता वाऽपि यं विन्देत् सदृशात् सुतम् ।
पौत्री मातामहस्तेन दद्यात् पिण्डं हरेद् धनम् ॥ १३६ ॥

akṛtā vā kṛtā vā'pi yaṃ vindet sadṛśāt sutam |
pautrī mātāmahastena dadyāt piṇḍaṃ hared dhanam || 136 ||

Either appointed on not appointed, if a daughter bears a son to a husband of equal status, through that son does the maternal grandfather become endowed with a ‘son’s son’; he shall offer the funeral cake and inherit his property.—(136)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

By duly considering what has gone before and what follows next, it is clear that the present verse also refers to the Appointed Daughter.

It has been said that the son of the unappointed daughter also is entitled to the property of his maternal grandfather; how much more so is the son of the Appointed Daughter entitled to it?—This is the idea meant to be expressed. The verse cannot he taken as laying down the title of the grandson to the property of the maternal grandfather; for if such a general principle were recognised, then there would be no need for the institution of the ‘appointed daughter’ at all.

“But in another Smṛti text it is found to be laid down that it is incumbent upon every daughter’s son to offer the cake to his maternal grandfather:—‘so also on behalf of the mother’s fathers’ (Yājañvalkya, 1.228). And in the present verse also, if we ignore the fact of its occurring in a context dealing with the ‘appointed daughter,’ and bear in mind the words of the text itself, it appeal’s only reasonable to take, as pertaining to every daughter’s son, the injunction regarding ‘the offering of cakes and the inheriting of property. In another text also, it has been declared that ‘the daughter’s son shall take the entire property etc., etc.’ (Manu, 9.132).”

Our answer to the above is as follows:—In the text quoted from Yājñavalkya, we find the term ‘mother’s fathers

in the plural; now does this refer directly to the individual ‘father,’ or indirectly to the ‘mother’s grandfather’ and other ancestors? In the former case, it would mean that the offering is to be made to the maternal grandfather only, just like the ordinary ‘Śrāddha’ and other offerings; and this would be wrong, after the ‘Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa’ has been done (which has unified the mother’s father with her grandfather and great-grandfather); since it has been declared that ‘after the Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa one shall offer cakes to all the three.’ If it be held that the Sapiṇḍīkaraṇa rite itself may not be performed. But this also could not be; as the performance of it is nowhere forbidden. As for ‘indirect’ indication, it can be justified only under very special circumstances; and then too it must be in consonance with the direct declaration of Śruti texts. And it is only in very special circumstances that a text ean be entirely separated from the context in which it occurs; as is found to be the case in regard to the ‘Twelve Upasads.’ (Mīmāṃsā Sūtra. 3.3.15-16).

As for the epithet ‘not appointed,’ it has been already explained that it means something quite different.

For all these reasons, the verse must be taken as referring to the son of the Appointed Daughter only.—(136)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

‘(a) Akṛtā vā (b) kṛtā.’—(a) ‘Daughter not appointed explicitly, and (b) one appointed explicitly’ (Kullūka);—(b) ‘unappointed, i.e., any ordinary daughter’ (Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa Nandana);—the ‘unappointed daughter’ is added only hyperbolically, the meaning being that ‘when even the unappointed daughter is entitled to inherit, the appointed one is all the more entitled’ (Medhātithi).

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.136), to the effect that in the absence of the son and the daughter, the property goes to the daughter’s son. The Bālambhaṭṭī adds that Vijñāneśvara had taken the verse as applying to all daughters, but Medhātīthi has come to the conclusion that the rule is meant for the ‘Appointed Daughter’ only.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 435), to the effect that the ‘daughter’s son’ who inherits his grand-father’s property must offer Śrāddhas to him;—in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra 40b);—in Vīramitrodaya (Vyavahāra, p. 190a and 205b), which explains that the Appointed Daughter being a ‘son’, her son, even though the ‘son of a daughter’ (dauhitra) is virtually the ‘son’s son’ (pautra); and hence just as the son’s son inherits the property op the failure of the son, so does the daughter’s son also, on the failure of the daughter;—and by Jîmūtavāhana (Dāyabhāga. p. 224).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (28.9).—‘Some people declare that a daughter becomes an Appointed Daughter merely by the intention of her father.’

Yama (Aparārka, p. 435).—‘The son of the Appointed Daughter should always offer the Shraddha to his mother’s father.’

Kātyāyana (Do.)—‘If one has no son, his Śrāddha should he performed by his daughter’s son.’

Skanda (Do.)—‘If one inherits the property of the father and other ancestors of his mother, he must perform their Śrāddha in due form.’

Bṛhaspati (25.37).—‘Both a son’s son and the son of an Appointed Daughter lead a man to heaven; both are pronounced to be equal as regards their right of inheritance and the duty of offering balls of meal.’

Smṛti (Vivādaratnākara, p. 586).—‘The son’s sou and the son of the Appointed Daughter both lead one to supreme Bliss; and both are considered equal in the matter of offering the Ball of meal and water, and also in regard to inheritance.’

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