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:

गोत्ररिक्थे जनयितुर्न हरेद् दत्त्रिमः क्व चित् ।
गोत्ररिक्थानुगः पिण्डो व्यपैति ददतः स्वधा ॥ १४२ ॥

gotrarikthe janayiturna hared dattrimaḥ kva cit |
gotrarikthānugaḥ piṇḍo vyapaiti dadataḥ svadhā || 142 ||

The adopted son shall not take the family-name or the property of his progenitor; the cake follows the family-name and the property; for him therefore who gives away his son the funeral offerings cease.—(142)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

It is only right that the adopted son should have a share in his adoptive father’s property; since he does not inherit either the family-name or the property of his progenitor; and this for the simple reason that he has gone out of the family.

Inasmuch as he does not inherit the family-name and the property of the progenitor, he does not offer cakes to him; since ‘the cake follows the family-name and the property’;—that is, a son offers the funeral cakes etc., to that preson whose family-name and property he inherits.

Ceases’— drops away from him.

Svadhā’;—this syllable stands for that which makes the use of the syllable ‘svadhā’ possible;—i. e., the Śrāddha and other offerings. And when a man gives away his son to another man, those offerings cease for him; that is. they should not be offered to him.

This law applies to the ‘made’ and other kinds of sons,—i.e., ‘the one conceived before marriage,’ the ‘cast off’ and ‘the one who benefits both.’

Others construe ‘haret’ as implying the causal form ‘hārayet’, ‘should deprive’; which means that the adopted son shall benefit both fathers.

But the fact of the matter is that the verse opens with the relinquishing of privileges; so that consistently with that, the latter half also should mean that ‘no cake shall be offered’; i.e., the father also shall relinquish his privilege of receiving the cakes.

In the face of these facts, some authority will have to be found for attributing a different meaning to the words (‘haret’ and the rest).—(142)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“The general meaning is that all connections with the first family ceases. Nevertheless, according to Kātyāyana and the later usage, if there is a special agreement to that effect, the son may belong to both fathers (dvyāmuṣyāyaṇa)”.—Hopkins.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.132), which notes that ‘adopted son’ is here mentioned as representing all kinds of secondary ‘sons all of whom are entitled to inherit the ‘father’s’ property, as is clear from verse 185 below.—The Bālambhaṭṭī has the following notes:—‘Datrimaḥ’ is the same as ‘dattaka’, the adopted son;—‘janayituḥ’, of the progenitor;—according to Medhātithi ‘janayituḥ’ is to be taken as with the Ablative ending; thus then the adopted son is not affected by the impurity consequent on the death of his progenitor. This verse permits the adopting of sons even of gotras other than the adopter’s own.—‘Pīṇḍa’ means the offering of śrāddha, and this offering of śrāddha follows the gotra and the inheritance, i.e. śrāddha is to be offered to that ‘father’ whose ‘gotra’ and ‘inheritance’ one receives;—it is for this reason that the ‘svadhāi.e., śrāddha, offered by the adopted son, ceases—‘vyapaiti’—from the person who gave the son to be adopted by another; i.e. the adopted son shall not offer śrāddha to that person.—In reality however the term ‘piṇḍa’ here stands for ‘sāpiṇḍya if it is taken in the sense of ‘śrāddha’. then the subsequent sentence ‘vyapaiti svadhā’ becomes a superfluous repetition. It is for this reason that all cultured people treat, in all matters, the adopted son as belonging to the gotra of the adoptive father, and on the death of the adopted son, it is the sapiṇḍas of the adoptive father that observe impurity for ten days; and in all matters he is regarded as a ‘sapiṇḍa’ of the family of the adoptive father. It is for the same reason that the adopted son is regarded as having ceased to be the sapiṇḍa of his progenitor’s family.—All this however holds good in a case where the progenitor has got other sons; in cases where he has none such, his property must go to his begotten son, even though adopted by another person; and he must perform his śrāddha also. It is in this sense that the ‘dvyāmuṣyāyana’ has been held to benefit both the families,

The verse is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 351), which adds the following notes:—The ‘adopted’ son is mentioned only by way of illustration, it stands for all the secondary sons.—Though there are texts that lay down that the secondary sons are entitled to inherit the property of the ‘father’, yet these must refer to other Yugas, except so far as the ‘adopted’ son is concerned, who inherits in Kali-yuga also.

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 208), as indicating the legality of adopting sons of other gotras also. It proceeds to set forth the order of preference among the several alternatives regarding the gotra &c. of the son to be adopted:—(1) One who is both sagotra and sapiṇḍa of the adopter,—(2) who is sapiṇḍa but not sagotra,—(3) who is sagotra but not sapiṇḍa,—(4) who has the same pravaras,—(5) who is neither sagotra nor sapiṇḍa nor sapravara.—It is quoted again on p. 686, as likely to be understood as prohibiting the performance of śrāddha for the progenitor, and hence implying that the son adopted by another person ceases to be the ‘sapiṇḍa’ of his progenitor.—It is quoted again on p. 716, where the following notes are added:—The adopted son is not to take the ‘gotra’ or the ‘estate’ of his progenitor, and the ‘sapiṇḍa character’ as also the ‘performance of śrādhā’ of the person who gives away the son to be adopted,—becomes removed from the adopted son; and the reason for this is that the Pīṇḍa follows the ‘gotra and the estate’ and hence ceases when these two cease.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva II (p. 38), where the clause ‘gotrarikthānugaḥ piṇḍah’ only is quoted in support of the principle that inheritance is based upon the benefit conferred by the inheritor upon the original owner of the property.—It is quoted again on p. 384 as indicating the superiority of the Daughter to the adopted and other secondary sons;—and again on p. 391, as laying down that the liability to offering Piṇḍas is based upon the inheritance of property.

It is quoted in Nirṇayasindhu (p. 278), which notes that what is here stated refers to cases where the progenitor has other sons.

It is quoted in Vivādaratnākara (p. 568), which adds that in view of the general principle that the ‘offering of Piṇḍas’ follows ‘gotra and inheritance’, the former ceases in the case stated;—‘svadhā’ stands for śrāddha and other offerings.

It is quoted in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 51), which adds the following notes:—The meaning is that the ‘Piṇḍa’ is concomitant with ‘gotra and inheritance’;—this refers to the ‘purely adopted son’, the Dvyāmuṣyāyaṇa retaining the gotra, etc., of his progenitor also;—‘Piṇḍa’ stands for the śrāddha and other after-death rites, according to Medhātithi, Kullūka Bhaṭṭa and others; while, according to others, ‘piṇḍa’ stands for the ‘sapiṇḍa-character’ and ‘svadhā’ for the śrāddha and other after-death rites; as a matter of fact, however, what the terms “gotra-rikṭha-piṇḍa-svadhā” stand for is all that, is due to the relationship of the progenitor; and all this is precluded in the case in question; thus it follows that the adopted son ceases to have the relation of ‘uterine brotherhood’ with the other sons of his progenitor, and so forth.

It is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 135) as indicating the change of gotra for the adopted son;—in Gotrapravaranihandhakadamba (p. 185), which says that this applies only to the offering of Śrāddha and such things;—in Smṛticandrikā (Saṃskāra, p. 185) as laying down the cessation of the generator’s gotra;—in Saṃskāramayūkha (p. 79) as lending support to the view that the son adopted in another family loses the Sāpiṇḍya also of his progenitor’s family; in Saṃskāraratnamālā (p. 455), which says that this is meant for cases where the progenitor has got another son;—in Dattakamīmānsā (p. 30), which explains the second line to mean that ‘in giving his son for being adopted by another person, he relinquishes the śrāddha that that son would have offered’;—in Dattakacandrikā (p. 53), which explains the verse to mean that—‘By the mere act of being given to be adopted the son ceases to be a son to his progenitor, and thereby relinquishes all his gotra and all claims to his property’;—and in Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (śrāddha 4a).


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 9.141-142)

See Comparative notes for Verse 9.141.

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