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:

सा चेदक्षतयोनिः स्याद् गतप्रत्यागताऽपि वा ।
पौनर्भवेन भर्त्रा सा पुनः संस्कारमर्हति ॥ १७६ ॥

sā cedakṣatayoniḥ syād gatapratyāgatā'pi vā |
paunarbhavena bhartrā sā punaḥ saṃskāramarhati || 176 ||

In case she be still a virgin, or having gone away comes back,—she is fit to undergo re-marriage with her second husband.—(176)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

(verses 9.173-178)

[The Bhāṣya on these verses is not available in any of the manuscripts.]


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“Rāghavānada, relying on Yājñavalkya 2.130, thinks that the word ‘’ at the end of the first half-verse, permits the insertion of ‘or not a virgin.’”—Buhler.

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 96), which adds the following explanation:—If, on the death of her flawless husband,—or even during the life-time of a husband who is either impotent or insane or out-cast,—a woman has recourse to a second man, that man is called her ‘paunarbhava’ husband, and the woman who is formally married to such a husband is called ‘punarbhūḥ’; or the meaning may be that if a woman abandons the husband of her youth,—who has no defects and is fully capable of maintaining her,—and has sexual intercourse with another man, but returns again to her former husband, she is ‘gatapratyāgatā’ and also ‘kṣatayoni’; and the husband (deserted and resumed) is ‘paunarbhava’.—Both these kinds of the ‘paunarbhava’ are described by Vaśiṣṭha.

It is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Saṃskāra, p. 740) to the effect that re-marriage is permitted only so long as the girl is still ‘akṣatayoni’, ‘virgin’. It adds the following notes:—If the virgin here described marries again, it is the second husband that is called ‘paunarbhava’; and it is this man, and his sons, that are excluded from śrāddhas and gifts etc.; the name cannot apply to the former (deserted) husband or his sons. Though the woman being ‘punarbhūḥ’, both the husbands, being related to her, are liable to the title ‘paunarbhava’ (‘related to the Punarbhū’), yet the most reasonable view appears to be to apply the title to that particular husband by virtue of whose connection the woman herself becomes ‘punarbhū’. Aparārka has applied the title to both the husbands; but this view becomes annulled by the above considerations. Though in the explanation provided by us, there would appear to be no distinction made as to whether the gatapratyāgatā girl is or is not still a virgin, yet both Nārāyaṇa and Medhātithi have held that the epithet ‘akṣatayoniḥ’, ‘virgin’, is meant to be construed with the ‘gatapratyāgatā’ also. And this is the correct view.

It is quoted in the Nṛsiṃhaprasāda (Vyavahāra 38a.)


Comparative notes by various authors

Baudhāyana (4.1.15-16).—‘If a damsel has been abducted by force, and has not been wedded with the sacred texts, she may lawfully be given to another man; she is even like a maiden.—If, after a damsel has been given away,—or even after the nuptial rites have been performed,—the bridegroom dies,—she who has thus left the father’s house and has come hack to it, may ho again wedded, according to the rule applicable to second weddings; provided the marriage had not been consummated.’

Vaśiṣṭha (17.74).—‘If a damsel, before the death of her husband, had been merely wedded by the sacred texts, and the marriage had not been consummated, she may be married again.’

Viṣṇu (15.8).—‘She who being still a virgin, is married a second time is called Punarbhū, re-married.’

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