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:

स्त्रियां तु यद् भवेद् वित्तं पित्रा दत्तं कथं चन ।
ब्राह्मणी तद् हरेत् कन्या तदपत्यस्य वा भवेत् ॥ १९८ ॥

striyāṃ tu yad bhaved vittaṃ pitrā dattaṃ kathaṃ cana |
brāhmaṇī tad haret kanyā tadapatyasya vā bhavet || 198 ||

The property that may have been given to a woman by her father shall be taken by the daughter of the Brāhamaṇa-caste; or it shall belong to the child of that daughter.—(198)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

(verses 9.182-201)

(No Bhāṣya available.)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Madanapārijāta (p. 667), which makes the following remarks:—The term ‘strī’ here stands for the step-mother and ‘kanyā’ for the stepdaughter,—‘Brāhmaṇī’ stands for higher caste in general, so that the property of a śūdra step-mother will go to the daughter of her Brāhmaṇī or Kṣatriya or Vaiśya co-wife, that of the Vaiśya step-mother will go to the daughter of Brāhmaṇī or Kṣatriya co-wife, and that of the Kṣatriya step-mother to the daughter of the Brāhmaṇī co-wife,—inasmuch as the present texṭ makes the property inheritable by the step-daughter of a higher caste, it follows that step-daughters of the lower caste are not entitled to inherit the property of the step-mother of a higher caste, so long as this latter has a son.

It is quoted in Parāśaramādhava (Vyavahāra, p. 372), to the effect that, when a woman dies childless, her property goes to the daughter of that co-wife of hers who is of a higher caste, and in the absence of such a daughter to the children of that daughter.

It is quoted in Smṛtitattva II (p. 186), which has the following notes:—In view of the qualification ‘given by the father’, the rule must be taken as referring to all that she receives from her father at other times than that of her marriage;—the term ‘Brāhmaṇī Kanyā’ stands for daughter in general;—or the meaning may be that if a Kṣatriya or Vaiśya woman dies childless, her property goes to her step-daughter born of her Brāhmaṇī co-wife, and not to her huśand.

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (2.145) to the effect that on the death of a childless woman her property goes to her stepdaughter born of a co-wife of the higher caste, and in the absence of such a daughter, to the child of that daughter. It adds that the term ‘Brāhmaṇi’ stands for the higher caste; so that the property of a childless Vaiśya woman goes to the daughter of her Kṣatriya co-wife. The Bālambhaṭṭī adds that the property goes to the step-daughter, not to the step-son; and it goes on to reproduce the exact words of Madanapārijāta and of Parāśaramādhva. It remarks that this rule is meant to be an exception to what has gone before, by which the property of the childless woman would go to her husband or brother, etc.;—further, that the term ‘kathañcana’ is meant to include property even other than that received from her father.

It is quoted in Vyavahāramayūkha (p. 71), which adds that ‘’ here stands for ‘ca’; so that the property is to be divided between the step-daughter and the step-daughter’s child;—it has been held that the term ‘Brāhmaṇī’ stands for equal and higheṛ castes; but we find no authority for this.

It is quoted in Aparārka (p. 721), which adds the following notes:—‘Pitrā’, this is mentioned only by way of illustration;—‘Kanyā’, step-daughter;—again on p. 753;—and in Dāyakramasaṅgraha (p. 26).


Comparative notes by various authors

Mahābhārata (13.47.25).

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