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:

सुरा वै मलमन्नानां पाप्मा च मलमुच्यते ।
तस्माद् ब्राह्मणराजन्यौ वैश्यश्च न सुरां पिबेत् ॥ ९३ ॥

surā vai malamannānāṃ pāpmā ca malamucyate |
tasmād brāhmaṇarājanyau vaiśyaśca na surāṃ pibet || 93 ||

Wine indeed is the dirty refuse of grains, and sin also is called ‘dirt’; for this reason the Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya shall not drink wine.—(93)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Though the term ‘anna’ denotes literally ‘what is eaten,’ food, yet it is more commonly applied to the Vrīhi and other grains, as also to cooked rice, fried flour, cakes and so forth. It is on this basis that Pāṇini (2.1.34) has made a distinction between ‘anna’ and ‘vyañjana.’

Thus then, inasmuch as wine is obtained from grains, it becomes liable to be spoken of as ‘anna,’ ‘grain,’ and it comes to be spoken of as ‘the dirty refuse of grains.’ This description of wine is indicative of the fact that its use is forbidden. And this indication applies to all the three higher castes:—that the wine extracted from grains should not be drunk by the Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya or the Vaiśya. Then again it is this wine extracted from grains to which the name is applicable more directly than to the other two varieties, the Gauḍī and the Mādhvī. Further, the expiation in the case of other distilled liquors is not so heavy as in the case of the Sīdhu (i.e., the Gauḍī) and the Mādhvī.

Sin also is called dirt,’—this has been added with a view to indicate that wine is a most despicable thing.

Though the subject-matter of the present context is Expiation, yet the Syntactical Indication of the present verse clearly points to the prohibition of wine. And since it is a distinct sentence, it cannot be regarded as a mere declamation.—(93)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Vīramitrodaya (Āhnika p. 548);—in Aparārka (p. 1044), which adds the following notes:—‘Being the refuse of grains’ is applicable only to that liquor which is distilled from ground grains, and not to those distilled from molasses and honey, as neither of these two latter is ‘grain,’ which name is applicable only to Vrīhi and other corns; thus then the drinking of liquor distilled from grains is forbidden for all twice-born men, and the other two kinds for the Brāhmaṇa only.

It is quoted in Mitākṣarā (3.253), firstly to the effect that ‘Surā’ is the name of that liquor which is distilled from grains;—secondly to the effect that this liquor is forbidden for all ‘the three higher castes, while that distilled from honey or molasses is forbidden for the Brāhmaṇa only;—in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 89), which adds that ‘annānām’ stands not only for rice, but for barley, wheat and other grains also,—hence it is that the wine produced by the fermentation of grains is called ‘Surā—and in Smṛtisāroddhāra (p. 355), to the effect that the name ‘Surā’ d irectly denotes wine made from grains only.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 11.90-93)

See Comparative notes for Verse 11.90.

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