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:

पयः पिबेत् त्रिरात्रं वा योजनं वाऽध्वनो व्रजेत् ।
उपस्पृशेत् स्रवन्त्यां वा सूक्तं वाऽब्।दैवतं जपेत् ॥ १३२ ॥

payaḥ pibet trirātraṃ vā yojanaṃ vā'dhvano vrajet |
upaspṛśet sravantyāṃ vā sūktaṃ vā'b|daivataṃ japet
|| 132 ||

Or, he may drink milk only for three days, or walk over eight hundred miles of road, or bathe in a stream, or recite the hymn addressed to the Waters.—(132)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Other expiations are now laid down for the killing of any one of the animals mentioned.

The term ‘payaḥ’ stands here for milk, and not water, though it denotes both; just as it does in the passage ‘payasā juhoti’ (‘offers milk’). As an analogous case we have the term ‘varāha,’ which, though signifying both clouds and the boar, is more often used in the sense of the latter; though this term ‘varāha’ signifies mountain also, yet whenever it is used in this sense, it stands in need of some co-ordinating term-such as ‘Himavān-varāhaḥ,’ (‘Himālaya Mountain’), ‘varāhaḥ pāriyātraḥ,’ (‘Pāriyātru Mountain’), and so forth.

In the case in question, it being dear that what the text mentions is an article of food, by which the body could be maintained,—if we find the term ‘payas,’ milk, it means that all other articles of food are to be eschewed. This also is the right view to take in view of the fact that what is meant, to be prescribed is a penance, ‘tapas,’—a tapas being that which causes pain (tāpayati). This name ‘tapas’ is given to such acts as the eating of clarified butter after Prānāyāma; this, however, does not exclude the eating of other things, nor the rinsing of the mouth, which would make the eating of clarified butter along with something else impossible.

Nor can water be taken as an optional alternative for milk (both being denoted by the term ‘payas’); what does form such an alternative is that ‘he shall bathe in a stream,’ so that ‘drinking of milk,’ ‘walking over 800 miles’ and ‘bathing in a stream’ are the possible alternatives. The stress laid upon the terra ‘stream’ excludes the bathing in tanks and pools.

Sacred to the Waters’—i.e., the ‘Pavamāna’ hymn beginning with the verse ‘Āpohiṣṭhā mayobhuvaḥ, etc., etc.’

Another Smṛti text lays down also the eating of mixed food, and the giving of an iron-rod as a gift,.

Walk’—not by way of travelling to a certain place; but walking on foot (by way of penance).—(132)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

“According to Govindarāja, Kullūka, Nārāyaṇa and Rāghavānanda, these penances are to be performed if the animal has been killed unintentionally.—According to Medhātithi they have to expiate the slaughter of a single animal.—The choice among the four penances depends, according to Kullūka and Rāghavānanda, on the strength of the offender, according to Govindarāja and Nārāyaṇa, on his caste and other circumstances.”—Buhler.

This verse is quoted in Mitākṣarā (3.270), as laying down the penances for the killing of each of the animals severally;—in Aparārka (p. 1131) as referring to the killing of a cat;—and in Madanapārijāta (p. 949), which explains ‘upasparśa’ as bathing, and adds that this refers to unintentional killing; intentional killing involves double the expiation here prescribed.


Comparative notes by various authors

(verses 11.131-132)

See Comparative notes for Verse 11.131.

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