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:

जीनकार्मुकबस्तावीन् पृथग् दद्याद् विशुद्धये ।
चतुर्णामपि वर्णानां नारीर्हत्वाऽनवस्थिताः ॥ १३८ ॥

jīnakārmukabastāvīn pṛthag dadyād viśuddhaye |
caturṇāmapi varṇānāṃ nārīrhatvā'navasthitāḥ || 138 ||

For killing inconstant women of the four castes, one should give, for his purification, a leathern bag, a bow, a goat and a sheep respectively.—(138)


Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

Inconstant.’—Those women who, behaving like prostitutes, have intercourse with many men, are called ‘inconstant’; the epithet does not connote merely transgression of the scriptures; as that would not restrict the term to adultery only.

One should give the ‘leathern bag’ and other things in the order of the castes.

Jina’—the leathern bag, used for carrying water and such purposes.




Respectively.’—This shows that the expiation here laid down is not to be regarded as cumulative.

Some people read ‘gatvā’ (for ‘hatvā’) (‘having intercourse’). But this is not right; since ‘killing’ forms the subject-matter of the present context.—(138)


Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha

This verse is quoted in Aparārka (p. 1128), which explains ‘anavasthitāḥ’ as ‘not faithful to their husbands,’ i.e., ‘adulterous’;—and in Prāyaścittaviveka (p. 227).


Comparative notes by various authors

Gautama (22.26).—‘For killing an unchaste woman, who is Brāhmaṇi only in name, one should give a leather bag.’

Yājñavalkya (3.269).—‘For killing an ill-behaved Brāhmaṇi, or Kṣatriyā, or Vaiśya, or Śūdra woman, one shall give, for purifying himself, a leather bag, a bow, a goat, or a ram respectively. But for killing a woman not badly behaved he should perform the same penance as that for killing a Śūdra.’

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