AGE FOR JANEU

Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi :

Verse 2.36 [Initiation (upanayan)] :

parent : Section XIII - Initiation (upanayan)

Sanskrit text, Unicode transliteration and English translation by Ganganath Jha :

Medhatithi’s commentary (manubhashya) :

Counting from the year that one spends in the mother’s womb, when the child reaches the eighth year;—the term ‘garbh’ stands for the year spent in the womb; this indication being due to the presence of the term ‘year,’ ‘abda’; certainly the ‘year’ could never be the ‘eighth’ from ‘garbh,’ if this latter were taken in its direct sense;—in this year one should perform the Initiation of the Brahman.

The term ‘aupanayanm’ stands for ‘upamyanam,’ the ‘an’ affix having the reflexive sense; and the lengthening of the vowel in the latter term (‘nayanam’) being in accordance with (Panini 6.3.198); or the lengthening of the vowels of both terms (‘upa’ and ‘nayanam’) may be regarded as a Vedic anomaly.

‘upanayan,’ ‘Initiation,’ is the name of a sacrament described in the Grhyasutras and well-known to Vedic scholars, its other name is ‘Mauñji-bandh,’ ‘Girdle-Investiture.’ That ceremony in which the child is taken over to—made over to—(upaniyate)—the teacher, for the purposes of teaching—and not for any such other purpose as the building of a Avail, or the making of a mat—is what is called ‘upanayan.’ It is the name of a particular sacramental rite.

‘Of the King in the eleventh year from conception’;—for the Kshatriya the ceremony should be performed in the eleventh year ‘from conception,’—i.e., ‘beginning from conception,’ or ‘after conception.’

The term ‘king’ ‘rajan’ (in ‘rajñah’) should he taken as standing for the Kshatriya caste; and does not necessarily mean one who is a duly anointed king; firstly because such is the sense in which the word is generally used in books; secondly because in the present context it occurs along with the terms ‘Brahman’ and the rest (which are all denotative of castes); and thirdly because we find the term ‘Kshatriya’ used in the rules that follow regarding the details of the ceremony; e.g., it is raid that ‘the girdle of the Kshatriya should consist of the bow-string’ (below, Verse 12). It is true that the term ‘king’ is sometimes used in the sense of the ‘rulers’ of ‘countries,’ and as such applied to Vaishya and other castes also; but such usage is purely figurative and indirect. And the figurative meaning of a word can be accepted only when the original direct meaning is found inapplicable. That the term ‘king’ in the text stands for the Kshatriya is shown by the following words of the author of the Ghhya-sutra—‘One should initiate the Brahman in the eighth year, the Kshatriya in the eleventh and the Vaishya in the twefth.’ It is on this understanding that the revered Panini derives the word ‘rajya’ (‘Kingship’) from the word ‘rajan’ (King), explaining it as ‘the function the King,’ and hence used in the ordinary sense of ‘lord of country’ [ i.e., the ‘function of ruling a country’ really belongs to the Kshatriya caste, and when persons of other castes arc called ‘King’ their title is based upon their doing ‘the work of the King’].

Of the Vaishya, the ceremony should be performed in the twelfth year from conception.—(86)

Explanatory notes by Ganganath Jha :

This verse is quoted in Hemadri (Parisesa, p. 745);—in Gadadharapaddhati (Kalasara, p. 220), which explains that “upanayan is to be derived as ‘Nayanam evanayanam’ and then the prefix ‘Up’ added;—in Samskaramayukh (p. 32);—and in Smrticandrika (Samskar, p. 68), which adds that in the case of the Kshatriya and the Vaishya also the years are to be counted from the one spent in the womb.

It has been quoted in Madanparijat (p. 17); and in Parsarmadhav (Acara, p. 446).

Viramitroday (Samskar, p. 344) explains the reason for the eighth, eleventh and twelfth years being regarded as the best for the Brahman, the Kshatriya and the Vaishya respectively. The Gayatri mantra is sacred for the Brahman and its foot contains eight syllables; the Tristup for the Kshatriya contains a foot of eleven syllables, and the Jagati for the Vaishya has a foot of twelve syllables.

Comparative notes by various authors :

Gautam-Dharmasutra, 1-7, 8, 13. :

‘For the Brahman, the upanayan daring the eighth year;—for the Kshatriya and the Vaishya, during the eleventh and twelfth years, respectively.’

Gautam (Aparark, p. 32). :

‘Initiation during the eighth, fifth or ninth year; the eighth year from conception is the time fixed for all, the ninth or the fifth only for those with distinct motives.’

Baudhayan-Dharmasutra, 2.8-10. :

‘The years in this connection being computed from conception,—the upanayan of the Brahman should be performed during the eighth year;—three years after the eighth, of the Kshatriya;—and after one more year, of the Vaishya.’

Vashishth-Smmti, 11.44. :

‘The upanayan of the Brahman should be done during the eighth year from conception, of the Kshatriya during the eleventh year from conception, and of the Vaishya during the twelfth year from conception.’ Visnu, 27.15-17.—‘The upanayan of the Brahman during the eighth year from conception; of the Kshatriya during the eleventh year from conception; of the Vaishnav during the twelfth year from conception.’

Yajñavalkya, 1.14. :

‘The Brahman’s upanayan should be performed either during the eighth year from conception, or during the eighth year (from birth); the Kshatriya’s during the eleventh year; the Vaishya’s during the twelfth year; according to some, it is to be done in accordance with the practice prevailing in the family.’

Asvalayan - Grhyasutra, 1.19.1-4. :

‘The Brahman’s, upanayan should be done during the eighth year, or during the eighth year from conception; the Kshatriya’s during the eleventh year; the Vaishya’s during the twelfth year.’

Paraskar-Grhyasutra, 1-2.1-3. :

‘The Brahman’s upanayan should be performed during the eighth year, or during the eighth year from conception; the Kshatriya’s during the eleventh year; the Vaishya’s during the twelfth year.’

Gobhila-Grhyasutra, 1.10.1-3. :

‘The upanayan of the Brahman should be done during the eighth year from conception; of the Kshatriya, during the eleventh year; of the Vaishya, during the twelfth year.’

Apstamb-Dharmasutra, 1.19. :

‘The upanayan of the Brahman should be done during the spring, of the Kshatriya during the summer, and of the Vaishya, during the autumn. Of the Brahman during the eighth year from conception, of the Kshatriya, during the twelfth year from conception.’

Sruti (Viramitrodaya, Samskara, p. 339). :

‘The upanayan of the Brahman should he performed when he is eight years old.’

Asvalayan-Smrti (Do., p. 340). :

‘The Brahman should acquire the ‘twice-born’ state during the eighth year from conception, or during the eighth, or the tenth year; the Kshatriya during the eleventh year: and the Vaishya during the twelfth year.

Narad (Do., p. 31-1). :

‘For the Brahman, the upanayan should be performed during the eighth year, either from conception or from birth; for Kshatriyas, during the eleventh year, and for Vaishya during the twelfth year.’

Paithinasi (Do., p. 310). :

‘The upanayan of the Brahman should he performed during the fifth year from conception or during the eighth year from conception; of the Kshatriya during the eleventh year from conception; of the Vaishya, during the twelfth year.’

Laugaksi (Do., p. 311). :

‘The Brahman’s upanayan during the seventh year; of the Kshatriya during the ninth year, and of the Vaishya, during the eleventh year.’

Budha (Apararka, p. 31). :

‘The Brahman should get himself initiated in his eighth year from conception, during the spring.'

Shannak (Do.). :

‘One should initiate the Brahman in his eighth year, or in his eighth year from conception; the Ksattnya in the eleventh and the Vaishya in the twelfth year.’

Source :

https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/manusmriti-with-the-commentary-of-medhatithi/d/doc145623.html