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English translation of Manusmriti 4.53 by Ganganath Jha says:

नाग्निं मुखेनोपधमेन्नग्नां नैक्षेत च स्त्रियम् ।
नामेध्यं प्रक्षिपेदग्नौ न च पादौ प्रतापयेत् ॥ ५३ ॥

nāgniṃ mukhenopadhamennagnāṃ naikṣeta ca striyam |
nāmedhyaṃ prakṣipedagnau na ca pādau pratāpayet || 53 ||

Meaning: He shall not blow fire with the mouth (1) nor shall he gaze at a naked woman (2). He shall not throw an unclean thing into fire (3) nor shall he warm his feet at it (4).

It is clear that (1), (3) and (4) are statements relevant to the fire.

However (2) is different and seems completely out of context, saying नग्नां नैक्षेत च स्त्रियम् (nagnāṃ naikṣeta ca striyam) which translates to let the naked woman not be viewed.

This verse seems unusual with only fire in it in 3/4th of the verse and one sudden mention of a female nude person in one part. Is there an interpretation of this verse with another meaning for the second half of the first line?

(I am not looking for opinions but for some alternate translations from people well-versed in sanskrit and from saints.)

  • interesting.. the word nagni and nagna are phonetically so close. – ram Mar 27 at 1:43
  • Possibly related to Agni and Jala Tattva?? Apsara (Ap+sara, who has essence of water). A Rishi in tapas represents Agni tattva and Apsara (with Jala Tattva) is sent to distract him, as they are of opposite tatvas. Possibly here they could mean metaphorically Agni Tattva and Jala tattva ? – The Destroyer Mar 27 at 6:38
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    Assuming your source is wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/…: I don't think it's not that unusual seeing as the topic is called "Personal Cleanliness" and none of the preliminary verses mention a summing up of things related to fire. Also, look at the Comparative notes. It contains similar sources with verses containing references to fire and non-fire related examples within a single verse. – Gabe Hiemstra Mar 27 at 9:18
  • @GabeHiemstra You should post that explanation as an answer. There are no alternate translations to this verse. – sv. Mar 27 at 19:15
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    There is nothing "interesting" or "unusual" in this verse or in the given translation .. @user1952500 – Rickross Mar 28 at 10:12

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