About the Book
In the Indian tradition, the
most ancient Smrti has been created by Prajapati Manu. It is the oldest and most authentic text of Human
Theology. Many directives of the Manu Smrti can be seen in the great
epic Mahabharata also compilation of which began in the Dvapara
Yuga. Manu Smrti contains about 2600
slokas in the 12 chapters. The main contents
of the 12 chapters speak about the different ways in which a human can get
happiness. The main topics are : the genesis of the universe, procedures of
performing ceremonies, the methods of fulfilling vows, holy baths, performing
marriages, Mahayajaya (religious sacrifices),
method of pacifying deceased ancestors etc., regular ablutions and routines, Sutaka Vrata, edible and non-edible things,
cleanliness, impurity, the duty of the wife, Yanaprastha, liberation, detachment, the duty of
Royal people, the relegation of duty, the duty of women and men, the narrow,
parochial castes, the duty in emergency, repentance, transmigration, Supreme
bliss, the objective of the universe, actions, the merits, and defects coveted
to deeds, place and castes, the duty of the clan and liberation.
In the present Kali
prestige of Manu-smrti has been maintained. Even
today, the pages of this great scripture are turned over whenever religious
ways are sought in social conduct. Religious and flourishing existence of human
being in the modern era can be regarded as a result of the policy outlined in
The present translation of Manu-Smrti by G.Buhler is an authentic English Translation with extracts
from seven available commentaries on Manu-Smrti.
The editor of
the present book has further enhanced the English translation by replacing
older usages of English words with the corresponding modern equivalents. He has
done a considerable labour to put Sanskrit text and English translation side by
side. The text has been corrected at various places for an improved edition of Manu-Smrti.
In the Indian tradition, the most ancient Smrti has been created by Prajapati Manu. It is the oldest and authentic
text of Human Theology. Many directives of the Manu Smrti can be seen in the great
epic Mahabhdrata also compilation of which began in
the Dvapara Yuga. Manu Smrti contains about 2600 slokas in the 12 chapters.
The main contents of the 12 chapters speak about the
different ways in which a human can get happiness. The contents are:
genesis of the universe.
of performing ceremonies, the methods of fulfilling vows.
baths, sexual life, performing marriages, Mahayajaya (religious sacrifices), method of
pacifying deceased ancestors etc.
4. Regular ablutions and routines, Sutaka Vrata.
and non-edible things, cleanliness, impurity, the duty of the wife.
duty of Royal people.
relegation of duty.
9. The duty of women and men, the duty of
departments, the annihilation of the wicked, etc.
narrow, parochial castes, the duty in emergency.
objective of the universe, actions, the merits and defects coveted to deeds,
place and castes, the duty of the clan and liberation.
This Smrti which
is said to be created in the Satya Yuga, speaks about the genesis of the universe and
humans, the four Asramas (attainments) and the duties
assigned to everyone, politics, public administration and the penal code. The
constitution of the witnesses is also discussed. The duty and the protection of
women, the significance of repentance and the fruits of various actions are the
other topics discussed.
is the first
legal text of human civilization which till date has the ability to guide and
direct the society. Maharsi Manu has said that every statement
of the Smrti is like a statement of the Vedas.
yaha kascit kasyaciddharmo manuna parikirtitah//
sarvo abhihito vede sarvajnanamayo hi sah //
Meaning: All the duties mentioned by Manu can be found in the 'Vedas as it is embellished by
all forms of knowledge.
The Manu-smrti discusses the genesis and evolution of human
civilization from the Vedic age, the cultural foundation, the allegiance which
was all influenced by the place, time and situation. The Manu Smrti is
the religious text of the Satya Yuga. On
the persuasion of the Maharsis (sages), the brain
child of Brahma, Prajapati
Manu created this text. The' first chapter of this text speaks about the
creation of water due to the divine powers of God and subsequently the creation
of such energy from which the earth took birth. After this the god, the Yaksas, Gandharvas and
human took birth.
svam svam caritram sikseranprthivyam sarvamanavah//
Meaning: All should imbibe the value of life and the
instructions for sublime living from the Brahmin
staying in his company. This statement of Vedas is adhered to by the people till date. Although people
from other communities also have entered in the teaching profession, but for
proper sublime education, people still approach a good Brahmin, as they did in the Satyayuga.
The Duties Delegated to
the Different Castes
The Smrti says:
adhyapanamadhyayanam yajanam yajanam tatha
danam pratigrahan caiva brahmananamakalpayat//
Meaning: The duties of the Brahmins are learning and teaching, performing religious sacrifices
and getting them performed, taking and giving donations etc.
Brahmins follows this instruction of Manu till date. It is worth stating
that with the advent of the fourth era considerable changes have taken place in
the society in the purview of the work due to which people are also doing work
they are not eligible for.
A. The Duties of Ksatriyas:
prajanam raksanam danamijyadhyayanameva
visyesvaprasaktisca ksatriyasya samasatah//
Meaning: The duties assigned to Ksatriyas are protection of the common men, to
donate, to perform religious sacrifices, to recite the Vedas, to abstain from all forms of addiction etc. This code of
conduct is followed till date but which a few exceptions by those who are
inferior and disinclined.
B. The Duties Assigned To the Vaisyas:
pasunam raksanam danammijyadhyayanameva
vanikpatham kusidam ca vaisyasya krsimeva ca//
Meaning: The duties assigned to Vaisya are protection of animals, donation, religious sacrifices,
study, business, trade, money lending and agriculture. The Vaisya caste now takes care of maximum duties assigned in the Satyayuga in the Kaliyuga itself. With the advent of new ear,
slight changes in the patterns of lifestyle and duties have taken place.
C. The Duties assigned to
ekameva tu sudrasya prabhuh
etesameva varnanam susrusamanasuyaya//
Meaning : The duties assigned to Sudras are to serve others with benevolence
and good will.
According to Manu,
the seven ways in which one can scrupulously earn money are: inheritance
of wealth from ancestors, wealth from a treasury, agriculture and trade,
lending money, giving donations and by winning. The ten avocations, which CU'e useful to life, are teaching, service, employment,
agriculture, sculpture, salaried job, contention, taking care of cows, money
lending and begging.
Although money got from donation, religious
sacrifices and teaching ultimately leads to hell, but the Brahmin can engage in these things as
the Brahmin is pure as water
and Agni (fire).
The sins begotten from religious sacrifices and
teaching are eliminated by name recitation and Homa. The sin begotten by receiving donation can be washed away by
renunciation of the thing received and penance.
pratigrahaccilaha sreyanstato apyuncah prasasya tell
It is preferable to collect the produce from the
harvested field or to collect the remaining grains from the harvested field
than to accept donations.
Without Daksina, no
Yajna is complete, that is why in
every ceremony a Daksina (a fee) is given. Only a pure
donation is worth accepting.
In this light Acarya Manu has also discussed related concepts of sin and virtue.
According to him, the highest form of duty is to adhere to the commandment of
the Smrtis and Srutis as this is the thing that shall lead to the well being on one
The Quadruped Dharma:
Manu says that
initially the religion had four legs, which eloped one by one because of it
being subjected to natural changes and limitations of human beings.
tapah param krtayuge tretayam jnanamucyate/
dvapare Yajnamevahurdanameka kalau yuge//
: The things predominant in
the Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga.
Dvapara Yuga and Kali Yuga are penance, the significance and the glory of
knowledge, the religious sacrifice (yajna) and donation respectively.
Dharma is the quintessence of human
birth. It is only by this that a human can engage in enjoying material things.
It is only Dharma that can help
us to cross the ocean of material things. Even though situations and society
has undergone tremendous change and vicissitudes, the significance of Smrti remains undiminished.
Genesis of the Universe.
of performing ceremonies,
the methods of fulfilling vows.
baths, sexual life, performing marriages,
sacrifices), method of pacifying deceased ancestors etc.
ablutions and routines, Sataka Vrata
and non-edible fools cleanliness,
impurity, the duty of the wife.
of Royal people.
Relegation of duty.
duty of women and men, the duty of
the annihilation of the wicked etc.
parochial castes, the duty in emergency.
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