Manu’s Mystery about Sarasvati, Black buck, Mlechcha land and Gold Medicine (4527)

Written by London Swaminathan 

 

Date: 21 DECEMBER 2017 

 

Time uploaded in London- 18-16

 

 

Post No. 4527

Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks.

 

Manu’s Mystery about Sarasvati, Black buck, Mlechcha land and Gold Medicine (4527)

Manu Smrti, also known as Manava  Dharma Sastra, has lot of things which are not explained in full; so the mystery continues. The age of Manu Smrti is also wrong when we look at these mysteries. The mention of River Sarasvati, Mlecha (barbarians) land, Black buck, administering gold to a newly born child, the boundary of three different areas Brahmavarta, Brahmirishi desa and Aryavarta – all these need further explorations.

Look at the following slokas in the second chapter of MS; they deal with Ayurveda, zoology, geography and sociology (My comments are given at the end of these slokas)

CHAPTER II.

  1. The knowledge of the sacred law is prescribed for those who are not given to the acquisition of wealth and to the gratification of their desires; to those who seek the knowledge of the sacred law the supreme authority is the revelation (Veda=Sruti).
  2. But when two sacred texts (Sruti) are conflicting, both are held to be law; for both are pronounced by the wise (to be) valid law.
  3. For example, the fire sacrifice may be (optionally) performed, at any time after the sun has risen, before he has risen, or when neither sun nor stars are visible; that (is declared) by Vedic texts.
  4. Know that he for whom (the performance of) the ceremonies beginning with the rite of impregnation (Garbhadhana) and ending with the funeral rite (Antyeshti) is prescribed, while sacred formulas are being recited, is entitled (to study) these Institutes, but no other man whatsoever.
  5. That land, created by the gods, which lies between the two divine rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati, the sages call Brahmavarta.
  6. The custom handed down in regular succession (since time immemorial) among the four chief castes (varna) and the mixed castes of that country, is called the conduct of virtuous men.
  7. The plain of the Kurus, the country of the Matsyas, Panchalas, and Surasenakas, these form, indeed, the country of the Brahmarshis (Brahmanical sages, which ranks) immediately after Brahmavarta.
  8. From a Brahmana, born in that country, let all men on earth learn their several usages.
  9. That (country) which lies between the Himavat and the Vindhya mountains to the east of Prayaga and to the west of Vinasana (the place where the river Sarasvati disappears) is called Madhyadesa (the central region).
  10. But (the tract) between those two mountains (just mentioned), which extends as far as the eastern and the western oceans, the wise call Aryavarta (the country of the noble people or civilised people).
  11. That land where the black antelope naturally roams, one must know to be fit for the performance of sacrifices; the tract different from that (is) the country of the Mlechas (barbarians). (So no part of India is mlecha bhumi)
  12. Let twice-born men seek to dwell in those (above-mentioned countries); but a Sudra, distressed for subsistence, may reside anywhere.
  13. Thus has the origin of the sacred law been succinctly described to you and the origin of this universe; learn (now) the duties of the castes (varna).
  14. With holy rites, prescribed by the Veda, must the ceremony on conception and other sacraments be performed for twice-born men, which sanctify the body and purify (from sin) in this (life) and after death.
  15. By burnt oblations during (the mother’s) pregnancy, by the Jatakarman (the ceremony after birth), the Chowla (tonsure), and the Maungibandhana (the tying of the sacred girdle of Munga grass) is the taint, derived from both parents, removed from twice-born men.
  16. By the study of the Veda, by vows, by burnt oblations, by (the recitation of) sacred texts, by the (acquisition of the) threefold sacred science, by offering (to the gods, Rishis, and manes), by (the procreation of) sons, by the great sacrifices, and by (Srauta) rites this (human) body is made fit for (union with) Brahman
  17. Before the navel-string is cut, the Jatakarman (birth-rite) must be performed for a male (child); and while sacred formulas are being recited, he must be fed with gold, honey, and butter.

 

MY COMMENTS

Manu Smrti is dated around second century BCE. This is wrong. Neither Manu Smrti nor the Rig Veda deal with the Sati (widow burning) ceremony; Both Rig Veda and Manu mention Sarasvati river which existed around 2000 BCE and then disappeared.

Another reference to River Sarasvati adds to the mystery:

‘A Brahmin killer may eat food fit for an oblation and walk the length of the river Sarasvati against the current; or he may restrain his eating and recite one entire collection of Veda three times ( to get rid of the sin) –11-78

 

Modern research shows that Sarasvati lost its full glory around 2000 BCE. But Manu talks about the Vinasan ( which is described as the place of disappearance of Sarasvati). So during Manu’s time there was a river running its full length. Might have disappeared just before it met the sea. Rig Veda sings that the mighty Sarasvati was running between the high mountains and the sea. If Sarasvati was not running during his days Sloka/couplet 11-78 would not make any sense.

 

The version we have today is only an updated version. The original must be 4000 year old.

 

Another interesting point is the reference to the antelope Black buck (Krishnasara). He says that wherever black buck lives that land is holy and fit for conducting the fire ceremonies. According to 19th century writers, Black buck was found throughout the subcontinent covering the modern Bangladessh, Pakistan and Nepal. It was found from the southernmost end of the land to the Himalayas. Even now it is considered sacred and not hunted.

There are two interesting questions:

Why did Manu choose Black buck? Like cow and elephant, it also gained divine status. Brahmin boys tie it in their sacred thread. Does it show that once upon a time all the Brahmins wore deer skin, particularly black buck skin?

 

The second question is if black buck is the criteria for sacredness, then the whole country is a sacred land. Black buck is found in Palani Hills in Tamil Nadu around 1850. Sangam Tamil literature also confirmed that the Vedic fire sacrifices were conducted in Tamil Nadu 2000 years ago. So the whole of Indian subcontinent is holy land, fit for fire sacrifices and it was not Mlecha land at least 2300 years ago.

 

But the above passages show that beyond the Vindhyas and Himalayas it was Mlecha land. This passage must be written long long ago, before the humans occupied the southern part of India. Sangam Tamil literature describe the Greeks and Romans as Mlechas. Later literature called the Arabs and English as Mlechas. Second chapter description of Brahma desa, Brahmarishi desa and Aryavarta show that this was older part of MS. Drshadvati and Sarsvati were Vedic rivers.

 

During the Jatakarma (ceremony for newly born child), Manu asks to give the boy butter, milk  in golden vessels. Micro quantity of gold was good for the health says later medical literature. It describes the manufacture of Goldpasma (gold powder) This shows Ayurveda was practised during his time.

–to be  continued……………..

–subham—

 

 

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