More Interesting quotations from Manu’s Law Book

manava statue

By London Swaminathan
Post No1008; Date-28th April 2014.

(First part of the article “30 Important Quotations from Manu” posted on 27th April 2014 and the Post No. was 1006)

If anyone comments on Manu Smriti without reading all the 2694 verses and the ancient commentaries, s/he proclaims herself or himself an ignoramus.

If s/he believes some comments of foreign “scholars”, s/he declares herself or himself a pawn in the hand of others or a simpleton.

The reason being there are lot of Smritis (Law Books) in Hinduism and Manu Smritis is not the only one followed by them. When there were some doubts they always used or consulted many law books of the Hindus. No one knows when Manu Smriti was originally written. Even in the Manu Smriti, commentators differ in interpreting the verses!!


Manu is referred to in the Rig Veda, the oldest scripture in the world. No one knew when and to whom Manu wrote it or what geographical regions used it. No one knew whether they followed verbatim the laws in Manu Smriti. No ancient foreign traveller said anything against Manu Smriti. No one knew whether it was without any interpolation. There are contradictory verses in it like all the old scriptures where we purely depend upon different commentaries. Foreigners never mentioned any interpolations in this book because it suited their motives.

Ancient kings praised it and treated it as their own and they were proud to say they followed Laws of Manu. (Read my earlier post for thestory of Tamil king Manu Neethi Choza).

In Tamil literature and inscriptions the words Manu Smriti (Manu Neethi= Manu’s Justice) stood for ‘strict rules and equal justice’. Later it earned a bad name because the foreigners projected only ten or 15 verses from the 2674. They never compared it with any other ancient Law Book. The ancient Western World did not even have any Law book as comprehensive as Manu’s. If there were some laws they were more discriminatory than Manu. The ancient Hammurabi laws in the Middle East spoke of blood for blood, eye for an eye etc. One must study anything in its proper context. I am writing this because there were lot of bad things written about Manu Smriti by quoting one or two verses. Half truth is more dangerous than a lie!

The author has read the Laws of Manu with its commentary only once. It is very confusing. Many of the verses are of only theoretical or hypothetical value rather than practical. There were lots of things about mixed marriages and the rules governing them. We did not know in what period such things happened if it all they happened. This is only one example. What Manu ‘meant’ is more important than what he ‘said’. Taking literal meaning is not good. Many verses are only hypothesis! I have given some illustrations below:-

Manu on Indus Valley Civilization!
31.That land created by the Gods, which lies between the two divine rivers SARASWATI and DRISHADVATI, the sages call BRAHMAVARTA 2-17

32.The custom handed down in regular succession (since time immemorial) among the four chief castes and the mixed races of that country, is called the conduct of the virtuous men 2-18

33.The plains of the Kurus, (the country of ) Matsyas, Panchalas and Surasenas, these form indeed the land of Brahmarishis (Brahminical sages) which ranks immediately after Brahmavarta 2-19

Dravidas and Chozas
34.But in consequence of omission of the sacred rites, and of their not consulting Brahmanas the following tribes of Kshatriyas have gradually sunk in this world to the condition of Sudras.
35.The Paundrakas, the Chozas, the Dravidas, the Kambojas, the Yavanas, the Sakas, the paradas, the Pahlavas, the kinas, the Kritas and the Dardaras 10-44
(It is interesting to see that Chozas are not Dravidas) .
36.All these tribes in this world which are excluded from the community of those born from the mouth (Brahmins), the arms (Kshatriyas), the thighs (Vaisyas) and the feet of the God (Sudra), are called ‘dasyus’ whether they speak of the language of the Mlechas or that of the Aryans(cultured) .

My comments on point 36:–
Those who studied Sangam Tamil literature know this was not the condition of Tamil Nadu 2000 years ago. So this verse must have been written somewhere around 500 BCE.

There are many interesting points here:
(a).Sudras are Aryans (born from the feet of Gods) and they are not dasyus.
(b).Dravidas and Chozas are two different people!!
(c).But the reality is Karikal Choza (First Century BCE), the greatest of the Tamil Choza Kings, erected big eagle shaped Yaga Kunda and performed Yagas according to ancient Sangam Tamil literature. He followed the Vedic rite of walking the guests seven feet to see them off. (Please read my post ‘Eagle Shaped Yaga Kunda of Karikal Choza’).

(d).All the Cholza kings called themselves the descendants of Sibi of North West India and Manu Neethi Choza (one who followed Manu’s Law Book). They called them their illustrious forefathers!

(e).Another strange thing about the languages: Tamil considered all non Tamil foreigners as ‘mlecchas’! They called northern seers as Aryans in Sangam Tamil literature. But no racial connotation is there. One must be very careful in reading the words Arya and Dravida in Manu. They have no racial connotation and they are used in the sense of cultured (Aryan) and Southerner( Dravida).

On the basis of many such verses we have to reconsider the date of the law book. We can’t place Manu Smriti in 2nd centrury CE. The present book was put to writing in 2nd centrury CE, but it belonged to a very ancient period. The current book is corrupted with interpolations. All those verses against low castes were inserted by manipulative hands!

The greatest of the modern Tamil poets, Subramanya Bharati, has even gone to the extent of calling this as a ‘conspiracy’!

37.The root of religion is the entire Veda and the traditions and customs of those who know the Vedas and the conduct of virtuous people, and what is satisfactory for one self 2-7

manava 1

38.Twice born men in all four stages of life must constantly and carefully fulfil their TEN POINT DUTY 6-91

39.The TEN FOLD LAW is
Self control
Not stealing
Mastery of sensory powers
Abstention from anger
Learning (Knowledge of the Supreme)6-92

40.Those Brahmanas who thoroughly study the tenfold law, and after studying obey it enter the highest state 6-93

Protocols for kings
It is very interesting that the following hygiene and safety precautions are followed even today when a president or a prime minister of a country visits another country:–
41. When the king has taken counsel about all of this with his counsellors, and when his exercise and bathed, he should enter the harem at noon to eat 7-216

42.There he should eat food over which the Vedic verses that dispel poison have been chanted, food that has been well tested by the kitchen servants who are like his second self, who cannot be seduced and who know the time for the food.7-217

43.And he should clean all of his articles with waters that destroy poison, and he should always be careful about wearing gems that destroy poison 7-218

44.Well tested women whose clothing and ornaments have been thoroughly cleaned should attentively caress him with fans, water and incense 7-219

45.In the same way he should be careful about his vehicle, bed, seat and food and about bathing, dressing and anointing his body, and all his ornaments.
(One is reminded of what happened to Mrs Indra Gandhi and Mr Rajeev Gandhi , two former prime ministers of India).

Four Dangerous– “D”s
46.Drinking, Dice (gambling), Damsels (women) and Death to Animals (hunting) are the four worst vices born of desire 7-50

47.The whole world is kept in order by punishment, for a guiltless man is hard to find; through fear of punishment the whole world yields the enjoyments (which it owes) 7-22

48.Punishment alone governs all created beings,
Punishment alone protects them,
Punishment watches them while they sleep
The wise declare punishment is identical with the Law 7-18

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