Manusruti on Women
Manu Smruti ( references in end of the text)
Importance of happy women
3.55. A father, brother, husband or brother-in-law should keep their daughter, sister, wife or sister-in-law happy and pleased through gentle words, respectful behavior, gifts etc. Those who desire prosperity should ensure that women in their family are always happy and do not face miseries.
3.57. A family where women remain unhappy due to misdeeds of their men is bound to be destroyed. And a family where women are always happy is bound to prosper forever.
3.58. A family- where women feel insulted or discriminated against and curse their menfolk- is destroyed in same manner as poison kills all those who eat it.
3.59. One desiring glory should ensure that he keeps women in the family by giving them respect and pleasing them with good ornaments, dresses, food. Women should always be revered under all circumstances.
3.62. A person who does not keep her wife happy causes misery for entire family. And if wife is happy, entire family appears as happiness incarnate.
9.26. Women give birth to next generation. They enlighten the home. They bring fortune and bliss. Hence women are synonymous to Prosperity.
This shloka forms the basis of women being called Ghar ki Laxmi or ‘Goddess of Fortune in Home‘ in India even till today.
9.28. Woman is the source of all kinds of happiness in all generations – be it from children, or from noble benevolent deeds or through conjugal bliss or through service of elders.
In other words, woman is the primary source of bliss in many forms – sometimes as mother, sometimes as daughter, sometimes as wife and sometimes as a partner in spiritual deeds. It also means that participation of women is necessary for conduct of any religious or spiritual activity.
9.96. Man and Woman are incomplete without each other. Hence the most ordinary religious duty would demand participation of both.
Thus, those who deny Vedas or Vedic rituals to women are anti-Hindu and anti-Humanity.
4.180. A wise man should not indulge in fights and arguments with his family members including mother, daughter and wife.
9.4. A father who does not marry his daughter to a deserving groom deserves condemnation. A husband who does not fulfill just demands of her wife deserves condemnation. A son who does not take care of her widow mother deserves condemnation.
Polygamy is a sin
9.101. Husband and Wife should remain together till death. They should not approach any other partner, nor commit adultery. This, in summary, is the Dharma or religion of all human beings.
Thus those societies which justify polygamy or sex-slavery or temporary marriage are bound to suffer miseries because they neglect the core tenet of Dharma.
Autonomy of Women
9.11. Women should be provided autonomy and leadership in managing the finances, maintaining hygiene, spiritual and religious activities, nutrition and overall management of home.
The shloka clearly puts aside false claims that women do not have right to conduct religious rituals of Vedas. On contrary, women should lead such rituals. Thus all those people who suggest that women do not have right to study or practice Vedas are against Manu and Vedas. Such bigoted people are the cause for misery of the nation. We should simply not tolerate such mindsets that demean women.
9.12. A woman who is kept constrained in a home by noble men (husband, father, son) is still insecure. Thus it is futile to restrict women. Security of women would come only through her own capabilities and mindset.
This shloka explains the futility to attempting to restrict a woman to home in name of providing her security. On contrary, to secure her, she should be given the right training so that she can defend herself and avoid getting misled by bad company. The prevailing notion of cornering women within a small home is against Manu’s ideology.
Protection of Women
9.6. Even a weak husband should attempt to protect his wife.
9.5 Women should keep themselves away from vices. Because when women lose character, the entire society is destroyed.
5.149. A woman should always ensure that she is protected. It is duty of father, husband and son to protect her.
Please note that this protection does not imply restriction as clear from verse 9.12 cited in previous section. But a society that does not protect its womenfolk from attacks of perverts writes its own destiny of doom.
It is because of this inspiration that many a brave warriors laid their lives to protect the dignity of their women when butchers from West and Central Asia invaded our nation. The sacrifices of Alha-Udal and valor of Maharana Pratap brings a gush of glory in our blood.
Its a shame that despite such a chivalrous foundation of our culture, we have women either oppressed in backyard of homes or commoditized as sensual-items instigating lust. When we ourselves have turned invaders instead of protectors of dignity of women, who can help us!
Marriage of Women
9.89. It is better to keep the daughter unmarried than force her to marry an undeserving person.
9.90-91. A woman can choose her own husband after attaining maturity. If her parents are unable to choose a deserving groom, she can herself choose her husband.
Thus the concept of parents deciding the groom for their daughter is against Manu. A mature daughter has full rights to choose her husband. Parents act as facilitators for the marriage and not final decision makers, as wrongly practiced in many societies.
Property Rights of Women
9.130. A daughter is equivalent to a son. In her presence, how can any one snatch away her right over the property.
9.131. A daughter alone has the right over personal property of her mother.
Thus, as per Manu, while daughter has equal share as her brothers over property of her father, she has exclusive rights over property of her mother. The reason for this special treatment of women is to ensure that women are never at mercy of anyone. After all happy dignified women form the foundation of a happy society!
9.212-213. If a person has no kins or wife, then his wealth be distributed equally among his brothers and sisters. If the elder brother refuses to give due share to other brothers and sisters, he is punishable by law.
To further ensure safety of women, Manu recommended harsh punishments for those who rob away wealth of a woman, even if they are her relatives.
8.28-29. If a woman is alone because she has no children, or no men to provide for her security in her family, or is widow, or whose husband has gone abroad, or who is unwell, then it is duty of the government to ensure her safety and security. If her wealth is robbed by her relatives or friends, then the government should provide strict punishment to the culprits and have her wealth returned back.
Prohibition of Dowry
3.52. Those relatives who rob away or thrive on wealth, property, vehicles or dresses of a woman or her family are wiliest of people.
Thus any kind of dowry is a strict NO NO as per Manu Smruti. No one should dare attempt to take away the property of a woman.
The next shloka takes this concept further and states that even slightest exchange of tangible items amounts to sale/purchase and hence against principles of noble marriage. In fact Manu Smriti suggests that a marriage along with dowry is marriage of ‘Devils’ or Asuri Vivah.
Strict Punishment for harming Women
8.323. Those who abduct women should be given death sentence.
9.232. Those who kill women, children or scholarly virtuous people should be given strictest punishment.
8.352. Those who rape or molest women or incite them into adultery should be given harshest punishment that creates fear among others to even think of such a crime.
Interestingly, a judge of sessions court suggested that castration seems the best punishment to prevent alarming increase in rape cases. Refer http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/Castrate-child-rapists-Delhi-judge-suggests/articleshow/8130553.cms
We are in agreement with such a law.
8. 275. One should be punished if he puts false allegations or demeans mother, wife or daughter.
8.389. Those who abandon their mother, father, wife or children without any reasonable reason should face severe punishments.
The concept of Ladies First seems to originate from Manu Smruti.
2.138. A man in a vehicle should give way to the following – aged person, diseased person, one carrying burden, groom, king, student and a woman.
3.114. One should feed the following even before feeding the guests – newly married women, girls, and pregnant women.
May we all work together to implement this true Manuvaad by showering respect and ensuring dignity of the motherly force. How else can prosperity be restored in the society, nation and world?
References: Works of Dr Surendra Kumar, Pt Gangaprasad Updhyaya, and Swami Dayanand Saraswati, visit Agni veer dot com for all such articles
1. “Swabhav ev narinam …..” – 2/213. It is the nature of women to seduce men in this world; for that reason the wise are never unguarded in the company of females.
2. “Avidvam samlam………..” – 2/214. Women, true to their class character, are capable of leading astray men in this world, not only a fool but even a learned and wise man. Both become slaves of desire.
3. “Matra swastra ………..” – 2/215. Wise people should avoid sitting alone with one’s mother, daughter or sister. Since carnal desire is always strong, it can lead to temptation.
4. “Naudwahay……………..” – 3/8. One should not marry women who has have reddish hair, redundant parts of the body [such as six fingers], one who is often sick, one without hair or having excessive hair and one who has red eyes.
5. “Nraksh vraksh ………..” – 3/9. One should not marry women whose names are similar to constellations, trees, rivers, those from a low caste, mountains, birds, snakes, slaves or those whose names inspires terror.
6. “Yasto na bhavet ….. …..” – 3/10. Wise men should not marry women who do not have a brother and whose parents are not socially well known.
7. “Uchayangh…………….” – 3/11. Wise men should marry only women who are free from bodily defects, with beautiful names, grace/gait like an elephant, moderate hair on the head and body, soft limbs and small teeth.
8. “Shudr-aiv bharya………” – 3/12.Brahman men can marry Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaish and even Shudra women but Shudra men can marry only Shudra women.
9. “Na Brahman kshatriya..” – 3/14. Although Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaish men have been allowed inter-caste marriages, even in distress they should not marry Shudra women.
10. “Heenjati striyam……..” – 3/15. When twice born [dwij=Brahman, Kshatriya and Vaish] men in their folly marry low caste Shudra women, they are responsible for the degradation of their whole family. Accordingly, their children adopt all the demerits of the Shudra caste.
11. “Shudram shaynam……” – 3/17. A Brahman who marries a Shudra woman, degrades himself and his whole family ,becomes morally degenerated , loses Brahman status and his children too attain status of shudra.
12. “Daiv pitrya………………” – 3/18. The offerings made by such a person at the time of established rituals are neither accepted by God nor by the departed soul; guests also refuse to have meals with him and he is bound to go to hell after death.
13. “Chandalash ……………” – 3/240. Food offered and served to Brahman after Shradh ritual should not be seen by a chandal, a pig, a cock,a dog, and a menstruating women.
14. “Na ashniyat…………….” – 4/43. A Brahman, true defender of his class, should not have his meals in the company of his wife and even avoid looking at her. Furthermore, he should not look towards her when she is having her meals or when she sneezes/yawns.
15. “Na ajyanti……………….” – 4/44. A Brahman in order to preserve his energy and intellect, must not look at women who applies collyrium to her eyes, one who is massaging her nude body or one who is delivering a child.
16. “Mrshyanti…………….” – 4/217. One should not accept meals from a woman who has extra marital relations; nor from a family exclusively dominated/managed by women or a family whose 10 days of impurity because of death have not passed.
17. “Balya va………………….” – 5/150. A female child, young woman or old woman is not supposed to work independently even at her place of residence.
18. “Balye pitorvashay…….” – 5/151. Girls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women must be under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently.
19. “Asheela kamvrto………” – 5/157. Men may be lacking virtue, be sexual perverts, immoral and devoid of any good qualities, and yet women must constantly worship and serve their husbands.
20. “Na ast strinam………..” – 5/158. Women have no divine right to perform any religious ritual, nor make vows or observe a fast. Her only duty is to obey and please her husband and she will for that reason alone be exalted in heaven.
21. “Kamam to………………” – 5/160. At her pleasure [after the death of her husband], let her emaciate her body by living only on pure flowers, roots of vegetables and fruits. She must not even mention the name of any other men after her husband has died.
22. “Vyabhacharay…………” – 5/167. Any women violating duty and code of conduct towards her husband, is disgraced and becomes a patient of leprosy. After death, she enters womb of Jackal.
23. “Kanyam bhajanti……..” – 8/364. In case women enjoy sex with a man from a higher caste, the act is not punishable. But on the contrary, if women enjoy sex with lower caste men, she is to be punished and kept in isolation.
24. “Utmam sevmansto…….” – 8/365. In case a man from a lower caste enjoys sex with a woman from a higher caste, the person in question is to be awarded the death sentence. And if a person satisfies his carnal desire with women of his own caste, he should be asked to pay compensation to the women’s faith.
25. “Ya to kanya…………….” – 8/369. In case a woman tears the membrane [hymen] of her Vagina, she shall instantly have her head shaved or two fingers cut off and made to ride on Donkey.
26. “Bhartaram…………….” – 8/370. In case a women, proud of the greatness of her excellence or her relatives, violates her duty towards her husband, the King shall arrange to have her thrown before dogs at a public place.
27. “Pita rakhshati……….” – 9/3. Since women are not capable of living independently, she is to be kept under the custody of her father as child, under her husband as a woman and under her son as widow.
28. “Imam hi sarw………..” – 9/6. It is the duty of all husbands to exert total control over their wives. Even physically weak husbands must strive to control their wives.
29. “Pati bharyam ……….” – 9/8. The husband, after the conception of his wife, becomes the embryo and is born again of her. This explains why women are called Jaya.
30. “Panam durjan………” – 9/13. Consuming liquor, association with wicked persons, separation from her husband, rambling around, sleeping for unreasonable hours and dwelling -are six demerits of women.
31. “Naita rupam……………” – 9/14. Such women are not loyal and have extra marital relations with men without consideration for their age.
32. “Poonshchalya…………” – 9/15. Because of their passion for men, immutable temper and natural heartlessness, they are not loyal to their husbands.
33. “Na asti strinam………” – 9/18. While performing namkarm and jatkarm, Vedic mantras are not to be recited by women, because women are lacking in strength and knowledge of Vedic texts. Women are impure and represent falsehood.
34. “Devra…sapinda………” – 9/58. On failure to produce offspring with her husband, she may obtain offspring by cohabitation with her brother-in-law [devar] or with some other relative [sapinda] on her in-law’s side.
35. “Vidwayam…………….” – 9/60. He who is appointed to cohabit with a widow shall approach her at night, be anointed with clarified butter and silently beget one son, but by no means a second one.
36. “Yatha vidy……………..” – 9/70. In accordance with established law, the sister-in-law [bhabhi] must be clad in white garments; with pure intent her brother-in-law [devar] will cohabitate with her until she conceives.
37. “Ati kramay……………” – 9/77. Any women who disobey orders of her lethargic, alcoholic and diseased husband shall be deserted for three months and be deprived of her ornaments.
38. “Vandyashtamay…….” – 9/80. A barren wife may be superseded in the 8thyear; she whose children die may be superseded in the 10th year and she who bears only daughters may be superseded in the 11th year; but she who is quarrelsome may be superseded without delay.
39. “Trinsha……………….” – 9/93. In case of any problem in performing religious rites, males between the age of 24 and 30 should marry a female between the age of 8 and 12.
40. “Yambrahmansto…….” – 9/177. In case a Brahman man marries Shudra woman, their son will be called ‘Parshav’ or ‘Shudra’ because his social existence is like a dead body.
Three allegations on Manu Smriti
There are 3 major allegations on Manu Smruti:
1. Manu founded the caste-system based on birth.
2. Manu legalized harsh punishments for Shudras and special provisions for upper-castes and especially Brahmins.
3. Manu was anti-women and condemned them. He accorded inferior rights to women.
Let us now review these allegations using evidences from Manu Smriti itself.
In this article, we shall review the first allegation – that Manu was the founder of the birth-based caste system.
1. Manu Smriti hails from an era when even the concept of birth-based caste system did not exist. Thus Manu Smriti nowhere supports a social system based on birth. Maharshi Manu took inspiration from Vedas (refer Rigveda 10.10.11-12, Yajurveda 31.10-11, Atharvaveda 19.6.5-6) and proposed a social system based on qualities, actions and nature of the individual.
Manu Smruti and Caste System
2. This is called Varna System. Now the very word Varna derived from root word “Vrinja” means “Choice“. A similar usage happens in common used word “Varan” meaning “choosing” or “Var” meaning a husband chosen by the girl. This also shows that in Vedic system the girl had complete rights to choose her husband.
3. The biggest proof of Manu Smriti proposing Varna System and NOT Caste System is that in the first Chapter of Manu Smriti, there is mention of origin of 4 Varnas and no mention of castes or gotras. Had caste or gotra been important, Manu would have mentioned which castes belong to Brahmins, which to Kshatriyas, which to Vaishyas and which to Shudras.
This also means that those who feel proud in calling themselves Brahmins or upper-caste by birth have no evidence to prove so. They can at best prove that a few generations of their forefathers used to also call themselves upper-caste. But there is no way to prove that they were upper-castes since inception of civilization. And when they cannot prove so, what right do they have to allege that a so-called birth-based Shudra was also not a Brahmin several generations ago? And that they themselves were not Shudras a few generation ago!
4. In fact Manu Smruti 3.109 clearly states that one who eats by glorifying his Gotra or Family is considered an eater of his own vomit. Thus, as per the Manu Smriti that the self-proclaimed birth-based Brahmins or upper-castes believe in, the very act of glorifying their lineage or gotra to demand special privileges makes them deserving of condemnation.
5. Manu Smriti 2.136 states that one earns respect due to wealth, company, age, actions and knowledge in increasing order. There is no mention of family, gotra, caste, lineage and other non-factors to demand or earn respect.
Migration within Varnas
6. Manu Smriti 10.65 asserts that Brahmin can become Shudra and Shudra can become Brahmin. Similarly Kshtariyas and Vaishyas can also change their Varnas.
7. Manu Smruti 9.335: If a Shudra (uneducated) serves the educated ones, is polite, devoid of ego and stays in respectful company of knowledgeable ones, he/ she is considered as having a noble birth and stature.
8. There are several shlokas in Manusmriti that state that a person belonging to high Varna falls down to level of a Shudra (uneducated) if he does not conduct noble deeds. For example,
2.104: A person who does not worship the Supreme Lord twice daily should be considered a Shudra.
2.172. He who has not been initiated with teaching of the Vedas is a Sudra.
4.245: A Brahmin acquires brilliance through company of noble persons and avoiding bad company. On contrary, if he indulges in bad company, he becomes a Shudra.
Thus clearly, Brahmin refers to a scholarly person who conducts noble deeds. And Shudra refers to an uneducated person. This has nothing to do with birth in any manner.
2.168: A Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya who puts efforts in other areas except understanding and following the Vedic precepts becomes a Shudra and his future generations also suffer from ignorance of Vedas.
Thus, as per Manu Smriti, almost the entire population of India today, barring few exceptions, is Shudra because we do not abide by the Vedic concepts and are indulged in anti-Vedic activities – corruption, casteism, selfishness, superstitions, irrationality, gender-discrimination, sycophancy, immorality etc.
2.126: Even if he is a Brahmin otherwise, a person who does not politely respond to a greeting is actually a Shudra (uneducated person).
Even Shudras can teach
9. Though Shudra means an uneducated person, a Shudra can also become a teacher for specific knowledge that he has. For example,
2.238: One should acquire knowledge even from a person born in a low family otherwise. Similarly, one should accept a noble woman as wife even if her family is otherwise not up to mark.
2.241. If needed, one may acquire knowledge from one who is not a Brahmin; and that he shall follow and serve such a teacher, as long as the instruction lasts.
Status of Brahmin is acquired by deeds and not by name
10. As per Manu Smriti, one has to earn the qualification of Brahmin. During childhood, parents are supposed to send their children for specialized education of Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya depending on observed nature of children. So many Brahmin parents may desire that their children also become Brahmins. However that is not sufficient. One becomes Brahmin only if he completes the education and not merely by taking birth in a Brahmin family or taking admission in Brahmin course of a gurukul.
2.157: A Brahmin devoid of education is equivalent to an elephant made of wood or a deer made of leather. They are merely namesake and not real.
2.28: The body is made fit to be called Brahmin only through study of scriptures, discipline, noble selfless deeds, study of duties, science and meditation, charity and goal oriented actions.
Education is true birth
11. As per Manu, actual birth happens after completion of education. All human beings are Shudras or uneducated when born. Those who complete their education are supposed to have a new birth. Thus they are called Dwija or Twice Born. Those who were unable to complete the education remain Shudra. This has nothing to do with birth or heredity. This is pure meritocracy.
2.148: When a teacher who is well-versed in Vedas teaches a student the science of Gayatri (that summarizes all principles of Vedas and rational living), then the actual birth of the student takes place. This birth is free from risks of death or destruction and leads the student to immortality.
Thus, forget about being a Brahmin, Kshatriya or Vaishya, one is not considered even a human unless he/she receives education.
2.146: The teacher who provides education is a father who is much greater than the father who gave birth. The knowledge provided by the teacher remains with the soul even after the death and leads him to immortality. But the body provided by father destroys when death comes.
2.147: The birth that happens from womb of mother after parents desire for procreation is an ordinary birth. Real birth happens when the person completes his education.
Thus, citing lineage to showcase casteist superiority is an extremely foolish act as per Manu Smruti. Instead of quoting the clan, one becomes superior by showcasing that he is more educated.
10.4: Brahmin, Kashtriya and Vaishya take second birth after education. Shudra who could not complete education is fourth Varna. There is no fifth Varna among Arya or noble people.
This also means that merely because a person did not complete education does not make him a villain. He is still regarded as a noble person if his deeds are noble.
And if he completes the education, he can become a Dwija as well. Thus Shudra is an adjective and NOT a nomenclature for any castes.
Never insult anyone born in lower family
12. To further ensure that one is not insulted or denied opportunities merely because he/she was born in a family where others did not excel in education, wealth or other parameters of success in society, Maharshi Manu laid the rule very clearly:
4.141: Never deny respect and/or rights to a person who is handicapped, uneducated, aged, not handsome, not wealthy or coming from a lower family. These are NOT the parameters to judge a person.
Examples of Varna migration in ancient history
13. The concept of Varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya, Shudra – being merit based and NOT birth based is not merely a theoretical concept. It was practiced in ancient era. The greatest misery befell on us when our misguided ancestors converted this scientific meritocracy into a foolish birth-based system causing all the miseries we face today.
Here are some examples:
a. Aitareya Rishi was son of a Daasa or criminal but became a Brahmin of highest order and wrote Aitareya Brahman and Aitareyopanishad. Aitareya Brahman is considered critical to understand Rigveda.
b. Ailush Rishi was son of a Daasi, gambler and of low character. However he researched on Rigveda and made several discoveries. Not only was he invited by Rishis but also made an Acharya. (Aitareya Brahman 2.19)
c. Satyakaam Jaabaal was son of a prostitute but became a Brahmin.
d. Prishadh was son of King Daksha but became a Shudra. Further he did Tapasya to achieve salvation after repenting. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.14)
Had Tapasya been banned for Shudra as per the fake story from Uttar Ramayan, how could Prishadh do so?
e. Nabhag, son of King Nedishtha became Vaishya. Many of his sons again became Kshatriya. (Vishnu Puran 4.1.13)
f. Dhrist was son of Nabhag (Vaishya) but became Brahmin and his son became Kshatriya (VP 4.2.2)
g. Further in his generation, some became Brahmin again (VP 9.2.23)
h. As per Bhagvat, Agniveshya became Brahmin though born to a king.
i. Rathotar born in Kshatriya family became a Brahmin as per Vishnu Puran and Bhagvat.
j. Haarit became Brahmin though born to Kshatriya (VP 4.3.5)
k. Shaunak became Brahmin though born in Kshatriya family. (VP 4.8.1). In fact, as per Vayu Puran, Vishnu Puran and Harivansh Puran, sons of Shaunak Rishi belonged to all four Varnas.
Similar examples exist of Gritsamad, Veethavya and Vritsamati.
l. Matanga was son of Chandal but became a Brahmin. (Mahabharat Anushasan Parva Chapter 3)
m. Raavan was born from Pulatsya Rishi but became a Rakshas.
n. Pravriddha was son of Raghu King but became a Rakshas.
o. Trishanku was a king but became a Chandal.
p. Sons of Vishwamitra became Shudra. Vishwamitra himself was a Kshatriya who later became a Brahmin.
q. Vidur was son of a servant but became a Brahmin and minister of Hastinapur empire.
r. Vatsa became a Rishi though born to a Shudra (Aitareya Brahman 2.19)
s. Many verses of adulterated Manu Smriti (10.43-44) state that certain castes were earlier Kshtariya but became Shudra later. These verses are adulterated but prove that concept of Varna migration did exist. The castes mentioned are: Paundrak, Audru, Dravid, Kamboj, Yavan, Shak, Parad, Palhava, Cheen, Kirat, Darad, Khash.
t. Mahabharat Anushasana Parva 35.17-18 adds the following to above list: Mekal, Laat, Kanvashira, Shaundik, Daarva, Chaur, Shabar, Barbar.
u. Several gotras are common across Brahmins, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Dalits implying that all of them hailed from same family but rather got entrapped in the stupid casteism.
Respect for Shudras
14. Manu was a great humanitarian. He knew that not all Shudras miss their education deliberately. He also understood that just because one ignored education in early part of his life does not mean that he should be penalized for that mistake for entire life. Thus he ensured that even Shudras get their due respect in society. Thus he never used any insulting adjective for Shudras. On contrary their are several instances of Manu using respectful adjectives for Shudras.
Being vulnerable due to lack of education, Shudras deserve greater sensitivity in treatment from rest of the society as per Manu. We have seen some examples of these earlier.
Here are some more:
3.112: If a Shudra or Vaishya comes as a guest, the family should feed him with due respect.
3.116: A householder should eat from remaining food only after he has fed the scholars and servants (Shudras) to their satisfaction.
2.137: A very old Shudra deserves more respect than anyone else regardless of their wealth, company, age, actions or knowledge. This special provision is accorded only to Shudra.
Vedas are foundation of Manu Smruti
That is why Vedas are accorded such high importance in our culture. Vedas form the foundation of everything else and hence if Vedas are conserved, other texts can be derived by seers in future as well.
16. Thus the benchmark for interpreting any other scriptural text is the Vedas. They are to be interpreted and accepted only to extent they comply with Vedas. This is true for ALL texts including Smritis, Brahmans, Mahabharat, Ramayan, Geeta, Upanishads, Ayurveda, Neeti Shastra, Darshans etc.
17. Manu himself announces in the Manu Smruti that Vedas alone form the foundation of Dharma. Refer 2.8-2.11
(Manu 2.8: A learned man after fully scrutinising all this with the eye of knowledge, should, in accordance with the authority of the Vedas, intent on the performance of his duties.)
Thus, it becomes clear that Manu Smruti has to be interpreted ONLY in lines with Vedas.
Shudras have right to study Vedas and conduct Vedic rituals
18. Vedas very clearly provide right to Shudras (and women) – in fact entire humanity – to study Vedas and conduct Vedic rituals like Yajna. Refer Yajurveda 26.1, Rigveda 10.53.4, Nirukta 3.8 etc.
Thus Manu Smriti also supports the same Vedic truth. That is why nowhere in the context of Upanayan (education initiation) does Manu forbid Upanayan or sacred thread for Shudras. On contrary, one who refuses to accept Sacred Thread of education is called a Shudra!
19. In lines with Vedas, Manu also orders the ruler to ensure that the salary and perks of Shudras be never reduced in any circumstance. (7.125-126, 8.216)
To summarize, the assumption of Manu formulating a birth-based caste system is baseless. On contrary, Manu Smruti is vehemently against any reference to family or birth to judge a person. The Varna system of Manu is a pure meritocracy.
Each human has all the 4 Varnas – Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Manu attempted to organize the predominant Varna of each individual in social context in a manner that aids individual and collective uplift.One can move from any Varna to other Varna at any point of time. This is natural segregation in any society at any point of time in world.
We shall review the other two allegations on Manu prescribing harsh punishments for Shudras and preferential treatment for Brahmins; and being anti-woman in subsequent articles.
But we would like to conclude this part from what Manu himself said about fraud and wrong practices.
He says in 4.30 that frauds, wrong practices, deceit, perversion and falsehood should not be respected even by words.
Caste system based on birth is one of the most disgusting fraudulent deceitful perverted and false practices to exist among civilized human beings. And thus, as per Manu and as per Vedas, one should work to destroy this criminal practice by all means – harshest words and strongest actions. To show soft corner to birth-based caste system even in words is against Manu.
Before end, it is demanded to explain those perverted verses of Manu Smriti that are quoted everywhere to justify birth-based casteism and gender discrimination. Hundreds of such shlokas from Manu Smruti can be provided.
Chicago, April 27, 2016.
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