Manusmriti was the first book written on the law in the world, which deals with social and moral conduct of a person. Manusmriti falls in the Smriti category of Hindu scriptures and hence, it is less authoritative than Vedas and Upanishadas. It is also the most defamed Hindu book as Dr. Ambedkar had burnt the copies of it as a protest against Hindu caste system. To date, many people look at it as a symbol of caste system. The evangelists use this book as a weapon against Hinduism to provoke dalits.

Manusmriti was written in post-Vedic period after the fall of Mauryan Empire but they are based on Dharma Sutras written in Vedic period. The sages who wrote it modified Dharma Sutras to fit the era of rigid caste system prevailed during post-Vedic period.

Manusmriti is also known as Dharmasutras of Manava. There are other Smritis also like Narad Smriti, Yajnavalkya Smriti, Brihaspati Smriti, etc. but Manusmriti is the most famous of them all.

Manusmriti does not talk about caste but it talks about Varna viz. Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaisya, and Shudra. There is no mention of Varna system according to birth but it advocates the system based on the qualities of a person. If a Shudra possesses qualities of a Brahmin, he could be promoted as a Brahmin but if a Brahmin does not possess qualities required, then he could be demoted as a Shudra.

There are 12 chapters in Manusmriti. It was translated into English by George Buhler. You can read Manusmriti online by following the links given below:

Manusmriti Chapter I

Manusmriti Chapter II

Manusmriti Chapter III

Manusmriti Chapter IV

Manusmriti Chapter V

Manusmriti Chapter VI

Manusmriti Chapter VII

Manusmriti Chapter VIII

Manusmriti Chapter IX

Manusmriti Chapter X

Manusmriti Chapter XI

Manusmriti Chapter XII

One thought on “ManuSmriti

  1. Manu smriti should be judged in the context of the times in which was written. It should be compared with the literature and social norms of other advanced contemprory societies. I am sure it will come out favourably in such comparison. Further, the shame of our civilization is not the caste system. It is untouchablity. There is no evidence of untouchablity in the the smriti. Untouchablity is a later development -the result of changed social mores and, much later, aggravated by the inwardness of an enslaved race. It is also probable that Manu wanted to preserve racial purity which was diluted gradually(refer to Panini). Ambedkar’s action in burning the smriti books was probably the result of misunderstanding. Finally, the smriti is one of the many dharma shastras guiding Hindu religious and social laws.

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