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Re: Dharma SoothrAs of manu : Manu Smruthi

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Wed Nov 14 2001 - 09:55:32 PST

The Manu Dharma soothras are 2740 in number.

They were authored by the son of BrahmA ,
Manu Chakravarthi , who is the progenitor of
IshvAku Vamsam with links to Lord Raamachandran. 
Saint ThyagarAjA refers in one of his krithis
about Lord Ramachandran commenting on the fine points
of Raaja Neethi (Codes of conduct for  a king) to
an assembly of kings at His court. Those rules 
and intrepretations come right out of Manu's laws . 

There are twelve chapters in "The laws of Manu".
The sixth chapter is the shortest with 97 "institutes
or codes of conducts". The eighth chapter has 
the largest " insititutes "(420 in number). 

These laws deal with a wide variety of subjects 
and give us guidelines on the "Dos" and "Don'ts".
Indian law from ancient to modern times is based on
these guidelines .

The subject matter of these laws cover : the creation
of the world , behavior of the four Varnaas (casts)and 
four aasramams (stages in life ), the righteous conduct
for men and women , proper performance of sacrificial rites ,
preparation of sacrificial food to gods and ancestors 
(manes/pithrus), personal hygine , living in harmony
with the environment , penances for sins , the duties
of a householder  et al. The thoroughness of these 
instructions and the scope of coverage is extraordinary .
No wonder our way of life is called Sanaatana dharma
( the eternal way of life ). 

Some examples of the laws are given below:

III.55 " Women must be honored and adorned by their
fathers, brothers , husbands and brothers-in-law,
who desire their own welfare.Where women are honored ,
the Gods are pleased , but where they are not honored,
no sacred rite(Yaagam ) yields rewards".

III.72: " But , he who does not feed these five--
the Gods , his guests , those whom is bound 
to maintain ,ancestors/manes and himself "is
not worthy of respect ".
..

IV.58: Through virtuous conduct, one obtains long life ,
desirable offspring and imperishable wealth".

VI.68 : "Inorder to preserve living creatures ,
let him always , by day and night , even with pain 
to his body , walk carefully scanning the ground".

X.63: "Abstention form injuring (creatures),
veracity , abstension from unlawfully appropriating
the goods of others , purity and control of
the organs , Manu has declared the summary of 
the Laws.

IX.101:" Let mutual fidelity continue until death ;
this may be considered as the summary of the highest 
law for husband and wife."

XII.125: " He who thus recognizes the Self through
the Self in all created beings , becomes equal (-minded)
towards all and enters the highest state, Brahman. 

The scope of coverage of these 2,740 codes of conduct 
is amazing to say the least .It is so through that 
nothing is left out in terms of one's own sadAchAram ,
relationship to others and one's own conductance in Society .

Manu Dharma Saasthrams are distillation of the essence of
the high principles described by Sruthis(VedAs ) and 
Smruthis ( Bahgavadh Gitaa)and as such are timeless . 

V.SaThakOpan/V.Sadagopan 
   

 



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