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Manu Smrti: Not a Religious Book:
Seniority of Brahmanas is from Sacred Knowledge,
that of Kshatriyas from
valour, that of Vaisyas from wealth
in grain, but that of Sudras is from
Smriti II, 155)
has declared that those Brahmanas who are thieves, outcasts, eunuchs,
or atheists are unworthy to partake of oblations offered to gods and
Smriti III, 150)
A Brahmin who departs from the Rule of Noble Conduct,
does not gain the fruit described in the Veda,
but he who duly follows the Rule of Noble Conduct, will obtain the full reward."
He who possesses faith may receive pure learning even from a man of lower caste,
the highest law even from the lowest, and
an excellent wife even from a base family."
Smriti II, 238)
Manu Smrti which outlines the scheme of the four varnas (socio-economic classes)
and four ashramas (stages of life of the individual) refuses a provide for the
fifth varna. The four classes are adequate to cover all the sections of the
society. Manu Smrti is a sociological treatise and not a religious or
theological work. It has never been held on par with the Vedas and has never
been claimed to be a Holy Book whose authority is unquestionable. Manu Smrti
does not deal with the Absolute, a field specialized in by the Upanishads. Manu
Smrti is as this-worldly as the Arthasastra is. Manu
was also only a Codifier (Documenter of the then-existing codes) of the Caste System and was not to be interpreted as the creator
of the Caste System.
the British administrators and jurists who dominated the scene since 1757 found
it expedient for their purposes to present it as a religious code binding all
the Hindus. The original text of Manu Smrti has been tampered with is
acknowledged by Sir William Jones who introduced it as the law book of the
Hindus, as he agrees that ' it is accommodated to the improvements of a
commercial age'. The extant text of Manu Smrti is a doctored version, doctored
to benefit the commercial class of Britain which had sponsored the East India
Company, the company for which he was serving as a judge at Calcutta."
of Hindu Social System - By V. Nagarajan ISBN 81-7192-017-9
Varnashrama Dharma, said to be the
mainstay of the Hindu Social Order has no sanction in the Vedas.
In ancient India, these divisions were not based on birth but based on
qualifications. According to the Bhagavad Gita this Aryan family system broke
down in India over three thousand years ago at the time of Krishna. Hence after
three thousand years this system of determining natural aptitude has degenerated
into the caste system which resembles it now only in form.
made it clear that superiority is not by birth but by Conduct. This
Principle was further emphasized later by Maharishi Veda Vyasa in Mahabharata. Manu
himself says that if there is anything in his Smriti which is not acceptable to
the conscience of any person, that person should reject it and act according to
his/her own conscience.
choosing your course of conduct at any time and place, keep in view the
instructions given first in Sruti (Vedas), then in Smritis, Itihaas (History of
great personalities) and finally you act according to your
(Manu Smriti, 11, 6).
as a wooden toy elephant cannot be real elephant, and a stuffed deer cannot be a
real deer, so, without studying scriptures and the Vedas and the development of
intellect, a Brahmin by birth cannot be considered a Brahmin. "
- Manu Smriti 11 -
Louis Francois Jacolliot
(1837-1890), who worked in French India as a government official
and was at one time President of the Court in Chandranagar,
translated numerous Vedic hymns, the Manusmriti,
and the Tamil work, Kural.
His masterpiece, La
Bible dans l'Inde, stirred a storm of controversy.
– Hindoo Law
Hindoo law were codified by Manu more than 3,000 years before the
Christian era, copied by entire antiquity and notably by Rome,
which alone has left us a written law – the code of Justanian,
which has been adopted as the base of all modern legislations.
enpassant, this striking coincidence with French law, that the
Hindoo wife, in default of her husband’s authority may release
from her incapacity, by authority of justice. “
made by a man who is drunk, foolish, imbecile or grievously
disordered in his mental condition….” Manu further adds –
“What is held under comprehension – held by force is declared
not this be thought a mere commentary on the Code of Napoleon?
Of 4-5,000 years after “How far is all this from those barbarous
customs of first ages, when every question was solved by violence
and force, and what admiration should we feel for a people who, at
the epoch at which Biblical fall would date the world’s
creation, had already reached the extraordinary degree of
civilization indicated by laws so simple and so practical.”
Bible dans l'Inde - By Louis
40 - 45). For more on Louis Jacolliot refer to Quotes61-80).
Caste system and Code of
Hindus have been an intensely practical people.
The magnificence of daring glimpses into the cosmos as their meditations
or scientific investigations revealed to them, convinced them beyond doubt that
the complexity of earthly existence could be reduced to some order and the march
of human progress subjected to some form of control. They embraced in their
researches such subjects as astronomy, physics, chemistry, biology, medicine,
ethics, logic, psychology, aesthetics, politics, economics, sociology, and
metaphysics. Indeed, in sociology alone, they have left
us over twenty treatises; and the Code of Manu, the subject of the
present study, is only one of them.
Manu, Manas, manava, all have
the same philological root, man, to think. Manu’s Code, therefore, is a
treatise of social relations for human beings. (Manava-dharma-shastra). It lays
emphasis on reason, the thinking faculty (manas), in the ordering
of man’s social relations. It stands for a planned society.
Manu’s social theory is an art of life; it is a technique, not mere congeries
of consistent concepts.
An individual’s life is
divided into four parts – 1. studentship, 2 householding 3. partial retirement
or hermitage, 4. and complete retirement. Correspondingly, there are four
groups: 1. the manual worker, 2. the merchant, 3. the warrior , and 4. the
teacher. A unity of function ties each stage of individual life to the
corresponding group. This unity, which lays emphasis on harmonious relations, is
the dharma, or the ethics of Manu. There are thus presented four social
institutions: 1. the educational, 2. the family-economic, 3. the political, 4.
and the religious.
Manu: A Study in Hindu Social Theory - by Kewal Motwani
p. 2 – 5).
"The Hindus assert that
their social formula meets the requirements of man’s individual and collective
nature. The fact that the Hindu civilization has been
able to survive over thousand of years, despite disorders caused by invasions,
schisms, and internal wars, and has been capable of constant renewal, as
demonstrated by one brilliant period after another, merits all our attention in
the study of a social system whose longevity is unique in history."
Success, Pleasure, & Liberation : The Four Aims of Life in the Tradition of
Ancient India - Alain Danielou p.
Invasion Theory and Caste system
visiting scholar at Hoover Institution at Stanford and the leader of new
liberalism in France, writes:
Invasion theory has today become the standard explanation for the caste system,
though it came up only in the 19th century. Besides, all we have to attest the
Aryan invasion is a specious interpretation of the Mahabharata, which is like
searching the origins of European aristocracy in the works of Homer! In any
case, it is doubtful whether a single invasion, which was more likely a slow
infiltration of the North, could have succeeded in structuring so perfectly
Indian society along ethnic lines for over three thousand years. Finally, in
South India the caste system among the dark, skinned Dravidians is as rigid as
it is in the North, though the Aryans in all probability never reached
racial origin of caste hypothesis tells us little about India but it does tell
us a great deal about the 19th century Westerners who invented the Aryan
invasion theory. It was at the same
time that Sieyes and Augustin Thierry claimed that the French nobility was of
Germanic stock, whereas the lower classes were of Gallic origin; so the 1789
Revolution was a race war rather than a class war! It
was also in the 19th century that appeared the myth of the Indo-Europeans being
at the source of all Western civilization and for this we have to thank British
authors who were taken up with evolutionist theory. Indian historians trained in
Europe have fallen victim to this myth but that does not make it any more
authentic. Later on, at the beginning of the 20th century, it became fashionable
to support the Marxist theory which replaced race with class, though its
premises were just as shaky."
Genius of India - By Guy Sorman ('Le Genie de l'Inde')
Macmillan India Ltd. 2001. ISBN 0333 93600 0 p.
Refer to chapter on Aryan
Invasion Theory. Watch
Invasion through Conversion
video - Brahmins
have become a minority
Lord goes to Dalit village
On Wednesday evening, Lord Balaji, the diety at the famous Tirupati
shrine in Andhra Pradesh, will make history.
He will be spending the night in a Dalit colony at the Thallapaka
Lord will be spending the night in a Dalit colony at the Thallapaka village.
This is part of a programme called Dalita
Govindam, initiated by the Tirupati Devasthanam, to fight caste prejudices.
priests will perform sacred rituals at the colony and the colony residents will
also be accorded treatment, ususally reserved for important devotees visiting
the Tirupati temple. Thallapaka has witnessed several clashes in the past between Dalits and
upper caste Hindus over entry into the Tirupati temple.
Lord goes to Dalit village - ibnlive.com).
of Hindus vow to end caste divide
Truth and Reconciliation
Delhi, March 10 IANS: Railway porters in their trademark red uniform,
Hindu holy men in saffron robes, social activists, large numbers from the middle
class...all joined hands here as spiritual guru Sri Sri
Ravi Shankar launched a campaign to end centuries of discrimination
Leaders of several social groups from within the
Hindu community, the Dalits included, were among the 4,000 who gathered at the
open air theatre in Pragati Maidan here Friday evening and took a pledge to end
the caste divide that Ravi Shankar warned would harm
's progress in the long run.
A seven-point action plan that Ravi Shankar unveiled at the meeting and
which the thousands of men and women accepted with their right hands
outstretched included an immediate end to the ban on the entry of Dalits into
Hindu temples in parts of
The other aspects of the 'action plan' are ending the practice of keeping
separate utensils for the use of Dalits in eateries and also providing religious
and spiritual education to Dalit children.
'The anger of the past
should not engulf us and divide the country. The fear and communication gap
between communities is what is keeping us apart,' he said in a brief address,
first in English and then in Hindi. 'We must accept the reality and reconcile
'What we have started today will resonate across the
country and unite the people. When leaders come together and take a vow, the
people will follow them,' he added. 'My main concern is
how to bring people together.'
The organisers pointed out that months of
painstaking hard work had gone into the conference, with Ravi Shankar - whose Art
of Living Foundation has millions of followers across the world -
reaching out to the leaders and activists of a wide variety of social groups in
the Hindu fold.
Present at the 'Truth and
Reconciliation Conference' were representatives of the Bhumihar,
Valmiki, Brahmin, Dalit, Gujjar, Vanniar, Kayastha, Kshatriya, Kurmi, Mahar,
Majhabi, Marwari, Meena, Mushar, Paswan, Raigar, Rajput, Thakur, Thevar, Pasi,
Mala, Vaish, Valmiki, Verma and Yadav communities.
pointed out that many were unaware that Dalits had
contributed immensely in the development of Hindu scriptures.
'Historically, many of the
revered rishis were Dalits. The authors of the Ramayana
Maharishis Valmiki and Vyas respectively, were Dalits. The narrator of the
Puranas, Soot Maharishi, was a Dalit...We need to make the people realise that
discrimination is not sanctioned by religion.'
Despite legislation making discrimination against
Dalits a crime, the offence continues in large parts of
. Many young Dalits have today joined the ranks of Maoists in sheer disgust,
convinced that mainstream
does not care for them. Speaker after speaker at the conference praised Ravi
Shankar for his initiative and promised to spread the 'action plan' in their
areas of influence.
But Udit Raj, a
civil servant-turned-social activist, cautioned that it would need more than a
public pledge to end caste discrimination. 'The fact is that the Dalit
community to which I belong has no representation in the capital market, in the
share market. There is hardly any Dalit among the leading journalists in this
country. Can I forget all that?' he said, describing the state of a
community that for centuries was considered 'untouchable' by high caste Hindus
and made to do demeaning work.
'The wound goes very deep,' Udit Raj said. 'The
media calls me a Dalit leader. Why? Do they call Atal Bihari Vajpayee a Brahmin
leader? Do they call L.K. Advani a Sindhi leader?
cannot be a superpower unless caste discrimination does not end. I see so many
(middle class) volunteers from the so-called upper castes here. But will they
attend my rallies too? They won't.' He quickly added: 'But this is the
of Hindus vow to end caste divide - haindavakeralam.org).
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