The Status Of Women As Depicted By Manu In The Manusmriti

Written by August 27, 2011 7:29 pm 395 comments

The Manusmriti also known as Manav Dharam Shastra, is the earliest metrical work on Brahminical Dharma in Hinduism. According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma .The scripture consists of 2690 verses, divided into 12 chapters.  It is presumed that the actual human author of this compilation used the eponym ‘Manu’, which has led the text to be associated by Hindus with the first human being and the first king in the Indian tradition.

Although no details of this eponymous author’s life are known, it is likely that he belonged to a conservative Brahman class somewhere in Northern India. Hindu apologists consider the Manusmriti as the divine code of conduct and, accordingly, the status of women as depicted in the text has been interpreted as Hindu divine law.  While defending Manusmriti as divine code of conduct for all including women, apologists often quote the verse: “yatr naryasto pojyantay, ramantay tatr devta [3/56] (where women are provided place of honor, gods are pleased and reside there in that household), but they deliberately forget all those verses that are full of prejudice, hatred  and discrimination against women.

Here are some of the ‘celebrated’ derogatory comments about women in the Manusmriti :

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 8th year; 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.

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395 Comments

  • The article doesn’t mention that punishment of adultery for women and men was different and homosexuality as well was different. Some groups like Arya Samaj eschew all scriptures post Vedas but most hindus don’t , if you google search for the manu smriti hindutva-leaning sites some crude, some sophisticated pops up all essentially claiming that caste was not hereditary and women were treated well and had choice which is untrue. They refuse to deal with polygamy and widow remarriage and caste. It’s pretty partial to Brahmin men, in fact it revolves around them.

    He who has associated with outcasts, he who has approached the wives of other men and he who has stolen the property of a Brahmin becomes [after death] a brahmarakshas [fierce devil]. It is declared that a Shudra woman alone [can be] the wife of a Shudra, she and one of his own caste [the wives] of a Vaishya, those two and one of his own caste [the wives] of a Kshatriya, those three and one of his own caste [the wives] of a Brahmin . Twice-born (‘upper’ caste) men, who, in their folly, wed wives of the low [Shudra] caste soon degrade their families and their children to the state of Shudras. According to Atri and to [Gautama] the son of Uthaya, he who weds a Shudra woman becomes an outcast . A Brahmin who takes a Shudra wife to his bed will [after death] sink into hell; if he begets a child by her he will lose the rank of a Brahmin.
    A [man of ] low [caste] who makes love to a maiden [of] the highest [caste] shall suffer corporal punishment.

    The property of a Brahmin must never be taken by the king, that is a settled rule; but [the property of men] of other castes the king may take on failure of all [heirs]. Let the king corporally punish all those [persons] who either gamble and bet or afford [an opportunity for it], likewise Shudras who assume the distinctive marks of twice-born [men].

    • chandrasekaran

      It is legally impossible and a violation if the barren wife has cohabitation to get an off spring through her brother-in-law.I wonder how the saint Manu speaks about this as a rule.

  • Buddhism is far more superior to Hinduism and it is a shame when Hindus assume that they are all Hindus and there is no Buddhism as per say. Buddha put all th Brahmin to shame when he said the following. The system that divided people on the basis of their birth was unjust. He highly condemned the caste system because as per his perspective there were brutal and barbaric people in the upper caste and also kind and virtuous people in the lower caste.This is the sole reason why Gautam Buddha condemned and highly criticized the Varna system and Vedic literature because it preached caste system and discrimination. Buddha’s principle was highly humanistic as his principle was purely based on reason & logic, unlike the Brahmanism which practiced inequality and chaturvarna. According to Buddha, the priestly class were the people who were learned and not who were superstitious and blindly followed the scriptures or the one who were born in a Brahman family. Buddha did upset the entire Brahman concept of caste by stating the distinction was purely arbitrary and not divinely ordained as people thought of. He abolished the varna dharma and welcomed all types of people including the lower caste people (For instance, the barber barber shown in Zee TV Buddha) to join Buddhism so that they could enter a society which was based on spiritual fraternity and not according to the house where he was produced. According to the Buddha, the social organization was based on two aspects karuna, that is respect and maitri, that is equality for all living beings. He insisted that one should not blindly follow the scriptures, and the so called truth mentioned in it, but, instead use reasoning or logic to know the truth in it. No wonder, he was very liberal in his approach. Lastly, though Buddha could not wipe off the so called divine caste system during his period completely, the social awakening created by him modified the social structure to a great extent!!!

    • Sir, the chaturvarna system you so criticize was not same in the early vedic period. It was remoulded and modified later. A counter view about the views of Buddha about women he also was not in the favor of women, he did not wanted them to join Sangha. one of the reasons he renounced the world was that he did not like the site of a sleeping women(they are so pretty asleep,as you may be aware) along with that of a dead body and an ill person. He was of the view as he maetions to Ananda(his favorite disciple)that Sangha got polluted because of the coming of women and Buddhism will collapse early because of this reason.

      • The verdict period lasted from 2500 to 3500 years ago. We have no proof or evidence there was no brutal caste system in that period. Buddha did mention that the system was based on Varna and in Sanskrit Varna means color. He also mentioned that people were born with their caste and this was about 2500 years ago. When you pay attention and look for an unbiased truth you see things much more clearly. The Brahmins wanted to change everybody except themselves, which means, really, they did not want to change. They wanted others to change, and so they remained heartless, indifferent, cruel, introducing cruel hierarchy hoping the environment will change so that they can continue in our own way. Buddha had followers who were Hindus previously and they were conditioned to Hinduism therefore had the prejudices against women and caste that still remained. Today when you go to the countries that practice Buddhism do not practice the caste system. Do you think organizations like religions that practise cruelty of man will bring love into being? Through legislation, India has abolished the caste system but leaders and the higher caste that has the desire for power and control do not want to change. Therefore if we do not work for what is good, how else can it be brought about? The good doesn’t come into being through our withdrawal or denial. Society including the greatest to the least among us, must bring about change. I think that it is fairly obvious that the Dalit and other lower caste people live in appalling conditions it not dignity throughout their civilization. You want dignity and why should they be denied their dignity. Is this cruelty more important than your being?

        • ###Today when you go to the countries that practice Buddhism do not practice the caste system.###

          Sri Lankan Sinhalas have caste system. Japanese (Shintos or even Buddhists) had caste system. The real Buddha never supported casteism but never was a revolutionary against it too. He was an Atheist spiritualist like the Samkhyaks , Ajivikas & Jains (both preceded him).

          Sanskritised Hinduism caused varnashram. So agreed it is evil. But religion alone is not keep caste Hindus’ accidie towards the lower caste ones. So a caste Hindu does not change even if he converts to Buddhism – he becomes caste Buddhist.Nor jatis came into existence merely due to any Brahmin scriptures .Hindus(even Sikhs & significant no. of Muslims) came from different races , each race subjugating the already existing ones.

          I support Dalit conversion to Buddhism but do not plz forget that the real founder of Rationalist Buddhism was Ambedkar(a Dalit) & not Shakyamuni Gautama Buddha (a Kshatriya).

          • Why is caste mentioned in everything you say? My forefathers lived outside India in the west for over 90 years and i do not hear anything about caste anywhere except from Indians. Why don’t you see the fallacy of this system and completely dismiss it as cruel and false? Scientifically this is not true and this system is not fact. Your information about Buddha is not true, you are trying to blend buddhism and hinduism trying to place Hinduism as the superior religion. Hinduism is an animistic religion, you believe in images that are somewhat scary and are laughed at and mocked subtly mocked at. You mentioned kshatriyas as warriors, where were these people when India was being plundered and raped for centuries. Where are they today, the jats and the sikhs defend India and have won the most medal of bravery in the Indian army. The Brahmins who are a bare minority are in toilet cleaning business in Delhi. Why is the fallacy of a caste system?

          • Shadaan,

            I do not quite understand you. It is you who mentions caste or Buddhism in nearly every post, certainly not “the eddy.” And I saw nothing particularly objectionable in his post. Perhaps there is a language barrier, I don’t know.

            It is a fact that the Buddha did not revolt against varnashrama dharma. He reiterates the varna list in his discourses and switches the order of Brahmins and Kshatriyas. And while he was more egalitarian and less sexist than the Brahmins at the time, he was still a far cry from Ambedkar, as “the eddy” points out.

            That Buddhists do not have castes is simply false. In Southeast Asia, the Buddhists adopted varna in their upper classes. In Sri Lanka, Buddhists are organized by jatis, since jati developed in Sri Lanka as a system separate but parallel to varna, as “they eddy” has pointed out.

            What exactly are you objecting to?

        • ###Buddha had followers who were Hindus previously and they were conditioned to Hinduism therefore had the prejudices against women and caste that still remained. ###

          So how does that explain Siddhartha’s misogyny ? Will you also blame Buddhist Fundamentalism ,as seen in South-east Asian countries, on Hinduism’s influence.
          Come on, Buddhism has its own flaws , dont try to absolve it by passing the buck on Brahminism( which is doubtlessly flawed)

          • The portrayal of women in Buddhist jatakas is probably where you will find most of Buddhist misogyny.

            Books written by monks like Shantideva are also sexist in that they sexualize women– of course, for the purpose of suppressing the sex drive– but they are sexualized all the same.

          • Also, most Hindu misogyny comes onto record a thousand years after the Buddha, not before him.

          • You people are ignorant because you have not lived outside you caste conditioned country. The buddhist world is so different from Hinduism and it caste practices. There is obvious equality in buddhism and the outcome is that they are far ahead from Hindus. You people are still disallowing Dalits to enter a place of prayer. Still murdering the Dalits and just hate them after giving them a false label. Pay a visit to Japan or South East Asian Buddhist nations you will be able to see clearly. Remember you are conditioned badly by the Brahmins with your caste system and your minds are dead to facts.

    • Dear Shadaan,

      Yes Buddha has indeed broken many of the shekels that existed in Hinduism.
      Buddha also preached non idol worship. He preached only in being a good, righteous and good human being.But sadly what has happened is people have started worshiping his idol rather than the values he promoted

      • They idolise the Buddha which is different from Hinduism that have millions of Idols because their imaginary story keep producing more Idols. Buddhism has spread around the world whereas Hinduism is in decay and rot. The Indians should have dropped Hinduism, and embraced Buddhism. The outcome for India would have been better that what it is today. With your caste system you people lack compassion and logic. Human rights are being trampled by your religion and culture for gain.

        • Shadaan,

          Look at Chinese, Japanese, and Tibetan Buddhism and you will see that they have deified even the bodhisattvas. In medieval India, gods like Ganesh did not necessarily originate with the Hindus, as Buddhists also worshipped them.

          With your caste system you people lack compassion and logic.

          Again, maybe there is a language barrier. But it is not okay that you are accusing people trying to set the record straight on Buddhism in such an inflammatory manner.
          I have already explained why the Buddha was a lesser social revolutionary than Dr. Ambedkar. In fact, the caste system developed after the Buddha as a reaction to Buddhist power. I urge you to read Ambedkar’s papers on caste system.

          • I have lived beside a Buddhist temple and have not seen any segregation of women or people deemed low caste in their homes or places of worship. The big picture does not show buddhist praying like how the hindus do. There is the statue of Buddha and no hindu gods.

        • All you said about buddhism is really true. I am born a hindu but follow the buddhist teaching with originated from buddha but are practiced in Japan (Nichiren Daishonin’s buddhism). They highly respect their women and do not promote idol worship. It says any practice outside of yourself is not the right teaching. Its all about being a good human being and creating the right causes. Just out of curiosity I have been reading alot of hindu scripture and all I have come across is degradation of women. We are headed towards a downward spiral where people still believe in the patriarchal society which subdued the women.

          • I am very much aware of how Buddhist practice their religion and you as a buddhist have acknowledged what I have been saying to the group of people who are all Hindus and they want to claim Buddhism and even sikhism and and Jainism as being Hindu. Buddhism is not Hinduism, just as Christianity is not Judaism. Anything born in India is being wrongly classified as Hinduism. The misguided logic of insecure Hindus. Buddha rejected everything in Hinduism. There cannot be two truths that are opposite. That is contradiction and a logical flaw and a clever tactic by Brahmins. It is not logical for the Hindus to claim that another religion is theirs but for a buddhist to say if he is Hindu. I have never heard Buddhist ay that he is Hindu. Buddhist do not believe in the Vedas or ny Hindu scriptures. The Buddhist do not recognise any Hindu deity superior to Buddha. The Buddhist do not belief in the first cause which means God. The Buddha was honest because there is no evidence of the existence of a first cause. If there i a good and kin God why is there rampart Human and natural evil, why would people come to this world with mental and physical deformities and suffer for a short period and die off. What was their reason to come here, just to suffer pain and leave. To sum up I would say that all religion are a product of the intellect and that is why they say that man was created in the image of God because men created God in their image. I would say it again that Buddha was honest. I do not know, and have not felt anything is called God.

          • So you are implying that even in this modern era , Scriptures should dictate our understanding . So the condition of women in Japan has more to do with stress on Buddhism , rather than stress on education,rationalism etc.
            Do you anything about feudal Japan & the difference in condition of women then & now ?? I am sure the difference is not of Buddhism but the fact that in modern times , they have risen above religious beliefs (somewhat) ,reducing religion to certain cultural aspects. Even there , Iam sure they like the rest of mankind , have borrowed a lot from the West.

          • If societies were reflections of their religious scriptures i.e. people read them & then behaved accordingly then :
            1) All Hindus would have been worse than what they are. Or , except Brahmins , everyone would have renounced the “Hindu” identity. Afterall the scriptures give scant regard to non-Brahmins.

            2) All Muslims would have been terrorists , regardless of what the ordinary muslim tells us that ” killing one man is equivalent to killing entire humanity” .Or , the South Asian muslim would have denounced Quran as part of 700 ADs Perso-Arabic Imperialism.
            Proof of that they do not really read Quran or Vedas etc. with honesty.

  • Good article but could be best if full verses are given.

  • Hinduism has a subtle philosophy here they portray themselves to be righteous as compared to other religions. However the Manuscript indicates that women are evil and should be treated badly an looked upon with suspicion. They imply forget that their mothers are women and they lived inside their mothers womb for nine month and were brought up until they were adults. Now these women are inferior, I have no word to describe their logic and intelligence and wonder who is really inferior? I will quote what Guru Nanak said about women
    “From woman, man is born; within woman, man is conceived; to woman he is engaged and married. Woman becomes his friend; through woman, the future generations come. When his woman dies, he seeks another woman; to woman he is bound. So why call her bad? From her, kings are born. From woman, woman is born; without woman, there would be no one at all”. Guru Nanak, Raag Aasaa Mehal 1, Page 473.
    Sati is an Indian custom of immolation of a woman on her dead husband’s funeral pyre either self-willingly or by societal inducement and compulsion. Guru Nanak say the following about this practice: “Do not call them ‘satee’, who burn themselves along with their husbands’ corpses. O Nanak, they alone are known as ‘satee’, who die from the shock of separation. Some burn themselves along with their dead husbands, but they need not, for if they really loved them they would endure the pain alive”. Sri Guru Granth Sahib page 787. Finally about dowry “Any other dowry, which the self-willed manmukh offer for show, is only false egotism and a worthless display. O my father, please give me the Name of the Lord God as my wedding gift and dowry”. — Sri Guru Granth Sahib page 79. Indian women should wake up and do not let the preferred and spoilt male child in the Indian society steal you human rights away. Most of them given special treatment as a boy are irresponsible and insensitive which is a given the way thy are spoilt rotten by the enabling parents.

    • To your argument in the previous section :
      ##Your information about Buddha is not true##

      Read the following :
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caste_system_in_Sri_Lanka#Sinhalese_castes

      Also this : https://www.blogger.com/blogger.g?blogID=5863109047307932002#editor/target=post;postID=4396578223458186055

      ##you are trying to blend buddhism and hinduism trying to place Hinduism as the superior religion.##

      My statement:”Come on, Buddhism has its own flaws , dont try to absolve it by passing the buck on Brahminism( which is doubtlessly flawed)”

      “Sanskritised Hinduism caused varnashram. So agreed it is evil. ”

      Your statements :”Buddhism is far more superior to Hinduism” ” Buddha had followers who were Hindus previously and they were conditioned to Hinduism therefore had the prejudices against women and caste that still remained.”

      It is for you to judge which of the above are exhibiting supremacism & religious apologetics.
      Each time you defended yourself , you made the Strawman argument that I am defending Casteism or saying “Hinduism is superior to Buddhism”.And yet you could not quote actual historians to prove your statements , thus ending up in “Buddhist Apologetics”.
      Also on other matters of intersection of jati identity & religious identity you need education ,perhaps living in the west for 90 yrs.

      • You are not reading about sinhalese Buddhism which is a branch. Check what the Buddha said and the outcome in Buddhist nations other than south Asia where Hinduism and cultures have clouded their minds

        • Good idea. The Mongols at one point in their war on China hired some Buddhist monks who told them that they could break some fortifications with the power of mantra. Unsurprisingly, nothing happened.

          Before the Chinese invasion, Tibet was a feudal society run by the monks, who were able to maintain power because they were 1/3 of the population– and since most families had someone in the monastic structure, they wouldn’t complain.

          The Japanese used Zen in World War II to justify killing the Chinese, because reincarnation meant that noone “really” died. Note the similarity to the Bhagavad Gita, where Krishna tells Arjuna that the atman is immortal!

          The Sinhalese used Buddhism to justify killing the Jaffna Tamils. The Rohingyas are currently being massacred by monks in Myanmar.

          What “outcome” are you talking about??

          • The centuries old cruel caste system which is still going on is worse that anything you are saying. legislation has been passed to end this system but you Indians refuse to either implement it or just ignore it. One i still ble to murder rape or discriminate against the dalits. it will be almost impossible for the Dalit to sue or bring the perpetrator to justice. Why talk about something else when the core of this topic is about the discriminating Manuscript from a saint and leader of Hinduism. Why can’t you look at your humanity and say that it is grossly wrong which mean you are trying to ignore this cruelty.

          • Shadaan,

            This is too much. Instead of answering the questions eddy and I have posed to you, you return into your shell and start spewing venom accusing us of being casteist, and personally blaming us for crimes against Dalits.

            For the record, I doubt anyone on this site thinks that the caste system was or is a good idea. Certainly not someone who reads Ambedkar, a description that I think many people on this site can hold.

            Why can’t you look at your humanity and say that it is grossly wrong which mean you are trying to ignore this cruelty.

            Pitiful. You are the one who has tried to portray Buddhism and Sikhism as flawless religions, and have made the claim that supposedly Southeast Asia and East Asia are paradises because of Buddhism. Before throwing stones from glass houses, I urge you to look at the caste discrimination rampant in Sikhism. “India Untouched” by K Stalin is a documentary and a good place to start.

            So what if Guru Nanak denounced casteism? It didn’t do squat for Sikh Dalits. Ambedkar makes the same claim about Vedanta. So what if Vedanta said that everyone’s atman was equal? It didn’t do squat for dalits. Same for Islam, Christianity, and every other religion that says that people are equal. Religious equality is different from social equality. Social equality has always come from secular, humanist traditions, never from religion.

            And if you want to call east and southeast Asia a paradise because of Buddhism, please do so by all means. But you will need to explain how the Tibetan monks perpetuated inequality, had blinding as an acceptable punishment, denied women the “Geshe” degree for centuries, etc. You will need to explain why Buddhists in southeast asia adopted the varna system, why they are killing Rohingyas today, why Japan used Buddhism in WW2 to justify crimes. Why have there been so many military dictatorships in southeast Asia?

            Funnily enough, India’s economy is doing better than that of any southeast Asian country. The only country from there that can compete with India is Indonesia… which, like India, is a Hindu-Muslim country.

            TL;DR Noone here likes casteism or is a Hindu. So instead of accusing us, focus instead on your defence of Buddhism and Sikhism, which are untenable. We atheists and freethinkers are equal-opportunity offenders.

          • You are spot on.

        • At the end all prophets , gurus , avatars or even Boddhisattvas are bogus.

          A significant section of Hindus ,esp. in middle class (not just we different shades of atheists) are questioning Hinduism .Thus let them be irreligious & non-theists , why do you want them to believe in your lies.
          ## the outcome in Buddhist nations other than south Asia where Hinduism and cultures have clouded their minds##
          Eg. tibet under occupation of China – no independence.
          Myanmar, Vietnam & Combodia …google their conditions.

          Countries like Japan became progressive more because of rejection of all superstitions ,Shinto or Buddhist, not just bcz of Buddhism. Read about Meiji era. China is not even buddhist but an Communist state.
          Buddhism no doubt is the religion of our distant ancestors but then you are calling for ‘ghar-wapsi’.Let societies evolve out of religion.All atheists are not a rationalists but all rationalists are atheists.

          • Eddy,

            It is difficult to criticize Buddhism because people understand Buddhism by the Dhammapada only, or more recently, the Buddha and His Dhamma. But even Ambedkar had to edit the Buddha and His Dhamma, deleting and adding some verses, because it wasn’t perfect. I like the Buddha as much as the next guy, but an awareness needs to be raised about how Buddhism was once an organized religion in India, still is outside of India, and how it thus has the flaws of all religions.

            If organized Buddhism ever is attacked, people use the No True Scotsman fallacy, or say that it was really Hindu influence. So a priori, anything bad in Buddhism is really just Hindu.

            Nice theory, but it does squat for the Rohingyas.

    • ###You mentioned kshatriyas as warriors, where were these people when India was being plundered and raped for centuries.###

      India was always raped & plundered & the last millenium is not unique in this case (unlike Hindutvavadis & some of you believe).When Buddhist Bais Rajput- Harshavardhan ruled ,India had extensive Gujjar migrations. Before this India was attacked & conquered by Hephthalites , Scythians , Kambojas , even some Greek Kings like Milind & Meander . And not to forget the oldest invaders ,the love of all (Hindutva , neo-Hindus ,Brahminists & also Dravidianists) -the Aryans from Iran.

  • also tell what he has said good about women. Manu dharma has many derogatory comments about men & women.but the intellectuals never talk about the good lines. A woman is not indebted to anyone except her husband. Her husband and son are indebted to her. Her father is responsible to raise her well and get her married. Her husband is responsible to keep her happy then on. Her son is responsible after his father’s vanaprastha. A woman’s safety and happiness are given high importance. Women are the source of happiness, in the sense that a happy woman keeps her surroundings always happy and prosperous. Manusmriti insists on this in many ways.where women are respected devatas will be happy. Where women are not respected, no the ritual or worship will be of any use.. If women are unhappy, the clan of those who cause it will be destroyed. If women are happy, the house and clan will prosper. If a woman is insulted, the entire clan (of those causing the insult to her) will be destroyed. Those who want to be happy, should keep women happy, respect her and treat her well. If woman is happy, the entire clan will be happy. If she is not, the entire clan will suffer

    • Satish Chandra

      Ajay,

      There is nothing good about what you listed. They are a result of a patriarchal setup which severely restricts the freedom of women. Why should women need to be under protection of their fathers, husbands and sons? Because that society is so fucked up that they can’t let women make their decisions and chose how they live. Because in that society women who aren’t “owned” by the fathers, husbands and sons are “loose” characters and are fair game for anything. Unsurprisingly, setups where women are made to depend to fathers, husbands and sons also give rise to plenty of domestic abuse as women aren’t free to break away from relationships.

      And regarding the kind of “respecting women” that Manusmriti talks about, it gives rise to its own set of problems – http://nirmukta.com/2010/04/20/freeing-devi-a-pragmatist-argument-for-gender-equality-in-the-freethought-movement-in-india/

      In short, to see why even the “good lines” of Manusmriti aren’t so good, one only need to look at a any patriarchal setup that would make Manusmriti proud – like the khaps for example.

      • But can you plz enlighten me on why their are hardly (if any)any Brahmin or Bania khaps , afterall Manu was a Brahmin??
        Why is honour killing more prevalent in Indo-Scythian & Indo-Hephthalite origin communities like Rajputs , Jats & Gujjars , irrespective of religions . Also how is it that Pathans & Mughlai communities too have honour killings but Bohras & Khojas( Muslim banias) do not have it ?

        Religion is one of the factors influencing social behaviour, though not the only one . All the communities practicing honour killings are martial tribes of North & North-west , while esp. the merchant class rarely practices it. No wonder why the Banias have been at the forefront of preserving Jainism , Bhakti movements!

        • eddy,

          I’m talking about patriarchy, which isn’t limited to ‘honour’ killing. So I’m baffled as to where you got the idea that religion alone is the factor. Sure, it is a major supporter of patriachy, but I never said that it is the only one.

        • I think you are stereotyping communities. Jauhar is a historical Rajput practice, but I don’t think statistics show that most honor killings come from these communities. Look at what happens to people who dare commit intercaste marriage and you will see how tolerate non-martial communities can be.

      • Well I would like to counter that evolution had a bias towards a patriarchical system. Most of the burgeoning jobs of those times meant working the fields, being a soldier, or a merchant and having to travel or being an educator. Most of these jobs suited a particular gender. We shouldn’t be judging these while keeping our sensibilities born out of our modern upbrining. Simply put, society at that time was still evolving and didn’t have lots of options for women. So I reckon that good lines are “good” if you ascribe it to the time they were written.

        I wished the article had served up some context or atleast given the verbatim in sanskrit. A few sounds like pertaining to eugenics, others about keeping the intellectuals focussed, most of them don’t make sense but if I am allowed to doodle across the dots here, it seems Manu tried to rush human evolution by making it more selective/efficient(??)

        • ###Well I would like to counter that evolution had a bias towards a patriarchical system.##

          Did not get it?? Biological Evolution from primates to Homo Sapiens , some where might have led to strengthening of patriarchy but Social evolution of Humans over the millenia on the contrary has challenged patriarchical systems.

          ##Most of these jobs suited a particular gender.##
          No , this is patriarchy which assumes that a woman is intellectually or physically inferior to man for those jobs & be only reduced to households.And this idea sadly continues even in more progressive societies like the west.

          ## it seems Manu tried to rush human evolution by making it more selective/efficient##
          Doodling along the dots is exactly what Nietzshe did.

          ##So I reckon that good lines are “good” if you ascribe it to the time they were written.###
          Unlike Gita , Upanishads , Lotus Sutra ,Quran etc which can be seen in “greys” even from the context of that age of ignorance , but works like Manusmriti , certain Hadiths,are works of extreme villany , not some ordinary ppl’s ignorance. So your argument has some validity in the former cases but in the latter they dont.

  • This story is cock and bull, and where did you hear this tale.

  • Hinduism and Buddhism are both their own religions and cultures. They are different in many ways that define who they are and what their faith is. Hinduism was not founded by any sort of prophet, whereas Buddhism was founded by Buddha. Hindus believe in the Vedas, but the Buddhists do not believe in the Vedas or any other Hindu holy book. Buddhists do not believe in the existence of souls, or the Christian God. Hindus believe in Atman, who is the individual soul, and Brahman, the creator of all. The people of the Hindu religion believe the Buddha to be a reincarnation of one of their gods of the Hindu Trinity but the Buddhists do not believe in any Hindu god as equivalent better than Buddha. Hindus believe in the four stages of life, but the Buddha do not share that believe. Whereas the Buddhists believe in the concept of Bodhisattvas, or the enlightened existence, but the Hindus do not. Buddhists must believe that the Buddha, Sangha, and Dhamma are the three most important requirements on the eightfold path, or the principal teachings of the Buddha. Hinduism has many different paths of self realization. Both religions believe in karma and reincarnation, but their terms and conditions vary, different in as many ways as they are similar. Buddhists have no priests or rituals like the Hindus do. Also, in the Buddhist religion, any follower than achieve Nirvana, but in the Hindu religion, only the Brahmins, or priests, could achieve moksha, the Hindu equivalent of Nirvana. Another large difference is that Buddhists do not believe in the Caste System, a main factor in Hinduism. This is one of their largest differences. Hinduism does not know their original creator, unlike most other religions; they’ve lost any information about their founder over the many years, whereas the Buddhists know their creator, Buddha. Buddhism is a much younger religion than Hinduism. The two religions are very much different.

    • Hinduism and Buddhism are both their own religions and cultures. They are different in many ways that define who they are and what their faith is.

      If you’ll excuse the mild profanity, no shit. Eddy and I weren’t saying that Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism were the same thing at all. No, you had said that Buddhism and Sikhism were free from the caste system. And that Southeast Asia was a paradise because of Buddhism. We had provided counterexamples. Now you are back to just ranting without addressing our concerns.

      Buddhism, even if the Buddha rejected Brahminical dominance, never rejected varna. The Buddha simply replaced Brahmins with Kshatriyas, and he acknowledges “gahapatis,” or Vaishyas. This varna spread to southeast asia. Indian and Sri Lankan Buddhists both have jati. This is an empirical fact.

      Buddhists also have priests and rituals– you don’t know this despite saying you lived next to a Buddhist temple??

      This is the last time I’m trying– if you revert to spewing well-known trivia or calling us caste-ist, I’ll write you off as a troll.

    • Also never forget that jatis never died , they just carried on – a reason they are more frustrating. Let me confess I know little about the cultures of South Indians but in the last few years I have been reading about different castes like- Rajputs ,Jats & gujjars – all three have an intertwined histories & all three are descendants of invaders.
      Majority of Punjabi RJGs , all Kashmiri & Sindhi RJGs ,good numbers of rajasthani RJGs converted to Islam ,their identities as RJGs continued.
      Majority of Sikhs call themselves Jatts or Jats ,followed by Gujjars & Rajputs.For eg. Guru Gobind Singh’s general Banda bahadur was a Minhas Rajput & his tutor was Sardar Singh Rathore.
      It is also not difficult to see that Chandela & Bais Rajputs claim a Buddhist past. Jats of Sindh converted to Islam from Buddhism not any Hinduism & also they are mentioned by their caste by the Arab chronicle Chachnama. I am not absolving Brahminism but pointing out that untill Dr. Ambedkar no one challenged “caste” before.People have fought against Caste exploitation but not caste itself.For eg. I belong to a priviledged caste that does not require vindication from any Manu to continue its caste identity, based upon kith-&-kin relationship–a reason why our Caste Sikh & Muslim brethren too have continued that identity after conversions.On the other hand ,the underpriviledges of Dalits has continued even after conversion.

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