Dharma Shastras | Laws of Manu

The Manu Smriti or “Laws of Manu” is a very ancient text which has formed the source for Hindu Law and Social customs for thousands of years. The Laws of Manu are very comprehensive ranging from the Duties of Kings to domestic management. Much of what he taught as Law is no longer applicable, dealing as it does with the

CHAPTER 1 Canto 1: Creation & The Origin of The Sacred Law Invocation: 1. The great sages approached Manu, who was seated with a collected mind, and, having duly worshipped him, spoke as follows: 2. 'Deign, divine one, to declare to us precisely and in due order the sacred laws of each of the (four chief) castes (varṇa) and of

CHAPTER 2 1b.4 Desire for results −the basis of action 1. Learn that sacred law which is followed by men learned (in the Veda) and assented to in their hearts by the virtuous, who are ever exempt from hatred and inordinate affection. 2. To act solely from a desire for rewards is not laudable, yet an exemption from that desire

CHAPTER 3 Topic 5: The rule of bathing; graduation (samāvartana) 1. The vow (of studying) the three Vedas under a teacher must be kept for thirty-six years, or for half that time, or for a quarter, or until the (student) has perfectly learnt them. 2. (A student) who has studied in due order the three Vedas, or two, or even

CHAPTER 4 Topic 9: The modes of gaining subsistence 1. Having dwelt with a teacher during the fourth part of (a man's) life, a Brāhmaṇa shall live during the second quarter (of his existence) in his house, after he has wedded a wife. 2. A Brāhmaṇa must seek a means of subsistence which either causes no, or at least little

CHAPTER 5 Topic 11: Lawful & forbidden food 1. The sages, having heard the duties of a Snātaka thus declared, spoke to great-souled Bhrigu, who sprang from fire: 2. 'How can Death have power over Brāhmaṇas who know the sacred science, the Veda, (and) who fulfil their duties as they have been explained (by thee), O Lord? ' 3. Righteous

CHAPTER 6 Part 4: The Vānaprastha Āśrama Topic 14: The law of hermits 14.1 Retiring to the forest 1. A twice-born Snātaka, who has thus lived according to the law in the order of householders, may, taking a firm resolution and keeping his organs in subjection, dwell in the forest, duly (observing the rules given below). 2. When a householder

CHAPTER 7 Canto 3: Varna Dharma; Legal Rules of The Occupational Duties Part 1: The Natural Conduct of The Four Varṇas Kṣattriya Dharma: Section 1 of Part 1 Topic 16: The Duty of Kings 1. I will declare the duties of kings, (and) show how a king should conduct himself, how he was created, and how (he can obtain) highest

CHAPTER 8 Topic 17: The manner of deciding lawsuits Preliminaries: Section 1 of topic 17 17.1 Arranging the court of justice 1. A king, desirous of investigating law cases, must enter his court of justice, preserving a dignified demeanour, together with Brāhmaṇas and with experienced councillors. 2. There, either seated or standing, raising his right arm, without ostentation in his

CHAPTER 9 Domestic concerns: Section 3 of topic 17 (legal titles 16 & 17) Topic 17b: Legal title 16; The laws concerning husband & wife 1. I will now propound the eternal laws for a husband and his wife who keep to the path of duty, whether they be united or separated. 17b.1 Regulation of relations between husband & wife