MANUSMRTI IS THE MOST ENLIGHTENED, PERFECT AND THE GREATEST CIVIL CODE EVER KNOWN TO HUMANITY.
In this series only those Sloka-s have been selected for exposition that confront all misgivings / untrue perceptions about the wisdom of Manusmrti prevailing all around and facilitate accurate interpretation.
Vaidikaih Karmabhih Punyairnisekadirdvijanmanam I
Karyah Sarirasamskarah Pavanah Pretya Ceha Ca II II / 1 II
All Dvija-s are mandated to pursue all Vedic Samskara-s meant for their offsprings to consecrate present and subsequent incarnations.
There are some sixteen Samskara-s detailed in Veda-s to be pursued by all Dvija-s i.e. Brahmana, Ksatriya and Vaisya for their offspring. These Samskara-s begin with Garbhadhana i.e. from the stage of conception to Punsavana i.e. on completion of third month of pregnancy, Simantonnayana i.e. during fourth month of pregnancy, Jatakarma i.e. at the time of delivery of infant, Namakarana i.e. preferably on twelfth day after birth for bestowing name, Niskramana i.e. in fourth month after birth for moving out of the house, Annaprasana i.e. in sixth month after birth for initiation into taking foodgrains, Mundana i.e. between first and third year of age for removal of birth-hair, Upanayana i.e. initiation into Brahmacarya and Yajnopavita by anointing with consecrated thread across torso, Vedarambha i.e. initiation into study of Veda-s, Kesanta i.e. on commencement of youth by shaving off entire head-hair, Samavartana i.e. on completion of education and return to parents, Vivah-Grahasthasrama i.e. betrothal to become householder, Vanaprastha i.e. renouncing household and initiation into Sadhana, Sannyasa i.e. ardent pursuit of Vairagya and Moksa and finally, Antyesti i.e. funeral rites after demise. All these Samskara-s are performed methodically as prescribed in Veda-s accompanied by Yajna i.e. offering of oblations into sacred fire. These Samskara-s when performed conforming to Vedic directions, lead to self-purification and -sanctification during incumbent as well as subsequent lives. Right since inception of life, life is consecrated in the highest order by following these Samskara-s precluding the possibility of wobbling under delusion, then being lost to utter frivolity.
These Samskara-s are required to be pursued by Dvija-s alone as the fourth order of Varna i.e. Sudra opt not for study of Veda-s and further education but for rendering services to the other three orders of Varna-s. Hence, they are not expected to be conversant with the Vedic requirements ordained for the three Varna-s of Brahmana, Ksatriya and Vaisya.
Svadhyayena Vratairhormaistraividyenejyaya Sutaih I
Mahayajnaisca Yajnaisca Brahmiyam Kriyate Tanuh II II / 3 II
Pursuit of Svadhyaya, Brahmacarya, Agnihotra, Yajna and Siksana alone constitute a Brahmana.
This Sloka outlines stringent requirements for a “Brahmana” to qualify as a Brahmana and continue remaining Brahmana. No sooner the stringent eligibility criteria are violated in totality or in part, Brahmana hitherto, immediately forfeits all his privileges of being a Brahmana. To remain a Brahmana, he must assiduously continue pursuing Dharma ordained for Brahmana-s in scriptures.
Rigorous study and teaching of scriptures including Veda-s, practising Yoga, performing all sorts of Yajna-s, Satsanga, pursuit of truth and philanthropy, personal conduct of the highest order, performing religious rituals are the salient features of Dharma prescribed for Brahmana-s in scriptures.
Garbhastameabde Kurvita Brahmanasyopanayanam I
Garbhadekadase Rajnyo Garbhattu Dvadase Visah II II / 11 II
Those desirous of attaining Varna-s of Brahamana, Ksatriya and Vaisya undergo Samskara of Upanayana in eighth , eleventh and twelfth year after birth , respectively .
In this remarkable Sloka, Maharsi Manu has revealed availability of complete freedom to parents to select an appropriate Varna for their progenies. Family or parents of a teenager enjoy the final word in deciding Varna and the Samskara of Upanayana to be performed accordingly. Those who desire of being initiated into the Varna of Brahamana, visit hermitage of Guru in eighth year after birth for Upanayana to be accomplished. Similarly, it is eleventh and twelfth year for those desirous of being initiated into the Varna-s of Ksatriya and Vaisya respectively.
Upanayana may also be accomplished respectively in fifth, sixth and eighth year too, regarded as most auspicious periods. (II / 12 II)
Last opportunity for the Upanayana Samskara is sixteenth, twenty-second and twenty-fourth year respectively. (II / 13)
The Sloka is a resolute declaration to the effect that birth has never been the factor to decide Varna of a young one and wishes of family and parents are supreme. Even parents and families belonging to the Varna of Sudra too, enjoy unmitigated liberty to initiate their offspring into Varna-s of Brahamana, Ksatriya or Vaisya and conduct Upanayana-Samskara accordingly, as already explained in this Sloka. However, final Varna is always decided by the Guru after completion of education based on individual merits, propensities and accomplishments.
Indriyanam Vicaratam Visayesvapaharisu I
Samyame Yatnamatisthedvidvanyanteva Vajinam II II / 47 II
The way a wise charioteer restrains his horses, every effort may be exercised to introvert Indriya-s that steer Mana and Atma into Visaya-s.
Charioteer knows amply well about the nature of his assignment and all related risks and complexities, steers the chariot by monitoring the horses yoked and steers his master to the desired destination. While driving the chariot intelligently, he protects the master from all anticipated onslaughts and perils. Indriya-s are like horses yoked to one’s body and intellect, the charioteer. When Mana i.e. mind chases Visaya i.e. objects of enjoyment for sense gratification, it is the prime responsibility of Buddhi to restrain and introvert mind, then redirect it towards greater objectives and virtues. If the mind is already restrained and introverted, Buddhi is expected to engage it in pursuing higher portals of wisdom, virtues and possibly ultimate emancipation.
Primary function of mind is to intensify and aggravate whatever perception Jivatma is undergoing. If faculties of mind are harnessed prudently, it leads to infinite bliss, peace and spiritual advancement upto attainment of Moksa. If mind is not disciplined wisely, it turns into an instrument causing unmitigated catastrophe.
Note : Aforesaid Sloka establishes beyond an iota of doubt that the wisdom of Manusmriti is so very much different from the image that it unjustifiably enjoys among masses. Far from being an exposition to promote misery for the Varna of Sudra, Manusmriti extends a philosophy of the highest order, eternal, sacrosanct and indestructible. The wisdom of Manusmriti is equally valid for all, across all orders of society.
Na Jatu Kamah Kamanamupabhogena Samyati I
Havisa Krsnavartmeva Bhuya Evabhivardhate II II / 53 II
Fire of lust is not extinguished by the objects of lust. It conflagerates just as oblation does to the sacred fire of Yajna.
Sacred fire grows by leaps and bounds when oblation is poured into it. Any amount of oblation dedicated with the intent of satiating it, is incapable of quenching the thirst of fire. In reality, oblation augments fire. Similarly, enjoyment of objects of lust acts as an oblation into the fire of lust. Any amount of enjoyment is incapable of satiating the fire of lust. Adding more to the enjoyment of objects creates more Samskara-s on Citta that demand more actions for redemption through consummation. Hence desire for more and more enjoyment is augmented exponentially.
Quite paradoxically, fire of lust is satiated by renouncing Visaya-s i.e. objects of enjoyment. It is indulgence of renunciation and not indulgence of Visaya-s that satiates appetite of pleasure of Indriya-s. Through renunciation, no Samskara-s are created afresh and the older ones are gradually obliterated in the crucible of renunciation, dispassion and detachment. Renunciation alone is the extinguisher of the fire of lust.
Vedastyagasca Yajnasca Niyamasca Tapansi Ca II
Na Vipradustabhavasya Siddhim Gacchantim Karhicit II II / 56 II
Pursuit of Veda-s, Tyaga, Yajna, Brahmacarya, Tapa etc. performed by a wicked and diabolical one, are never realised.
Evil oriented, wicked ones are ever engaged in pursuit of Bhoga of Visaya as they are completely subjugated by the pleasure of sense-gratification. They always discover themselves entirely at the mercy of their senses i.e. being Ajitendriya. When such diabolical ones perform Tyaga i.e. renunciation, Yajna i.e. sacrificial offerings of oblation into sacred fire, Brahmacarya i.e. practice of continence, Tapa i.e. observance of austerities etc., these are mainly directed at attaining more of the pleasure emanating from sense-gratification. Since these are never accomplished with the objective of strengthening Sattvika traits, all these spiritual strives ultimately turn regressive for the wicked one. Sraddha i.e. faith blended with reverence and Bhakti i.e. devotion are the cardinal requirements for any spiritual strive to be realised in true sense. It is almost impossible for a wicked one to nurture sterling virtues of Sraddha and Bhakti to be able to pursue Sattva and Adhyatma.
Indriyanam Tu Sarvesam Yadyekam Ksaratindriyam I
Tenasya Ksarati Prajna Drteh Padadivodakam II II / 58 II
Even one deviant Indriya out of all leads to dissolution of wisdom like a leaking leather water-bag.
Even a tiny hole at the bottom of a water container leads to complete loss of water held by it sooner than later. Similarly, out of five, even one Indriya that is unrestrained, chases it’s Visaya for sense-gratification uninterruptedly causing dilution then dissolution of entire spiritual advancement. What happens in reality is that the deviant Indriya continuously tempts and prods remaining four Indriya-s to fall in line and it does succeed ultimately in transforming all Indriya-s deviant. Final consequence is invariably disastrous for the seeker. Introversion and restraining of Indriya-s ought to be undertaken comprehensively as an integral component of spiritual strive without allowing any Indriya to go wayward. Even a single deviant conduct not conforming to the tenets of Adhyatma is capable of destroying entire spiritual gain and one is compelled to begin with the begining.
Na Tishthati Tu Yah Purvam Nopaste Yasca Pascimam I
Sa Sudravad Bahiskaryah Sarvasmad Dvijakarmanah II II / 62 II
One who does not practise spiritual pursuits at every dawn and dusk should be regarded as Sudra, excluded from the orders of Dvija-s and clubbed with Sudra-s.
Sudra-s belong to the order of Varna who are exempted from pursuing spiritual-religious rituals every sunrise and sunset owing to their personal constraints. Maharsi Manu has ordained it absolutely mandatory herein for the members of other three Varna-s to pursue such rituals religiously without interruptions. Brahmana, Ksatriya and Vaisya Varna-s are known together as Dvija-s as they are consecrated through Upanayana ceremony. All Dvija-s have to follow respective mandates as ordained and those who are unable to accomplish so, should no longer be regarded as belonging to the class of Dvija-s.
It is yet again affirmed by Maharsi Manu that Dvija-s must continuously deport themselves as Dvija-s lest they are disrobed and excluded from the order of Dvija-s. Honour of being a Dvija is an uninterrupted pursuit which does not belong to anyone as a measure of inheritance. Nor does it become a permanent accolade once awarded by the concerned Guru. Every Dvija must continuously strive to remain worthy of the Varna conceded to him.
Naprstah Kasyacid Bruyanna Cannyayena Prchhatah I
Jannanapi Hi Medhavi Jadavalloka Acaret II II / 85 II
One may never expound without being implored, never respond to those who pose with malevolent inclination. One may precept anyone blessed with pellucid, reverent and inquisitive mind even without being implored.
Maharsi Manu counsels to proceed with abundant caution while expounding the sacrosanct wisdom enshrined in scriptures. The wisdom belongs to the highest order of perception and cognition, the ultimate one beyond which nothing more is left behind to assimilate, has been attained by the great seers after monumental strives and struggles spanning innumerable lives and deaths. A wisdom of absolute nature, so hard earned at the expense of one’s entire existence, certainly deserves to be treated with utmost reverence and devotion. Those who have not earned eligibility to receive the wisdom after considerable Sadhana, must not be allowed to access that. It must also not be extended and expounded to those who do not venture to pray for that or request for it imbued with inappropriate intentions. Those who possess a transparent mind full of reverence and devotion, vocally eager to attain the wisdom, may be precepted appropriately even without their express exhortations in this regard.
During colonial domination of the country by the Britishers, several missionaries trooped into with the sole intention to learn the wisdom enshrined in scriptures, contaminate with contrarians, only to mislead the society so as to ensure their utter ruin. Most prominent among them was a missionary Max Mueller who studied Veda-s, admired all that and did his best to distort the most ancient scripture and mutilate the wisdom. They understood very well, unless the nation is severed from her glorious past, splendour of cultural heritage, her monumental achievements, it would be impossible for the colonials to dominate and plunder the nation. Maharsi Manu revealed his enormous, rather titanic foresightedness thousands of years ago while cautioning us, not to reveal the wisdom to those who did not deserve that.
Vidyayaiva Samam Kamam Martavyam Brahmavadina I
Apadyapi Hi Ghorayam Na Tvenamirine Vapet II II / 88 II
Even if an erudite one dies with his knowledge, he ought not plant that in an infertile land, howsoever severe be the adversities.
Knowledge and wisdom must not be bequeathed to anyone who does not deserve that even if it’s very existence is jeopardized. If knowledge is transmitted to anyone unworthy for the same, there is every likelihood of it’s being distorted and applied with nefarious intentions. Once damage is wrought, particularly on subtler planes of awareness, it is a long drawn, arduous battle to reverse the damage and prepare minds to receive the right knowledge. Indeed, the damage continues across generations leading to immense anarchy.
Maharsi Manu is immensely conscious of knowledge being passed into right minds that are spiritually inclined and eligible to receive. Once in right hands and minds, the knowledge always flourishes for the benediction of all, harming none.
Brahmanam Kusalam Prcchetksatrabandhumanamayam I
Vaisyam Ksemam Samagamya Sudramarogyameva Ca II II / 102 II
On meeting, Brahmana be enquired about bliss and spiritual pursuits, Ksatriya about valour and health, Vaisya about security of wealth and joys and Sudra about health and well-being.
The Sloka precepts on how to greet a Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya and Sudra on meeting personally. Greetings precepted by Maharsi Manu are perfectly in harmony with the occupational classification that he enunciated in previous Sloka-s.
A Brahmana must be inquired of his spiritual pursuits and dissemination of knowledge; Ksatriya of his valour and battle-preparedness; Vaisya of wealth, it’s security while Sudra, of his health and general well-being. These are all based on their Varna-s and respective occupations. It is eminently obvious that entire conduct of all Varna-s is structured, completely unrelated to their origins or any other personal attribute.
Vittam Bandhurvayah Karma Vidya Bhavati Pancami I
Etani Manyasthanani Gariyo Yadyaduttaram II II / 111 II
Wealth, kinship, geriatric seniority, virtuous Karma-s and the fifth one, high order of education are venerable. Same is the increasing order of venerability too.
Maharsi Manu herein catalogues qualifying attributes of man in an increasing order of respectability. Wealth symbolises materialistic possession, lowest in order of venerability. It is futile and regressive to pursue wealth even after all basic necessities and obligations are honoured. Whatever wealth is attained thereafter, should be largely mobilised for commonweal and charity.
Kinship with relatives, friends and associates is the second in order of importance. One must be conscious of honouring all social obligations with respect to all kin in a spirit of good-will, empathy and compassion. The desire to belong to is aptly satisfied through honest and pragmatic kinship.
Geriatric seniority represents experiences and lessons of life accumulated hitherto. That constitutes core of one’s wisdom that must be revered. It is third in the order of venerability after wealth and kinship.
Virtuous and noble Karma-s are next in order of venerability. If these Karma-s are enacted in the spirit of Yajna, Sattva is rendered resurgent leading to extensive consecration of the inner being through purification. This process of purification entails dissolution of existing, outstanding Samskara-s of Karma-s yet to be redeemed, that remain embedded in Citta. Also no Samskara-s of Karma-s are created afresh to be added to Citta. In due course, Citta is completely bereft of Samskara-s, heading towards the ultimate goal of Moksa.
Finally, education is the highest one with respect to venerability. It leads to attainment of wisdom which evolves after spiritual strive, into Viveka-Khyati i.e. discriminative wisdom.Viveka-Khyati is the penultimate step before the ultimate abode of Kaivalya is attained. Beyond that, absolutely nothing remains to be attained.
In succeeding Sloka-s, Maharsi Manu has explicitly defined order of venerability for nonagenarian Sudra, charioteer or passenger in a vehicle, patient, one carrying a load, women, graduate, king, bridegroom etc.
Kamanmata Pita Cainam Yadutpadayato Mithah I
Sambhutim Tasya Tam Vidyadyadyonavabhijayate II II / 122 II
Parents procreate for the desire of progeny and what is born is mere advent into the world.
Acaryastvasya Yam Jatim Vidhivadvedaparagah I
Utpadayati Savitrya Sa Satya Sajaramara II II / 123 II
Erudite Seers initiate him into a life that is real, neither decays nor ceases, through Upanayana of Gayatri.
In these two Sloka-s, Maharsi Manu distinguishes physical birth from spiritual one, into the world from the standpoint of personal advancement and consolidating the social order as ordained by him.
One’s physical birth into the world is a manifest of the natural desire or instinctual impulsion of man to procreate. This birth is purely physical, allowing human embodiment of Atma to enter into the world as Jivatma. Gross birth into the world is the springboard to embark on various pursuits of spiritual refinement and advancement. While gross birth opens up plethora of possibilities to refine and rise, it does not for the acquisition of a respectable Varna. Gross physical birth is of no significance in assigning a social rung to the newly born.
On the contrary, when an erudite Guru initiates a young learner through invocation of Gayatri Mantra during Upanayana ceremony, he is initiated into an existence that is ultimately proved to be the real one, the enlightened one, the ceaseless one and the emancipated one. The novice then, embarks upon a cosmic journey that assures him of dawn of Viveka-Khyati i.e. discriminative cognition, a truly meaningful life of Sadhana and Yajna culminating into attainment of Kaivalya i.e. the ultimate state of existence beyond which nothing remains to be achieved.
Varna i.e. whether Brahmana, Ksatriya, Vaisya or Sudra, is assigned on the basis of predominance of Guna i.e. Sattva, Raja or Tama as well as performance appraisal of the beginner-learner by the Guru over a period of learning in hermitage. Social order of family of the initiated one, does not exert any influence in awarding the order of Varna.
The word Jatim herein refers to plurality of births and not caste which indeed, never existed in the entire wisdom of Manusmriti.
Vipranam Jnanato Jyaisthyam Ksatriyanam Tu Viryatah I
Vaisyanam Dhanyadhanatah Sudranameva Janmatah II II / 130 II
Brahmana is venerable by virtue of erudition, Ksatriya by valour, Vaisya by wealth and Sudra, by age.
Causes of venerability of four orders of Varna are decided on the basis of their respective Dharma.
Since Brahmana is mandated to pursue and precept wisdom and knowledge, his erudition is the foundation of his acceptability and venerability.
Ksatriya is honourable by virtue of his valour and expertise in warfare.
Third order of Vaisya is respected on the basis of enormity of wealth generated in society and philanthropic errands undertaken.
Finally, fourth order of Varna i.e. Sudra is respected on the basis of his age and intensity of experiences of life accumulated. Thus, occupations based on Guna-s alone decide order of venerability.
All these causes and bases of venerability are in complete harmony with their respective Dharma. None of these are based on inheritance by virtue of birth or filial consanguinity.
Yasya Vangamanasi Suddhe Samyaggupte Ca Sarvada I
Sa Vai Sarvamavapnoti Vedantopagatam Phalam II II / 135 II
One whose Vani and Mana are consecrated, alone attains boons of Vedanta.
Mana is the mind that acts like an usher at the entrance of intellectual and cognitive faculties. When boons of Vedanta in the manifest of Vedic wisdom approach one’s intellectual domain, Mana ought to be consecrated to usher it into the cognitive faculty behind. Consecration of mind comes about when it is disciplined and restrained inward through persistent spiritual pursuits. An indisciplined, wayward mind devoid of consecration is always unable to hustle in boons of Vedantic wisdom into it’s Buddhi standing behind graciously.
Similarly, Vani i.e. faculty of speaking too, must be disciplined and consecrated lest boons of Vedic wisdom exit Buddhi, be lost forever. Vani that is not consecrated, fritters away entire Vedic wisdom attained as a measure of culmination of ardent spiritual pursuits and Svadhyaya i.e. self-study of scriptures.
Sammanad Brahmano Nityamudvijet Visadiva I
Amrtasyeva Cakangksedavamanasya Sarvada II II / 137 II
Brahmana ever be indifferent towards poison of accolades galore, expect nectar of scorn always.
Admiration, adoration and adulation have been declared venomous for Brahmana-s by Maharsi Manu. As Brahamana-s are mandated to be erudite, well-versed in Sruti, Vedanta Darsana and spiritual pursuits, probability of their being arrogant, egoic runs high. Hence, as a measure of abundant precaution, Maharsi Manu mandated Brahmana-s to shun the poison of admiration and adulation as these create Ahamkara too quickly. Wisdom of the higher order must be escorted by humility of the highest order lest it wallows in decrepitude shrouded in egoism and arrogance.
Aspiration for admiration, adoration and adulation must be dissolved by imposing desire for the nectar of derision upon it. So directed Maharsi Manu because erudition and humility are refreshed, strengthened when scorn heaped upon is addressed with utmost care and wisdom. Traces of Ahamkara whenever raise their heads, are obliterated immediately when greeted with the nectar of scorn and derision. Sanctity of the consecration of inner being of a Brahmana is thus, preserved unravaged.
Sukham Hyavamatah Sete Sukham Ca Pratibudhyate I
Sukham Carati Lokeasminnavamanta Vinasyati II II / 138 II
Because one inured to opprobrium sleeps, remains awake and exists blissfully while the other is attained to agonies and decline.
An enlightened one is called upon to be utterly indifferent to all the humiliations and derision that are poured upon him anywhere. Once detached to such opprobria, these fail to disrupt one’s peace and tranquillity of mind, intellect and routine life. Then the blessed one is also poised to even transcend these undesirable vanities in his consciousness and go far beyond attaining his hidden glory. Reflections emitted from such an enlightened one are so influential that the tormentor may eventually be accosted by his indiscretion, regret profoundly and inspired to reform ultimately.
On the contrary, if humiliation is accepted by the tormented one, it is immediately transformed into an intense agony that continues nagging him incessantly leading to distortions in his inner subtle being followed by decline and destruction.
Insult, humiliation etc. are the best ones to be ignored ruthlessly.
A Haiva Sa Nakhagrebhyah Paramam Tapyate Tapah I
Yah Sragvyapi Dvijoadhite Svadhyayah Saktitoanvaham II II / 142 II
Dvija-s pursuing Veda-s despite being householders, pursue Tapa of the highest order upto their toes.
Study and pursuit of Veda-s have been accorded high order of sanctity by Maharsi Manu. It is regarded as the most significant element of one’s entire existence as it constitutes one’s Dharma and Karma. Ascetics and renunciants move into Veda-s to pursue the wisdom like fish into water as it happens to be their major occupation.
However, Dvija-s who are betrothed and living like householders, may find it cumbersome to be regular with Vedic pursuits owing to paucity of time and other resources. If a Dvija is able to transcend these hurdles associated with householders, it is profoundly admirable and creditable as much as an ascetic pursues it incessantly with his entire being and consciousness, then succeeds in attaining the ultimate glory. Pursuit of Vedic wisdom by householders is highly commendable spiritually.
Yoanadhitya Dvijo Vedamanyatra Kurute Sramam I
Sa Jivanneva Sudratvamasu Gacchati Sanvayah II II / 143 II
Dvija-s pursuing otherwise instead of Veda-s, are invariably attained to the Varna of Sudra-s alongwith their kin in that life itself.
It is already mandated earlier by Maharsi Manu explicitly for Dvija-s i.e. those who have undergone Upanayana ceremony, to study and pursue Veda-s. It is their prime responsibility and Dharma. Dvija-s who do not pursue Veda-s forfeit their privilege of being called Brahmana, Ksatriya or Vaisya. Pursuit of Veda-s is so sacrosanct that such Dvija-s who fail to honour it as their prime responsibility, are immediately relegated to the Varna of Sudra. Then they are rendered eligible to provide personal services to the other three Varna-s.
It is impossible for anyone to continue in a specified Varna if he fails to honour tenets of Dharma allocated to that Varna. Even one-time allocation of Varna during discipleship in hermitage too, is not the ultimate one. One has to practise it continuously, honour the relevant norms established and preserve the sanctity of the Varna assigned to him irrespective of any other factor.
Sevetemanstu Niyamanbrahmacari Gurau Vasan I
Sanniyamyendriyagramam Tapovrddhayarthamatmanah II II / 150 II
While dwelling in the hermitage of Guru, while pursuing enrichment of wisdom and knowledge, Brahmacari is ordained to practise following instructions.
Brahmacari is the one who lives the life of an ascetic in a hermitage with his Guru. Observing severe asceticism with augmented emphasis of celibacy, he is required to pursue study of Veda-s and other scriptures along with other disciplines of study. Brahmacari compulsorily undergoes Upanayana Samskara at the hermitage under the supervision of his Guru. As the discipleship advances a bit, Brahmacari is awarded a Varna depending upon his abilities, faculties and inclinations. Brahmacarya i.e. the state of being a Brahmacari, continues in the hermitage so long as the Brahmacari carries on with his studies before entering into the phase of being a householder.
Maharsi Manu has prescribed a descriptive catalogue of mandatory duties and responsibilities to be practised by every Brahmacari so long as he dwells in the hermitage in the august company of his Guru.
Svabhava Esa Narinam Naranamiha Dusanam I
Atoarthanna Pramadyanti Pramadasu Vipascitah II II / 188 II
Moral fibre being disrupted immediately after coming in contact of man with woman, is quite natural herein. Hence the wise ones must observe extreme discretion while interacting with women.
In this Sloke, Maharsi Manu has likened man and woman with Indriya and Visaya respectively. If Indriya-s are conceded liberty of interacting with respective Visaya-s, it is known as the state of Bhoga. When Indriya-s are denied the liberty consciously, it is the state of pursuit of Tapa.
If Indriya-s remain in the state of Bhoga perpetually, more and more Samskara-s are generated requiring increasing number of births and deaths in the world, more of agonies and miseries. Bhoga is a certain recipe of decline and degradation. Revelling perpetually in the state of Tapa leads to dissolution of incumbent albeit un-redeemed Samskara-s, purification and consecration of one’s Citta. Through Tapa, one advances towards Moksa gradually.
Undesirable and purposeless interaction between man and woman too, leads both in the same direction of decline and destruction ultimately.
Yadi Stri Yadyavarajah Sreyah Kincitsamacaret I
Tatsarvamacaredyukto Yatra Vaasya Ramenmanah II II / 198 II
One is at liberty to be inspired even by a woman or Sudra engaged in noble Karma-s. Or be engaged in the Karma of his inclination ordained in Sruti.
In addition to advising Dvija-s to follow their Sva-Dharma based on Varna-s awarded to them in Guru’s hermitage, Maharsi Manu has also directed them to emulate every noble Karma enacted by anyone including women and Sudra-s. Sudra-s and women have been specifically mentioned because they do not belong to the three orders of Dvija-s and it does not in any way amount to any kind of derogatory reference whatsoever. Varna system is certainly obstinate in casting upon Dvija-s the mandatory Karma-s based on their inherent Guna-s yet it extends the liberty to all for any noble, philanthropic acts meant to benefit those who deserve and need that, to be pursued generously.
It is profoundly and quite eloquently declared that not only Varna-s are not inheritable, acts of benediction and philanthropy are open to all and no body enjoys any kind of privilege over that.
Also, the act of emulating women and Sudra-s must not be hindered by egoic issues. We are mandated by Maharsi Manu to rise above every narrow consideration whatsoever to support and emulate all acts of nobility initiated by anyone, irrespective of any social order or classification whatsoever.
Sraddhanah Subham Vidyamadaditavaradapi I
Antyadapi Param Dharmam Striratnam Duskuladapi II II / 213 II
While ardently pursuing knowledge and wisdom, one must accept wisdom and Dharma graciously even from less fortunate ones, also an accomplished woman from the downtrodden.
In spite of the Varna order and the order of attaining knowledge and wisdom from one’s Guru in a hermitage, Maharsi Manu has not restrained anyone from obtaining wisdom even from an illiterate, downtrodden one. Underlying rationale is that wisdom dawns upon based on one’s level of spiritual awakening, past Karma-s and un-redeemed Samskara-s. Wisdom is never the proceed of one’s Varna rather, it is Varna that is the proceed of one’s wisdom. Since wisdom is directly linked with one’s spirituality, it ought to be respected irrespective of it’s source. Hence, wisdom must be accepted graciously even from a Sudra. There have been innumerable instances wherein members of Sudra Varna too, have been profoundly enlightened and their pearls of wisdom received very well even by Dvija-s.
Similarly, women even from Sudra Varna must be accepted by Dvija-s if they are accomplished with Sattvika Karma-s and wisdom of the high order. After such a betrothal, she shares her Varna with that of her spouse. Such women are profoundly eligible and entitled to advance in Karma-s and spiritual pursuits. After laying down the Varna order, Maharsi Manu has mentioned all the digressions and diversions which happen to be only supportive of the order and impart the society with an augmented dynamism and vitality. Objective of the Varna order is continuous forward movement on the course of spiritual pursuits rather than raising a static and regressive society to meet it’s inevitable end eventually.
Visadapyamrtam Grahyam Baladapi Subhasitam I
Amitradapi Sadvrttamamedhyadapi Kancanam II II / 214 II
One may accept nectar even from venom, wisdom from a teenager, noble conduct from foe and gold from impure.
If nectar is churned out of poison, it must be accepted as it is in no way imperfect or detrimental to one’s well-being. So is the precious metal gold that is always impure in it’s natural habitat. It’s ore is always processed and purified to redeem the metal.
Even a youngster may offer pearls of wisdom which is in reality, based on pursuits undertaken in previous life whose Samskara-s have manifested in current life. Karma-s have their own gestation period entirely independent of one’s age. Hence, wisdom offered even by a teenager does not suffer from any kind of infirmity, ought to be regarded as sacrosanct as that of an erudite Seer.
Noble conduct is never a prerogative of one’s friend alone. Even a foe for a principled stand, deports in a noble manner, a principled conduct. Such a principled, noble conduct must be respected and emulated, devoid of any egoic dilemma whatsoever.
Striyo Ratnanyatho Vidya Dharmah Saucam Subhasitam I
Vividhani Ca Silpani Samadeyani Sarvatah II II / 215 II
Accomplished and meritorious women, precious jewels, knowledge and wisdom, truth, sanctity, noble words and knowledge of various skills must be accepted from all climes and communities.
Maharsi Manu precepts, women for matrimonial alliances be accepted who are accomplished, well-read and meritorious. Underlying rationale appears to be the reality that Soul is transmitted into foetus during conception through father alone while mother is the provider of an abode of her body for the foetus to grow and impart noble virtues after birth. Owing to lineage being patrilineal, origin of women is obscured by the merits and higher attributes earned by her through various pursuits.
Similarly, knowledge and wisdom truth, sanctity, noble words and skills do not really belong to a given country or community. All these belong to nature, are universal in attributes and meant to serve entire humanity. Hence, there should be no qualms in accepting these for one’s use.
Abrahmanadadhyayanmapatkale Vidhiyate I
Anuvrajya Ca Susrusa Yavadadhyanam Guroh II II / 216 II
In a situation of calamity with no other option available, knowledge may be received even from a non-Brahmana. Pupil-disciple must serve and obey such a Guru too.
Continuing with the doctrine of utter meritocracy, Maharsi Manu precepts all to accept knowledge and wisdom even from a non-Brahmana in case of exigencies like natural calamities, war etc. when entire social order is disrupted and it is virtually impossible to follow established conventions of Varna order. If the Guru is erudite irrespective of his Varna order, he ought to be accepted immediately as the regular Guru, venerated and served accordingly with no discrimination whatsoever. After completion of preception, Guru must also be offered Guru-Daksina with maximum adoration and reverence as would have been in normal circumstances.
Nabrahmane Gurau Sisyo Vasamatyantikum Vaset I
Brahmane Cananucane Kangksangatimanuttamam II II / 217 II
Disciples aiming advancement ought not stay for long with a non-Brahmana Guru as well as a Brahmana Guru not proficient in Vedic studies.
According to the doctrine of Maharsi Manu illustrated earlier, non-Brahmana Guru is advisable and acceptable only in extra-ordinary circumstances. However, as soon as circumstances change for the better, an ardent seeker of wisdom must look for a Brahmana Guru. Emphasis on a Brahmana Guru is in reality, an emphasis on a Guru who has attained enlightenment of the Brahma and not necessarily the one born to a Brahmana.
Emphasis on the highest quality of Vedic education in the hermitage of Guru is further underscored by the mandate that if a Guru is not learned, proficient in Vedic studies, he must be discarded irrespective of his being a Brahmana. Indeed, it does not serve the avowed purpose of a Dvija to cling to an incompetent and deficient Guru albeit belonging to the Brahmana Varna.
Evam Carati Yo Vipro Brahmacaryamviplutah I
Sa Gacchatyuttamasthanam Na Cehajayate Punah II II / 224 II
Dvija-s who pursue Brahmacarya uninterruptedly, are attained to the highest abode with never to be born again.
Brahmacarya is the spiritual pursuit entailing one to deport oneself in the highest traditions of Adhyatma without pause. When elements of Astangayoga of Maharsi Patanjali i.e. Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi are ardently pursued by a Brahmacari, he is certain to attain the highest abode of enlightenment, highest order of sanctity and highest expanse of divinity. That is the state of absoluteness i.e. Param Cetana when the Brahmacari is in perfect communion with Param Brahmatma.
Once attained to that state of highest existence, Brahmacari is left with nothing else to enact, attain or learn. That is the state of Moksa from where there is no reversion to embodiment, to undertake cosmic journey across the world.
All these injunctions and mandates are entirely Varna-neutral.