Nanda Kumar nkumar at OPPENHEIMERFUNDS.COM
Fri Oct 3 10:48:50 CDT 1997

Can ManuSmriti be considered a valid source of knowledge? Here let me
state the fact that I've not read the ManuSmriti. But over the years I've
been hearing a lot of negative theories about the text and that it
represents that part which is wrong with the Hindu thought. Being
familiar with the anti-Brahmin attitute in the country and especially Tamil
Nadu, I dismissed such claims as a case of sour grapes.

But recently I came across an English translation of the text called, "The
laws of Manu". It was by a Western author and when I read the
introduction, I was a bit appalled by the crudeness of thought from some
of the excerpts from the book, like pouring hot oil in the ears of a person
who is not eligible to read or hear the Vedas, but does so and to shun a
red haired woman etc. Though it might be a possiblity that the interpreter
is not faithful to the original text, I couldn't but be a bit disconcerted by the
fact that there can't be smoke without some fire.

And as Vaidya quotes from the smriti, "whenever the smriti is in
contradiction with the shruti, both have to be taken as the truth".  Was
that the Brahmin's way of asserting his hold on the society? So can the
Manu smriti be considered as a valid source of knowledge?

Can the knowledgable ones on the list explain?

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