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Definition

Manusmriti (written also as Manusmriti or Manusmruti) is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism. Generally known in English as the Laws of Manu, it was first translated into English in 1794 by Sir William Jones, an English Orientalist and judge of the British Supreme Court of Judicature in Calcutta.The text presents itself as a discourse given by Manu, the progenitor of mankind to a group of seers, or rishis, who beseech him to tell them the "law of all the social classes" Manu became the standard point of reference for all future Dharmaśāstras that followed it.

According to Hindu tradition, the Manusmriti records the words of Brahma. By attributing the words to supernatural forces, the text takes on an authoritative tone as a statement on Dharma, in opposition to previous texts in the field, which were more scholarly.

Manu Smriti is one of the most heavily criticized of the scriptures of Hinduism, having been attacked by colonial scholars, modern liberals, Hindu reformists, Dalit advocates, feminists, Marxists and certain groups of traditional Hindus, namely Smartas.

However, not all Hindus agree with the criticisms of the text, or the assertion that the Manu Smriti is not authoritative. Some prominent Hindu figures, such as Swami Dayananda Saraswati and A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, hold the text to be authentic and authoritative. Other admirers of the text have included Annie Besant, P.D. Ouspensky, Pandurang Shastri Athavale and Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan. Friedrich Nietzsche is noted to have said "Close the Bible and open the Manu Smriti. “It has an affirmation of life, a triumphing agreeable sensation in life and that to draw up a lawbook such as Manu means to permit oneself to get the upper hand, to become perfection, to be ambitious of the highest art of living.

Some dalit leaders disagree vehemently.

Usage

Friedrich Nietzsche is noted to have said "Close the Bible and open the Manu Smriti. "
Added 2013-11-19 by porkipaya

Root

Sanskrit

Region

All India