Manusmriti On Brahmin’s Duty Vedas


Manusmriti,The Laws of Manu

I am posting excerpts(some) relating to the Duties of a Brahmin and on the Vedas.

Here one finds that the Duties prescribed for the Brahmins are tough and unrelenting.

Manu offers greater respect and status to Brahmins – the educated ones. Dwijas or twice born or those who completed their education are provided heightened standing in society so far they conduct noble deeds. But when it comes to crimes, they also have to face more severe punishments. With greater potentials, come greater responsibilities and stricter punishments when one fails to fulfill those responsibilities.

One may also note that in the vent of a conflict between Vedas and Smriti(Tradition) what is to be practiced.

For more follow the Link;

The whole Veda is the (first) source of the sacred law, next the tradition and the virtuous conduct of those who know the (Veda further), also the customs of holy men, and (finally) self-satisfaction…

Whatever law has been ordained for any (person) by Manu, that has been fully declared in the Veda: for that (sage was) omniscient.

8. But a learned man after fully scrutinising all this with the eye of knowledge, should, in accordance with the authority of the revealed texts, be intent on (the performance of) his duties.

9. For that man who obeys the law prescribed in the revealed texts and in the sacred tradition, gains fame in this (world) and after death unsurpassable bliss.

10. But by Sruti (revelation) is meant the Veda, and by Smriti (tradition) the Institutes of the sacred law: those two must not be called into question in any matter, since from those two the sacred law shone forth.

11. Every twice-born man, who, relying on the Institutes of dialectics, treats with contempt those two sources (of the law), must be cast out by the virtuous, as an atheist and a scorner of the Veda.

12. The Veda, the sacred tradition, the customs of virtuous men, and one’s own pleasure, they declare to be visibly the fourfold means of defining the sacred law.

13. The knowledge of the sacred law is prescribed for those who are not given to the acquisition of wealth and to the gratification of their desires; to those who seek the knowledge of the sacred law the supreme authority is the revelation (Sruti).

14. But when two sacred texts (Sruti) are conflicting, both are held to be law; for both are pronounced by the wise (to be) valid law.

Let twice-born men seek to dwell in those (above-mentioned countries); but a Sudra, distressed for subsistence, may reside anywhere.

25. Thus has the origin of the sacred law been succinctly described to you and the origin of this universe; learn (now) the duties of the castes (varna).

26. With holy rites, prescribed by the Veda, must the ceremony on conception and other sacraments be performed for twice-born men, which sanctify the body and purify (from sin) in this (life) and after death.

27. By burnt oblations during (the mother’s) pregnancy, by the Gatakarman (the ceremony after birth), the Kauda (tonsure), and the Maungibandhana (the tying of the sacred girdle of Munga grass) is the taint, derived from both parents, removed from twice-born men.

28. By the study of the Veda, by vows, by burnt oblations, by (the recitation of) sacred texts, by the (acquisition of the) threefold sacred science, by offering (to the gods, Rishis, and manes), by (the procreation of) sons, by the great sacrifices, and by (Srauta) rites this (human) body is made fit for (union with) Brahman.

29. Before the navel-string is cut, the Gatakarman (birth-rite) must be performed for a male (child); and while sacred formulas are being recited, he must be fed with gold, honey, and butter.

30. But let (the father perform or) cause to be performed the Namadheya (the rite of naming the child), on the tenth or twelfth (day after birth), or on a lucky lunar day, in a lucky muhurta, under an auspicious constellation.

31. Let (the first part of) a Brahmana‘s name (denote something) auspicious, a Kshatriya‘s be connected with power, and a Vaisya‘s with wealth, but a Sudra’s (express something) contemptible.

32. (The second part of) a Brahmana’s (name) shall be (a word) implying happiness, of a Kshatriya’s (a word) implying protection, of a Vaisya’s (a term) expressive of thriving, and of a Sudra’s (an expression) denoting service.

33. The names of women should be easy to pronounce, not imply anything dreadful, possess a plain meaning, be pleasing and auspicious, end in long vowels, and contain a word of benediction.

34. In the fourth month the Nishkramana (the first leaving of the house) of the child should be performed, in the sixth month the Annaprasana (first feeding with rice), and optionally (any other) auspicious ceremony required by (the custom of) the family.

35. According to the teaching of the revealed texts, the Kudakarman (tonsure) must be performed, for the sake of spiritual merit, by all twice-born men in the first or third year.

36. In the eighth year after conception, one should perform the initiation (upanayana) of a Brahmana, in the eleventh after conception (that) of a Kshatriya, but in the twelfth that of a Vaisya.

37. (The initiation) of a Brahmana who desires proficiency in sacred learning should take place in the fifth (year after conception), (that) of a Kshatriya who wishes to become powerful in the sixth, (and that) of a Vaisya who longs for (success in his) business in the eighth.

38. The (time for the) Savitri (initiation) of a Brahmana does not pass until the completion of the sixteenth year (after conception), of a Kshatriya until the completion of the twenty-second, and of a Vaisya until the completion of the twenty-fourth.

39. After those (periods men of) these three (castes) who have not received the sacrament at the proper time, become Vratyas (outcasts), excluded from the Savitri (initiation) and despised by the Aryans.

40. With such men, if they have not been purified according to the rule, let no Brahmana ever, even in times of distress, form a connexion either through the Veda or by marriage.

41. Let students, according to the order (of their castes), wear (as upper dresses) the skins of black antelopes, spotted deer, and he-goats, and (lower garments) made of hemp, flax or wool.

42. The girdle of a Brahmana shall consist of a of a triple cord of Munga grass, smooth and soft; (that) of a Kshatriya, of a bowstring, made of Murva fibres; (that) of a Vaisya, of hempen threads.

43. If Munga grass (and so forth) be not procurable, (the girdles) may be made of Kusa, Asmantaka, and Balbaga (fibres), with a single threefold knot, or with three or five (knots according to the custom of the family).

44. The sacrificial string of a Brahmana shall be made of cotton, (shall be) twisted to the right, (and consist) of three threads, that of a Kshatriya of hempen threads, (and) that of a Vaisya of woollen threads.

45. A Brahmana shall (carry), according to the sacred law, a staff of Bilva or Palasa; a Kshatriya, of Vata or Khadira; (and) a Vaisya, of Pilu or Udumbara.

46. The staff of a Brahmana shall be made of such length as to reach the end of his hair; that of a Kshatriya, to reach his forehead;

(and) that of a Vaisya, to reach (the tip of his) nose.

47. Let all the staves be straight, without a blemish, handsome to look at, not likely to terrify men, with their bark perfect, unhurt by fire.

48. Having taken a staff according to his choice, having worshipped the sun and walked round the fire, turning his right hand towards it, (the student) should beg alms according to the prescribed rule.

49. An initiated Brahmana should beg, beginning (his request with the word) lady (bhavati); a Kshatriya, placing (the word) lady in the middle, but a Vaisya, placing it at the end (of the formula).

50. Let him first beg food of his mother, or of his sister, or of his own maternal aunt, or of (some other) female who will not disgrace him (by a refusal).

51. Having collected as much food as is required (from several persons), and having announced it without guile to his teacher, let him eat, turning his face towards the east, and having purified himself by sipping water.

52. (His meal will procure) long life, if he eats facing the east; fame, if he turns to the south; prosperity, if he turns to the west; truthfulness, if he faces the east.

53. Let a twice-born man always eat his food with concentrated mind, after performing an ablution; and after he has eaten, let him duly cleanse himself with water and sprinkle the cavities (of his head).

54. Let him always worship his food, and eat it without contempt; when he sees it, let him rejoice, show a pleased face, and pray that he may always obtain it.

55. Food, that is always worshipped, gives strength and manly vigour; but eaten irreverently, it destroys them both.

56. Let him not give to any man what he leaves, and beware of eating between (the two meal-times); let him not over-eat himself, nor go anywhere without having purified himself (after his meal).

57. Excessive eating is prejudicial to health, to fame, and to (bliss in) heaven; it prevents (the acquisition of) spiritual merit, and is odious among men; one ought, for these reasons, to avoid it carefully.

58. Let a Brahmana always sip water out of the part of the hand (tirtha) sacred to Brahman, or out of that sacred to Ka (Pragapati), or out of (that) sacred to the gods, never out of that sacred to the manes.

59. They call (the part) at the root of the thumb the tirtha sacred to Brahman, that at the root of the (little) finger (the tirtha) sacred to Ka (Pragapati), (that) at the tips (of the fingers, the tirtha) sacred to the gods, and that below (between the index and the thumb, the tirtha) sacred to the manes.

60. Let him first sip water thrice; next twice wipe his mouth; and, lastly, touch with water the cavities (of the head), (the seat of) the soul and the head.

61. He who knows the sacred law and seeks purity shall always perform the rite of sipping with water neither hot nor frothy, with the (prescribed) tirtha, in a lonely place, and turning to the east or to the north.

62. A Brahmana is purified by water that reaches his heart, a Kshatriya by water reaching his throat, a Vaisya by water taken into his mouth, (and) a Sudra by water touched with the extremity (of his lips).

63. A twice-born man is called upavitin when his right arm is raised (and the sacrificial string or the dress, passed under it, rests on the left shoulder); (when his) left (arm) is raised (and the string, or the dress, passed under it, rests on the right shoulder, he is called) prakinavitin; and nivitin when it hangs down (straight) from the neck.

64. His girdle, the skin (which serves as his upper garment), his staff, his sacrificial thread, (and) his water-pot he must throw into water, when they have been damaged, and take others, reciting sacred formulas.

65. (The ceremony called) Kesanta (clipping the hair) is ordained for a Brahmana in the sixteenth year (from conception); for a Kshatriya, in the twenty-second; and for a Vaisya, two (years) later than that.

66. This whole series (of ceremonies) must be performed for females (also), in order to sanctify the body, at the proper time and in the proper order, but without (the recitation of) sacred texts.

67. The nuptial ceremony is stated to be the Vedic sacrament for women (and to be equal to the initiation), serving the husband (equivalent to) the residence in (the house of the) teacher, and the household duties (the same) as the (daily) worship of the sacred fire.

68. Thus has been described the rule for the initiation of the twice-born, which indicates a (new) birth, and sanctifies; learn (now) to what duties they must afterwards apply themselves.

69. Having performed the (rite of) initiation, the teacher must first instruct the (pupil) in (the rules of) personal purification, of conduct, of the fire-worship, and of the twilight devotions.

70. But (a student) who is about to begin the Study (of the Veda), shall receive instruction, after he has sipped water in accordance with the Institutes (of the sacred law), has made the Brahmangali, (has put on) a clean dress, and has brought his organs under due control.

71. At the beginning and at the end of (a lesson in the) Veda he must always clasp both the feet of his teacher, (and) he must study, joining his hands; that is called the Brahmangali (joining the palms for the sake of the Veda).

72. With crossed hands he must clasp (the feet) of the teacher, and touch the left (foot) with his left (hand), the right (foot) with his right (hand).

73. But to him who is about to begin studying, the teacher always unwearied, must say: Ho, recite! He shall leave off (when the teacher says): Let a stoppage take place!

A Brahmana, learned in the Veda, who recites during both twilights that syllable and that (verse), preceded by the Vyahritis, gains the (whole) merit which (the recitation of) the Vedas confers.

79. A twice-born man who (daily) repeats those three one thousand times outside (the village), will be freed after a month even from great guilt, as a snake from its slough.

80. The Brahmana, the Kshatriya, and the Vaisya who neglect (the recitation of) that Rik-verse and the timely (performance of the) rites (prescribed for) them, will be blamed among virtuous men.

81. Know that the three imperishable Mahavyahritis, preceded by the syllable Om, and (followed) by the three-footed Savitri are the portal of the Veda and the gate leading (to union with) Brahman.

82. He who daily recites that (verse), untired, during three years, will enter (after death) the highest Brahman, move as free as air, and assume an ethereal form.

83. The monosyllable (Om) is the highest Brahman, (three) suppressions of the breath are the best (form of) austerity, but nothing surpasses the Savitri truthfulness is better than silence.

84. All rites ordained in the Veda, burnt oblations and (other) sacrifices, pass away; but know that the syllable (Om) is imperishable, and (it is) Brahman, (and) the Lord of creatures (Pragapati).

85. An offering, consisting of muttered prayers, is ten times more efficacious than a sacrifice performed according to the rules (of the Veda); a (prayer) which is inaudible (to others) surpasses it a hundred times, and the mental (recitation of sacred texts) a thousand times.

86. The four Pakayagnas and those sacrifices which are enjoined by the rules (of the Veda) are all together not equal in value to a sixteenth part of the sacrifice consisting of muttered prayers.

87. But, undoubtedly, a Brahmana reaches the highest goal by muttering prayers only; (whether) he perform other (rites) or neglect them, he who befriends (all creatures) is declared (to be) a (true) Brahmana.


The Name of the Manu for this Svetavaraha kalpa is  Vaivasvata and The Manvantara is Vaivasvatham.

The Manusmriti we talk abut,  one is not sure, belongs to this Vaivasvata Manu.

Or  are we talking about the first Manu, Swayam bhuba Manu’s Rules?”



11 thoughts on “Manusmriti On Brahmin’s Duty Vedas

  1. Nastik says:

    To hell with this manu . On this upcoming manusmriti dahan din let us all pledge to ban this devilish book from India once and for all.


  2. Anirudh says:

    Namaste Ramani,

    Before I would comment, let me humbly tell you that I am a student with a desire and dedication to learn.

    A definition of Brahman as per you would clarify many things, otherwise I am lost.

    To begin with, in my view a Brahman is the one who is self realized. Self realization can not happen through mere birth, but it is through Saadhana. The Aatma finds womb based on its residual karma to take birth.

    I can not understand the reasoning behind the categorization of Vishnu or Brahma under the Varna system. That was beyond me. I haven’t come across a sruti which says that, enlighten me.

    Considering the hits this blog has received, I think it is important to differentiate the Caste system from Brahman.



    • Your understanding of Brahmins Correct-It is Brahmin, one who has Realized Brahman, The Reality.
      I will deal with how Gods came to be assigned Caste in detail in the series on caste.


      • Anirudh says:

        Well, that sums it up. At times we try to prove a theorem from RHS to LHS. A general comment…

        Nice Weekend!



  3. I am providing Links below. as of now.
    I shall provide more when I come by from my posts.
    Brahmins and Caste seem to be inseparable as any discussion on either of these lead to another..
    You are right.
    I seem to have digressed in some of my posts.
    However there some posts where I deal with the definition , Duties of Brahmins.
    meanwhile I started a series on Caste(two posts have been published)
    I shall be dealing the definition duties etc of Castes along with what happens to the offspring when people of two castes intermarry.
    Thanks for dropping by.


    • Anirudh says:

      Namaste Ramani,

      Thanks for sharing those links and was delighted to see the honesty in your reply. I am an eccentric wanderer on the web and got hooked on to your blog as it was informative.

      I will share my views after reading those articles.



  4. Anirudh says:

    I read your views in the related articles. You seem to have digressed between the definition of Brahman and the caste.



  5. Anirudh says:

    Namaste Ramani,

    I stumbled upon this thread while searching for some info on panchang. Your profile is impressive.

    It s definitely a good read but more of a copy paste article. The very first question appears in my mind is who is Brahman and what are the characteristics?” I didn’t had time to look into other threads of yours, so not sure if you have shared your thoughts about it some where else.



    • Please refer my earlier posts on Hinduism and on Caste,Indian Philosophy.
      The current post is more of a reference where information in the form of authentic Text is provided.
      I can not add to Manusmriti as a Text.
      Hence the impression of ‘cut and paste.
      I have mentioned this at the beginning of this post.
      In quoting Religious texts I follow this procedure.
      Please read my ‘About me’ and Why and what Do I blog,


      • Anirudh says:

        Namaste Ramani,

        Thanks for your reply.
        [ refer my earlier posts on Hinduism and on Caste,Indian Philosophy]
        May be if you can share a link, it will save my time. Had read your profile before I made my first comment.

        [I spent Eight Years in learning Vedas, Sacred Books of Hindus.]

        I think it s important and also the need of the hour to spread the meaning of Brahman along with the characteristics because not many today understand it.

        Last but not the least my intentions were not to argue.



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