Manu Smriti ,Who A Brahmin Is How To Learn Veda

I have devoted some posts on this subject.

I have been asked by email the Manu Smriti‘s stand on Brahmins and the discipline needed to learn the Vedas.

Laws of Manu
Manu Smriti.

I am reproducing  aversion of Manu Smriti on this and you may read the Full Text in the Link.

You would find details on this and also on Naming of Children and a host of information.

Manu Smriti, Chapter II.

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 is not (to be found) in this (world): for on (that) desire is grounded the study of the Veda and the performance of the actions, prescribed by the Veda.

3. The desire (for rewards), indeed, has its root in the conception that an act can yield them, and in consequence of (that) conception sacrifices are performed; vows and the laws prescribing restraints are all stated to be kept through the idea that they will bear fruit.

4. Not a single act here (below) appears ever to be done by a man free from desire; for whatever (man) does, it is (the result of) the impulse of desire.

5. He who persists in discharging these (prescribed duties) in the right manner, reaches the deathless state and even in this (life) obtains (the fulfilment of) all the desires that he may have conceived.

6. 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.

7. 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.

15. (Thus) the (Agnihotra) sacrifice may be (optionally) performed, at any time after the sun has risen, before he has risen, or when neither sun nor stars are visible; that (is declared) by Vedic texts.

16. Know that he for whom (the performance of) the ceremonies beginning with the rite of impregnation (Garbhadhana) and ending with the funeral rite (Antyeshti) is prescribed, while sacred formulas are being recited, is entitled (to study) these Institutes, but no other man whatsoever.

17. That land, created by the gods, which lies between the two divine rivers Sarasvati and Drishadvati, the (sages) call Brahmavarta.

18. The custom handed down in regular succession (since time immemorial) among the (four chief) castes (varna) and the mixed (races) of that country, is called the conduct of virtuous men.

19. The plain of the Kurus, the (country of the) Matsyas, Pankalas, and Surasenakas, these (form), indeed, the country of the Brahmarshis (Brahmanical sages, which ranks) immediately after Brahmavarta.

20. From a Brahmana, born in that country, let all men on earth learn their several usages.

21. That (country) which (lies) between the Himavat and the Vindhya (mountains) to the east of Prayaga and to the west of Vinasana (the place where the river Sarasvati disappears) is called Madhyadesa (the central region).

22. But (the tract) between those two mountains (just mentioned), which (extends) as far as the eastern and the western oceans, the wise call Aryavarta (the country of the Aryans).

23. That land where the black antelope naturally roams, one must know to be fit for the performance of sacrifices; (the tract) different from that (is) the country of the Mlekkhas (barbarians).

24. 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).




  1. ch II= verse 7, 24, 41, 52, 66, 67, 135 , 151, 152, 172, 174, 181, 190, 192, 201, 213, 214, 223, 241 are considered interpolated [not attributable to sage manu] and further, not supported by vedas by arya samaj.

    7. atma cannot be omniscient. AUM is omniscient.
    24. unjust discrimination with sudra. no society can sustain itself without sudra.
    41. cruelty to animals diallowed in yajurved1:1 etc


    1. Reg, Point 1. I am aware that the Sabda Brahman is given pride of place.
      Can you get me a Sruthi quote saying that ‘Atma is nor omniscient’ or form the Gita?
      Point 2. Not only unjust discrimination but discrimination against Sudra is condemned .
      Discrimination it self is condemned.
      On point 3. I agree, but there is a disconcerting passage in Rig Veda Justifying the killing of Cows, if I remember.
      I have written about that in my post on this under ‘Ambedkar Series’


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