Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 25.djvu/40

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
There was a problem when proofreading this page.

and mention Manu as the authority for the rule taught With respect to these references It seems to me not probable that they have been taken from the Mânava Dharma-sûtra. We shall see below[1] that from the earliest times the mythical Manu, the father of mankind, was considered as the founder of the social and moral order, and that he was considered to have first taught or revealed religious rites and legal maxims. Hence I believe that these four verses give nothing more than an expression of the belief that their doctrines go back to the first progenitor of men[2]. The first three among them either contradict or find no counterpart in our Manu-smriti. The fourth agrees in substance with Manu XI, 260–361. But it occurs in a chapter which is probably spurious, or, at least, full of interpolations. Whatever view may be taken concerning these passages, the allegation that the Mânava Dharma-sûtra, known to Vasishtha, closely resembled, but was not identical with our Manu, need not be modified.

If we look for other traces of the Sûtra, quoted by Vasishtha, it is possible that Gautama, who mentions an opinion of Manu, XXI, 7, refers to it. His Dharma-sûtra is even older than Vasishtha's, and long anterior to our Manu-smriti. But the possibility that Gautama refers not to a rule of the Mânava Dharma-sûtra, but to a maxim generally attributed to the mythical Manu, is not altogether excluded. Gautama says, 'Manu (declares that) the first three (crimes, the intentional murder of a Brâhmana, drinking Surâ, and the violation of a Guru's bed) cannot be expiated[3].' The wording of the Sûtra shows that it is not a quotation, but a summary of Manu's opinion. Our Manu-smriti explicitly teaches, XI, 90, the same doctrine with respect to the intentional murder of a Brâhmana, and, if my explanation of XI, 147 is accepted, also with respect to the intentional drinking of Surâ. As regards the third offence, there is no 

  1. See p. lviii.
  2. The meaning of the phrase in the verse, occurring in the quotation from the Mânava Dharma-sûtra, is probably the same.
  3. (Symbol missingIndic characters) The same opinion is expressed in the Mahâbhârata XII, 165, 34, but not attributed to Manu.