Manusmriti is the most enlightened, perfect and the greatest civil code ever known to humanity.
In this series only those Sloka-s have been selected for exposition that confront all misgivings / untrue perceptions about the wisdom of Manusmriti prevailing all around and facilitate accurate interpretation.
Subhasubhaphalam Karma Manovagdehasambhavam I
Karmaja Gatayo Nrinamuttamadhamamadhyamaha II XII / 1 II
Subha, Asubha Karma-s enacted through Mana, Vacana and Sarira invite Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama destinies.
Subha and Asubha Karma-s are the noble and ignoble ones respectively that are enacted, prompted by unredeemed Samskara-s while Mana, Vacana and Sarira i.e. mind, utterances and gross body respectively, are the instruments with which Karma-s are enacted. These Karma-s enacted on grosser planes of existence are redeemed on subtle as well as gross planes of existence. Intensity and nature of these Karma-s also decide destiny to come, nature of next embodiment and Karmaphala-s i.e. proceeds of Karma-s enacted, to be undergone. Based on the Karma-s enacted, three orders of destinies Uttama, Madhyama and Adhama i.e. highly accomplished, medium and ignoble respectively have been identified by Maharsi Manu.
Paradravyesvabhidhyanam Manasanistacintanam I
Vitathabhinivesasca Trividham Karma Manasam II XII / 3 II
Desire to purloin, wishing ill unto others and dubious resolves constitute ignoble Karma-s on subtle plane.
Mind is the subtle plane of enacting subtle Karma-s that may motivate one to proceed onto grosser planes of action. Subtle or mental Karma may be nurturing desire to steal, wishing and praying for some one to suffer out of sheer aversion or jealousy. It may even be a resolve that ever remains unredeemed causing discomfiture or embarrassment to some etc. Subtle Karma-s even if not transformed into gross actions, affect several others directly or indirectly. Hence, these are very much Karma-s, must be redeemed appropriately.
Parusyamanratam Caiva Paisunyam Capi Sarvasaha I
Asambaddhapralapasca Vangamayam Syaccaturvidham II XII / 4 II
Parusya, Anrata, Paisunya and Asambaddha are the four orders of Karma-s enacted through Vacana.
Vacana i.e speech is another instrument of action. Karma-s that may be undertaken through Vacana are Parusya i.e. invocation of harsh expressions even if these are true, Anrata i.e. utter falsification and Paisunya i.e. calumny in absentia and finally Asambaddha i.e. indulgence with utter irrelevance. After Mana, Vacana is the second subtle instrumentality of action that be invoked to enact Karma-s on subtle plane alone.
Adattanamupadanam Himsa Caivavidhanataha I
Paradaropaseva Ca Sariram Trividham Smratam II XII / 5 II
Thievery, violence and promiscuity constitute evil Karma-s of Sarira.
Gross body is capable of performing evil Karma-s like purloining other’s possessions, violence to hurt others and promiscuity with other women. These Karma-s are felonious and invite stringent retribution through destiny.
Manasam Manasaivayamupabhumkte Subhasubham I
Vaca Vacakrtam Karma Kayenaiva Ca Kayikam II XII / 6 II
Karma-s enacted through Mana, Vacana and Sarira invite Karmaphala through Mana, Vacana and Sarira respectively.
Plane on which Karma is enacted is also the very plane of consciousness on which Karmaphala thereof, fructifies. Mental Karma invites mental retribution, Karma through speech invites spoken retribution while physical Karma enacted, invites physical retribution. Such a compatibility ensures, every Karma enacted encounters and matches it’s Karmaphala appropriately and redeemed effectively.
Yo Yadesam Guno Dehe Sakalyenatiricyate I
Sa Tada Tadgunaprayam Tam Karoti Saririnam II XII / 9 II
Guna in abundance in Sarira renders it similar to itself.
Three Guna-s i.e. Sattva, Raja and Tama influence course of cosmic movement of Jiva through the world. The Guna in abundance in Sarira influences it to transform itself in harmony itself. For instance, in Sattva abundant Sarira, Sarira would become Sattvika i.e. Sattva like. Similar is the case of other two Guna-s too i.e. Raja and Tama. Abundance of Raja would render Sarira Rajasika while Tamasika in the case of Tama Guna.
Yatkarma Krtva Kurvamsca Karisyanscaiva Lajjati I
Tajjneyam Vidusa Sarvam Tamasam Gunalaksanam II XII / 19 II
Intended Karma if poised to cause aversion and revulsion in one’s inner being, one is imbued with Tama.
If Karma-s that one intends to enact, are likely to invite embarrassment, shame and opprobrium, then the Karma-s are in all likelihood, Tamasika and the proposer of those Karma-s, a Tamasika person. Indeed, it is an authentic way of self-examination whether one is a person of Tamasika traits in abundance.
Yenasminkarmana Loke Khyatimicchati Puskalam I
Na Ca Socatyasampattau Tadvijneyam Tu Rajasam II XII / 20 II
If intended Karma-s inspired by the desire to attain fame, lead to extravagance in spite of being a pauper, one is Rajasika by disposition.
Rajasika traits demand fame, wealth and power. Individuals endowed with abundance of Rajasika traits are seekers of these possessions. Drive to attain these may be so vehement under the influence of Rajas that no extravagance is eschewed even if the Rajasika one happens to be a pauper eventually.
Yatsarvenecchati Jnatunyanna Lajjati Cacaran I
Yena Tusyati Catmaasya Tatsatvagunalaksanam II XII / 21 II
If eager to learn from others, imbibe all virtues, not ashamed in actions and pursues what exhilarates Atma, one is Sattvika in disposition.
Those endowed with abundance of Sattvika traits too, have unique characteristics. They are ever eager to learn more from others, assimilate virtues and piety from all those who have these in abundance. Sattvika ones are disposed to enact only those Karma-s that bring about bliss unto their Souls. They are stridently inclined towards asceticism and Adhyatmika pursuits alone.
Sarvabhutesu Catmanam Sarvabhutani Catmani I
Samam Pasyannatmayaji Svarajyamadhigacchati II XII / 43 II
One who perceives the Absolute Entity being omni-existent everywhere including oneself, is attained to the ultimate abode.
Paramatma is the Absolute Entity who exists everywhere in the entire cosmos including all animate beings. One who perceives Paramatma in all beings being all-pervasive, is the one who incessantly remains vested and blissed within His Absolute Being. Such a blessed one is ultimately, attained to Him while constantly practising Dharana and Dhyana on Him. Thus, universalism attained by the enlightened one expands unto universalism of the Absolute One.
Yathoktanyapi Karmani Parihaya Dvijottamaha I
Atmajnane Same Ca Syadvedabhyase Ca Yatnavan II XII / 44 II
Accomplished Dvija-s, even after renouncing all Karma-s, may remain vested in the Absolute Wisdom, asceticism and pursuit of Veda-s.
The enlightened Dvija-s who have renounced all their Karma-s while being vested in the bliss of Paramatma, are ordained to continue pursuing Veda-s and other mandates of asceticism. Pursuit of Adhyatma is a continuous voyage for all. It is never a safe harbour to rest even for the highly advanced ones lest decline sets in sooner than later.
Caturvarnyam Trayo Lokascatvarascasramaha Prthak I
Bhutam Bhavyam Bhavisyam Ca Sarvam Vedatprasiddhyati II XII / 49 II
Veda-s alone constitute origin of four Varna-s, three Loka-s, four Asrama-s; Bhuta, Bhavisya, Vartamana and their governance.
Four Veda-s are consecrated as repositories of entire Vedanta wisdom involving Varna-s as expounded in Manusmriti; three Loka-s i.e. planes of existence and other celestial bodies; Asrama-s of Brahmacarya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa; entire knowledge about all events in Bhuta, Bhavisya and that of Vartamana i.e. past, future and present. Entire Sanatana Vedanta Darsana is enshrined in Veda-s. Being fountain of entire wisdom, innumerable streams and rivulets have flown out in various directions with dedicated objectives and missions to be pursued ardently.
Yatha Jatabalo Vanhirdahatyardranapi Druman I
Tatha Dahati Vedajnaha Karmajam Dosamatmanaha II XII / 53 II
As blazing fire turns even sodden wood into ashes, Veda–Jnana obliterates entire Karma–Dosa.
Wisdom enshrined in Veda-s is the Veda–Jnana and Samskara-s i.e. imprints of Karma-s enacted are Karma–Dosa. All such Samskara-s must be dissolved through redemption and consummation to re-attain pristine pure divinity of Atma. Unless all Samskara-s are completely dissolved and absolute purity re-established, ultimate emancipation is impossible to be attained. Veda–Jnana is capable to dissolving all Samskara-s the way blazing fire incinerates even a piece of sodden wood into ashes. The raft of Veda–Jnana ferries the worst sinner to liberation from Karma-s.
Tapo Vidya Ca Viprasya Nihsreyasakaram Param I
Tapasa Kilvisam Hanti Vidyayaamrutamasnute II XII / 55 II
Tapa and Vidya facilitate liberation of Vipra-s most. Tapa dissolves evil intentions while Vidya, invites immortality.
Vipra is a Brahmana engaged in pursuits of Tapa i.e. asceticism and Vidya i.e. wisdom. These two i.e. Tapa and Vidya are the highest orders of ascetic pursuits being most powerful and effective. Pursuit of Tapa dissolves all traces of evil intentions and desires of regressive Karma-s while Vidya leads one to immortality. Self study of Vidya is also known as Svadhyaya that dissolves all Samskara-s and divine purity of Atma is restored.
Avratanamamantranam Jatimatropajivinam I
Sahasrasaha Sametanam Parisatvam Na Vidyate II XII / 64 II
Those devoid of Vrata belong to lower orders by birth. Even thousands of them are not eligible to constitute an institution.
Herein, Vrata refers to entire spectrum of ascetic pursuits, learning and other Vedic practices. One cannot confer upon oneself any specified Varna merely on the basis of birth in a family alone. One ought to strive intensely to be able to qualify for the same. Those devoid of Vrata are entirely inconsequential and any number of them cannot congregate to constitute an influential institution to reckon with.
Sarvamatmani Sampasyetsaccasacca Samahitaha I
Sarvam Hyatmani Sampasyannadharme Kurute Manaha II XII / 67 II
The enlightened one who perceives Sat and Asat in Paramatma, may never be inclined towards Adharma as he holds Him, omniscient.
Sat is the Real, Asat is the unreal and Adharma, utter absence of righteousness. Enlightened ones are endowed with Viveka–Jnana i.e. discriminative wisdom by virtue of which they perceive Sat and Asat discriminatively. They are the ones who effectively eschew Asat while incessantly pursuing Sat. Blessed with such a discriminative pursuit, they are never inclined towards Adharma as they perceive all beings existing within the Being of Paramatma including themselves.
Atmaiva Devatah Sarvah Sarvamatmanyavasthitam I
Atma Hi Janayatyesam Karmayogam Saririnam II XII / 68 II
Paramatma alone governs all Deva-s, Karmaphala for all beings and holds the universe within His Being.
Paramatma is the Supreme Absolute, highest of all entities vested with all possible, conceivable faculties and attributes. Entire universe is existing within His being and He governs celestial activities of all Deva-s on their subtle plane of existence. Karma-s enacted by all beings and respective Karmaphala-s are governed and administered by Him alone.
Prasasitaram Sarvesamaniyamasamanorapi I
Rukmabham Svapnadhigamyam Viddyattam Purusam Param II XII / 69 II
That who governs all, exists as subtle to subtlest, Self-effulgent, perceivable only in the state of Samadhi, be cognised as Paramatma.
Paramatma is the Supreme Absolute as He governs entire universe and all it’s activities. He is omni-existent as he pervades all planes of existence from subtle to subtlest. Paramatma is Self-Effulgent as He does not require any other source of effulgence being the ultimate source of effulgence Himself. Being so subtle, rather subtlest, he is impossible to be perceived through gross senses of a Seer. He is perceptible and cognisable only through subtle consciousness by highly advanced Seers in the state of Samadhi. Owing to His ultimate subtlety, He is omni-present and immortal.
Etameke Vadantyagnim Manumanye Prajapatim I
Indrameke Pare Pranamapare Brahma Sasvatam II XII / 70 II
This One is variously known as Agni, Manu, Indra, Prana or even Brahma, by some.
The Supreme, Absolute One is the Ultimate One alone. Since He encompasses all attributes and faculties, he is perceived and cognised variously by all based on their propensities, inclinations and mode of adorations. He may be called Agni, Manu, Indra, Prana, Brahma etc. owing to all their functions being vested in Him ultimately.
Evam Yaha Sarvabhutesu Pasyatyatmanamatmana I
Sa Sarvasamatametya Brahmabhyeti Param Padam II XII / 72 II
Thus, the one who perceives Paramatma in all beings, regards all as one’s equal, attains the highest accolade of Param Brahma.
First and foremost attribute of Supreme Divinity is to regard everyone as His equal as He identifies everyone with Himself in absolute terms. Such a perfect identification with all beings renders Him ubiquitous and all pervasive. In absence of these attributes, no one may be eligible to be privileged with the glory of being Paramatma.
All these injunctions and mandates are entirely Varna-neutral.
Thus we conclude the series Manusmriti Is Varna Neutral.