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 Manusmrti prevailing all around and facilitate accurate interpretation.
Vyavaharandidrksustu Brahmanaih Saha Parthivah I
Mantrajnairmantribhiscaiva Vinitah Pravisetsabham II VIII / 1 II
King desirous of attending Vyavahara, may enter Royal Court with humility accompanied by the learned ones, advisers and courtesans.
Vyavahara is the case pertaining to a dispute which comes up in a royal court for adjudication. If a King desires to hear a case, pour over submissions of both disputants and pass his judgement, then he is expected to enter the Royal Court with utmost humility. Even as head of the court, King is advised not to flaunt his supreme authority or superiority within the court while hearing the case. King sitting in the august position to judge, must be assisted by erudite ones specialising in law, learned advisers and ministers to exercise royal authority.
Institution of Danda to adjudicate Vyavahara is a divine assignment and must be accomplished with utmost care and diligence.
Esu Sthanesu Bhuyistham Vivadam Caratama Nrnam I
Dharmam Sasvatamasritya Kuryatkaryavinirnayam II VIII / 8 II
In these Vyavahara-s, disputes of all be attended by resorting to refuge in Dharma.
All disputes and their concerned disputants are mandated to be attended with utmost impartiality and diligence. King ought to strictly adhere to canons of Dharma while passing his judgement on disputes after duly listening to all sides. While ensconced on the august seat of Danda, King belongs to none and none belongs to the King.
Yada Svayam Na Kuryatu Nrapatih Karyadarsanam I
Tada Niyunjyadvidvansam Brahamanama Karyadarsane II VIII / 9 II
Whenever King is unable to attend, he should engage an erudite one to attend disputes.
A King may be sometimes, incapacitated or unable to attend Vyavahara-s in his royal court owing to any reason. As passage to justice should never be inhibited, least alone hurdled, King is called upon to depute a senior and learned scholar well-versed in matters of law and administration of justice to preside over the institution of Danda in a fair and professional manner. He too, must resort to principles of Dharma while accomplishing the task.
Yasmindese Nisidanti Vipra Vedavidastrayah I
Rajnascadhikrto Vidvanbrahmanastam Sabhama Viduh II VIII / 11 II
Where three scholars of Veda-s are seated alongwith a learned one conversant with the subject, it is Brahmasabha.
Contours of Royal Court have been outlined in this Sloka by Maharsi Manu. The court comprises of at least three learned scholars of Vedic wisdom headed by an erudite one appointed by the King. Head of the Court deputed by the King, must be thoroughly conversant with laws and nuances of jurisprudence prevailing in the Kingdom. Such a court is known as Brahmasabha i.e. Court of Divine Creators. Such a court commands high prestige among all in the Kingdom.
Sabhama Va Na Pravestavyama Vaktavyama Va Samanjasama I
Abruvanvibruvanvapi Naro Bhavati Kilvisi II VIII / 13 II
One may refrain from entering into royal court. If entered, ought to declare truth alone. Sinner is the one who acquiesces untruth, opposes truth.
Royal Court is the seat of administration of justice which cannot be accessible to all without a genuine purpose. It is expected of all not to attempt entry into a court unless concerned with an ongoing or outstanding Vyavahara. Everyone who enters into a court and all those who are participating or witnessing court proceedings, ought to speak truth alone, support truth alone by all means and oppose untruth in every possible way. No one inside the court is mandated to remain reticent if untruth in propagated by anyone. All those who do not honour the mandate, commit grave sin as dispensation of justice is a divine errand.
Yatra Dharmo Hyadharmena Satyama Yatranrtena Ca I
Hanyate Preksamanama Hatastatra Sabhasadah II VIII / 14 II
In a court wherein Dharma is ravaged by Adharma, Satya by Asatya, all partcipants may be regarded as slain.
Dharma is righteousness which is supreme and it’s absence is Adharma. Similarly, Satya is truth and it’s absence, Asatya. A Royal Court appointed to dispense justice, must ensure that justice is done by following principles of Dharma and Satya. If Dharma and Satya are defeated in a court of justice and no participant of royal court’s proceedings protests, then they all should be regarded as worthless and such a court, complete sham of justice.
Maharsi Manu thus mandates, justice is a divine mission and no one enjoys the liberty of trivialising it.
Vrso Hi Bhagavandharmastasya Yaha Kurute Hyalam I
Vrasalam Tama Vidurdevastasmaddharmam Na Lopayet II VIII / 16 II
Bliss and glory emanate from Dharma alone. Vrasala are those eradicating Dharma for Deva-s hence, Dharma ought not be diluted.
Pursuit of Dharma alone is the source of all joys and glory as Dharma alone is the fundamental characteristic of our own Self i.e. Atma. As our real Self is Dharma itself, our actions and perceptions cannot be violative by being contrary to that. Sages and Seers are all Dharma-Incarnate. So are all Deva-s and Avatara-s. Those who do not pursue Dharma, violate all canons of Righteousness, are regarded as Vrasala i.e. the degraded ones by Deva-s. For attainment of Absolute Harmony, one has to be in complete harmony with Him. That is possible only by unfailing pursuit of Dharma.
Eka Eva Suhrddharmo Nidhaneapyanuyati Yaha I
Sarirena Samama Nasama Sarvamanyaddhi Gacchati II VIII / 17 II
Dharma alone is the Suhrda, escorts even after demise while all others are dissolved like body, simultaneously.
Suhrda is the friend who is ever selfless and a confirmed well-wisher. Maharsi Manu has mandated, one’s Dharma alone is one’s Suhrda as never it demands anything in return and accompanies till one’s ultimate redemption into the Absolute. Like one’s gross body, everything else is perishable yet not one’s Dharma. Hence, pursuit of Dharma is supreme and sacrosanct.
Padoadharmasya Kartarama Padaha Saksinamrcchati I
Padaha Sabhasadaha Sarvanpado Rajanamrcchati II VIII / 18 II
One fourth of Adharma committed to the performer, same to witnesses and members of the court, one fourth to the King being attained if principles of Nyaya not really pursued.
If a Royal Court fails to dispense justice and basic principles of Nyaya i.e. justice are not followed religiously, share of Adharma so committed belongs to all i.e. King, Saksi-s i.e. observers, witnesses and Sabhasada-s i.e. members of the court and performer of Adharma causing failure of Nyaya. Dispensation of Nyaya is a divine errand and all members present in a court are equally responsible and answerable for all omissions and commissions of the court. Every member of a court present is regarded as participant, mandated to resist and protest vociferously if Nyaya fails to be delivered.
Raja Bhavatyanenastu Muccyante Ca Sabhasadaha I
Eno Gacchati Kartarama Nindaarho Yatra Nindyate II VIII / 19 II
In a court wherein offender is punished, all are rendered pure with only the offender being attained to sin.
In a court wherein principles of Dharma are pursued religiously and Nyaya administered judiciously by punishing the offender, by honouring the honourable ones, by condemning the condemnable, no one is attained to sin except the performer of condemnable offence. Allowing an offence to be ignored without retribution amounts to failure of Nyaya and enactment of Adharma. This is the Adharma that punishes all in court for failure to discharge their responsibilities judiciously.
Svaravarnengitakaraiscaksusa Cestitena Ca II VIII / 20 II
Inner state of being of participants may be perceived from external signs, voice, facial expressions, hints and indications, state of external shapes, eyes and mild actions.
There are several non-conventional ways available to cognise state of mind of every participant in a court particularly the accused, by King. These means are of profound importance and sometimes guide towards right conclusion decisively. External signs may include apparel, body language etc. Nature and quality of voice convey a lot of revelations. Facial expressions viz. turning pale, being ashamed are important signals. Hints and indications elicited by participants particularly accused among themselves viz. not looking straight into eyes, looking here and there etc. profoundly convey thoughts arising in their mind. Shapes taken by mouth, eyes, trembling, perspiring etc. too, are significant indications. Expressions conveyed by eyes are regarded quite reliable. Mild actions by hands and feet viz. rubbing hands, scratching of head or earth, snapping fingers occasionally are also important indications that may reveal veracity of an accusation. In a Royal Court, King must be entirely conversant with all these traditional ways and means to administer justice.
Baladayadikama Rikthama Tavadrajaanupalayet I
Yavatsa Syatsamavrtto Yavaccatitasaisavaha II VIII / 22 II
King must protect inheritance and other wealth of orphans and minors till they attain adolescence or complete Samavartana Samskara.
King has also been mandated to look after entire property and wealth inherited by orphans, minors as their state guardian till the age they turn adolescent or complete their Samavartana Samskara i.e. learning and education in their respective Gurukula-s. Once appointed tenure in their respective Gurukula-s is successfully completed, when they grow up into adolescence, such a wealth may be handed over to them appropriately. Thus, King is also mandated to act as personal guardian to all those in his kingdom who have no one to look upto.
Adaditatha Sadabhagama Pranastadhigatannrapaha I
Dasamama Dvadasama Vaapi Satama Dharmamanusmarana II VIII / 28 II
King may righteously recover sixth, tenth or twelfth fraction as tax out of a wealth retrieved after being lost or destroyed.
If somebody’s wealth is eventually recovered after a long pause of being lost or destroyed, head of the state is justified in claiming a fraction of such a wealth as tax obligation to the state and duly recover that. Quantum of tax obligation may vary, from sixth to tenth or twelfth as the case may be. Absence of deployment of a wealth over a span of time or the state of not it’s being earned in immediate past, does not qualify the wealth to escape taxation or claim any other exemption whatsoever based on those grounds. Long term objective of the directive appears to be eradication of corruption and prevention of leakage points from state’s economy.
Artheapavyayamanama Tu Karanena Vibhavitama I
Dapayeddhanikasyarthama Dandalesama Ca Saktitaha II VIII / 37 II
If borrowing is proved yet borrower declines to concede, he may be compelled to refund and penalised appropriately.
A King must see that money borrowed from a lender is duly repatriated by the borrower. If a borrower refuses to accept having borrowed, counters all claims of having borrowed in spite of clinching evidence in support of that, it falls upon the King to ensure by virtue of his royal authority, borrowed money is returned and the defiant borrower punished commensurate with his economic status, amount in question, social status etc.
Abhiyokta Na Ceda Bruyadvaddhyo Dandyasca Dharmataha I
Na Cetripaksatprabruyaddharmama Prati Parajitaha II VIII / 44 II
A complainant who does not speak after filing complaint, deserves to be punished and loses the case after three fortnights of indifference.
After accusing someone in a court, accuser holds the responsibility of providing evidence in support of his complaint for rightful conclusion of the complaint lodged. In case complainant turns indifferent and disinterested, he deserves to be rightly penalised for causing agony and harassment to the accused. If the silence and indifference persist for more than three fortnights, complaint forfeits it’s validity altogether, merits to be dismissed and righteously so.
Yo Yavannihyunnu Vitartha Mithya Yavati Va Vadet I
Tau Nrpena Hyadharmajnau Dapyau Tad Dvigunama Damam II VIII / 45 II
If a borrower or lender falsify the amount of transaction, they may be penalised by double of the differential.
A greedy lender may falsely increase the amount lent or a devious borrower may reduce the amount borrowed out of sheer venality. In such a case, King must probe into the entire affair and ascertain correct amount transacted. Double of the differential amount between fudged and correct figures may be imposed as penalty and realised from the truant for the royal exchequer.
Narthasambandhino Napta Na Sahaya Na Vairanaha I
Na Drstadosaha Kartavya Na Vyadhyarta Na Dusitaha II VIII / 48 II
Those having financial interactions with a lender, kin, close friends, associates, diseased, tormented, tainted offenders, dubious ones or their foes are not eligible to submit as witnesses.
Explicit directions have been stated with respect to witnesses who may depose in such disputes during proceedings. Kins, friends and associates of either borrower or lender are not eligible as their veracity may be a suspect. Similarly, a diseased or tormented one may not be truthful in anticipation of some relief or reward. Offenders who have been ever once prosecuted and punished cannot be relied upon for their veracity. Finally, those hostile to either of them or dubious ones too, may not be allowed to participate in such proceedings. Witness must be an absolutely impartial, untainted fellow and an ardent practitioner of Dharma.
Sahasesu Ca Sarvesu Steyasamgrahanesu Ca I
Vagdandayosca Parusye Na Parikseta Saksinaha II VIII / 51 II
For offences of forcible oppression, theft, immorality, promiscuity, harsh utterances, witness may not be assessed.
Molestation, oppression, theft, immorality, promiscuity, harsh expressions etc. are the offences which allow exemption of witness if any, from scrutiny. Whosoever claims to be a witness, must be allowed to participate in proceedings, may not be assessed on any parameter of dependability and reliability as stated earlier because witnesses are rare for such offences as these offences are invariably committed in isolation by surprise. Although such a witness is essential, he must be examined for veracity of his submission submitted in royal court.
Svabhavenaiva Yad Bruyustadgrahyama Vyavaharikama I
Ato Yadanyadvibruyurdharmarthama Tadaparthakam II VIII / 56 II
All utterances other than what may be natural and feasible, be rejected.
Depositions delivered by witnesses that may not appear to be natural or possible in a real life situation, may be presumed to be concocted ones and rejected. Such a deposition may not be allowed to influence final outcome of dispute by the King. The King may decide to question witnesses on their depositions to confirm extent of veracity and their involvement in the dispute in question.
Satyama Saksye Bruvansaksi Lokanapnoti Puskalan I
Iha Canuttamama Kirtima Vagesa Brahmapujita II VIII / 59 II
Saksi who utters the truth, attains fame in this and subsequent lives, is attained to higher planes of existence as the Vani is adored in scriptures.
As the institution of Danda is divine, contribution of Saksi i.e. witness, enjoys similar status in it’s import. If a Saksi utters truth, he attains fame all over for his moral strength not only in incumbent life but also subsequent ones. Such a Vani is adored in Veda-s and other scriptures as it is regarded to be in complete harmony with the Absolute Truth. Such a conscientious Saksi is attained to higher Loka-s i.e. planes of existence after dis-incarnation.
Yasminyasminvivade Tu KautasaksyamaKrtama Bhavet I
Tattatkaryama Nivarteta Krtama Capyakrtama Bhavet II VIII / 64 II
If false submissions by Saksi-s are discovered later, all such disputes may be re-considered and earlier judgements rescinded.
In a significant measure to uphold Dharma, if a case comes to the knowledge of court wherein renditions of Saksi turn out to be false and court misled, decision taken by the King may be withdrawn and the entire dispute re-considered and re-tried. Such a court proceeding based on falsified depositions or facts / evidence suppressed, amounts to being ‘never happened’ at all. Re-trial of the case and judgement accorded, may be regarded as the final one replacing actions followed earlier.
Ajnanadbalabhavacca Saksyama Vitathamucyate II VIII / 65 II
Deposition rendered by a Saksi, influenced by Lobha, Moha, Bhaya, Mitrata, Kama, Krodha, Ajnana and puerility may be concluded to be falsified.
If depositions by a Saksi are influenced by Lobha i.e. greed, Moha i.e. delusion, Bhaya i.e. fear, Mitrata i.e. kinship, Kama i.e. lust and desire, Krodha i.e. anger, Ajnana i.e. ignorance and puerility, it may not be the truth, may mislead proceedings towards inappropriate conclusions and decisions. Such a submission leads to utter failure of justice.
Vasisthavihitama Vrddhima Srjedvittavivardhinima I
Asitibhagama Grhniyanmasadvardhusikaha Sate II VIII / 83 II
Moneylender may claim interest on amount lent yet not more than 1.25 percent per month as laid down by erudite economists being the maximum limit.
Money lent by a lender is eligible to earn a reasonable amount of interest as a measure of compensation for the loss of income the lender might have earned otherwise. However, amount of interest chargeable has been codified by experts of economics. The term Vasistha invoked by Maharsi Manu denotes such a skilled economist and not a sage by that name. Amount of interest levied must not exceed 1.25% per month. That is the maximum limit of interest leviable on an amount by a lender.
Na Bhoktavyo Baladadhirbhumjano Vrddhimutsrajet I
Mulyena Tosayeccainamadhistenoanyatha Bhavet II VIII / 85 II
Lender must not use the wealth pledged by borrower as assurance otherwise interest is forfeited and compensates by paying full price.
Wealth pledged by a borrower to lender as a measure of assurance, cannot be claimed to be owned by the lender. He remains a trustee of the pledged wealth so long as the amount borrowed remains with the borrower. Under no circumstance lender is allowed to appropriate the wealth pledged or use that for personal gains. In a situation wherein a lender has violated the norm, not only interest is lost completely, he is mandated to compensate the borrower by paying full price of the wealth pledged.
Yo Yasya Pratibhustisthedadarsanayeha Manavaha I
Adarsayansa Tama Tasya Prayacchetsvadhanaddranama II VIII / 94 II
One who guarantees presence of borrower before lender or royal court, is liable to refund the amount borrowed in case of failure.
A guarantor has to assure for the security of an amount borrowed on behalf of the borrower. Guarantor is also mandated to ensure, borrower presents himself before the lender or court whenever required and summoned by them. In case borrower fails to appear or defaults on refund of amount borrowed, guarantor is mandated to refund the amount borrowed with interest to the lender.
Grhita Yadi Nastaha Syatkutumbarthama Krto Vyayaha I
If wealth is borrowed for family and borrower expires eventually, all kin are mandated to collectively refund the amount borrowed even if separated.
Wealth borrowed for the benefit of a family is liable to be refunded by all kin collectively in case borrower expires eventually. Responsibility of repatriating an amount borrowed rests upon shoulders of all kin who have been benefited by the borrowing. If all those kin have separated themselves, responsibility does not mitigate itself. They all must come together to refund the amount forthwith collectively.
Sambhogo Drasyate Yatra Na Drsyetagamaha Kvacit I
Agamaha Karanama Tatra Na Sambhoga Iti Sthitih II VIII / 124 II
Rightful ownership of an object is established by it’s being acquired righteously, not by accessibility as ordained in scriptures.
If an object is available to someone for personal application, it does not amount to its rightful ownership as it may well have been acquired dubiously. Rightful ownership of an object is established only if it has been acquired through fair means and established likewise. That is how ownership of an asset has been defined in scriptures too.
Sarvesamardhino Mukhyastadardhenardhinoapare I
Out of all, main partners may share half of gains, next rung of investors half of that, third rung one-third and the fourth rung of investors, one-fourth of that to conduct partnership business.
Through this Sloka, Maharsi Manu has formulated norms for sharing gains from business conducted collectively by partners with varying amount of investments. According to this scheme, main investors are entitled to half of profits, second rung of partners half of that half, third rung of partners one-third of that half and finally, fourth rung of investors / partners, one-fourth of that. With this being the guiding principle, business may be carried out by them.
Dharmarthama Yena Dattama Syatkasmaiciddyacate Dhanama I
Pascacca Na Tatha Tasyanna Deyama Tasya Tadbhavet II VIII / 130 II
If wealth accepted as donation or subscription for a certain philanthropic errand is diverted, it must be returned.
Sanctity of an errand or objective ought not be violated. If money has been accepted as subscription for a certain purpose, that must be honoured. If the subscription is diverted for some other purpose, it must be returned to the donor lest in amounts to the offence of misappropriation. Assurance tendered to the donor while accepting donation is sacrosanct and ought not be violated.
Bhrto Narto Na Kuryaddyo Darpatkarma Yathoditama I
Sa Dandyaha Krsnalanyastau Na Deyama Casya Vetanam II VIII / 133 II
If an orderly fails to deliver in spite of being healthy owing to egoism, King may impose penalty of eight Krisnala, decline to compensate.
There is punishment prescribed for those attendants too, who are not diligent in honouring their responsibilities out of sheer egoism in spite of not being debilitated, incapacitated by some disease or accident. Such irresponsible orderlies must be penalised by the King to deliver eight Krisanala-s, special type of plant found in jungles and denied compensation for the period of refusal to work.
Yo Gramadesasanghanama Krtva Satyena Samvidam I
Visamvadennaro Lobhattama Rastradvipravasayet II VIII / 136 II
One who reneges on a verified pledge whatsoever, tendered to a person, village, region or community out of sheer avarice, should be banished from country by the King.
Any commitment in the form of vow, contract or agreement submitted to a person, village or community with respect to some errand is entirely sacrosanct and must be honoured diligently. If he fails to honour the commitment, responsibility to act falls upon the state in this regard. Anyone renouncing any such pledge which has been verified indisputably, must be brought to justice and punished by banishing him from state by the King.
Kritva Vikriya Va Kimciddyasyehanusayo Bhavet I
Soantardasahattad Dravyama Daddyaccaivadadita Va II VIII / 139 II
If one is penitent after selling or buying an object, it may be reversed within ten days after that.
Any transaction of buying and selling an object or commodity must be mutually acceptable and palatable. If one develops regret after any such transaction owing to any reason whatsoever, transaction may be reversed forthwith within a reasonable period of time. Such a reversal may preclude any possible controversy at a later stage.
Gopaha Ksirabhrto Yastu Sa Duhyaddasato Varam I
Gosvamyanumate Bhrtyaha Sa Syatpaleabhrte Bhrtih II VIII / 144 II
Shepherd, who accepts milk instead of money as compensation, is entitled to milk one of the best ten cows with prior consent of the owner, as means of his livelihood.
A shepherd working for his cow-owner master may collect compensation in two ways, either money or milk. If he eventually decides to accept milk as compensation instead of money, he is entitled to milk one of the best cows owned by his master as the milk alone happens to be the means of livelihood for him. Indeed, he is expected to milk the cow with prior permission only.
Ajavike Tu Samruddhe Vrkaiha Pale Tvanayati I
Yama Prasahya Vrko Hantyatpale tatkilvisama Bhavet II VIII / 148 II
If a goat or sheep is killed after being encircled and shepherd fails to actively protect, shepherd alone is accountable for that.
While these herbivores are out on grazing, they may be pounced upon and killed slyly by a carnivore viz. wolf etc. after being encircled by their herd. Shepherd is expected to protect them while on grazing from being attacked in addition to his usual responsibility of shepherding. If he ignores his responsibility of protecting them, he alone has to compensate his master for the loss of animal.
Simama Prati Samutpanne Vivade Gramayordvayoha I
Jyesthe Masi Nayetsimama Suprakasesu Setesu II VIII / 156 II
Boundary disputes among villages may be resolved during Jyestha when all signs are accessible.
Jyestha is the month when monsoon recedes and all landmarks, signs are conspicuously visible and accessible. With the support of these landmarks, any boundary dispute between villages or communities may be easily resolved without much of controversies.
Tadaganyudapanani Vapyaha Prasravanani Ca I
Simasandhisu Karyani Devatayatanani Ca II VIII / 159 II
Water bodies viz. ponds, wells, canals, Yajnasala-s may be constructed on borders of villages.
Yajnasala is the sacred place wherein Yajna is conducted in a solemn ambiance. On boundaries between villages, it is advised to construct waterbodies and Yajnasala for the benefit and comfort of all.
Emphasis on construction of Yajnasala reveals contemporary society had been deeply religious as they used to conduct Yajna even during journeys. Also, joint Yajna-s were conducted alongwith celebrations and festivities.
Yadi Samsaya Eva Syallinganamapi Darsane I
Saksipratyaya Eva Syatsimavadavinirnayaha II VIII / 164 II
If confusion regarding boundaries persist in spite of distinctly identifiable landmarks, assistance of witnesses may be resorted to.
If boundary disputes refuse to be resolved on the basis of distinctly identifiable landmarks and other tell-tale signs during month of Jyestha, King may invite Saksi-s i.e. witnesses of past boundaries and others in the know of history of those boundaries to assist in sorting out the dispute. Boundary disputes must not be left unresolved lest it raises attrition, entirely avoidable.
Srutama Desama Ca Jatim Ca Karma Sarirameva Ca I
Vitathena Bruvandarpaddapyaha Syad Dvisatama Damam II VIII / 173 II
If someone derogates other owing to arrogance caused by superiority of Vidya, Desa, Varna and Sarira, he may be penalised with two-hundred Pana-s.
Anyone who has succeeded in attaining superiority with respect to Vidya i.e. education and knowledge that he has been able to attain; Desa i.e. region which may be more developed and he belongs to; Varna i.e. social order he belongs to or Sarira i.e. gross body that he possesses, King may penalise him with two-hundred Pana-s i.e. a unit of transaction as a measure of retribution.
Superiority, excellence in any discipline or strive is expected to bring about humility and modesty. It is no way expected to egoism and impulse to derogate, humiliate others.
Manusyanama Pasunama Ca Duhkhaya Prahrate Sati I
Yatha Yatha Mahad Duhkhama Kuryattatha Tatha II VIII / 177 II
Striking someone or animal with cane to hurt must be punished appropriately and equitably.
No one is authorised to hurt anyone. Man is not permitted to hurt even animals. Indeed, scriptures have ordained man as a saviour and protector of animals. If anyone violates the scriptural mandate, he should be punished appropriately commensurate with gravity of the injury inflicted upon the victim.
Abhayasya Hi Yo Data sa Pujyaha Satatama Nrpaha I
Satrama Hi Vardhate Tasya Sadaivabhayadaksinama II VIII / 182 II
King whose subjects are fearless, is always adored and his rein continues expanding.
Head of a state who respects his subjects, allows them unmitigated fearlessness, is the adored one among his subjects. Vedic wisdom too ordains, King must respect his subjects, love them as his own progeny and ensure their well-being in all respects as well as all avenues to progress are always open before them. Such a King enjoys entire confidence and commitment of his subject uninterruptedly and they exert all possible efforts for continuous growth of the state.
Yoaraksanbalimadatte Karama Sulkama Ca Parthivaha I
Pratibhagama Ca Dandama Ca Saha Sadyo Narakama Vrajet II VIII / 184 II
King who collects taxes, octroi, penalties from his subjects without defending them, is soon mortified.
When a King collects taxes and other forms of revenues from his subjects, he is bound by his Dharma to look after them well as well as defend them from oppressive forces. These are his cardinal responsibilities to justify his ascension to the throne. If a King fails to honour his basic responsibilities or rejects his Dharma consciously owing to any causative factor whatsoever, he is not entitled to and authorised to collect revenues from his subjects at all. If he does that compulsively, he is soon attained to grief raised by the subjects.
Annade Bhrunaha Marsti Patyau Bharyapacarini I
Gurau Sisyasca Yajyasca Steno Rajani Kilvisama II VIII / 192 II
Those who accept meals with perpetrators of foeticide, husband of an immoral wife, Guru of a deviant disciple, Ritvik of a Yajnamana are complicit in their respective felonies just as King for declining to punish a thief.
If a King fails to punish an offender owing to any reason whatsoever, he has to partly accept the felony committed for having failed to discharge his Dharma. Similarly, a person having friendly relations with the one indulging in the felony of foeticide, is partly guilty for having failed to exert influence to prevent the evil act. Similar is the scenario for the husband of an immoral wife, Guru of a wayward disciple and Ritvik i.e. who conducts religious rituals of a Yajnamana i.e. client of Ritvik. They all must strive for prevention of the felony lest they too, stand guilty for the offence.
Institution of Danda is divine. This is one institution which exists in all in varying proportions and bound to enforce to the best possible extent.
Pitaacaryaha Suhranmata Bharya Putraha Purohitaha I
Nadandyo Nama Rajnyoasti Yaha Svadharme Na Tisthati II VIII / 202 II
One violating Svadharma is never exempt from Danda irrespective of being Pita, Acarya, Suhrt, Mata, Bharya, Putra or Purohita.
Svadharma is one’s own Dharma that is mandatory and impossible to be declined by anyone. Even Sri Rama and Sri Krsna as Avatara-s could not reject their respective Svadharma-s which happened to be their sole objectives of incarnation. If Svadharma is dishonoured or declined, it amounts to a punishable felony. Since the sacrosanct institution of Danda is to be exercised by King, he ought to be entirely objective and impartial be the accused standing before him his Pita i.e. father, Acarya i.e. teacher, Suhrt i.e. friend, Mata i.e. mother, Bharya i.e. wife, Putra i.e. son or Purohita i.e. holy man who conducts religious rituals.
Institution of Danda brooks no partiality and lack of integrity.
Karsapanama Bhavedyandaha Yatranyaha Prakrto Janaha I
Tatra Raja Bhaveddandyaha Saharamiti Dharana II VIII / 203 II
For an offence committed by an ordinary one and eligible for one unit of penalty, King must be punished by thousand times of the amount for the same offence committed by him.
King of a state is regarded as custodian of the state governed by him, his subjects and the institution of Danda. He is expected to be above controversy of every sort whatsoever and absolutely untainted by an offence. If a King happens to commit an offence, Maharsi Manu has mandated punishment of the order of thousand times of the quantum which would have been awarded to an ordinary subject for the same offence. Thus, a King is called upon to maintain highest standards of probity in governance in his reign.
Astapadyama Tu Sudrasya Steye Bhavati Kilvisama I
Sodasaiva Tu Vaisyasya Dvatrinsatksatriyasya Ca II VIII / 204 II
Brahamanasya Catuhasastiha Purnama Vaapi Satama Bhavet I
Dviguna Va Catuhasastistaddosagunaviddhi Saha II VIII / 205 II
Even as a lesser accomplished Sudra be awarded eight times, Vaisya sixteen times, Ksatriya thirty-two times and a Brahmana sixty-four or hundred or one hundred twenty-eight times of the amount of wealth purloined.
Higher the status on social ladder of advancement, greater is the retribution for an offence of say, theft or corruption as mandated by Maharsi Manu. As socially advanced ones are regarded and emulated as font of inspiration, it is all the more imperative that their personal conduct is beyond reproach. In a bid to assure that, while a Sudra is ordained to be penalised by eight times, Vaisya sixteen times, Ksatriya thirty-two times and a Brahmana sixty-four or more in consonance with the circumstances, of the amount of wealth purloined. Pillars of society must deport themselves beyond controversy.
Paradarabhimarsesu Pravrttannranmahipatiha I
Those indulging in promiscuity may be crippled to cause agony, then expelled from the state.
Immoral conduct including promiscuity is entirely unacceptable to Maharsi Manu and he has prescribed stringent punishment for the same. Those indulging in immoral conduct with other’s women may be crippled permanently by mutilating some sense organ, hand or feet then, banished from the state forever. People with immoral proclivities do not enjoy liberty of dwelling in the state a normal life.
Bhartaram Langhyedya Tu Stri Jnatigunadarpita I
Tam Svabhih Khadayedraja Samsthane Bahusamsthite II VIII / 217 II
Woman deserting her spouse to indulge in immoral acts out of arrogance caused by her superior social order and other attributes, may be condemned to being bitten to death by canines in presence of large number of men and women.
Licentious women who reject their duly wedded spouses impelled by arrogance caused by their being superior on any count of physical possessions, may be condemned to an agonising death publicly. Severity of the punishment is expected to act as a dreaded deterrent for others who may be on verge of similar indulgence.
Pumansama Dahayetpapama Sayane Tapta Ayase I
Abhyadadhyusca Kasthani Tatra Dahyot Papakrt II VIII / 218 II
Sinner indulging in promiscuity after rejecting his duly wedded spouse, may be incinerated on a red-hot iron cot in presence of several others.
Promiscuous indulgences by men who happen to be already married, invite stringent retribution as prescribed by Maharsi Manu. It is exceedingly harsh as evident from the Sloka. As a matter of fact, retribution on subtle planes of existence after dis-embodiment is too, very harsh as mentioned in Sruti and Smriti. One’s moral conduct must be invariably impeccable.
Na Mata Na Pita Na Stri Na Putrastyagamarhati I
Tyajannapapitanetrajna Dandyaha Satani Sat II VIII / 222 II
Neither mother, nor father, wife and son are to be disowned. If so in spite of their being innocent, King may punish with six-hundred Pana.
Owing to any reason whatsoever, no one enjoys the liberty to disown kin viz. mother, father, wife or son. King is called upon to punish such offenders with a penalty of at least six-hundred Pana-s, a monetary unit of transactions. Such violations of social and family norms of conduct are grave in nature with long-term implications. They have the potential to disintegrate a well-ordered society and ruin entire state ultimately. Maharsi Manu has not only cautioned state and King in this regard but also suggested through the Sloka, how to nip the potential crisis in bud.
Rajnyaha PrakhyataBhandani Yani ca I
Tani Niraharato Lobhatsarvaharama Harennrapaha II VIII / 224 II
Well recognised royal utensils and other prohibited objects may be entirely confiscated by King on being smuggled out of state by an avaricious one.
Royal utensils are generally regarded as antiques which transcend several generations of royalty and are widely recognised among state subjects. In addition to these, all other objects of antique value must be listed and declared as prohibited items, dis-allowed to be traded, exported or bartered away for pecuniary gains by those covetous of large amount of quick wealth. If any such act is exposed to royal authorities, all such items may be confiscated irrevocably by the King. State’s antique treasures ought to be guarded for the posterity and retribution for failure must be an expensive gaffe.
Pancaratre Pancaratre Pakse Pakseathava Gate I
Kurvita Caisama Pratyaksamarghasamsthapanama Nrpaha II VIII / 227 II
After every five days or fortnight, King may decide values in presence of traders.
As economy of every state is dynamic in nature with all variable factors constantly under revision and modifications, King must evaluate periodically so as to ensure, all variables remain in sync with other factors of development. Prices of all commodities being traded must be revised by King periodically at an optimum period of five to 15 days in their presence with their participation. Economy under uninterrupted upgradation is always progressive.
All these injunctions and mandates are entirely Varna-neutral.