by Vettam Mani | 1975 | 609,556 words | ISBN-10: 0842608222
This page describes the Story of Manusmriti included the Puranic encyclopaedia by Vettam Mani that was translated into English in 1975. The Puranas have for centuries profoundly influenced Indian life and Culture and are defined by their characteristic features (panca-lakshana, literally, ‘the five characteristics of a Purana’).
A code of conduct written by Manu alias Mānavācārya who was the father of man-kind for the harmonious existence of a social life. The book contains twelve chapters. The first chapter deals with the origin of the Smṛti and the origin of the world. No other Smṛti begins like this and so it is believed that this chapter must have been added to it later. The contents of each of the other eleven chapters are given below:
It deals with the sense organs and stresses the importance of conquering and controlling them. It describes the qualities of a brahmin.
It contains the duties of a householder after his course of study of the Vedas. Eight different kinds of marriages are described in it. It also deals with methods of giving protection to women and children.
This deals with pure and impure foods, impurity and methods of purification, women and their responsibilities.
It deals with the duties of Kings and ministers.
It deals with law and justice. It contains laws for the proper conduct of justice and includes ways and means of settling disputes and handling cases of debts, sale without right, partnership, duels, theft, prostitution, boundary disputes and all such matters as are to be decided by a court of law.
It deals with the duties of a husband and wife. It also contains matters relating to property rights, partition and the duties of a King with regard to these.
It deals with the duties of the different castes, mixed castes and the duties of one in times of danger.
It deals with the theory of births and describes how your deeds in the present life are directive of the nature of life of your next birth. What deeds would fetch you what life is also explained. It contains instructions on Ātmajñāna and the way to obtain mokṣa (absolute bliss).
The basis of the present Hindu Law is Manusmṛti and it is believed to have been written in B.C. 500.