1. 'O sinless One, the whole sacred law, (applicable) to the four castes, 
has been declared by thee; 
communicate to us (now), according to the truth,
     the ultimate retribution for (their) deeds.' 

     2. To the great sages (who addressed him thus) righteous Bhrigu, sprung 
from Manu, answered, 'Hear 
the decision concerning this whole connexion
     with actions.' 

     3. Action, which springs from the mind, from speech, and from the body, 
produces either good or evil 
results; by action are caused the (various)
     conditions of men, the highest, the middling, and the lowest. 

     4. Know that the mind is the instigator here below, even to that (action) 
which is connected with the 
body, (and) which is of three kinds, has three
     locations, and falls under ten heads. 

     5. Coveting the property of others, thinking in one's heart of what is 
undesirable, and adherence to false 
(doctrines), are the three kinds of (sinful)
     mental action. 

     6. Abusing (others, speaking) untruth, detracting from the merits of all 
men, and talking idly, shall be 
the four kinds of (evil) verbal action. 

     7. Taking what has not been given, injuring (creatures) without the 
sanction of the law, and holding 
criminal intercourse with another man's wife, are
     declared to be the three kinds of (wicked) bodily action. 

     8. (A man) obtains (the result of) a good or evil mental (act) in his mind, 
(that of) a verbal (act) in his 
speech, (that of) a bodily (act) in his body. 

     9. In consequence of (many) sinful acts committed with his body, a man 
becomes (in the next birth) 
something inanimate, in consequence (of sins)
     committed by speech, a bird, or a beast, and in consequence of mental (sins 
he is re-born in) a low caste. 

     10. That man is called a (true) tridandin in whose mind these three, the 
control over his speech 
(vagdanda), the control over his thoughts (manodanda),
     and the control over his body (kayadanda), are firmly fixed. 

     11. That man who keeps this threefold control (over himself) with respect 
to all created beings and 
wholly subdues desire and wrath, thereby assuredly
     gains complete success. 

     12. Him who impels this (corporeal) Self to action, they call the 
Kshetragna (the knower of the field); 
but him who does the acts, the wise name the
     Bhutatman (the Self consisting of the elements). 

     13. Another internal Self that is generated with all embodied (Kshetragnas) 
is called Giva, through 
which (the Kshetragna) becomes sensible of all
     pleasure and pain in (successive) births. 

     14. These two, the Great One and the Kshetragna, who are closely united 
with the elements, pervade 
him who resides in the multiform created beings. 

     15. From his body innumerable forms go forth, which constantly impel the 
multiform creatures to 

     16. Another strong body, formed of particles (of the) five (elements and) 
destined to suffer the torments 
(in hell), is produced after death (in the case) of
     wicked men. 

     17. When (the evil-doers) by means of that body have suffered there the 
torments imposed by Yama, (its 
constituent parts) are united, each according
     to its class, with those very elements (from which they were taken). 

     18. He, having suffered for his faults, which are produced by attachment to 
sensual objects, and which 
result in misery, approaches, free from stains,
     those two mighty ones. 

     19. Those two together examine without tiring the merit and the guilt of 
that (individual soul), united 
with which it obtains bliss or misery both in this
     world and the next. 

     20. If (the soul) chiefly practises virtue and vice to a small degree, it 
obtains bliss in heaven, clothed 
with those very elements. 

     21. But if it chiefly cleaves to vice and to virtue in a small degree, it 
suffers, deserted by the elements, 
the torments inflicted by Yama. 

     22. The individual soul, having endured those torments of Yama, again 
enters, free from taint, those 
very five elements, each in due proportion. 

     23. Let (man), having recognised even by means of his intellect these 
transitions of the individual soul 
(which depend) on merit and demerit, always fix
     his heart on (the acquisition of) merit. 

     24. Know Goodness (sattva), Activity (ragas), and Darkness (tamas) to be 
the three qualities of the Self, 
with which the Great One always completely
     pervades all existences. 

     25. When one of these qualities wholly predominates in a body, then it 
makes the embodied (soul) 
eminently distinguished for that quality. 

     26. Goodness is declared (to have the form of) knowledge, Darkness (of) 
ignorance, Activity (of) love 
and hatred; such is the nature of these (three)
     which is (all-) pervading and clings to everything created. 

     27. When (man) experiences in his soul a (feeling) full of bliss, a deep 
calm, as it were, and a pure light, 
then let him know (that it is) among those three
     (the quality called) Goodness. 

     28. What is mixed with pain and does not give satisfaction to the soul one 
may know (to be the quality 
of) Activity, which is difficult to conquer, and
     which ever draws embodied (souls towards sensual objects). 

     29. What is coupled with delusion, what has the character of an 
undiscernible mass, what cannot be 
fathomed by reasoning, what cannot be fully
     known, one must consider (as the quality of) Darkness. 

     30. I will, moreover, fully describe the results which arise from these 
three qualities, the excellent ones, 
the middling ones, and the lowest. 

     31. The study of the Vedas, austerity, (the pursuit of) knowledge, purity, 
control over the organs, the 
performance of meritorious acts and meditation
     on the Soul, (are) the marks of the quality of Goodness. 

     32. Delighting in undertakings, want of firmness, commission of sinful 
acts, and continual indulgence in 
sensual pleasures, (are) the marks of the quality
     of Activity. 

     33. Covetousness, sleepiness, pusillanimity, cruelty, atheism, leading an 
evil life, a habit of soliciting 
favours, and inattentiveness, are the marks of the
     quality of Darkness. 

     34. Know, moreover, the following to be a brief description of the three 
qualities, each in its order, as 
they appear in the three (times, the present, past,
     and future). 

     35. When a (man), having done, doing, or being about to do any act, feels 
ashamed, the learned may 
know that all (such acts bear) the mark of the
     quality of Darkness. 

     36. But, when (a man) desires (to gain) by an act much fame in this world 
and feels no sorrow on 
failing, know that it (bears the mark of the quality of)

     37. But that (bears) the mark of the quality of Goodness which with his 
whole (heart) he desires to 
know, which he is not ashamed to perform, and at
     which his soul rejoices. 

     38. The craving after sensual pleasures is declared to be the mark of 
Darkness, (the pursuit of) wealth 
(the mark) of Activity, (the desire to gain)
     spiritual merit the mark of Goodness; each later) named quality is) better 
than the preceding one. 

     39. I will briefly declare in due order what transmigrations in this whole 
(world a man) obtains through 
each of these qualities. 

     40. Those endowed with Goodness reach the state of gods, those endowed with 
Activity the state of 
men, and those endowed with Darkness ever sink
     to the condition of beasts; that is the threefold course of 

     41. But know this threefold course of transmigrations that depends on the 
(three) qualities (to be again) 
threefold, low, middling, and high, according to
     the particular nature of the acts and of the knowledge (of each man). 

     42. Immovable (beings), insects, both small and great, fishes, snakes, and 
tortoises, cattle and wild 
animals, are the lowest conditions to which (the
     quality of) Darkness leads. 

     43. Elephants, horses, Sudras, and despicable barbarians, lions, tigers, 
and boars (are) the middling 
states, caused by (the quality of) Darkness. 

     44. Karanas, Suparnas and hypocrites, Rakshasas and Pisakas (belong to) the 
highest (rank of) 
conditions among those produced by Darkness. 

     45. Ghallas, Mallas, Natas, men who subsist by despicable occupations and 
those addicted to gambling 
and drinking (form) the lowest (order of)
     conditions caused by Activity. 

     46. Kings and Kshatriyas, the domestic priests of kings, and those who 
delight in the warfare of 
disputations (constitute) the middling (rank of the)
     states caused by Activity. 

     47. The Gandharvas, the Guhyakas, and the servants of the gods, likewise 
the Apsarases, (belong all to) 
the highest (rank of) conditions produced by

     48. Hermits, ascetics, Brahmanas, the crowds of the Vaimanika deities, the 
lunar mansions, and the 
Daityas (form) the first (and lowest rank of the)
     existences caused by Goodness. 

     49. Sacrificers, the sages, the gods, the Vedas, the heavenly lights, the 
years, the manes, and the Sadhyas 
(constitute) the second order of existences,
     caused by Goodness. 

     50. The sages declare Brahma, the creators of the universe, the law, the 
Great One, and the 
Undiscernible One (to constitute) the highest order of
     beings produced by Goodness. 

     51. Thus (the result) of the threefold action, the whole system of 
transmigrations which (consists) of 
three classes, (each) with three subdivisions, and
     which includes all created beings, has been fully pointed out. 

     52. In consequence of attachment to (the objects of) the senses, and in 
consequence of the non-
performance of their duties, fools, the lowest of men,
     reach the vilest births. 

     53. What wombs this individual soul enters in this world and in consequence 
of what actions, learn the 
particulars of that at large and in due order. 

     54. Those who committed mortal sins (mahapataka), having passed during 
large numbers of years 
through dreadful hells, obtain, after the expiration of
     (that term of punishment), the following births. 

     55. The slayer of a Brahmana enters the womb of a dog, a pig, an ass, a 
camel, a cow, a goat, a sheep, a 
deer, a bird, a Kandala, and a Pukkasa. 

     56. A Brahmana who drinks (the spirituous liquor called) Sura shall enter 
(the bodies) of small and large 
insects, of moths, of birds, feeding on ordure,
     and of destructive beasts. 

     57. A Brahmana who steals (the gold of a Brahmana shall pass) a thousand 
times (through the bodies) of 
spiders, snakes and lizards, of aquatic animals
     and of destructive Pisakas. 

     58. The violator of a Guru's bed (enters) a hundred times (the forms) of 
grasses, shrubs, and creepers, 
likewise of carnivorous (animals) and of (beasts)
     with fangs and of those doing cruel deeds. 

     59. Men who delight in doing hurt (become) carnivorous (animals); those who 
eat forbidden food, 
worms; thieves, creatures consuming their own kind;
     those who have intercourse with women of the lowest castes, Pretas. 

     60. He who has associated with outcasts, he who has approached the wives of 
other men, and he who 
has stolen the property of a Brahmana become

     61. A man who out of greed has stolen gems, pearls or coral, or any of the 
many other kinds of precious 
things, is born among the goldsmiths. 

     62. For stealing grain (a man) becomes a rat, for stealing yellow metal a 
Hamsa, for stealing water a 
Plava, for stealing honey a stinging insect, for
     stealing milk a crow, for stealing condiments a dog, for stealing clarified 
butter an ichneumon; 

     63. For stealing meat a vulture, for stealing fat a cormorant, for stealing 
oil a winged animal (of the kind 
called) Tailapaka, for stealing salt a cricket, for
     stealing sour milk a bird (of the kind called) Balaka. 

     64. For stealing silk a partridge, for stealing linen a frog, for stealing 
cotton-cloth a crane, for stealing a 
cow an iguana, for stealing molasses a flying-fox;

     65. For stealing fine perfumes a musk-rat, for stealing vegetables 
consisting of leaves a peacock, for 
stealing cooked food of various kinds a porcupine,
     for stealing uncooked food a hedgehog. 

     66. For stealing fire he becomes a heron, for stealing household-utensils a 
mason-wasp, for stealing 
dyed clothes a francolin-partridge; 

     67. For stealing a deer or an elephant a wolf, for stealing a horse a 
tiger, for stealing fruit and roots a 
monkey, for stealing a woman a bear, for stealing
     water a black-white cuckoo, for stealing vehicles a camel, for stealing 
cattle a he-goat. 

     68. That man who has forcibly taken away any kind of property belonging to 
another, or who has eaten 
sacrificial food (of) which (no portion) had
     been offered, inevitably becomes an animal. 

     69. Women, also, who in like manner have committed a theft, shall incur 
guilt; they will become the 
females of those same creatures (which have been
     enumerated above). 

     70. But (men of the four) castes who have relinquished without the pressure 
of necessity their proper 
occupations, will become the servants of Dasyus,
     after migrating into despicable bodies. 

     71. A Brahmana who has fallen off from his duty (becomes) an Ulkamukha 
Preta, who feeds on what 
has been vomited; and a Kshatriya, a
     Kataputana (Preta), who eats impure substances and corpses. 

     72. A Vaisya who has fallen off from his duty becomes a Maitrakshagyotika 
Preta, who feeds on pus; 
and a Sudra, a Kailasaka (Preta, who feeds on

     73. In proportion as sensual men indulge in sensual pleasures, in that same 
proportion their taste for 
them grows. 

     74. By repeating their sinful acts those men of small understanding suffer 
pain here (below) in various 

     75. (The torture of) being tossed about in dreadful hells, Tamisra and the 
rest, (that of) the Forest with 
sword-leaved trees and the like, and (that of)
     being bound and mangled; 

     76. And various torments, the (pain of) being devoured by ravens and owls, 
the heat of scorching sand, 
and the (torture of) being boiled in jars, which
     is hard to bear; 

     77. And births in the wombs (of) despicable (beings) which cause constant 
misery, and afflictions from 
cold and heat and terrors of various kinds, 

     78. The (pain of) repeatedly lying in various wombs and agonizing births, 
imprisonment in fetters hard 
to bear, and the misery of being enslaved by

     79. And separations from their relatives and dear ones, and the (pain of) 
dwelling together with the 
wicked, (labour in) gaining wealth and its loss,
     (trouble in) making friends and (the appearance of) enemies, 

     80. Old age against which there is no remedy, the pangs of diseases, 
afflictions of many various kinds, 
and (finally) unconquerable death. 

     81. But with whatever disposition of mind (a man) forms any act, he reaps 
its result in a (future) body 
endowed with the same quality. 

     82. All the results, proceeding from actions, have been thus pointed out; 
learn (next) those acts which 
secure supreme bliss to a Brahmana. 

     83. Studying the Veda, (practising) austerities, (the acquisition of true) 
knowledge, the subjugation of 
the organs, abstention from doing injury, and
     serving the Guru are the best means for attaining supreme bliss. 

     84. (If you ask) whether among all these virtuous actions, (performed) here 
below, (there be) one which 
has been declared more efficacious (than the
     rest) for securing supreme happiness to man, 

     85. (The answer is that) the knowledge of the Soul is stated to be the most 
excellent among all of them; 
for that is the first of all sciences, because
     immortality is gained through that. 

     86. Among those six (kinds of) actions (enumerated) above, the performance 
of) the acts taught in the 
Veda must ever be held to be most efficacious
     for ensuring happiness in this world and the next. 

     87. For in the performance of the acts prescribed by the Veda all those 
(others) are fully comprised, 
(each) in its turn in the several rules for the rites. 

     88. The acts prescribed by the Veda are of two kinds, such as procure an 
increase of happiness and 
cause a continuation (of mundane existence,
     pravritta), and such as ensure supreme bliss and cause a cessation (of 
mundane existence, nivritta). 

     89. Acts which secure (the fulfilment of) wishes in this world or in the 
next are called pravritta (such as 
cause a continuation of mundane existence); but
     acts performed without any desire (for a reward), preceded by (the 
acquisition) of (true) knowledge, are 
declared to be nivritta (such as cause the
     cessation of mundane existence). 

     90. He who sedulously performs acts leading to future births (pravritta) 
becomes equal to the gods; but 
he who is intent on the performance of those
     causing the cessation (of existence, nivritta) indeed, passes beyond (the 
reach of) the five elements. 

     91. He who sacrifices to the Self (alone), equally recognising the Self in 
all created beings and all 
created beings in the Self, becomes (independent like)
     an autocrat and self-luminous. 

     92. After giving up even the above-mentioned sacrificial rites, a Brahmana 
should exert himself in 
(acquiring) the knowledge of the Soul, in extinguishing
     his passions, and in studying the Veda. 

     93. For that secures the attainment of the object of existence, especially 
in the case of a Brahmana, 
because by attaining that, not otherwise, a
     twice-born man has gained all his ends. 

     94. The Veda is the eternal eye of the manes, gods, and men; the Veda-
ordinance (is) both beyond the 
sphere of (human) power, and beyond the
     sphere of (human) comprehension; that is a certain fact. 

     95. All those traditions (smriti) and those despicable systems of 
philosophy, which are not based on the 
Veda, produce no reward after death; for they
     are declared to be founded on Darkness. 

     96. All those (doctrines), differing from the (Veda), which spring up and 
(soon) perish, are worthless 
and false, because they are of modern date. 

     97. The four castes, the three worlds, the four orders, the past, the 
present, and the future are all 
severally known by means of the Veda. 

     98. Sound, touch, colour, taste, and fifthly smell are known through the 
Veda alone, (their) production 
(is) through the (Vedic rites, which in this respect
     are) secondary acts. 

     99. The eternal lore of the Veda upholds all created beings; hence I hold 
that to be supreme, which is the 
means of (securing happiness to) these

     100. Command of armies, royal authority, the office of a judge, and 
sovereignty over the whole world 
he (only) deserves who knows the

     101. As a fire that has gained strength consumes even trees full of sap, 
even so he who knows the Veda 
burns out the taint of his soul which arises from
     (evil) acts. 

     102. In whatever order (a man) who knows the true meaning of the Veda-
science may dwell, he 
becomes even while abiding in this world, fit for the
     union with Brahman. 

     103. (Even forgetful) students of the (sacred) books are more distinguished 
than the ignorant, those who 
remember them surpass the (forgetful)
     students, those who possess a knowledge (of the meaning) are more 
distinguished than those who (only) 
remember (the words), men who follow (the
     teaching of the texts) surpass those who (merely) know (their meaning). 

     104. Austerity and sacred learning are the best means by which a Brahmana 
secures supreme bliss; by 
austerities he destroys guilt, by sacred learning
     he obtains the cessation of (births and) deaths. 

     105. The three (kinds of evidence), perception, inference, and the (sacred) 
Institutes which comprise the 
tradition (of) many (schools), must be fully
     understood by him who desires perfect correctness with respect to the 
sacred law. 

     106. He alone, and no other man, knows the sacred law, who explores the 
(utterances) of the sages and 
the body of the laws, by (modes of)
     reasoning, not repugnant to the Veda-lore. 

     107. Thus the acts which secure supreme bliss have been exactly and fully 
described; (now) the secret 
portion of these Institutes, proclaimed by Manu,
     will be taught. 

     108. If it be asked how it should be with respect to (points of) the law 
which have not been (specially) 
mentioned, (the answer is), 'that which
     Brahmanas (who are) Sishtas propound, shall doubtlessly have legal 

     109. Those Brahmanas must be considered as Sishtas who, in accordance with 
the sacred law, have 
studied the Veda together with its appendages,
     and are able to adduce proofs perceptible by the senses from the revealed 

     110. Whatever an assembly, consisting either of at least ten, or of at 
least three persons who follow their 
prescribed occupations, declares to be law,
     the legal (force of) that one must not dispute. 

     111. Three persons who each know one of the three principal Vedas, a 
logician, a Mimamsaka, one who 
knows the Nirukta, one who recites (the
     Institutes of) the sacred law, and three men belonging to the first three 
orders shall constitute a (legal) 
assembly, consisting of at least ten members. 

     112. One who knows the Rig-veda, one who knows the Yagur-veda, and one who 
knows the Sama-
veda, shall be known (to form) an assembly
     consisting of at least three members (and competent) to decide doubtful 
points of law. 

     113. Even that which one Brahmana versed in the Veda declares to be law, 
must be considered (to have) 
supreme legal (force, but) not that which is
     proclaimed by myriads of ignorant men. 

     114. Even if thousands of Brahmanas, who have not fulfilled their sacred 
duties, are unacquainted with 
the Veda, and subsist only by the name of their
     caste, meet, they cannot (form) an assembly (for settling the sacred law). 

     115. The sin of him whom dunces, incarnations of Darkness, and unacquainted 
with the law, instruct (in 
his duty), falls, increased a hundredfold, on
     those who propound it. 

     116. All that which is most efficacious for securing supreme bliss has been 
thus declared to you; a 
Brahmana who does not fall off from that obtains the
     most excellent state. 

     117. Thus did that worshipful deity disclose to me, through a desire of 
benefiting mankind, this whole 
most excellent secret of the sacred law. 

     118. Let (every Brahmana), concentrating his mind, fully recognise in the 
Self all things, both the real 
and the unreal, for he who recognises the universe
     in the Self, does not give his heart to unrighteousness. 

     119. The Self alone is the multitude of the gods, the universe rests on the 
Self; for the Self produces the 
connexion of these embodied (spirits) with

     120. Let him meditate on the ether as identical with the cavities (of the 
body), on the wind as identical 
with the organs of motions and of touch, on the
     most excellent light as the same with his digestive organs and his sight, 
on water as the same with the 
(corporeal) fluids, on the earth as the same with
     the solid parts (of his body); 

     121. On the moon as one with the internal organ, on the quarters of the 
horizon as one with his sense of 
hearing, on Vishnu as one with his (power of)
     motion, on Hara as the same with his strength, on Agni (Fire) as identical 
with his speech, on Mitra as 
identical with his excretions, and on Pragapati as
     one with his organ of generation. 

     122. Let him know the supreme Male (Purusha, to be) the sovereign ruler of 
them all, smaller even than 
small, bright like gold, and perceptible by the
     intellect (only when) in (a state of) sleep (-like abstraction). 

     123. Some call him Agni (Fire), others Manu, the Lord of creatures, others 
Indra, others the vital air, and 
again others eternal Brahman. 

     124. He pervades all created beings in the five forms, and constantly makes 
them, by means of birth, 
growth and decay, revolve like the wheels (of a

     125. He who thus recognises the Self through the Self in all created 
beings, becomes equal (-minded) 
towards all, and enters the highest state,

     126. A twice-born man who recites these Institutes, revealed by Manu, will 
be always virtuous in 
conduct, and will reach whatever condition he

                                              THE END OF THE LAWS OF MANU 

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