Manusmṛti 2.14 says:

श्रुतिद्वैधं तु यत्र स्यात् तत्र धर्मावुभौ स्मृतौ ।
उभावपि हि तौ धर्मौ सम्यगुक्तौ मनीषिभिः ॥ १४ ॥

śrutidvaidhaṃ tu yatra syāt tatra dharmāvubhau smṛtau |
ubhāvapi hi tau dharmau samyaguktau manīṣibhiḥ || 14 ||

Where there is conflict between two Vedic texts, both are held to be Dharma; both have been rightly pronounced by the wise to be Dharma. — (14)


  1. Does Vedic texts here literally mean the Vedas?

    Does the above dictum apply when two Purāṇas also disagree with each other?

    Is the Manusmṛti itself considered part of these Vedic texts?

  2. What prompted Manu to write the above?

    In other words, are there any examples from the Vedas (or the Vedic texts) where such conflicts exist?

  3. From a practical standpoint, if two Vedic texts contradict each other on a certain dharma, and both are right, which dharma should a layman follow?

P.S. This is related but not a duplicate of Any examples where a Smriti has contradicted a Sruti statement?

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    It says "Shruti" so only Vedas (not sure about Agamas). – The Destroyer Feb 7 '17 at 6:59
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    vedic means vedas. There are instances where vedic texts disagree. And yes, one accepts both as true. If in one's own life, the two conflicting texts are applicable, then it is best to seek the guidance of one's guru as to what to do. Most, if not all, of the conflicts, however, are on a philosophical level, and not on a personal dharmic level. Puranas are not vedas. – Swami Vishwananda Feb 7 '17 at 9:31

I am adding a partial answer.

By "Sruti" only Vedas are meant.The original verse has Sruti in it.So reference here is only to the Vedas .

Also,Manu Smriti is a "Smriti"(a Dharma Shastra).So,its not Sruti.It belongs to a different category of Hindu Texts.

From a practical standpoint, if two Vedic texts contradict each other on a certain dharma, and both are right, which dharma should a layman follow?

He can follow his own Veda Shakha.If he can't then he should follow his traditions or local customs.

From Devi Bhagvatam Book 11,Chapter 1:

Right conduct is of two kinds :– (1) as dictated by the S’âstras, (2) as dictated by the popular custom (Laukika). Both these methods should be observed by him who wants welfare for his Self. He is not to forsake one of them. O Muni! The village Dharma, the Dharma of one’s own caste, the Dharma of one’s own family and the Dharma of one’s own country all should be observed by men.

And the same Devi Bhagavata page also explains how to make sense when Vedas themselves are in contradiction:

O Muni! The S’âstras are not one, they are many and they lay down different rules and contradictory opinions, How then Dharma is to be followed? And according what Dharma S’âstra?” Nârâyana said :– S’ruti and Smriti are the two eyes of God; the Purânam is His Heart. Whatever is stated in S’ruti, the Smriti and the Purânams is Dharma; whatever else is written in other S’âstras is not Dharma. Where you will find differences between S’ruti, Smriti and Purânas, accept the words of the S’rutis as final proofs. Wherever Smriti disagrees with the Purânas, know the Smritis more authoritative.

And where differences will crop up in the S’rutis themselves, know that Dharma, too, is of two kinds. And where the differences will crop up in the Smritis themselves, consider, then, that different things are aimed at.

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Yes there are instances where sruti seems to contradict. In his Introduction to Brahma Sutras According to Sri Sankara (available here - http://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/brahma-sutras/d/doc62756.html) Swami Vireswarananda writes (p v.):

The Upanishads do not contain any ready-made consistent system of thought. At first sight they seem to be full of contradictions. Hence arose the necessity of systematizing the thought of the Upanishads. Bâdârayana, to whom the authorship of the Brahma-Sutras or Vedânta-Sutras is ascribed, is not the only one who had tried to systematize the philosophy of the Upanishads. From the Brahma-Sutras itself we find that there were other schools of Vedânta which had their own following. We find the names of Audulomi, Kâsakristna, Bâdari, Jaimini, Kârshnâjini, Âsmarathya and others mentioned. All this shows that Bâdarâyana’s Sutras do not constitute the only systematic work in the Vedânta school, though probably the last and best. All the sects of India now hold this work to be the great authority and every new sect starts with a fresh commentary on it —without which no sect can be founded in this country.

Further into the Brahma Sutras, there are examples of conflict between Sruti texts. An example is found in Brahma Sutras 1.4.14-15. The verses with Sankara's commentary:

14. (Although) as regards (things created, like) ether and so on (the Vedânta texts differ), (yet there is no such conflict with respect to Brahman) as the First Cause, (on account of Its) being represented (in other texts) as taught (in one text).

The Sânkhyas contend that though the Pradhâna cannot be the First Cause according to the Sruti, yet Brahman also cannot be taken to be the First Cause taught by the Sruti. Why? Because there is conflict as regards the order of creation; for some texts say that it is Âkâsa that was first produced from Brahman, some say that it is Prâna, others that it is fire. This Sutra says that though there are conflicting views with respect to things created, that is, as regards the order of creation, yet since it is not the main object of the Sruti to teach about creation, it matters little. The main object in these descriptions is to teach that Brahman is the First Cause, and with respect to this there is no conflict; for every Vedânta text holds that Brahman is that.

15. On account of the connection (with passage referring to Brahman, nonexistence does not mean absolute nonexistence).

A further objection is raised that even as regards the First Cause there is a conflict, for some texts say that the Self created these worlds (Ait. Ar. 2. 4. 1. 2-3), others say that creation originated from non-existence (Taitt. 2. 7). Again existence is taught as the First Cause in some texts (Chh. 6. 2. 1-2). Spontaneous creation also is taught by some texts (Brih, 1. 4. 7). On account of these conflicting texts it cannot be said that all the Vedânta texts refer to Brahman uniformly as the First Cause. These objections are answered as follows: “This was: indeed non-existence in the beginning” (Taitt. 2. 7). Non-existence here does not mean absolute nonexistence but undifferentiated existence. Existence was at the beginning undifferentiated into name and form. In the texts of the Taittiriyâ Upanishad Brahman is definitely described as not being nonexistence. “He who knows Brahman as nonexisting becomes himself non-existing. He who knows Brahman as existing is known by sages as existing” (Taitt. 2 . 6). This Brahman is again described as having wished to be many and created this world. Again “How can that which is be created from non-existence?” (Chh. 6. 2. 2) clearly denies such a possibility. “Now this was then undifferentiated” (Brih. 1 . 4. 7), does not speak of spontaneous creation without a ruler, for it is connected with another passage where it is said, “He has entered here to the very tips of the finger-nails” (Brih. 1 . 4. 7), where ‘He’ refers to this ruler, and hence we have to take that the Lord, the ruler, developed what was undeveloped. Similarly Brahman, which is described in one place as existence, is referred to in another place as being the Self of all by the word ‘Âtman’. So all texts uniformly point to Brahman as the First Cause, and there is no conflict as regards this.

As I said in my comment, there are conflicts, but most if not all of a philosophical nature. It is for this reason that sruti should be read with the guidance of one's guru and with the commentaries.

From a strict interpretation Manu Smriti is smriti. Smriti is not sruti. vedic texts refer to sruti alone - to the vedas. Smriti is written by men. Manu Smriti was written by Manu. Sruti are the revealed truths directly from God. However, in common parlance or common usage many old texts are referred to as 'vedic texts'.

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  • Smriti does not mean that they are written by men..Smriti means that has to be remembered..Usana smriti is written by shukra He is a Deva..Brihaspati,Yama Smritis r attributed to Brihaspati Yama respectively..Neither of them r men..They are Devas..Also if Manu is a "man" who was Vyasa who composed BG? And Manu is Swayambhu too ..Do u know of any men who are Swayambhu ?I don't know.. – Rickross Feb 10 '17 at 6:34
  • @Rickross Swamiji is correct is one apsect. From "Manu" descended (came) "Manava" or "Man". But i think Swaymabhuva Manu wrote Manusmriti in state of higher consciousness, so no point of Swayambhuva Manu writing his personal opinions. Even we should learn Dharma Sastras or Smriti from Guru or with proper translation and commentaries to get proper meaning. – The Destroyer Feb 10 '17 at 6:54

Does Vedic texts here literally mean the Vedas?

Yes Vedic text mean vedas

What prompted Manu to write the above?

He wants to say Vedas are the supreme knowledge and even if you find paradoxical things in two different mantras then you are not getting the correct meaning, But Manu doesn't knew after Mahabharata some people will add mantras to vedas, Rishi Dayanada did not find true vedas in india, all were edited. So he did what he came for, correct vedas, in his previous lives rishi dayananda had extreme knowledge of vedas, you should read "Krishna dutt" Who remembered his previous lives and had met Lord Rama himself.

From a practical standpoint, if two Vedic texts contradict each other on a certain dharma, and both are right, which dharma should a layman follow?

Awesome question but answer is simple Krishan says to arjun "Killing a cow is Crime", but if some one attacks our country and he is keeping thousands of cows in front of his army , So that you would not attack him, at that moment the very definition of Dharma changes "Now you will have to kill the cows for your country". More over Sanskrit language is very Deep, one word have many meanings. I think you got the point.

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The issue of the soul’s size has been extensively discussed in Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sri Sankaracharya. The issue arises due to contradictory statements made in the Upanishads. Svetasvatara Upanishad V.9 calls the Atman infinitesimal and infinite in the same shloka.

There are reasons to think initially that the soul is atomic in size. However, the soul is really omnipresent.

And the individual soul is atomic because of the direct Upanishadic use of the word as well as mention of infintesimality.

The soul is atomic for this further reason that the Upanishad directly uses a word implying atomicity: “The atomic Self into which the vital force has entered in five ways has to be comprehended through the intellect” (Mundaka Upanishad III.i.9). From the association with the vital force it is understood that it is the individual soul that is referred to as atomic. Similarly the infintesimally small dimension of the individual soul mentioned in, “That soul is to be known as a hundredth part of the hundredth part of the tip of a hair” (Svetasvatara Upanishad V.9), makes us understand that it is atomic in nature.

Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sri Sankaracharya II.iii.22


Vedantin: This being the position, we say:

But the soul comes to have such appellations because of the dominance of the modes of that (intellect ), as in the case of the supreme Self.

The word “but” overrules the opposing point of view. It is not a fact that the soul is atomic. It has been said that the soul is none other than the supreme Brahman, for there is no mention of its origin in the Vedas, while the entry of the supreme Brahman is mentioned there and the identity of the two is taught. Now if the individual soul be none other than the supreme Brahman; and it is mentioned in the scriptures that the supreme Brahman is omnipresent, so the soul must be omnipresent. Thus only will those statements stand vindicated that are made in such texts of the Vedas and Smritis about the omnipresence of the soul as: “That Self is great and birthless which remains identified with the intellect and in the midst of the organs” (Brihadaranyaka Upanishad IV.iv.22). …………………………………………………. Hence owing to the predominance of the modes of that intellect, the soul is said to have a dimension corresponding to that of the intellect. And it is said that it departs from the body and so on, in accordance as the intellect does so; but the soul does not do so naturally. Thus it is that after speaking of the atomicity of the soul, the Upanishad speaks of infinitude about that very soul in, “The soul is to be known as a hundredth part of a hundredth part of a hair’s end, into which it can be fancied to be divided. And the soul again is infinite” (Svetasvatara Upanishad V.9). This can be reasonably reconciled only if the atomic size of the individual soul be owing to limiting adjuncts, but infinitude be its innate nature; for both these cannot be thought of to be true in a primary sense. Nor can it be understood that it has infinitude in a figurative sense, since it is the identity of the individual soul with Brahman that is sought to be taught in all the Upanishads. …………………….

Brahma Sutra Bhasya of Sri Sankaracharay II.iii.29

Manu Smriti is a Smriti and not Sruti and hence is not as authoritative as Sruti. Smritis are products of human minds unlike the Srutis which are records of Divine revelation granted to Rishis.

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