Trying to study ManuSmriti.

1) What does Manusmriti say about inter-caste marriages?

2) Are there any punishments given for inter-caste marriages?

3) Are there any mentions of inter-caste marriages done by anybody in it?

4) I want all quotes mentioning inter-caste marriage in ManuSmriti.

This question is not a duplicate since it is not asking about caste in general and only about inter-caste marriage and it's implications and only in Manusmriti and not in other scriptures.


3 Answers 3

  1. It is condemned. Reason is- by inter-mixing of castes Varnasankaras are created and they do not belong to the realm where Manu's laws apply well.

Manu Smriti 10.24. By adultery (committed by persons) of (different) castes, by marriages with women who ought not to be married, and by the neglect of the duties and occupations (prescribed) to each, are produced (sons who owe their origin) to a confusion the castes.

  1. It is considered as a duty of the king to prevent inter-caste marriages from occurring. But no mentions of punishments as far as i know.

8.172. By taking his due, by preventing the confusion of the castes (varna), and by protecting the weak, the power of the king grows, and he prospers in this (world) and after death.

  1. One mention is there. It is about the chief royal sage of the kingdom where the king called Vena used to rule. This sage married a widow and thereby created confusion of castes.

9.65. In the sacred texts which refer to marriage the appointment (of widows) is nowhere mentioned, nor is the re-marriage of widows prescribed in the rules concerning marriage.

9.66. This practice which is reprehended by the learned of the twice-born castes as fit for cattle is said (to have occurred) even among men, while Vena ruled.

9.67. That chief of royal sages who formerly possessed the whole world, caused a confusion of the castes (varna), his intellect being destroyed by lust.

  • Manu smriti is against widow remarriage, then how can mandodari remarry after ravanas death, Lord Krishna too kept so many wives and married women who were captured by narkasur. Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 6:15
  • I don't know ..there can be some explanations.. but this what Manu Smriti says..@AnubhavJha
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 19, 2018 at 6:33
  • 1
    @AnubhavJha I don't think Mandodari remarried according to VR. Commented Jun 15, 2018 at 17:56
  • @Anubhav I think most of his translations are out of context Ankur Arya on you tube has concretely explained manusmriti with proper translations I think that is the best source it very much necessary to have context of any quote then only you can understand the core of it Commented Jun 16, 2019 at 8:59
  • @AtharvaPandey- Ankur Arya s an Arya Samaji NOT Sanatani and hence i vis would be sectarian.. Commented Sep 30, 2020 at 22:06

Why is intercaste marriage bad?

Intercaste marriages are bad because the offspring produced are genetically inferior. This is especially the case for Pratiloma marriages. Even when the husband is a higher caste than the wife, the wife should ideally be just one caste lower. The best form of marriage is same-caste marriage because it produces children with good qualities.

Marriages where the husband and wife are the same caste, or where the husband is a higher caste than the wife, are called Anuloma (regular order) marriages.

Marriages where the wife is a higher caste than the husband are called Pratiloma (inverse order) marriages.

The four pure castes according to the Manusmriti:

10.4 - The Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya are the three twice-born castes; the fourth is the one caste, Śūdra; there is no fifth.

These castes are only generated from a marriage of the same castes:

Manu 10.5 - Among all castes, those only who are born of consorts wedded in the natural order, as virgins of equal status, are to be regarded as the same (as their father).

Āpastamba (2.13.1).—‘Sons begotten by a man who approaches in the proper season a woman of equal caste, who has not belonged to another man, and who has been married legally, have a right to follow the occupations of their castes.’

Even when the husband is a higher caste than the wife, the wife should ideally be just one caste lower:

Mahabharata - Thus as regards the four pure orders, persons beget children invested with their own status upon spouses taken from their own orders as also upon them that are taken from the orders immediately below their own.

And these castes have inherent, natural/genetic predispositions. Ramanujacharya's commentary on Bhagavad Gita verse 18.41 says,

The Sattva-guna becomes dominant in the character of the Brāhmaṇa through the suppression of the qualities of Rajas and Tamas.

In the Kṣatriya the dominant quality is Rajas through the suppression of Sattva and Tamas.

The Tamo-guna becomes the inherent nature of the Vaishya, becoming slightly dominant by suppressing Sattva and Rajas.

While in the Śūdra the Tamo Guna is much more dominant.

Obligations and duties are assigned to them by the Scriptures according to their inherent dispositions. For the Shastras declare that the Brāhmaṇas and the others possess particular attributes and accordingly suggest their duties and occupations.

But children produced from Pratiloma marriages have inferior qualities, lots of Tamoguna, and are wicked in nature:

Yājñavalkya (1.91-95) - The sons born in the inverse order of castes are declared to be bad and those in the regular order, good.

Vaśiṣṭha (18.19).- They quote the following, “One may know by their deeds those who have been begotten secretly, and to whom the stigma of springing from unions in the inverse order of the castes attaches; because they are destitute of virtue and good conduct."

Mahabharata - It is only when they take spouse from castes other than their own, that the children they beget become invested with inferior status. ... The son that is outside the pale of the four orders by uniting with women belonging to the four principal orders, begets offspring that are further degraded in point of status.

Some of their natures:

Mahabharata - The women of the Magadhi caste, by union with these four castes of wicked dispositions produce four others who live by practising deceit. These are Mansa, Swadukara, Kshaudra, and Saugandha. From the Vaideha springs up a cruel and sinful caste that lives by practising deception.

Manu 10.9 - From the Kṣatriya on a Śūdra maiden is born a being called ‘Ugra,’ of the stuff of the Kṣatriya and Śūdra, cruel in his deeds and dealings.

Manu 10.21 - From the ‘Apostate’ Brāhmaṇa is born the evil- natured ‘Bhṛjjakaṇṭaka,’ the Āvantya, the ‘Vāṭadhāna’ the ‘Puṣpadha,’ and the ‘Śaikha.’

Manu 10.29 - Those also beget on each other’s wives several ‘alien’ sons, greatly tainted and despised.

Manu 10.30 - As the Śūdra begets an ‘alien’ being on a Brāhmaṇa woman,—even so an alien propagates on females of the four castes, a still more alien being.

Manu 10.31 - Aliens behaving discordantly, beget fifteen castes, still more alien, disgraced and not disgraced.

Because they have very inferior natures, they are instructed to follow very inferior professions which are appropriate to their natures:

Manu 10.32 - The ‘Dasyu’ begets on the ‘Āyogava,’ the ‘Sairandhra,’ skilled in toilet and attendance, who, though not a slave, makes his living like a slave, and also lives by catching animals.

Manu 10.35 - These three, devoid of caste, are severally born from ‘Āyogava’ women, who wear the clothes of the dead, are ignoble, and eat despised food.

Manu 10.38 - By the ‘Caṇḍāla,’ on the ‘Pukkasa’ woman is begotten the ‘Sopāka,’ whose livelihood consists of death, and who are wicked and despised by good people.

Manu 10.39 - The ‘Niṣāda’ woman bears to the ‘Caṇḍāla’ the son called ‘Antyāvasāyin,’ working in the cremation-ground, despised even by out-casts.

Manu 10.48 - For Niṣādas, the killing of fish; for Āyogavas, carpentry; and for medas, andhras, Cuñcus and Madgus, the killing of wild animals.

Manu 10.49 - For Kṣattṛs, Ugras and Pukkasas, the killing and catching of animals living underground; for Dhigvaṇas, work in leather; and for Veṇas the beating of drums.

Manu 10.50 - Near worshipped trees and cremation-grounds, on hills and in groves, these shall dwell, duly marked, subsisting by their respective occupations.

And the most wicked and evil of all the mixed castes are the Mlecchas, who have given up all Vedic rites, have forgotten their caste, are of mixed-caste, and of unknown caste origin:

Manu 10.43 - But by the omission of the sacred rites, and also by their neglect of Brāhmaṇas, the following Kṣatriya castes have gradually sunk to the position of the low-born.

Manu 10.44 - The Puṇḍrakas, the Coḍas, the Draviḍas, the Kāmbojas, the Yavanas, the Śākas, the Pāradas, the Pahlavas, the Cīnas, the Kirātas, the Daradas and the Khaśas.

Manu 10.45 - All those races of the world which are outside the pale of the people ‘born of the mouth, the arms, the thighs and the feet,’—speaking the ‘barbaric’ or the ‘refined’ language—are called ‘Dasyu.’ [Mleccha]

And the reason for such wicked natures is described below:

Mahabharata - Persons unaccustomed to the performance or for whom sacrifices have not been laid down, and who are deprived of the company and the instructions of the righteous whether numbered among the four principal orders or out of their pale, by uniting themselves with women of other castes, led not by considerations of righteousness but by uncontrolled lust, cause numerous mixed castes to come into existence whose occupations and abodes depend on the circumstances connected with the irregular unions to which they owe their origin.

The nature of the progeny is based on the intention of marriage, the type of marriage, the thought during sexual intercourse, and the caste of the parents:

Baudhāyana (1.11.17).—‘It is well known that as the marriage-forms, so the offspring.’

Āpastamba-Dharmasūtra (2.12.4).—‘To the extent that the form of marriage is the right one, to that same extent is the offspring born thereof of the right kind.’

Manu 3.41 - From the other remaining inferior marriages are born sons, addicted to saying harsh and untrue words, and despisers of the Vedic Dharma.

This is why intercaste marriages are bad, especially Pratiloma intercaste marriages.


This is in continuation of my answer where inter-caste marriage is discussed based on Smritis i.e. Puranas. In the beginning of Satyuga, there were only 4 Varnas as mentioned in Geeta and Mahabharata 13: Anusasana Parva SECTION XLVIII and only 4 kind of occupations.

Thus to these mixed castes spring up from improper and sinful union of fathers and mothers belonging to different castes. Whether they live in concealment or openly, they should be known by their occupations. The duties have been laid down in the scriptures for only the four principal orders. As regards the others the scriptures are entirely silent. Among all the orders, the members of those castes that have no duties assigned to them by the scriptures, need have no fears as to what they do (to earn their livelihood). Persons unaccustomed to the performance or for whom sacrifices have not been laid down, and who are deprived of the company and the instructions of the righteous whether numbered among the four principal orders or out of their pale, by uniting themselves with women of other castes, led not by considerations of righteousness but by uncontrolled lust, cause numerous mixed castes to come into existence whose occupations and abodes depend on the circumstances connected with the irregular unions to which they owe their origin.

Whether a man happens to be possessed of learning or not, lust and wrath are natural attributes of humanity in this world. Women, therefore, may always be seen to drag men into the wrong path. This natural disposition of women is such that man's contact with her is productive of misery to him. Hence, men possessed of wisdom do not suffer themselves to be excessively attached to women.'

Manu Smriti 10.24 ‘Confused castes’ are produced by infidelity among the castes, by the marrying of women unfit for marriage, and by the neglect of one’s duties.—

The reason that so many kind of occupations are present today is the cause of intermixing among 4 varnas over the deterioration from Satyuga to Kaliyuga.

' Braahmanosya mukhmaasita, baahu raajanya krita. Uru tadasya yadvaishyaha padabhyaam shudro ajaayata. '

" From his(God) mouth emerged Brahmins(priests), from shoulders emerged Kshatriyas(warriors or governors), from thighs emerged Vaishyas(traders, businessmen, agriculturist) and from his feet emerged Shudras(serving class) " (Purushsukta -Rig Veda)

These parts of Brahman translates to Nirguna Purusha and Triguna Prakriti eventually, where

Brahmin = Nirguna Purusha(head/Wisdom & Moksha)

Kshatriya = Satva Guna (hands/Protection & Dharma)

Vaishya = Rajas Guna (stomach/Reproduction & Artha)

Shudra = Tamas Guna (feet/Physical work & Kama)

So, initially 4 Varnas were born from God which also exist in Satyuga(age of Dharma) with their respective fixed duties which are explained in Bhagvata Geeta.

Bhagavad Gita 18.42 Tranquility, restraint, austerity, purity, patience, integrity, knowledge, wisdom, and belief in a hereafter—these are the intrinsic qualities of work for Brahmins.

Bhagavad Gita 18.43 Valor, strength, fortitude, skill in weaponry, resolve never to retreat from battle, large-heartedness in charity, and leadership abilities, these are the natural qualities of work for Kshatriyas.

Bhagavad Gita 18.44 Agriculture, dairy farming, and commerce are the natural works for those with the qualities of Vaishyas. Serving through work is the natural duty for those with the qualities of Shudras.

Bhagavad Gita 18.45 By fulfilling their duties, born of their innate qualities, human beings can attain perfection. Now hear from me how one can become perfect by discharging one’s prescribed duties.

Manu Smriti 10.4 The Brāhmaṇa, the Kṣatriya and the Vaiśya are the three twice-born castes; the fourth is the one caste, Śūdra; there is no fifth.

Over the loss of Dharma in other yugas, different occupations were laid out for intermixed castes mainly Anuloma offsprings as explained in Manu Smriti and Mahabharata 13: Anusasana Parva SECTION XLVIII.

. 1 The Brahmana may take four wives, one from each of the four orders. In two of them (viz., the wife taken from his own order and that taken from the one next below), he takes birth himself (the children begotten upon them being regarded as invested with the same status as his own). Those sons, however, that are begotten by him on the two spouses that belong to the next two orders (viz., Vaisya and Sudra), are inferior, their status being determined not by that of their father but by that of their mothers. The son that is begotten by a Brahmana upon a Sudra wife is called Parasara, implying one born of a corpse, for the Sudra woman's body is as inauspicious as a corpse. He should serve the persons of his (father's) race. Indeed, it is not proper for him to give up the duty of service that has been laid down for him.

Some of the mixed offsprings like Prashara Vidura and son of Veda Vyasa(from Niyoga) from a Dasi(servant) are mentioned in Mahabharata. Thats the reason elder Vidura had to serve younger Dhritarashtra (from Kshatriya mother), despite both having same father Veda Vyasa.

There are two kind of marriages which were mentioned that are Anuloma and Pratiloma marriages.

The concept of marrying up in India is prevalent due to caste-based class stratification. The women from the higher castes were not allowed to marry men from lower castes. This concept of women marrying up, cited in the Vedas as the Anuloma, was justified as the mechanism to keep the Hindu ideological equivalent of the gene pool from degrading. The opposite of the Anuloma, called the Pratiloma, was not allowed in the ancient Indian society. However, the Vedas cite an example where one such exception was allowed: when the daughter of Sage Shukracharya, Devayani was allowed to marry a Kshatriya king (lower caste compared to Brahmanas in the Indian caste system) named Yayati.

The pratiloma marriages are forbidden because it leads to deterioration of gene pool and can lead to birth of outcastes like Chandala from the union of a Shudra Father and Brahmin mother. Yadavas, offsprings of Yayati from a Pratiloma marriage sided with Duryodhana, the evil person during Mahabharata war. The curse of Yadu clan

Why and How Gene pool deterioration occurs because of Pratiloma/Hypogamy marriages? As per ayurveda, human body is made of 7 Dhatus that are

  1. Rasa dhatu (Lymph)
  2. Rakta dhatu (Blood)
  3. Mamsa dhatu (Muscles)
  4. Medha dhatu (Fat)
  5. Asthi dhatu (Bone)
  6. Majja dhatu (marrow (bone and spinal))
  7. Shukra dhatu (Semen)

From the union of a male and a female, an offspring inherits static subtle characteristics from the father that are Bone, Marrow, Semen which forms the brain/mind consciousness part while the dynamic external characteristics from the mother that are lymph, blood, muscles and fat which forms the body/matter part and the soul is of one's own. This is explained in Chapter 9, Shiva Geeta , Padma Purana.

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This explanation is known in modern science as the union of Male's subtle sperm with a Female's external ovum sheath which forms the outer skin and muscles of an offspring when a single male's sperm fuses with it.So, an offspring has mixed features of both parents which is called in modern science as XX or XY chromosomes where X is from mother and X/Y is from father. But the third entity soul is still unknown to modern science. Just like a mule is born from the union of male donkey and female horse and is physically strong as mother horse but mentally dumb as father donkey and is misused by people in labor. Similarly, are the dangers in Pratiloma mixed fusions among the 4 varnas that can lead to birth of Chandalas, the outcast.

If a Sudra unites with a woman belonging to the foremost of the four orders, the son that is begotten is called a Chandala. Endued with a fierce disposition, he must live in the outskirts of cities and towns and the duty assigned to him is that of the public executioner. Such sons are always regarded as wretches of their race.

But these 4 Varnas are not clear over the current Kaliyuga period when lot of intermixing has happened within Hinduism and with varna less Mlecchas(outsiders) over the past period and hence the modern system is Guna-Karma based but not birth based.

  • Agreed with everything up to this point: "hence the modern system is Guna-Karma based but not birth based." | Guna based system is complete failure. How to determine their gunas?
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 19:46
  • @Ikshvaku Gunas of a child are also dependent on the time of birth and place of birth of a person which can be seen in the Vedic horoscope of the offspring. Just like other rules of Smritis, there are times laid out for union of husband and wife desiring a child. Not abiding to them lead to further confusions because of unexpected souls taking birth in a clan even for the proper marriages.
    – user16530
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 19:50
  • But what kind of gunas? There are bodily gunas and mental gunas. Bodily gunas are genetic predisposition as you have mentioned, whereas mental gunas can be affected by contact with objects of different gunas. For example, walking into a temple one can feel serene (sattvic), but then playing a sport one can feel rajasic.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 19:57
  • @Ikshvaku Gunas are 3 but they split into 7 hence there are 7 days in a week and 7 planets in the horoscope which can predict a person's nature. What you described is a short term guna, everyone is made of 3 gunas but one of it will dominate them in long term. Gunas of a scientist and a soldier are totally different where scientist is using brain but a soldier his arms and valor. Soul creates mind which creates body, they are not different eventually. Mind and Body are sock puppets of soul/self.
    – user16530
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 20:01
  • 2
    @Ikshvaku everything happens for a reason. Who alone has dominant genes of ancient sages, who can read Vedas, this can be judged by only Omniscient God, not you and me, nor the society. The reason that so many human nature variations, because of mixing is the prime reason man's age has reduced to 50 years from 500/5000 years. So, Hinduism appears to be open modern religion to modern Hindus but actually it is way way stricter than even modern strictest Islam religion. Most of the mlecchas are offsprings of Pratiloma marriages, hence they are stronger in physique but inferior in wisdom like mule
    – user16530
    Commented Sep 20, 2019 at 20:33

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