• Vedanta canonical text is prasthantrayi consisting of Upanishads,Gita , Brahma Sutra

  • Sri vidya authoritative/canonical scriptures are Jyanarnava Tantra, Vamakeswara Tantram, Sri Krama, Dkashinamurty Samhita, Tantrarajatantram ...

  • Arya Samaj canonical text are Vedas and Satyartha Prakash.

and so on for each sect like ISKCON etc etc., has its own list of authoritative scripture.

Now, Which hindu sect explicitly mentions that Manusmriti is its canonical scripture?


1 Answer 1


May be the SmArta Sect.

Actually, as far as i know, no sects explicitly say that Manu Smriti, in particular, is one of the fundamental texts for them.

But on the other hand, Manu Smriti is one generally followed and fundamentally important Hindu scripture, which must be important for all sects too.

The Smritis are authority in Hinduism as long as they do not go against the Sruti i.e the Vedas. So, they are authority too, as they are Veda-Mulak (i.e which describes/elaborates the Vedic religion and which has Vedas as it's root), and also because, for the most part, they do not contradict the Vedas.

From MimAngsA ParibhAshA:

  1. DharmAdharma Nirupanam-- Tayoshcha vedah smritih AchArashcha pramAnam |
    Tatra vedah swatantra pramAnam itarau tu vedamulakatayA pramanam ||

Determination of Dharma and Adharma:

[Among those that instruct regarding Dharma-Adharma]- each of the following is an authority or standard- Vedas, Smritis and ShishtAchAra (the conducts of the righteous persons)- and among which Veda's authority is independent. But Smriti and ShishtAchAra are not independent PramAnas, as they are authoritative, as long as they are following the Vedas.


  1. SmrityAdi PrAmanyavichArah-- ManvAdipranitAnAm smritinAmapi vedamulakatvAt swAd ashtakAdau dharme prAmAnyAm||

Investigation of the authority of the Smritis

Due to the fact that the Smritis, composed by Rishis like Manu, are all Veda-mulak, "to-be-dones (Kritya) like Ashtaka etc" are all to be regarded as authoritative injunctions [although those injunctions are not mentioned explicitly in Sruti]. (MAgha month's Krishna Ashtami's Pitru shrAddhas are called Ashtaka).

So, since Smritis (like Manu Smriti) are considered as Veda Mulak, a sect which does not follow them, might be regarded as one going against Sruti as well.

And, after Sruti, the Smritis are the most authoritative. So, most sects should be following the primary instructions found in them, at least, besides following the ones which are canonical for them.


So, the conclusion is, except the so-called SmArta sect, no sects to my knowledge, explicitly declare that Manu Smriti is one of the most important texts for them. It is actually not required to do so either, because the instructions given in the Smritis must be followed by all Hindus to a large extent, as not doing so might lead even to Veda Droha (going against the Vedas) for the VedaMulaktva reasoning mentioned above.

  • 1
    [Question1] but then among Dharmasmritis(Manusmriti, Naradasmriti , Parashara Smriti,Yajnavalkya Smrti ... etc) , is there any verse or historical evidence which suggestes that manusmriti is more authoritative/followed than others(Naradsmriti,Parashar Smriti,..) ? [Question2] 'DharmaSmritis' which are of later date, is there any evidence that its law has to be more authoritative than older 'Dharmasutra' (like Gautam dharmasutras)?
    – zaxebo1
    Commented Mar 19, 2018 at 20:37
  • I don't know how to judge dates foir Hindu scriptures.. although some peoply try doing so but it's not possible.. according to persons having sufficient knowledge about Hinduism the 3- Manu, Yajnvalkya and Parashara are most authoritative.. Manu is probably the oldest of the lot as it is to be followed in the Krita Yuga (the 1st Yuga)..@zaxebo1 All the 18 Smritis are authority as well as the 18 minor Smrtis..
    – Rickross
    Commented Mar 20, 2018 at 5:52
  • @zaxebo1 I believe Manu Smriti is authentic for the oldest orthodox tradition, Yajnavalkya for the transitional point to Kali and Parashara for survival in Kali.
    – Haridasa
    Commented Mar 17 at 15:39

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