Purusha Sukta says that Brahmins, Kshatriyas, Vaishyas and Sudras came from parts of Purusha's body (mouth, arms, thighs, feet).

Does it go against the Vedas to prescribe different punishments for the same crime to different offsprings of Purusha?

  • The Vedas themselves support the Manusmriti: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/31997/…
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 17:07
  • @Ikshvaku How can an apaurusheya veda support a paurusheya text?
    – user16581
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 18:27
  • @LazyLubber Because the Smriti corpus of texts are known as the "5th Veda." The Vedas themselves refer to Smriti as the fifth Veda.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 18:28
  • @Ikshvaku Reference please.
    – user16581
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 18:29
  • @LazyLubber Check my answer here: hinduism.stackexchange.com/questions/32213/…
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 18:30

2 Answers 2


A partial answer ..

Are scriptures like Manu-smriti Veda-viruddha?

No. Because Manu Smriti itself is criticizing such Veda-Viruddha scriptures.

12.95. 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.

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

Generally, scriptures like Smritis, Puranas are considered as Veda-Mulak i.e. which have Vedas as their roots. So, usually they do not go against the Vedas.

  • Are you saying Purusha's feet are "lower" (they are, in a physical sense) than Purusha's mouth or arms @rickross ?
    – S K
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 14:54
  • 3
    No all organs hv their own functions and are equally important .. I am just generally answering the question in the title @SK wait Im editing .. It's a partial answer
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 14:56
  • 1
    The mouth's apparent importance whn compared to other organs is in the fact that it only can consume food and food nourishes all the other parts of the body, so in this way other parts are dependent on mouth but thn if we don't hv hands, we can't eat ourselves, if we don't hv feet and the hands we probably can not get good/enough food (due to low earning) .. so everything is linked and helping the other ..imagine how will Purusha feel without the feet .. If we see our own body can we choose a most favorite part? No all parts are equally dear to us @SK
    – Rickross
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 15:29

Are scriptures like Manu-smriti Veda-viruddha?

No, because the Veda itself supports the words of Manu.

From the Taittiriya Samhita of the Krishna Yajur Veda:

Whatever Manu has said is beneficial.

Your next question:

Does it go against the Vedas to prescribe different punishments for the same crime to different offsprings of Purusha?

No, because the value of a caste is based on the origin in the body of the Purusha.

From the Manusmriti:

8.270 - If a once-born person insults a twice-born one with gross abuse, he should suffer the cutting off of his tongue; as he is of low origin.

Medhatithi's commentary:

‘Once-born person’—the Śūdra; if he ‘insults’—abuses—the higher castes—‘with gross abuse’—harsh words attributing heinous offences,—suffers ‘the cutting off of the tongue.’

‘He is of low origin’—being born out of the feet of Brahmā. This is the reason given for the special penalty; and it serves also to indicate the same punishment for persons of the reverse cross-breed also; since these latter also are ‘of low origin’; specially in view of the declaration that ‘there is no fifth caste.’

  • BTW can we say that this cutting of toung is actually shuting his mouth or not listen to him in another way.Not to be taken literally. Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 16:49
  • @SwiftPushkar The problem is, punishments serve the purpose of preventing that action from repeating, and also from purifying the person and saving him from going to hell. That's the actual purpose of punishments according to scripture. If a Shudra isn't punished for verbally abusing Brahmins, he will keep doing it, keep sinning, and go to hell.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 16:53
  • Yes , ultimately the purpose of calling him by harsh words is for his own good and I agree on that point also.But what i mean is , may be the translators just translated that in this way.But the actual meaning might be different.And may be this was just the style of saying that time.We generally now do not talk in such a style and do not talk in this manner.Just curious about actual intention of author. Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 17:01
  • @SwiftPushkar According to Al-Biruni when he visited India in the 10th century, kings did actually cut off the tongues of Shudras who pronounced the Vedas.
    – Ikshvaku
    Commented Feb 2, 2019 at 17:05
  • Medhatithi contradicts himself. He says in Purusha Sukta commentary that its symbolic. "It is refreshing to find Medhātithi regarding this account of the castes issuing from the mouth and other parts of the body of the Lord as mere ‘stuti’—not to be taken as literally true." wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/… Commented Sep 30, 2021 at 16:48

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