A former IPS officer Dr. Dalbir Bharti writes in his book the constitution and criminal justice administration in the page 16 that

...in a research it has found that out of 2685 verses in the Manusmriti only 1214 verses are original and remaining 1471 verses are interpolated. The researcher has described how the interpolated verses of the Manu Smriti either contravene the views of the Manu as expressed in the other verses or are irrelevant to the subject matter where they are places...

Moreover, Zhuangzi describes about the perfect age as follows,

“In an age of Perfect Virtue, the worthy are not honored; the talented are not employed. Rulers are like the high branches of a tree; the people, like the deer of the fields. They do what is right, but they do not know that this is righteousness. They love one another, but they do not know that this is benevolence. They are truehearted but do not know that this is loyalty. They are trustworthy but do not know that this is good faith. They wriggle around like insects, performing services for one another, but do not know that they are being kind. Therefore they move without leaving any trail behind, act without leaving any memory of their deeds.”

Going by this description of Satyuga, many laws like of killing, theft, inappropriate sex, etc. shouldn't simply exist because of the absence of evil. In that way, Manu Smṛitī being Smṛitī of Satyuga doesn't square well. Even Lao Tsu says the same,

When the Tao is lost, there is goodness.
When goodness is lost, there is morality.

Lao Tzu also meant that in a perfect age, a man is simply righteous but ain't aware of his qualities. It's only when unrighteousness appears in abundance that there is realization of righteousness existing different from unrighteousness.

So, do we have any research paper or any content which shows or argues how Manu Smṛitī is interpolated. And possibly what are those possible verses if interpolated according to the researches.

  • 2
    Most part of MS is interpolated.
    – TheLittleNaruto
    Feb 3, 2019 at 16:39
  • What about BORI and other critical edition s ? Feb 4, 2019 at 2:08
  • @Rakesh Kyaa? I don't think BORI has any critical edition of Smritis. And also there's next project is Srimad Bhagvatam so you can't expect any critical editions of Smritis sooner from them. Feb 4, 2019 at 3:36
  • 1
    Have a minor glance through this: agniveer.com/manu-smriti-and-women
    – Adiyarkku
    Jan 27, 2021 at 4:25

1 Answer 1


According to (Western) academic scholarship in manuscriptology, there are various criteria used to determine a "critical" edition of a text. Under this system, there is an underlying assumption that there is a principal text. This text undergoes changes and results in multiple versions. E.g. North and South Indian recensions of the Ramayana. Over a sufficiently large period of time, the text accumulates several variants and as a results no two manuscripts end up being fully alike. The process of establishing the critical edition involves analyzing the various manuscripts to determine what the original version would have been.

In "The Early Upanishads. Annotated Text and Translation", Oxford University Press, 1998, 667 pages, Patrick Olivelle states:

A critical edition attempts first to reconstruct an archetype that is as close to the "original" text as evidence permits and second to reveal the textual history of its reception and transmission through the analysis of manuscript variants. Normally, a critical edition also involves the creation of a genealogical tree of manuscripts that permits an editor to select readings based not merely on his or her own preferences and biases but on objective criteria.

Olivelle has edited the Critical Edition of the Manu Smriti. In Section III of the Introduction, he discusses the historical opposition to various verses in the Manu Smriti. People have been disputing verses in the Manu Smriti for several centuries. The entire section is too large to reproduce here but you can read about it here.

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