I have read the following claims regarding Smritis countless times :

... what scriptures also say. They say that you should keep the Desha (country or place) and the Kaala (time) in mind when you apply knowledge or a particular scripture.

It had relevance at that time but they are no longer relevant.

Firstly the Law Book known as Manusmriti or Manvadharma Shastra was not the work of a single author, there are too many inconsistencies and contradictions.

It is “idealistic’ in that it was never a practical text, nor was it every actually applied in any kingdom in ancient India. Laws in India were primarily caste-based - each and every caste was autonomous and created their own laws which governed them. It was only major disputes which were brought to the royal court. The Kings were primarily interested in collecting taxes and left the daily legalities to the caste panchayats and their self-governance.

There are a large number of different Law Books (Smritis) produced by different Law-givers and used in the many countries and districts of India, many of them contradict each other.

These claims are never supported by any verse or studies. Are these true ?

  • 1
    May I know who made all those claims? Are they users of our site or you got the quotes from internet? As far as I have understood you are asking whether these claims can be validated using scriptures or not. Am I right?
    – Rickross
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 14:20
  • 1
    They are mostly true.
    – Wikash_
    Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 16:02
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    Agree to most of views maybe you should look for BORI or other critical publishing Commented Jul 10, 2020 at 18:32
  • @Rickross these are quotes from internet ( Mostly Quora), I am looking for the exact references to verses if these are backed by scriptures.
    – AKP2002
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 6:27
  • Most of them (if not all) are not scriptural quotes to my knowledge. They are probably personal opinions of various people. AFAIK traditional practicing Hindus are not of such opinions
    – Rickross
    Commented Jul 11, 2020 at 7:13

1 Answer 1


This is a partial answer to the first three statements.

Manu Smriti's advice

However, discard the desire (kama) and material wealth (artha) if contrary to Dharma; as also, any usage or custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation.

Manu Smriti 4.176

Attitude towards ancient custom

One should practice what one considers to be one’s duty, guided by reasons, instead of blindly following the practices of the world.

Mahabharata Santi Parva Section CCLXII

Manu Smriti is full of contradiction and hence some people think that it is heavily interpolated. Others think the contradiction implies different attitudes in different regions of India.

**Manu Smriti on Shudras

One imbued with faith may acquire excellent learning even from a Shudra, special law even from the Chandal, and the gem of a wife even from a base family.

Manu Smriti 2.238

He shall not dwell in a country with a Śūdra King; nor in one surrounded by unrighteous persons; nor in one occupied by impostors;. nor in one frequented by men of the lowest castes.

Manu Smriti 4.61

Where the telling of the truth would lead to the death of a Śūdra, a Vaiśva, a Kṣatriya or a Brāhmaṇa,—in that case falsehood should be spoken; as that is preferable to truth.

Manu Smriti 8.104

If you read these 3 shlokas then you have to wonder what the real status of the Shudra was in ancient India. If Shudras could only serve then why is the author of Manu Smriti talking about getting education from a Shudra, talking of Shudra Kings or saving the life of a Shudra by lying.

  • Nor should one blindly reject such practices either?
    – Haridasa
    Commented Apr 25 at 23:46

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