Few verses of Manu Smriti like Manu 8.279-282 seem so offensive and against basic Compassion. Are they literal Punishments or just warnings not to commit bad acts???Even Shankaracharya quotes a verse to pour lac in ear of Sudra hearing Veda...Can you please present proof that these statements aren't literal?
If the crimes are imaginary only then it makes sense that the punishments are not literal. If crimes happened in real then apt punishments must also be delivered in real. So, the punishments are literal.
If people can commit crime knowing that they won't be literally punished then that will be the height of unrighteousness and there will be complete lawlessness everywhere.
Therefore, real, just and strict punishments are needed. And, the Dharma Shastras prescribe them.
Manu Smriti 7.14. For the (king’s) sake the Lord formerly created his own son, Punishment, the protector of all creatures, (an incarnation of) the law, formed of Brahman’s glory.
7.15. Through fear of him all created beings, both the immovable and the movable, allow themselves to be enjoyed and swerve not from their duties.
7.18. Punishment alone governs all created beings, punishment alone protects them, punishment watches over them while they sleep; the wise declare punishment (to be identical with) the law.
7.19. If (punishment) is properly inflicted after (due) consideration, it makes all people happy; but inflicted without consideration, it destroys everything
7.22. The whole world is kept in order by punishment, for a guiltless man is hard to find; through fear of punishment the whole world yields the enjoyments (which it owes)
7.23. The gods, the Danavas, the Gandharvas, the Rakshasas, the bird and snake deities even give the enjoyments (due from them) only, if they are tormented by (the fear of) punishment
There is no mention in any scriptures that the punishments aren't to be taken literally. And, regarding the pouring of lac punishment, it is not from the Manu Smriti but from the Dharmasutras of Goutama.