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?

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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.

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    I don't think they are to be given Ucchistha food. The leftover food is meant. Also even a Brahmin is not qualified to become a king. Only a Ksatriya is qualified. Well, in today's time most people will find some of these punishments as unjust. But who can really know whether they are unjust or not. Either we have to believe the scriptures or we reject them (at least partially). These are the options for us. @SethuSrivatsaKoduru
    – Rickross
    Nov 30, 2020 at 7:15
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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru - do you know what is the punishment prescribed in Manu Smriti for a Brahmin drinking alcohol ? He has to drink hot molten lead until his stomach burns out and dies, only then his sin is pardoned. Do you know what is the punishment for a Shudra drinking alcohol ? Nothing.
    – mar
    Nov 30, 2020 at 7:19
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    If Sudras become kings then the kingdoms gradually will perish.. this is what is stated in Manu. AFAIK no punishment for him. Because it is the king whose duty is to inflict punishments. Also, I'm not really sure if 85% Indian kings were Sudras. @SethuSrivatsaKoduru
    – Rickross
    Nov 30, 2020 at 7:25
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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru - similarly, sitting on seat of brahmin, or hearing Vedas, a Shudra can avoid. A shudra can have many other pleasures - he can drink alcohol, he can look at a woman naked, he can eat meat to heart's content. Isn't this partiality towards Shudras and unjust against Brahmins ?
    – mar
    Nov 30, 2020 at 7:26
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    @SethuSrivatsaKoduru, Suppose a student studies hard, he will be respected by teacher. But if another student always makes noise in class, he will be punished by teacher. Is this form of discrimination correct? Shouldn't all students be treated equally ? That's the same way for the different varnas. Those who behaved well in previous birth are given higher birth now. Those who behaved badly in previous birth are given lower birth now. This is justice. Treating everyone equally is injustice.
    – mar
    Dec 6, 2020 at 21:32

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