Vedas are considered to be shruti because it has divine origin. Is there any law book that can be considered as shruti, like manu Smriti(I know it is Smriti it is just an example).

Or the law book that deriv it law from vedas.

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    The Brahmanas of the Vedas are considered the law book of the Shrutis. They are the basis that the Dharma shastras like the Manusmriti written on.
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 7, 2021 at 12:49
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    Shrutis dont speak any "Laws". They only give Spiritual knowledge. Samhitas are Hymms to Devas. Brahmanas and Aranyakas explain Rituals and Upanishads give Vedanta Philosophy. Some manual books for Vedic Yajnas are written called Shrauta Sutras. Mar 7, 2021 at 14:12
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    Brahmanas arent law books. They explain Yajnas based on context and deeply symbolic. Agree with second statement. Smriti is only applicable if they dont contradict Shruti Mar 7, 2021 at 14:35
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    The very premise of shruti and smriti cannot be intermixed. Both are different and for good reasons.
    – Vivikta
    Mar 7, 2021 at 14:41
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    Would it have made a difference?😄. Well choice is yours but see the Brahmanas are not the Shruti law book because they contain many things not only law even rituals but we can’t say they’re the basis for rituals. And also not all law. 4-5 statements of dharma cannot make them Shruti law book. But those statements must tally with the Manusmriti being the original law book.
    – Adiyarkku
    Apr 24, 2021 at 17:14

3 Answers 3


Is there any shruti law book in Hinduism?

The shruti "lawbook" is the Brahmana section of the Vedas. This is the basis on which the Dharma shastras are written. The Brahmanas describe how to conduct yajnas (rituals), how to use the Samhita mantras in the yajnas, and also Dharma in general.

Āpastamba (1.4.10) — ‘the injunctions are those laid down in the Brāhmaṇas’

Medieval Manusmriti commentator Medhatithi says:

This Dharma is learnt from such passages in the Brāhmaṇas as containing the ‘liṅ’ [Sanskrit injunctive verb form] and other injunctive expressions.

But injunctions (vidhi) are not only found in the Brahmanas; they are also found in the Samhitas, Aranyakas, and Upanishads, but they are mainly found in the Brahmanas.

Some vidhis mentioned in the Brahmanas:

Therefore, there are several wives for one man, but not several husbands for a woman simultaneously - Aitareya Brahmana III. 3.

That which was impure came out afterwards, wine is that ampurity, this became attached to the Kshatriya, hence it is that superiors, daughters-in-law, and the father-in-law drink the wine and go on talking; evil indeed is impurity, hence the Brahmana, should not drink the wine; lest he be attached to evil - Brahmana texted cited by Kumarila Bhatta in Tantra Vartika

The Kshatriya should say to the Brahmana - "the drinking of wine does no harm to him who knows this" - Brahmana texted cited by Kumarila Bhatta in Tantra Vartika

When a Shudra woman is the mistress of an Arya, she does not seek wealth for prosperity. Therefore, the priests do not bestow royal consecration on the son of a Vaishya woman. - Ashwamedha section, Taittiriya Brahmana

He who is about to enter on the vow, touches water while standing between the Âhavanîya and Gârhapatya fires, with his face turned towards east. - Shatapatha Brahmana, first verse.

And many more verses like this.

  • Aitareya Brahmana III. 3., can you give source for this verse Mar 7, 2021 at 18:44
  • @DarkKnight Aitareya Brahmana 3.3 IS the source for the verse.
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 7, 2021 at 20:48
  • @DarkKnight If you're asking who references this verse, Bharuci was a commentator on the Manusmriti before Medhatithi, and he cites this Brahmana verse in the Manusmriti section on marriage.
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 7, 2021 at 20:51

There is no need of a "Vedic law book" as the law giving part is supposed to be dealt with in one of the 4 Upangas (from translation of Matsya Purana 3.2) of the Veda, called the treatise on Dharma. The Upanga is named after the very subject i.e. law (Dharma) with which it deals. Yet read on to find what can be called the original law book.

Thus it is not job of the Vedas to propound/ deal extensively with the laws (although they’re the ultimate source as per Manu 2.7 and some laws are hinted at in them, especially the Brahmana portion). The necessary details are meant to be found in one of it's Upangas viz: the Dharmashastras, which as per this answer, is propounded first by Manu in every Kalpa.

The Original Law Book

As stated in the Manusmriti 1.58 Manu was the original person who got the knowledge of the Upanga of Dharma, and later taught it to the other sages:

Having prounded this Law, he himself, first of all, taught it to me with due care; I then taught it to Marīci and other Sages

The Taittiriya Samhita (core Veda) itself too hints at the fact that whatever Manu states is the original Upanga of Dharma, which is why it states:

यद्वै किञ्च मनुरवदत्तद्भेषजम्।

That which Manu said, is medicine.

The Manu Dharmashastra is actually a recollection (Smriti) of what Lord Brahma told him and hence cannot itself be called as Shruti. However, where the Shruti itself is declaring Manu’s Dharma to be the original treatise, ideally it should fit into the description of what you’re asking i.e. a Shruti law book or an original book which expounds the or supports the dharma of the Shruti.

(Again note Manu itself is not Shruti but the original treatise supporting the Shruti)

So, basically it's an unreasonable demand to have the Shruti itself expounding laws when such laws supposed to be (and already) part of a Vedic supplement/sub-limb i.e. the Dharmashastra of Manu and have ultimately like the Shruti, been told by Lord Brahma.

The Authority of other Smritis

Now the original Dharmashastra viz. that of Manu says

The entire Veda is the root-source of Dharma; also the Conscientious Recollection of righteous persons versed in the Veda, the Practice of Good (and learned) Men, and their self-satisfaction. -
Manu 2.6

Manu Smriti clearly says that doctrines which are against Vedas are flawed and will perish:

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.- Manu 12.95

This means that other Smritis which derive their law from the Vedas (or the original Manu since Manu taught it to other sages as aforementioned) too can be referred to for law.

What do these other Smritis or Dharma Sutras mention as the source of Law? We need to check this and all mention Veda itself as the ultimate source of Law.

Apasthambha Dharma Sutras first verse:

And now we shall explain the accepted customary Laws, the authority for which rests on their acceptance by those who know the Law and on the Vedas.

Gautama Dharmasutras first verse:

The source of Law is the Veda, as well as the tradition and practice of those who know the Veda.

So, besides the original “Shruti law book” (the Manu Dharmashastra, though as explained earlier it’s a Smriti) when these Smritis are having the laws based on Vedas only (and as Apastamba says based on Law i.e. law of Manu) they too can be authoritative (again similar to as stated by the original Manu dharmashastra 2.6)

That means besides the original Manu Dharmashastra (as endorsed by the Shruti),** other Smritis and other similar law giving scriptures have compiled those laws in accordance with Vedas. Hence it is sufficient to study them too if one is to know the laws pertaining to Vedic religion.**

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    Kalpa sutras, dharma shastras, etc. are based on the Brahmana section of the Veda.
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 7, 2021 at 16:23
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    I know that the Dharma Shastras/Sutras extensively quote from Brahmanas/Aranyakas. Does not mean Brahmanas become the Law Books because of that reason. Since Kalpa is an Anga of Veda it is supposed to be based on Veda and an extension too.@Ikshvaku. Manu Smriti also says the Smritis which are not based on Vedas are flawed and will perish. That does not mean Veda is the Law Book and not Manu Smriti.
    – Rickross
    Mar 8, 2021 at 5:49
  • Veda is literally the lawbook. Dharma is based on Veda.
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 8, 2021 at 12:24
  • Literally? I know that "Dharma is based on Veda" @Ikshvaku and Brahmanas are not the Law Books like you've said. They need not be. Every scripture is meant to do some things that others won't.
    – Rickross
    Mar 8, 2021 at 12:33
  • I'm saying there is nothing wrong calling the Vedas "lawbook". I think what the OP was trying to ask is, "Is dharma based on the Vedas just like how they are based on the dharma shastras?" He just called it "law book" to convey a general point. '
    – Ikshvaku
    Mar 8, 2021 at 12:37

There can not be a Sruti law book in Hindu Dharma. The reason is that the existence of a Sruti law book will imply God running the universe. God does not run the universe.

Resorting to Prakrti, Nature, which is My own Power, I send forth again and again this multitude of beings that are without any freedom, owing to Nature's sway over them.

Gita 9.8

These activities do not in any way bind Me, because I remain detached like one unconcerned in their midst.

Gita 9.9

Moreover the existence of a Sruti law book will imply all such laws governing society can not be modified even if such laws are harmful. Smriti texts acknowledge the right to change laws that are harmful.

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

Nehru could change Hindu laws in the 1950s precisely because Hindu laws are not considered as given by God but are man made.

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    "Nehru could change Hindu laws in the 1950s precisely because Hindu laws are not considered as given by God but are man made." --- Nehru wouldn't/couldn't have change the laws if they were made by God? Why did he have that much respect for God?
    – Rickross
    Mar 8, 2021 at 12:01
  • I don't know what he would have done to Hindu laws if they were regarded as by God. He did not change the Muslim laws because they are regarded as given by Allah. Even Modi has been very careful not to change Muslim laws. Mar 8, 2021 at 13:13

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