Manu Smriti 8.281 : A low-caste man who tries to place himself on the same seat with a man of a high caste, shall be branded on his hip and be banished, or (the king) shall cause his buttock to be gashed.

Comparative notes say

Gautama (12.7).—‘If he assumes a position equal to that of twice-born men, in sitting, in lying down, in conversation, or on the road, he shall undergo corporal punishment.’

Āpastamba (2.27.15).—‘A. Śūdra who assumes a position equal to that of a member of the first three castes, in conversation, on the road, or a coach, in sitting and on similar occasions, shall be flogged.’

So a human being cant even sit on same Chair in a Travel Coach and normal Chair as of Higher Castes ????

  • 1
    Sitting here is literal meaning. The message is assuming the level of Brahmin by Shudra or asking same level of treatment of Brahmin is punishable.
    – Kanthri
    Jul 29 at 12:49
  • Read the comparative notes @Kanthri Jul 29 at 12:52
  • What version are you getting that from? Can't find it here: wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/… Jul 29 at 19:46
  • 1
    Many incorrect verses and their false interpretation have crept into manusmriti. Pls review the original here kritinova.in/collections/pbb/products/…
    – sbharti
    Jul 30 at 2:15
  • 1
    Please see if you are following all the restrictions of the Manu Smriti and see if you are in need of correction before attempting to impose on others. Jul 31 at 9:44

Manu Smriti as we have today is an interpolated scripture. However, the interpolation defense can not explain all the absurdities in Manu Smriti. So the best way to understand this kind of statement is by invoking Vivekananda.

The Smritis and the Puranas are productions of men of limited intelligence and are full of fallacies, errors, the feelings of class and malice. Only parts of them breathing broadness of spirit and love are acceptable, the rest are to be rejected. The Upanishads and the Gita are the true scriptures.

The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda/Volume 6/Epistles - Second Series/CXXIV

We should also remember that Hindu shastra forbids any act even that considered as holy if it hurts the interest of the other.

When can holy acts be done?

If a holy act is against the interest of other members of the society, it should not be practiced. It is Dharma which is the source of Artha and even of Kama.

Kurma Purana I.2.54

So the actions prescribed in the above Manu Smriti shloka cannot be actually enforced without violating the advice of the Hindu shastras.

To be fair, Manu Smriti itself asks us to change customs, rules and traditions that are offensive.

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)

The existence of such obnoxious shlokas in Manu Smriti suggests that there was a serious degradation in Hindu intellectual standards at that time.

  • 3
    invoking Vivekananda as a scriptural reference to call a real scripture like Manu Smriti absurd is like invoking a circuit lawyer's opinion to call supreme court judgement absurd. You often give the same argument "if dharma were to lead to unhappiness, reject it". By your logic, thieves can reject Indian Penal Code. @SethuSrivatsaKoduru
    – mar
    Aug 1 at 13:27

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