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Page:Sacred Books of the East - Volume 25.djvu/22

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for mythological research. The arguments in support of the authenticity and authoritativeness of the Manu-smriti are extremely weak. For the Vedic passage which the commentators adduce is, strictly speaking, a misquotation. It occurs in four slightly differing versions in three Samhitâs and in one Brâhmana[1]. But in all the four places it refers, in the first instance, to Vedic Mantras which Manu is said to have revealed or seen. As, however, the assertion of the wholesomeness of Manu's teaching is couched in general terms, it may probably be inferred that many sayings, attributed to the father of mankind, were known to the authors of the four Vedic works, and it is not improbable that legal maxims were included amongst them[2]. But Medhâtithi's and Kullûka's assumption that our Manu-smriti is meant in the passages quoted would require very strong special proof, as its language and part of its doctrines by no means agree with those of the Vedic times. Of course, no such proof is offered, and it is not probable that it ever will be offered. The quotations made by the commentators from the Mahâbhârata and from the Brihaspati-smriti, as well as their well-founded assertion that in the Purânas and in many Smritis Manu is frequently referred to as an authority on the sacred law, are of greater importance. It is undoubtedly true that the two works mentioned by Kullûka refer to a particular Dharmasâstra attributed to Manu, and the same remark holds good with respect to those passages of the Purânas and of the Smritis where, in enumerations of the authors of Dharmasâstras, Manu is placed at the head of the list. Yet even this evidence is of little use, because on the one hand the antiquity of many of the works in which Manu's name occurs is extremely doubtful, and on the other hand the existence of several recensions of Manu's laws is admitted, and can be shown to have been a fact. Hence a reference to a Manu-smriti in a 




  1. Kathaka XI, 5 (apparently quoted by Medhâtithi); Maitrâyanîyâ Samhitâ I, i, 5; Taittirîyâ Samhitâ II, 2, 10, 2; and Tândya Brâhmana XXIII, 16, 7 (quoted by Kullûka).
  2. I would not infer with Professor Max Müller, India, what can it teach us? p. 364, that a legal work ascribed to a Manu was known to the authors of the four works; see also below, p. lx.