The Manusmriti also was known as Manav Dharam Shastra, is the earliest metrical work on Brahminical Dharma in Hinduism. According to Hindu mythology, the Manusmriti is the word of Brahma, and it is classified as the most authoritative statement on Dharma.The scripture consists of 2690 verses, divided into 12 chapters. It is presumed that the actual human author of this compilation used the eponym ‘Manu’, which has led the text to be associated by Hindus with the first human being and the first king in the Indian tradition.
Here are some of the ‘celebrated’ derogatory comments about women in the Manusmriti:-
- It is the nature of women to seduce men in this world; for that reason, the wise are never unguarded in the company of females.
- Wise people should avoid sitting alone with one’s mother, daughter or sister. Since carnal desire is always strong, it can lead to temptation.
- Wise men should not marry women who do not have a brother and whose parents are not socially well known.
- Brahman men can marry Brahman, Kshatriya, Vaish and even Shudra women but Shudra men can marry only Shudra women.
- A Brahman who marries a Shudra woman degrades himself and his whole family, becomes morally degenerated, loses Brahman status and his children too attain the status of shudra.
- Food offered and served to Brahman after Shradh ritual should not be seen by a chandal, a pig, a cock, a dog, and menstruating women.
- A Brahman, true defender of his class, should not have his meals in the company of his wife and even avoid looking at her. Furthermore, he should not look towards her when she is having her meals or when she sneezes/yawns.
- A Brahman in order to preserve his energy and intellect, must not look at women who apply collyrium to her eyes, one who is massaging her nude body or one who is delivering a child.
- A female child, young woman or old woman is not supposed to work independently even at her place of residence.
- Girls are supposed to be in the custody of their father when they are children, women must be under the custody of their husband when married and under the custody of her son as widows. In no circumstances is she allowed to assert herself independently.
- Women have no divine right to perform any religious ritual, nor make vows or observe a fast. Her only duty is to obey and please her husband and she will for that reason alone be exalted in heaven.
- Any women violating duty and code of conduct towards her husband is disgraced and becomes a patient of leprosy. After death, she enters the womb of Jackal.
- In case of any problem in performing religious rites, males between the age of 24 and 30 should marry a female between the age of 8 and 12.
- On failure to produce offspring with her husband, she may obtain offspring by cohabitation with her brother-in-law [devar] or with some other relative [sapinda] on her in-law’s side.
- Because of their passion for men, immutable temper and natural heartlessness, they are not loyal to their husbands.
- It is the duty of all husbands to exert total control over their wives. Even physically weak husbands must strive to control their wives.
- In case women, proud of the greatness of her excellence or her relatives, violates her duty towards her husband, the King shall arrange to have her thrown before dogs at a public place.
- Since women are not capable of living independently, she is to be kept under the custody of her father a child, under her husband as a woman and under her son as the widow.