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world's first law maker- bhrigu or manu ?


Dear friends,

Manu is  commonly referred as first Law maker in the world. For instance, Shri V.K.S. Chaudhary , Senior Advocate of Allahabad High Court, says in his blog :

"प्रथम विधि प्रणेता - मनु

 
आज संसार ने आदि विधि प्रणेता के रूप में मनु को जाना है। प्रथम विधि-संहिता मनु का 'धर्मशास्त्र' है, जिसे मनुस्मृतिसंस्कृत भाषा में मनुष्यमात्र अथवा समाज के संदर्भ में 'धर्म' शब्द का प्रयोग विधि (कानून) के अर्थ में होता था। आज 'धर्म' शब्द पंथ के स्थान पर अथवा उसके 'कर्मकांड' या पूजा-पद्घति या प्रथा के लिए प्रयुक्त होता है। 'धर्मशास्त्र' सामाजिक आचरण के नियम अर्थात् 'विधि' की पुस्तकें हैं। इसी प्रकार संस्कृत में 'न्यायशास्त्र' तर्कशास्त्र की पुस्तक है, न कि 'विधि' (justice)  अथवा इनसाफ करने की प्रक्रिया, जिसे आज न्याय कहते हैं। भी कहते हैं।


नई दुनिया के न्यूयार्क नगर में बार एसोसिएशन के बारी प्रांगण में तीन प्राचीन विधि प्रवर्तकों की मूर्तियां प्रतिष्ठित हैं। एक हजरत मूसा (Moses) की, जिन्होंने मिश्र से वापस लौटते समय यहूदियों (Jews) को उनके दस नियम दिए; दूसरी हम्मूराबी, बाबुल (Babylonia) के शासक की, जिन्होंने दजला (Tigris) (संस्कृत : दृषद्वती) और फरात  (Euphrates) के दो-आबे में बसे समाज के लिए एक संहिता बनाई और तीसरी मूर्ति के नीचे अंकित हैं ये अमर शब्द-- 'मनु प्रथम विधि-प्रणेता' ('Manu the first law-giver)। यह मूर्ति सार्वभौमिक एवं सार्वकालिक विधि के प्रणेता की है। फिलीपीन के नए लोकसभा भवन के सम्मुख जिनकी मूर्तियां स्थापित है, उनमें एक मनु हैं जिनका चिर-स्मरणीय योगदान दक्षिण-पूर्व एशिया की विधि-प्रणालियों में हुआ।"
        
But the last verse of Manu-smriti (12/126)itself referres Maharshi Bhrigu for its authority and says  that this Manav shashtra was propounded by Bhrigu.
    Do you have any comment or supplement on this topic?
 
 
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This I found in Wikipedia:

 

Manusmṛti or Manusmriti (Sanskritमनुस्मृति), also known as Mānava-Dharmaśāstra (Sanskrit:मानवधर्मशास्त्र), is the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.[1] Generally known in English as the Laws of Manu, it was first translated into English in 1794 by Sir William Jones, an English Orientalist and judge of the British Supreme Court of Judicature in Calcutta.[2] The text presents itself as a discourse given by the sage called Manu to a group of seers, or rishis, who beseech him to tell them the "law of all the social classes" (1.2). Manu became the standard point of reference for all future Dharmaśāstras that followed it.[3]

According to Hindu tradition, the Manusmriti records the words of Brahma.[4] By attributing the words to supernatural forces, the text takes on an authoritative tone as a statement on Dharma, in opposition to previous texts in the field, which were more scholarly.[5]

The text shows the obvious influence of previous Dharmasutras and Arthasastric work. In particular, the Manu Smriti was the first to adopt the term vyavaharapadas. These eighteen Titles of Law or Grounds for Litigation make up more than one fifth of the work and deal primarily with matters of the king, state, and judicial procedure.[5] Though most scholars had previously considered the text a composite put together over a long period of time, Olivelle has recently argued that the complex and consistent structure of the text suggests a single author. However, no details of this eponymous author's life are known, though it is likely that he belonged to a conservative Brahmin caste somewhere in Northern India.[3]

A range of historical opinion generally dates composition of the text any time between 200 BCE and 200 CE.[6]After the breakdown of the Maurya and Shunga empires, there was a period of uncertainty that led to renewed interest in traditional social norms.[7] In Thapar's view, "The severity of the Dharma-shastras was doubtless a commentary arising from the insecurity of the orthodox in an age of flux."[8]

The dharma class of texts were also noteworthy because they did not depend on the authority of particular Vedic schools, becoming the starting point of an independent tradition that emphasized dharma itself and not its Vedic origins.[9]

The original treatise consisted of one thousand chapters of law, polity, and pleasure given by Brahmā. His son, Manu, learns these lessons and proceeds to teach his own students, including BhriguBhrigu then relays this information in the Manu Smriti, to an audience of his own pupils.[10]

This original narrative was subdivided later into twelve chapters. There is debate over the effects of this division on the underlying, holistic manner in which the original treatise was written.[11] The book is written in simple verse as opposed to the metrical verse of the preceding dharmasutras. Manu also introduced a unique “transitional verse” which segued the end of one subject and the beginning of the next.

The treatise is written with a frame story, in which a dialogue takes place between Manu’s disciple, Bhrigu, and an audience of his own students. The story begins with Manu himself detailing the creation of the world and the society within it, structured around four social classes. Bhrigu takes over for the remainder of the work, teaching the details of the rest of Manu’s teachings. The audience reappears twice more, asking first to ask about how Brahmins can be subjected to death, and second to ask the effects of action.[12] 


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Thanks Prakashji. In this regard, I would submit my assessment as under:

1. There are inferences by scholars that many verses in Manusmriti might have been subsequently added to the original scriptt. Even there may have been manipulation by biased scholars with a view to override  the religious practices preferred by their rival pandits.   Therefore the possibility of addition of one verse at the end of the text can not be ruled out . The text that I have with me is published by “Thakur Prasad Book sellers” who are a popular publishers of  Varanasi. There may be some difference in other publications.

2.All the puranas and other epics unanimously refer the manu as first and principal creator of manav shastra or dharm shastra.

3.In sanatan dharma no one is first. There is a cycle of  happenings and exploration of knowledge. All the scripttures authored by Badrayan ( = Krishna dvaipayan = Vedvyas ) are compilations of pre-existing knowledge and stories. But, He is known as the author of 18 purans and several other epics. In Geeta, Krishna himself said  that he is exploring the pre-existing knowledge and there is nothing new in his teachings.But, Geeta and it’s principles are  identified with Krishna. Patanjali was also compiler of  the principles of yoga – the practices taught by him were practiced earlier to him - Hiranyagarbh can be referred as original acharya of yoga . But, yoga shastra is identified with Patanjali.

4.  Similarly manu would have been first compiler of rules of ethical tradition and there may have been many earlier rulers and rishis including Bhrigu who would have made rules according to needs of the time.

 
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