The Minor Law Books (SBE33), by Julius Jolly, , at sacred-texts.com
1. 1 Holy Manu, in order to promote the welfare of all beings, composed a book here, which was to become the foundation of the established rule of conduct. It was made up of twenty-four sections, on (1) the creation of the world; (2) the various kinds of living beings; (3) the extent of the virtuous
country; (4) the constitution of a judicial assembly; (5) the performance of offerings according to the Vedas and Vedâṅgas; (6) established usage; (7) forensic law; (8) the extirpation of offenders; (9) the mode of life of a king; (10, 11) the system of the (four) castes and (four) orders; (12) marriage laws; (13) the mutual relations between husband and wife; (14) the order of succession; (15) the performance of obsequies; (16) the elucidation of difficult points regarding purification; (17) the rule as to what may be eaten and what not; (18, 19) the law regarding vendible commodities, and those which must not be sold; (20) the various kinds of crime; (21) heaven and hell; (22) penances; (23) the Upanishads; (24) secret doctrines.
2. 2 Holy Manu, after having thus (composed) that (book) in a hundred thousand slokas, and in one thousand and eighty chapters, delivered it to the divine sage Nârada. He having learnt it from him, reflecting that a work of this kind could not be remembered easily by mortals on account of its size, abridged it in twelve thousand (slokas) and delivered it to the great sage Mârkandeya.
3. 3 He having learnt it from him, and reflecting on
the (limited duration and) capacity of human life, reduced it to eight thousand (slokas), and delivered this (abridgment) to Sumati, the son of Bhrigu.
4. 4 Sumati, the son of Bhrigu, after having learnt (this book) from him and considered what human capacity had been brought down to through the (successive) lessening of life (in the four ages of the world), reduced it to four thousand (slokas).
5. 5 It is this (abridgment) which Manes and mortals read, whilst the gods, Gandharvas, and other (exalted beings) read in extenso the (original) code, consisting of one hundred thousand (slokas). There the first sloka runs as follows: 'This universe was wrapped up in darkness, and nothing could be discerned. Then the holy, self-existent Spirit issued forth with his four faces.'
6. 6 After this exordium, chapter follows chapter
continuously. There the ninth chapter is headed, 'Judicial Procedure.' There Nârada, the divine sage, composed an Introduction in the Sûtra style, as follows. It begins with the following sloka.
1:1 Regarding the historical value and bearing of this Preface, see Introduction. The table of contents, which is here given for the original Code of Manu, corresponds in the main to the contents of the now extant version of that work. Thus the creation of the world is treated of, Manu I, 5-57; the various kinds of living beings, I, 34-50; the virtuous countries, II, 17-23; the constitution of a judicial assembly, XII, 108-114; the performance of offerings, III, 69-286; IV, 21-28, &c.; established usage (Âkâra), passim, all the multifarious rules of private morals and social economy falling under this head; forensic law, chapters VIII and IX; the extirpation of offenders, IX, 252-293; the mode of life of a king, chapter VII; the system of the four castes and four orders, I, 87-101; IX, 325-336, &c.; marriage laws, III, 1-62; the mutual relations between husband and wife, IX, 1-103; the order of succession, IX, 103-220; the performance of obsequies, III, 122-286; rules of purification, V, 57-146; rules of diet, V, 1-56; saleable commodities, and those which may not be sold, X, 85-94; the classification of offences, XI, 55-71; the twenty-one hells, IV, 88-90; penances, XI, 72- 266. The Upanishads are frequently referred to, e.g. II, 165; VI, 29. Secret or mysterious doctrines are e.g. those taught in the twelfth chapter of the Code of Manu. A somewhat analogous table of contents of the Code of Manu is given in that work itself, I, 111-118.
2:2 The Manu who is referred to in this place is no doubt Manu Svâyambhuva, or 'Manu sprung from the self-existent Being,' to whom the Code of Manu is said to have been revealed by Brahman; see Manu I, 58. Nârada is one of the seven principal Rishis. He is also reckoned among the Pragâpatis, 'lords of creatures' or 'creators,' and is viewed as the chief of heavenly musicians. Mârkandeya is elsewhere called 'the long-lived,' and is celebrated for his austerities. He is the reputed author of a well-known Purâna, called after him the Mârkandeya Purâna.
2:3 Bhrigu, one of the great Rishis of antiquity, is in the Code of Manu introduced as a son of Manu, and as the compiler of the p. 3 present version of the Code of Manu; see Manu I, 35, 59, 60. The fact of his being mentioned here as the father of Sumati, the compiler of the final recension of the Code of Manu, renders it probable that this work may have closely resembled the now extant Code of Manu. However, the latter work has not more than 2684 slokas, instead of the 4000 attributed to the version of Sumati.
3:4 As for the successive lessening of life, and general deterioration of the world, in the four ages, Krita, Tretâ, Dvâpara, and Kali, see Manu I, 81-86.
3:5 A. observes expressly that the term 'there' refers to the original Code in 100,000 slokas. The sloka here quoted is nearly identical with Manu I, 5 a, 6 a.
3:6 The Mâtrikâ or 'Introduction' (compare divyamâtrikâ, a 'general introduction to the law regarding ordeals,' in the Mitâksharâ, p. 139) which is here attributed to Nârada, appears to have formed part of the abridgment in 12,000 slokas, which was originally composed by him. It was composed in the Sûtra style, i.e. it was made up of aphorisms. The slokas are frequently designed as Sutras by the commentators of law-books. Supposing this work to have consisted of twelve chapters, like the present Code p. 4 of Manu, each chapter would have contained about 1000 slokas. The Nârada-smriti actually has about 1000 slokas. In the Code of Manu, forensic law is treated in the eighth and ninth chapters. The compiler of the present work declares his composition to be the ninth chapter of Nârada's abridged version of the Code of Manu. In the above enumeration of twenty-four subjects treated in the original Code of Manu, judicial procedure is introduced as the seventh and eighth subject. This coincidence indeed might be accidental.