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Manu

Manu

According to Theosophy, a grade in the theosophical hierarchy below the Planetary Logoi, or Rulers of the Seven Chains. The charge given to Manus is that of forming the different races of humanity and guiding humanity's evolution. Each race has its own Manu, who represents the racial type. This theosophical concept derives from Hindu mythology of Manu (man; thinker), a series of fourteen progenitors of the human race, each creation being destroyed in a Mahayuga (vast cycle of time) involving a deluge.

The Manu of the present creation is Manu Vaivasvata, who built an ark during a cosmic deluge and afterward renewed the human race. He is the reputed author of the Manava Dharma Shastra, or Laws of Manu, an ancient Hindu treatise that prescribes human religious and social duties.

Sources:

Das, Ghagavan. The Science of Social Organisation; or, The Laws of Manu in the Light of Atma-Vidya. 2 vols. Rev. ed. Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Publishing House, 1932.

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Manu

Manu

In Hindu mythology, the gods created Manu, the first man, who gave life to all humans. According to legend, he was the earth's first king and the ancestor of all the kings of India. The most famous tale involving Manu tells of a great flood that destroyed everything on earth.

One day Manu was washing his hands in a bowl of water when he saw a tiny fish there. The fish pleaded with Manu to be placed in a larger vessel of water to survive. In return, the fish promised to save Manu from a great flood that was to come and carry away all living beings. Manu put the fish in a bigger bowl, but the fish grew so rapidly that he had to transfer it to an even larger tank. The fish continued to grow until Manu eventually threw it into the sea. At that point, the fish told him that he should build a great ship to save himself from the coming flood. He also instructed Manu to take into the ship two of each animal on the earth as well as seeds from every kind of plant.

When the flood came, Manu used a rope to tie his boat to a large horn growing out of the fish. Pulling the ship through the rough waters, the fish came to the Himalaya mountains. There it told Manu to tie the ship to one of the mountains and wait until the waters receded. After the flood, Manu became lonely because only he and the animals aboard the ship had survived. He offered a sacrifice and was rewarded with a wife, with whom he began to repopulate the earth.

In several Hindu texts the fish appears as the god Brahma or Vishnu. The story of Manu and the flood also has parallels with the biblical stories of Noah's Ark and Adam and Eve.

See also Adam and Eve; Floods; Hinduism and Mythology; Noah.

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Manu

Manu (mŭ´nōō), semilegendary Hindu lawgiver. Traditionally ascribed to him are the Laws of Manu, best known of the Sanskrit smriti texts (see Sanskrit literature). They were compiled, probably between 200 BC and AD 200, from diverse ancient sources and provide detailed rules, presumably directed to Brahman priests, governing ritual and daily life. In particular they seek to validate and preserve the high caste position of the Brahmans.

See The Laws of Manu, tr. by G. Bühler (1886, repr. 1967).

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Manu

Manu (Skt., √man, ‘think’). In Hindu mythology, a semi-divine patriarch who is progenitor of humanity and ruler of the earth. Each Manu rules over an aeon, or manvantara, each of which is shorter than the preceding. Accounts of the number and length of manvantaras vary greatly, but the Manus are generally numbered fourteen.

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Manu

Manu the archetypal first man of Hindu mythology, survivor of the great flood and father of the human race. He is also the legendary author of one of the most famous codes of Hindu religious law, the Manusmriti (Laws of Manu), composed in Sanskrit and dating in its present form from the 1st century bc.

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Manu

Manu. Hindu lawgiver to whom is attributed Manusmṛti (The Laws of Manu). If historical, he may have been of the Kṣatriya varṇa, and was probably the compiler of legal traditions antecedent to him.

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Manu

Manu •Manu • Vishnu • Ainu • ingénue •parvenu

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Manu

MANU

MANU . There is no general agreement on the origin and etymology of the Sanskrit name Manu. It obviously is related to the verbal root man-, "think," and to various words meaning "human being, man," including manua, manuya, and so on.

As early as the gveda (c. 1200 bce), expressions such as "Father Manu [or Manu]" seem to indicate that Manu was already conceived at that time as the progenitor of the human race. As such, he has often been compared with Mannus, the "origo gentis" in Tacitus's Germania (2.3). Manu most definitely is characterized as the father of mankind in a well-known story from the Śatapatha Brāhmaa (1.8.1), dating to around 900 bce. Following the advice of a fish, Manu builds a ship and, with the fish's help, survives the great flood alone among men. After the water recedes, he worships and performs penance. As a result, a woman, Iā (also Iā or Ilā), is produced, by whom "he begets this offspring of Manu."

Manu was not only the first man but also the first king. All royal lineages, in some way or other, descend from him. His principal son, Ikvāku, reigned at Ayodhyā. One of Ikvāku's sons, Vikuki, carried on the Aikvāku dynasty, also known as the solar race, at Ayodhyā, whereas his other son, Nimi, established the dynasty of Videha. Manu's second son, Nābhānediha, founded the kingdom of Vaiśāli; his third son, Śaryāti, the kingdom of Ānanta; and his fourth son, Nābhāga, the dynasty of the Rathītaras. Manu's "daughter," Iā, also had a son, Purūravas, who became the founder of the Aila, or lunar race, at Pratihāna. Purūravas's romance with the apsara Urvaśī became one of the most popular stories in Sanskrit literature.

Certain texts refer to Manu as being the first to have kindled the sacrificial fire. According to the Śatapatha Brāhmaa (1.5.1.7), "Manu, indeed, worshiped with sacrifices in the beginning; imitating that, this offspring of his performs sacrifices." More particularly, Manu's name is connected with the origin of the Śrāddha, the ritual for the dead (Āpastamba Dharmasūtra 2.7.16.1).

In addition, Manu is considered to have been the originator of social and moral order. Many texts quote maxims relating to various aspects of dharma, and attribute them to Manu. In this connection he also became the i who revealed the most authoritative of the Dharmaśāstras.

In later literature Manuor rather a succession of Manuscan be seen to play a role in the Hindu cyclical view of time. Each kalpa, or "day," of Brahmā, corresponding to one thousand caturyuga s or mahāyuga s, is divided into fourteen manvantara s, "periods of Manu." In the most sophisticated system a manvantara consists of seventy-one caturyuga s, or 306,720,000 human years. The manvantara s are separated by fifteen transitional periods (Skt., sadhi s) of four-tenths of a caturyuga. Each manvantara is presided over by a different Manu. In the present Śvatavārāhakalpa, six manvantara s have by now elapsed (presided over by Svāyambhuva, Svārocia, Auttami, Tāmasa, Raivata, and Cākua, respectively). The present, seventh Manu is Manu Vaivasvata, who will be succeeded by Sāvari, Dakasāvari, Brahmasāvari, Dharmasāvari, Rudrasāvari, Raucya or Devasāvari, and Bhautya or Indrasāvari.

See Also

Śāstra Literature.

Bibliography

Many Sanskrit passages dealing with Manu have been collected and translated in John Muir's Original Sanskrit Texts, vol. 1 (1872; reprint, Amsterdam, 1967). See also Georg Bühler's introduction to The Laws of Manu (1886), "Sacred Books of the East," vol. 25 (reprint, Delhi, 1964).

New Sources

The Laws of Manu. Introduction and notes translated by Wendy Doniger with Brian K. Smith. London; New York, 1991.

Ludo Rocher (1987)

Revised Bibliography

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Manu

Manu

Nationality/Culture

Hindu

Pronunciation

MAN-oo

Alternate Names

Satyavrata

Appears In

The Mahabharata

Lineage

Created from Brahma

Character Overview

In Hindu mythology, Brahma (pronounced BRAH-muh) split himself in two to create Manu, the first man, and Shatarupa (pronounced shuh-TAH-roo-puh), the first woman. Manu and Shatarupa gave life to all humans. According to legend, Manu was the earth's first king and the ancestor of all the kings of India.

The most famous tale involving Manu tells of a great flood that destroyed everything on earth. One day Manu was washing his hands in a bowl of water when he saw a tiny fish there. The fish pleaded with Manu to be placed in a larger vessel of water to survive. In return, the fish promised to save Manu from a great flood that was to come and carry away all living beings. Manu put the fish in a bigger bowl, but the fish grew so rapidly that he had to transfer it to an even larger tank. The fish continued to grow until Manu eventually threw it into the sea. At that point, the fish—who was actually a form of the god Vishnu (pronounced VISH-noo)—told Manu that he should build a great ship to save himself from the coming flood. He also instructed Manu to take into the ship two of each animal on the earth as well as seeds from every kind of plant.

When the flood came, Manu used a rope to tie his boat to a large horn growing out of the fish. Pulling the ship through the rough waters, the fish came to the Himalaya mountains. There it told Manu to tie the ship to one of the mountains and wait until the waters receded. After the flood, Manu became lonely because only he and the animals aboard the ship had survived. He offered a sacrifice and was rewarded with a wife, with whom he began to repopulate the earth.

Manu in Context

As the first man, Manu is also credited as the inventor of many of the basic rules of social and religious conduct. In this way, Manu served as ultimate authority on proper behavior among ancient Hindus. The traditions credited to Manu reflect the culture in which they were written, and many are noted by modern scholars as attempts to restrict the freedom of women.

Key Themes and Symbols

One of the main themes of the myth of Manu is destruction and renewal. All living things on earth, with the exception of those taken aboard by Manu, are killed in the flood. Manu must then repopulate the earth with the living things he saved. In Hindu mythology, Manu represents truth, wisdom, and virtue. Manu also serves as a father figure for all humankind.

Manu in Art, Literature, and Everyday Life

Although Manu was the father of mankind, he is not featured heavily in Hindu art, literature, or worship. He is believed to be the author of the ancient book called the Manusmriti (pronounced mah-noo-SMRIT-ee). This book contains basic codes of behavior for all Hindus to follow.

Read, Write, Think, Discuss

One of the main themes of the myth of Manu is destruction and renewal, or death and birth. As a major concern among humans everywhere, this theme is central to most world religions. Hinduism and Christianity have very different views of life and death, and of life after death. Using your library, the Internet, or other available resources, research how issues of life and death are depicted in Hinduism and Christianity. What are the similarities and contrasts? Do you think that what people believe about the afterlife influences the way they live their lives?

SEE ALSO Adam and Eve; Floods; Hinduism and Mythology; Noah

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