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History - HIS-111, Essay

Code of Manu Assignment Read "The Code of Manu" (posted on Moodle site) Answer the following questions.(5 pts). In order to receive credit for this assignment, your total word count response should be at least 150 words in length. Please post your response as a Word document on the Moodle site. Please remember to use MLA formatting guidelines for your submissions. 1) What restrictions does this text place on the lives of women? 2) What assumptions about social life and the role of women underlie these restrictions? 3) How does the tone and substance of this Indian text compare and contrast with that of the modern American society? Offer one example of how it is different and one example of how it similar. The Code of Manu, c. 300–100 B.C.E. The Code of Manu is a document from India that provides guidance for many different aspects of life, including methods for ritual purification and proper conduct for different castes. The text is constructed in the form of a discourse by Manu, the legendary first man and lawgiver, to a group of seers who ask that he tell them the laws concerning social order. It is an influential text within the Hindu tradition, advising what one must do to faithfully and selflessly perform one’s caste duties in this life (the concept of Dharma). These excerpts deal with the status and obligations of women. As in other classical civilizations, women had no role in public life, and in their private lives were subordinate to male family members or husbands. Source: The Law of Manu in The Sacred Books of the East, vol. XXV, trans. G. Bühler (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1886), pp. 194–7, 328–30, 332, 335, 344–5. Hear now the duties of women. By a girl, by a young woman, or even by an aged one, nothing must be done independently, even in her own house. In childhood a female must be subject to her father, in youth to her husband, when her lord is dead to her sons; a woman must never be independent. She must not seek to separate herself from her father, husband, or sons; by leaving them she would make both (her own and her husband’s) families contemptible. She must always be cheerful, clever in (the management of her) household affairs, careful in cleaning her utensils, and economical in expenditure. Him to whom her father may give her, or her brother with the father’s permission, she shall obey as long as he lives, and when he is dead, she must not insult (his memory). . . . [B]etrothal (by the father or guardian) is the cause of (the husband’s) dominion (over his wife). The husband who wedded her with sacred texts, always gives happiness to his wife, both in season and out of season, in this world and in the next. Though destitute of virtue, or seeking pleasure (elsewhere), or devoid of good qualities, (yet) a husband must be constantly worshipped as a god by a faithful wife. No sacrifice, no vow, no fast must be performed by women apart (from their husbands); if a wife obeys her husband, she will for that (reason alone) be exalted in heaven. A faithful wife, who desires to dwell (after death) with her husband, must never do anything that might displease him who took her hand, whether he be alive or dead. . . . [L]et her emaciate her body by (living on) pure flowers, roots, and fruit; but she must never even mention the name of another man after her husband has died. Until death let her be patient (of hardships), self-controlled, and chaste, and strive (to fulfill) that most excellent duty which (is prescribed) for wives who have one husband only. A virtuous wife who after the death of her husband constantly remains chaste, reaches heaven, though she have no son, just like those chaste men. But a woman who from a desire to have offspring violates her duty towards her (deceased) husband, brings on herself disgrace in this world, and loses her place with her husband (in heaven) . . . . By violating her duty towards her husband, a wife is disgraced in this world, (after death) she enters the womb of a jackal, and is tormented by diseases (the punishment of) her sin. . . . [A] female who controls her thoughts, speech, and actions, gains in this (life) highest renown, and in the next (world) a place near her husband. Women must particularly be guarded against evil inclinations, however trifling (they may appear); for, if they are not guarded, they will bring sorrow on two families. . . . No man can completely guard women by force; but they can be guarded by the . . . (following) expedients: let the (husband) employ his (wife) in the collection and expenditure of his wealth, in keeping (everything) clean, in (the fulfilment of) religious duties, in the preparation of his food, and in looking after the household utensils. Women, confined in the house under trustworthy and obedient servants, are not (well) guarded; but those who of their own accord keep guard over themselves, are well guarded. . . . Through their passion for men, through their mutable temper, through their natural heartlessness, they become disloyal towards their husbands, however carefully they may be guarded in this (world). (When creating them) Manu allotted to women (a love of their) bed, (of their) seat and (of) ornament, impure desires, wrath, dishonesty, malice, and bad conduct. . . . The production of children, the nurture of those born, and the daily life of men, (of these matters) woman is visibly the cause. Offspring, (the due performance of) religious rites, faithful service, highest conjugal happiness and heavenly bliss for the ancestors and oneself, depend on one’s wife alone. He only is a perfect man who consists (of three persons united), his wife, himself, and his offspring; thus (says the Veda), and (learned) Brahmanas propound this (maxim) likewise, “The husband is declared to be one with the wife.” . . . The husband receives his wife from the gods, (he does not wed her) according to his own will; doing what is agreeable to the gods, he must always support her (while she is) faithful. “Let mutual fidelity continue until death,” this may be considered as the summary of the highest law for husband and wife. Let man and woman, united in marriage, constantly exert themselves, that (they may not be) disunited (and) may not violate their mutual fidelity. Source: The Law of Manu, in The Sacred Books of the East, vol. XXV, trans. G. Bühler (Oxford, UK: Clarendon Press, 1886), 194–97, 328–30, 332, 335, 344–45
Code of Manu Assignment Read "The Code of Manu" (posted on Moodle site) Answer the following questions.(5 pts). In order to receive credit for this assignment, your total word count response should be at least 150 words in length. Please post your response as a Word document on the Moodle site. Please remember to use MLA formatting guidelines for your submissions.
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