"'Manu was seated, when the great seers came up to him: ""Please,
Lord, tell us the Laws of all the social classes, as well as of
those born in between...""' The Law Code of Manu is the most
authoritative and the best-known legal text of ancient India.
Famous for two thousand years it still generates controversy, with
Manu's verses being cited in support of the oppression of women and
members of the lower castes. A seminal Hindu text, the Law Code is
important for its classic description of so many social
institutions that have come to be identified with Indian society.
It deals with the relationships between social and ethnic groups,
between men and women, the organization of the state and the
judicial system, reincarnation, the workings of karma, and all
aspects of the law. Patrick Olivelle's lucid translation is the
first to be based on his critically edited text, and it
incorporates the most recent scholarship on ancient Indian history,
law, society, and religion. "