Manu (Hinduism)

Manu (Hinduism)

In various Hindu traditions, Manu is a title accorded to the progenitor of mankind, and also the very first brahman king to rule this earth, who saved mankind from the universal flood. He was absolutely honest which was why he was initially known as "Satyavrata" (One with the oath of truth). His wife is Shraddha(niharika).

Mahabharata says: "And Manu was imbued with great wisdom and devoted to virtue. And he became the progenitor of a line. And in Manu's race have been born all human beings, who have, therefore, been called Manavas. And it is of Manu that all men including Brahmanas, Kshatriyas, and others have been descended, and are, therefore, all called Manavas. Subsequently, O monarch, the Brahmanas became united with the Kshatriyas. And those sons of Manu that were Brahmanas devoted themselves to the study of the Vedas. "The ten sons of Manu are known as Vena, Dhrishnu, Narishyan, Nabhaga, Ikshvaku, Karusha, Saryati, the eighth, a daughter named Ila, Prishadhru the ninth, and Nabhagarishta, the tenth. They all betook themselves to the practices of Kshatriyas. Besides these, Manu had fifty other sons on Earth. But we heard that they all perished, quarrelling with one another."[1]


15 Manus of Śveta Vārāha Kalpa

Each Manu rules during an eon called a Manvantara. The Puranas ascribe to each Manvantara one Indra, one Vishnu avatar, etc.[2] "During the hundred years of Brahmā's life, there are 504,000 manvantara–avatars"(Śrī Caitanya Caritāmṛta Madhya 20.322)[3] 15 Manus of the present Śveta Vārāha Kalpa are

  1. Svayambhuva Manu
  2. Svarocisa Manu
  3. Auttami
  4. Tamasa Manu
  5. Raivata Manu
  6. Caksusa Manu
  7. Sraddhadeva Manu or Vaivasvata Manu [4]
  8. Savarni Manu
  9. Daksa Savarni Manu
  10. Brahma Savarni Manu
  11. Dharma Savarni Manu
  12. Rudra Savarni Manu
  13. Raucya
  14. Bhauta
  15. Vasile Manu

According to the Puranas, currently we are in the 7th Manvantara headed by Sraddhadeva (Vaivasvata) Manu.

Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura, in his Anubhashya, gives a list of Manus and their fathers' names:

  1. Svayambhuva Manu, the son of Lord Brahma;
  2. Svarocisha, the son of Svarocis, or Agni, the predominating deity of fire;
  3. Uttama, the son of King Priyavrata;
  4. Tamasa, the brother of Uttama;
  5. Raivata, the twin brother of Tamasa;
  6. Cakshusha, the son of the demigod Cakshus;
  7. Vaivasvata, the son of Vivasvan, the sun-god (whose name is mentioned in the Bhagavad-gita [4.1]);
  8. Savarni, a son born to the sun-god and his wife Chhaya;
  9. Daksha-savarni, the son of the demigod Varuna;
  10. Brahma-savarni, the son of Upasloka;
  11. Rudra-savarni, son of Rudra
  12. Dharma-savarni, son of Ruci
  13. Deva-savarni, son of Satyasaha
  14. Indra-savarni, son of Bhuti

The genealogy of Svayambhuva Manu

According to the Puranas, the genealogy of the 1st Manu, Svayambhuva is as follows:

  1. Brahma or Svayambhu
  2. Svayambhuva Manu, son of Brahma and Gayatri[5] (alternately, Shatarupa, Brahmani or Savitri)
  3. Uttanapada and Priyavrata were two sons of Svayamhubha Manu and Ananti[5]
  4. Dhruva, Apasyati, Apasyanta and Kiritimana were four sons of Uttanapada and Sunrita (or Suniti), daughter of Dharma[5]
  5. Śiṣta, son of Dhruva and Dhanya[5]
  6. Ripuñjaya, Kripa, Vrita, Vrika and Vrikatejasa were five sons of Shista and Succhaya, daughter of Agni[5]
  7. Cakṣu, son of Ripuñjaya and Virini[5]
  8. Cākṣusa Manu, son of Cakṣu[5]

The genealogy of Vaivasvata Manu

According to the Puranas, the genealogy of the 7th Manu, Vaivasvata is as follows:

  1. Brahma
  2. Marichi, one of the 10 Prajapatis created by Brahma.
  3. Kashyapa, son of Marichi and Kala. Kashyapa is regarded as the father of humanity.
  4. Vivasvan or Surya, son of Kashyapa and Aditi.
  5. Vaivasvata Manu, originally Satyavrata, son of Vivasvan and Saṃjñā.
  6. Ikshvaku, Nabhaga, Narishyanta, Karusha, Prishadhra, Dhrishta, Sharyati, Pramshu and Nabhanedishta were the nine sons and Ila was the only daughter of Vaivasvata Manu.[6]

Vaivasvata Manu and the Matsya Avatara

The Matsya Avatar of Vishnu is believed to have appeared initially as a Shaphari (a small carp) to King Manu (whose original name was Satyavrata[7]), the then King of Dravidadesa, while he washed his hands in a river. This river was supposed to have been flowing down the Malaya Mountains in his land of Dravida. The little Fish asked the king to save Him, and out of compassion, he put it in a water jar. It kept growing bigger and bigger until King Manu first put Him in a bigger pitcher, and then deposited Him in a well. When the well also proved insufficient for the ever-growing Fish the King placed Him in a tank. As it grew further King Manu had to put the fish in a river, and when even the river proved insufficient he placed it in the ocean, after which it nearly filled the vast expanse of the great ocean. It was then that He (Lord Matsya) informed the King of a deluge which would be coming very soon.[7][8][9][10] The King built a huge boat which housed his family, 9 types of seeds, and animals to repopulate the earth, after the deluge would end and the oceans and seas would recede. At the time of deluge, Vishnu appeared as a horned fish and Shesha appeared as a rope, with which Vaivasvata Manu fastened the boat to horn of the fish.[11]

According to the Matsya Purana, his boat was perched after the deluge on the top of the Malaya Mountains[7][8][9] This narrative is to an extent similar to other deluge stories, like those of Gilgamesh from ancient Sumerian Mythology, and the story of Noah's ark from Judeo-Christianity.

Duration of life of Manu

"The lifespan of one Manu, is 100 Mahayugas, and each Mahayuga is 306,720,000 years." (Śrīmad Bhāgavatam 5.1.28)[12] "The duration of one manvantara, the lifespan of one Manu, is seventy-one yugas, and each yuga is 4,320,000 years". The present Manu has already lived for 4,320,000 years multiplied by 28." (Srimad Bhagavatam 4.30.49).[13]

Works ascribed to Manu

According to tradition, Manava Grihyasutra, Manava Sulbasutra and Manava Dharmashastra (Manusmriti or rule's of Manu) texts are ascribed to Sayambhuva Manu. Manusmriti is considered by some Hindus to be the law laid down for Hindus and is seen as the most important and earliest metrical work of the Dharmaśāstra textual tradition of Hinduism.[14] At the same time it is a Smriti, so whenever there is a conflict between what is mentioned in it and that mentioned in sruti (Vedas and Upanishads) the latter is considered to be correct as it holds higher spiritual authority.

In Theosophy

In Theosophy, the "Vaivasvatu Manu" is one of the most important beings at the highest levels of Initiation of the Masters of the Ancient Wisdom, along with Sanat Kumara, Gautama Buddha, Maitreya, the Maha Chohan, and Djwal Khul. According to Theosophy, each root race has its own Manu which physically incarnates in an advanced body of an individual of the old root race and physically progenerates with a suitable female partner the first individuals of the new root race.

In modern literature

In the Victor Hugo novel, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Claude Frollo is seen to be studying Manu's works in his study of alchemy.

See also


  • Flood, Gavin (1996). An Introduction to Hinduism. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-43878-0. 
  • Olivelle, Patrick. "Dharmasastra: A Literary History".


  1. ^ Mahabharata Book 1:Adi Parva:Sambhava Parva:Section LXXV
  2. ^ 14 Manu-s of 15 Manu-antara-s
  3. ^ "Sri Caitanya Caritamrta Madhya-lila Chapter 20 Verse 322". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  4. ^ Bhagavata Purana (Srimad Bhagavatam) 8.13.1
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Matsya Purana, Ch.IV, 24-42
  6. ^ Misra, V.S. (2007). Ancient Indian Dynasties, Mumbai: Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, ISBN 81-7276-413-8, p.48
  7. ^ a b c Bhagavata Purana 8.24.12
  8. ^ a b The story of Vedic India as embodied ... - Google Books. 2008-03-14. Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  9. ^ a b
  10. ^ Matsya Purana, Ch.I, 10-33
  11. ^ Matsya Purana, Ch.II, 1-19
  12. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 5 Chapter 1 Verse 28". Retrieved 2006-03-03. 
  13. ^ "Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 4 Chapter 30 Verse 49". Retrieved 2010-12-08. 
  14. ^ See Flood 1996: 56 and Olivelle 2005.

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