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Sunday, 25 November 2007

The Impact of Manu on Nietzsche's Late Philosophy

"Sir, please tell us, properly and in order, the duties of all four classes and also of the people who are born between."
[The Laws of Manu, Book 1 verse 2] (1)



I use the word 'impact' rather than 'influence' as Nietzsche liked to portray his philosophical development as a series of sudden events - "I am not man, I am dynamite" he wrote in his autobiography (2).
And just as Nietzsche's career as a thinker began with the 'fateful event' of his discovering Schopenhauer's magnum opus, 'The World as Will and Idea' in 1865 at the age of 21 while browsing a book-stall, (3) so it concluded with a similar 'discovery' - his "stumbling across" (4) a copy of The Laws of Manu in his last months of lucidity before suffering a mental breakdown in his mid forties (5).

Such events confirmed Nietzsche's sense of intellectual destiny, and he recognised in them an emphatic affirmation of the direction his own thought had taken since the beginning.
And that beginning as a disciple of Schopenhauer (6) should give an indication of Nietzsche's indebtedness to Indian thought, for he read into the Vedanta, Buddhism and the Vedas, just as his master had done (7). Not only that, Nietzsche was a "friend" (8) and colleague of the German academic Paul Deussen (9) who had quite an impact himself on the Western understanding of Indian philosophy (10).

Of course, the early Nietzsche of The Birth of Tragedy (1872), and The Unfashionable Observations (1873-5) was thoroughly Schopenhauerian and understood Indian philosophy from that essentially moralistic perspective (11). However, his break with his mentor the equally Schopenhauerian composer Richard Wagner - occasioned by Nietzsche's, heretical in Wagner's eyes, Human-All-Too Human (1878-80) - was also therefore a break with Schopenhauer and ushered in his 'middle period'.

It is my contention that from this middle period - which peaks with Thus Spake Zarathustra (1883-5) - to the late period, which I begin with On the Genealogy of Morality (1887)(12), and right up until his mental collapse on the 2nd of January 1889 - Nietzsche was revising his views on Indian thought.

1) Manu p. 3
2) Nietzsche 2005 EH 'Destiny 1' p. 144.
3) Halevy p. 48
4) Farrel-Krell p. 144.
5) Halevy ib. "the last study of his life" and "one of the most important", p. 348. Manu is the "first known systematic treatment of Hindu law variously named as Manu Smrti, Manu Samhita or Manavadharmasatra, dated between 600 BC and AD 300" [Werner, p. 106]
6) Nietzsche 1995 Third Piece: Schopenhauer as Educator, pp. 169-255.
7) Nietzsche's own library contained the following works on Indian philosophy;
Deussen, Paul Die Sûtras des Vedânta (Leipzig: 1887),Das System des Vedânta (Leipzig: 1883); Jacolliot, Louis
Les Législateurs Religieux: Manou, Moïse, Mahomet (Paris: 1876);Müller, Max Essays: Beiträge zur vergleichenden Religionswissenschaft; Beiträge zur vergleichenden Mythologie und Ethologie 2 vols. (Leipzig: 1869);Oldenberg, Hermann Buddha. Sein Leben, seine Lehre, seine Gemeinde (Berlin: 1881);Wackernagel, J.Über den Ursprung des Brahmanismus (Basel: 1877)
See this on-line resource for 'Nietzsche's Library';
The following resource also gives details of books Nietzsche studied;
Nietzsche Chronicle:
8) Nietzsche 1994 GM III 17 p. 104
9) They went to Schulpforta and Bonn University together - cf. Diethe p. 81
10) See letters of 1870 (#20) and 1888 (#177) in Nietzsche 1996
11) Schopenhauer p. 243
12) A work which announced the always impending but never finished 'The Will to Power'; see Nietzsche 1994 GM III sec 27 p. 125.

Lou von Salome


Nietzsche's relationship with the brilliant Lou Salome (1861-1937) was an intellectual as well as an emotional one - although that too had a sudden end (13). Salome published, in 1894 - so when Nietzsche was still alive, if in a vegetative state - the first major monograph on the philosopher's writings, called Friedrich Nietzsche in seinen Werken - a perceptive study, not least because of the period (1882-3) of rare closeness she shared with him. Salome - rightly in my view - regards Daybreak (1881) as a pivotal work; a work Nietzsche himself saw as the beginning of his 'campaign against morality' (14), and dates his 'middle period' from it. She writes;
"This 'daybreak' is no longer a pale, cold, retrospectively illuminating work of instruction, behind it already rises a life-giving sun ... 'There are so many crimson dawns which have not as yet shed light', Nietzsche said in the words of the Rig Veda that form the motto for the title page of Daybreak." (15)

It is this sun of the Vedas that will eventually lead him to 'discover' the Law Book of Manu some seven years later.
Salome goes on to utilise her private correspondence with Nietzsche;
"A year after the publication of Daybreak, Nietzsche wrote to me about his new hopes for philosophy and his future plans ... 'Even I have crimson dawns about me now, and none of them depressing!' .. When Nietzsche completed his book The Gay Science in 1882, he was already sure about his India: he believed he had landed on the shore of a strange and as yet unnamed monstrous world of which nothing was known except that it had to lie beyond all that which could be disputed and destroyed by thoughts." (16)

It is in Daybreak that Nietzsche makes an important utterance about Indian philosophy in a passage pregnant with the philosophical future. He conjectures that amongst the "ancient Brahmins", or priests, "more thinking" and "more pleasure in thinking was customarily inherited, four thousand years ago in India than is the case with us today."
And so - despite the great achievements of the Greeks - Europe was philosophically immature in comparison with Vedic India, that "nation of thinkers," which had long ago "thrown the gods aside", something that Europe had yet to do;
 "Another step further" and one would no longer need "the priests and mediators" either, just as in India when "the teacher of the religion of self-redemption, the Buddha, appeared;- how distant Europe still is from this level of culture!"
Once the priesthood is gone then so too will "morality in the old sense" have disappeared - something that Nietzsche wishes to "see". (17)

13) Halevy, p. 252
14) Nietzsche 1995, EH: 'Daybreak', p. 120
15) Salome p. 81
16) Ibid. p. 84 - the letter quoted is from June 7 1882
17) Nietzsche 1982 sec. 96 pp. 54-5


It is noticeable though that further on in his middle period, Nietzsche lapses back into a Schopenhauerian interpretation of Buddhism, particularly in Beyond Good and Evil (1886), where he tends to refer glibly to Buddhism as a moralistic religion, describing "the Buddha and Schopenhauer" as both being "hopelessly deluded by morality." (18) But his next book, On the Genealogy of Morality (1887), he seems to have revised his opinion again;

"'Good and evil' says the Buddhist, '-both are fetters: the perfect One has mastered both'; a man of the Vedanta faith says 'he cannot be hurt by anything done or not done; as a wise man, he shakes off good and evil; no action can damage his domain; he has gone beyond good and evil, beyond both’; - so, a conception found throughout India, as much Brahminic as Buddhist." (19)

He clarifies his position further in the books written just after he had read Manu in 1888. Those books include three important works all of 1888: The Twilight of the Idols, (June-September), The Antichrist, (September 3rd-30th), and Ecce Homo (October 15th-November 4th).

He explains that, while Buddhism and Christianity are both "nihilistic religions of decadence", he does not want his "condemnation of Christianity" to lead him to be "unfair to Buddhism." This is because - long ago - Buddhism had "stopped saying 'war against sin and instead, giving reality its dues, says 'war against suffering'."
Therefore Buddhism stands "beyond good and evil," (20) and should be described as a form of "hygiene" rather than as a religion, "so as not to confuse it with anything as pathetic as Christianity." (21)

It seems that reading Manu had reawakened Nietzsche to the importance of Indian thought in relation to his own philosophical critique of morality.

18) Nietzsche 1998 p. 50
19) Nietzsche1994 GM III 17 p. 104
20) Nietzsche 2005 A 20 p. 16
21) Nietzsche ibid. EH 'Wise 6' p. 80


We can pinpoint the moment of Nietzsche's discovery of Manu thanks to a letter he wrote to Peter Gast from Turin on May 31st 1888 [a singular fact missed in Doniger and Smith's Introduction to their translation of Manu which nevertheless includes a section on Nietzsche]. Peter Gast - real name Heinrich Koselitz (1854-1918), he was renamed by Nietzsche - had been a disciple since reading The Birth of Tragedy (1872), becoming an "indispensable friend to Nietzsche, who relied on him for the publication of Daybreak." Gast became the philosopher's amanuensis, proof-reading manuscripts, and so on. "After Nietzsche's mental collapse" he worked at the 'Nietzsche Archive' from 1891 to 1909 as he was "often the only person able to read Nietzsche's handwriting." (22)

This particular letter to Gast is central for an understanding of the impact of Manu on Nietzsche's late philosophy;

"I owe to these last weeks a very important lesson: I found Manu's book of laws in a French translation done in India under very strict supervision from the most eminent priests and scholars there. This absolutely Aryan work, a priestly codex of morality based on the Vedas, on the idea of caste and very ancient tradition - not pessimistic, albeit very sacerdotal - supplements my views on religion in the most remarkable way. I confess to having the impression that everything else that we have by way of moral law-giving seems to me an imitation and even a caricature of it - preeminently, Egypticism does; but even Plato seems to me in all the main points simply to have been well instructed by a Brahmin. It makes the Jews look like a Chandala race which learns from its masters the principles of making a priestly caste the master which organises a people ... The Chinese also seem to have produced their Confucius and Lao-tzu under the influence of this ancient classic of laws. The medieval organisation looks like a wondrous groping for a restoration of all the ideas which formed the basis of primordial Indian-Aryan society - but with pessimistic values which have their origin in the soil of racial decadence. Here too, the Jews tend to be merely transmitters - they invent nothing ..." (23)

The rather remarkable claims made in the second half of the above passage show how deeply impressed Nietzsche was then by the ideas of Louis Jacolliot (1837-1890), the French author of the translation of Manu that Nietzsche had read [Les Legislateurs Religieux: Manou, Moise - Mahomet (1876)].

22) Diethe, entry 'Gast'.
23) Nietzsche 1996 letter #170, pp. 296-8



A prolific writer, in "Krishna and Christ (1874), and The Bible in India (1872), Jacolliot tries to debunk Christianity as nothing but an ape of the anicent oriental religions". (24)

His Manu translation includes "a rambling twenty-two page footnote in which Jacolliot defends his inconceivable theory that the Manu Code was written in its final formula 13,300 years before the birth of Christ and that all Semitic cultures are traceable back to an emigration of Chandala occuring between 8,000 and 4,000 years before Christ. At the same time, Jacolliot opines that western civilisations, including the peoples of Europe and Egypt, are the result of emigration by the Hindus, and the higher castes, under the influence of the Manu Code." (25)

It should be mentioned at this point that Jacolliot's source material for Manu differs from the 'authoritative' texts, as he "claimed to have completed his translation - with the help of a learned Brahmin - from an authentic edition of the Manu Code he discovered in the Tamil region of southern India. Unfortunately the original text from which Jacolliot worked has never been found." (26)

My concern here though, is not so much with the validity of Jacolliot's theories, but rather with the impact Manu had had on Nietzsche's own ideas which had long been increasingly emphasising an hierarchical ordering of human types, classes, and even races [cf., TSZ, BGE and GM passim], as well as making the claim that slavery is necessary and natural to every aristocratic society [a claim which left his reader in no doubt that such a form of society was preferable to any other];

"Every elevation of the type 'human being' was achieved by an aristocratic society - and this will always be the case: by a society that believes in a great ladder of hierarchy and value differentiation between people that requires slavery in one sense or another." (27)

Manu just confirmed Nietzsche in these beliefs, with the added dimension of Jacolliot's 'Aryanist' philosophy, leading Nietzsche to romanticise the 'Aryans' as in the above letter to Gast [understanding 'Aryan' as "arya; ‘noble’: the designation which the Indo-European tribes who ... created the Vedic civilisation used for themselves and which was once used also by other Indo-European nations (cf. Iran and Eire)]". (28)

24) Godwin p. 81
25) Berkowitz pp 1133-4
26) Ibid.
27) Nietzsche 1998 sec. 257 p. 151 [see the whole of this 9th chapter entitled 'What Is Noble?', pp. 151-178, for an indication of Nietzsche's approval for aristocratism]
28) Werner p. 34


Is all this so far removed from the 'authentic' Manu?
As Radakrishnan noted, "Manu glorifies custom and convention at a time when they were being undermined" and "regards caste as an ordinance of God". (29) Many of the laws given by Manu are intended to either keep these four classes or castes [Sanskrit varna] apart, or else are attempts at 'damage limitation' in the cases where they have mixed and produced sub castes [Skt. jati]. Manu says that "the priest, the ruler, and the commoner are the three twice-born classes, but the fourth, the servant, has only one birth, and there is no fifth". (30) [As Aryans are described as 'twice born', only the top three classes are regarded as Aryan (31)]

Manu presents a total philosophy which "by the early centuries of the Common Era had become, and remained, the standard source of authority for varnasrama-dharma [social and religious duties tied to class and stage of life]. (32)

Metaphysically, Manu dwells on the laws of karma [the cosmic law of balance (33)] and samsara: "this terrible cycle of transmigration of living beings, which moves relentlessly on and on" (34), from rebirth to rebirth "within the various cosmic planes of existence". (35)

Existentially, Manu draws on the Vedic outlook of "rulers and ruled, consumers and consumed, exploiters and exploited, the strong and the weak" (36) which manifests itself in exclusion and inclusion according to caste and duty [dharma].
Manu states that "the teachings which differ from the Veda spring up and die out, bear no fruit and are false because they are of modern date. The four classes, the three worlds (37), the four stages of life (38), the past, the present, and the future, are all individually explained by the Veda." (39)

29) Radakrishnan p. 517
30) Manu 10.4, p.234
31) Ibid. 2.22, p. 19
32) Ibid.trans. intro. p. xviii
33) Werner, p. 86
34) Manu 1.50 p. 8
35) Werner p. 136
36) Manu, trans. intro. p. xxv
37) The three worlds are the infernal, the terrestrial and the heavenly.
38) Student, householder, forest-dweller, and ascetic.
39) Manu 12.96-7


But Manu had also absorbed the later non-Vedic moral teachings of renunciation, non-violence (ahimsa) and vegetarianism which had constituted 'a revaluation of (Vedic) values' to borrow Nietzsche's phrase. (40) The violent, exploitative, carnivorous world of animal-sacrifice was reversed by those renouncers "or sramanas who were so influential beginning in around the sixth century BCE", some of them coalescing into the "religions later known as Buddhism and Jainism." (41)

This is remarkably similar to Nietzsche's account of the supposed Christian reversal of the values of pagan Rome, which he called the 'slave revolt in morals'. (42) But the aftermath was very different in Nietzschean terms; rather than the social order being turned upside down, it remained intact as the Vedic tradition managed to incorporate its own antithesis. The priests remained on top by assimilating ahimsa to ritual purity.
Not surprisingly then, despite its emphatic promotion of the aforementioned Vedic essentials - particularly that of priestly dominance -, Manu is riven with contradictions and paradoxes as it tries to square the Vedic with the anti-Vedic; "the priests did their best to reconcile the two contradictory rationales for their own social superiority ... 'Killing in a sacrifice is not killing'(Manu 5.39) ..." (43)

Once again we are brought back to Nietzsche whose own work contains many contradictory elements, such as his doctrine of Perspectivism, which points out that 'there are no facts, only perspectives' (44). "Does Perspectivism entail that Perspectivism itself is but a perspective, so that the truth of this doctrine entails that it is false?" (45)

Is any attempt to grasp the totality of life bound to produce contradictions, or are they an indication of a flawed total philosophy? To Nietzsche they were necessary: "I have a hand for switching perspectives: the first reason why a 'revaluation of all values' is even possible perhaps for me alone". (46)
In any case, Nietzsche was not interested in creating a coherent moral system, but rather in exploring the semiotics of morality;

"Moral judgments should never be taken literally: on their own, they are just absurdities. But semiotically, they are invaluable: if you know what to look for, moral judgments reveal the most valuable realities of the cultures and interiorities that did not know enough to 'understand' themselves. Morality is just a sign language, just a symptomatology: you have to know what it means in order to take advantage of it". (47)

40) Nietzsche 2005, EH Contents, p. 74
41) Manu trans. intro. p. xxxiv
42) Nietzsche 1994 GM I 16 p. 34
43) Manu trans. intro. p. xliii
44) Diethe p. 176
45) Danto p. 80
46) Nietzsche 2005 EH Wise 1 p. 76
47) Ibid., TI Improving 1 p. 183


Nietzsche had begun to read Manu too as a sign-language. The Vedic religion itself could be the result of an attempt to counteract a "certain weariness and heaviness which has become epidemic" due to the "unsound emigration" of a "race ending up in a climate for which its powers of adaptation are inadequate", in this case "the Indians of India." (48)
These Indians then adopted a religion which emphasised "a morality of breeding", which Nietzsche contrasts with a morality of "taming" [Christianity being of this latter kind]. (49)
In a morality of breeding [of which Manu is the "most magnificent example" (ib.)], the object is to breed "particular types" up to a level of excellence [or 'superhumanity' (50)], while conversely degrading non-breeds, such as the Chandala, down to subhumanity.
In Manu Nietzsche found "noble values everywhere, a feeling of perfection, saying yes to life, a triumphant sense of well-being both for its own sake and for the sake of life, the sun shines over the entire book." (51)

In contrast, Christianity - which had sprung from Jewish roots (52), is a Chandala religion; as we have seen, Jacolliot himself had even opined that the Jews were originally Chandala who had fled Aryan oppression.
Nietzsche wrote that "the Jews created an important new posture: the priest at the head of the chandala - against the noble orders." (53)

48) Nietzsche 1994 GM III 17 p. 102
49) Nietzsche 2005 TI Improving 3 pp. 184-5
50) Cf., Nietzsche 1997 passim
51) Nietzsche 2005 A 56 pp. 56-7
52) Ibid. TI Improving 4 p. 185
53) Nietzsche 1968 184 p. 111


Before going further I want to note some themes which were pronounced in Nietzsche's philosophy prior to his reading Manu, and which are echoed by Manu.
In BGE he had noted that "the slave looks at the virtues of the powerful with resentment." (54). In GM he developed this theme of resentment further, adopting the French word ressentiment for emphasis, no doubt because it brings out the central idea of 'sentiment';

"The beginning of the slaves' revolt in morality occurs when ressentiment itself turns creative and gives birth to values: the ressentiment of those beings who, being denied the response of action, compensate for it only with imaginary revenge." (55)
The term recurs again and again in the book; at one point he notes that "the Jews were a priestly nation of ressentiment par excellence," (56) going on to add that ressentiment "thrives best amongst anarchists and anti-Semites today." (57)

Imagine Nietzsche's feeling of vindication at seeing Manu's statement; "The Lord assigned only one activity to a servant: serving the other classes without resentment." (58)
Elsewhere, Manu describes resentment as a vice born of anger (59), and advises that a servant - by ridding himself of resentment - may become "blameless" (60).
After reading Manu Nietzsche will celebrate his own "freedom from ressentiment, lucidity [Aufklarung] about ressentiment," asserting that his own philosophy has "seriously taken up the fight against lingering and vengeful feelings." (61)

54) Nietzsche 1994 BGE 260 p. 167
55) Ibid., GM I 10 p. 21
56) Ibid., 16 p. 35
57) Ibid., II 11 p. 52
58) Manu 1.91, p. 13
59) Ibid., 7.48, p. 134
60) Ibid., 10.128, p. 250
61) Nietzsche 2005 EH Wise 6 pp.80-1

Schopenhauer & Nietzsche


Another example of affinity can be found in the attitude towards women. It seems that Nietzsche's position on women echoed Schopenhauer's, and didn't alter even after his repudiation of Schopenhauer's philosophy, which "was wrong about everything" (62).
Nietzsche's works are laced with anti-feminist remarks, so perhaps the following quote will suffice to typify his stance on this issue: "A deep man ... can think about women only like an Oriental : he has to conceive of woman as a possession, as securable property, as something predetermined for service and completed in it. He has to rely on the tremendous reason of Asia, on Asia's superior instincts." (63)

Nietzsche would not have been surprised to find Manu saying that "a girl, a young woman, or even an old woman should not do anything independently, even in her own house." (64) Indeed, Manu's attitude to woman brought out the ironist in Nietzsche, as he commented; "I do not know any book that says as many kind and delicate things to females as the law book of Manu." (65)

To Manu, though, woman's 'danger' is due to her role in the "confusion of castes" (66): woman must be guarded in case she breeds outside her caste. Here woman is seen in the traditionally 'oriental' way as a temptress who leads men astray and so initiates the breakdown of the caste order.

So while woman is essential for the act of breeding, Manu fears her waywardness in this department. Likewise, Nietzsche's own objection to female sentiment-ality, masks a deeper fear; "females are vengeful ... this is a constituent part of their weakness, just like their sensitivity to the needs of others." (67)
Both Nietzsche and Manu fear - somewhat ambivalently - that the orderliness and 'strength' of the male will be corrupted by the chaotic 'weakness' of the female. This kind of ambivalence will be revisited when we look further at the relation of the priest to the warrior.

62) Nietzsche 2005 EH Birth 1 p. 108
63) Nietzsche 1998 BGE 238 p. 127
64) Manu 5.147 p. 115
65) Nietzsche 2005 A 56 p. 57
66) Manu 8.172 p. 171
67) Nietzsche 2005 EH Wise 7 p. 82


Manu threw light on another on-going problem for Nietzsche - that of the 'holy lie', or the pia fraus which "goes against the grain" of the 'free spirit' (68), as he had written in 1886. In its classical version as the 'noble lie' in Plato's Republic (69) it had cast a long shadow over Nietzsche's thought.
He recognised too that Manu was "founded upon the holy lie", and that while "the cause of the holy lie is the 'will to power'," [Nietzsche's term for the underlying character of all reality] it is problematic because "power acquired by lying was the result of the recognition of the fact that it was not already possessed physically." (70)

Manu's aristocratism is now in question [the above quotes come from a section entitled "a criticism of the Law Book of Manu"], because "neither Manu nor Plato nor Confucius nor the teachers of Judaism and Christianity, have ever doubted their right to lie." (71)

But at least Manu lies towards a noble purpose, opines Nietzsche in The Antichrist, and that makes it permissible, he suggests - although not too convincingly. He avers there that we should not forget the "central point, the fundamental difference between Manu and every type of Bible: Manu lets the noble classes, the philosophers and warriors, stand above the crowd." (72)

And yet there is a glaring flaw in Nietzsche's terminology here; it is not the "philosopher" but the priest who stands above all else in Manu. Nietzsche is engaged in wishful thinking when he transforms the priest of Manu into a philosopher - it is no such thing.

68) Nietzsche 1998 BGE 105 p. 63
69) Plato Rep Bk III 414c p. 658
70) Nietzsche 142 pp. 123-5
71) Nietzsche 2005 TI 5 pp. 185-6
72) Ibid., A 56 p. 56


The underlying problem for appropriating Manu to Nietzsche's philosophy remains, for even in Manu it is the priest who has used the holy lie to achieve power over the warrior by ignoble means. This makes the priest a decadent: "decadents need lies; it is one of the conditions for their preservation." (73)
Not only that but "all aristocrats hold the fundamental conviction that the common people are liars." (74) Indeed, this priestly sleight of hand is embedded in the Vedas where the priests claimed supremacy on the basis of their control of the all-important sacrifice; "the priests held out to their patrons the promise of a place in heaven, but also of a long and contented life, material success of sorts and worldly status." (75)
And the priest continued to maintain his supremacy in Manu while invoking ahimsa to suggest that the warrior or ruler, concerned as they were with having to use deadly force, was "relegated to a place of 'incompletion' vis-à-vis the non-violent prototype, the priest." (76)

Given Nietzsche's predilection for war - "I am by nature war-like," (77) and his rejection of vegetarianism from "experience" (78), then it becomes very difficult to see him as having sympathy with the priests of Manu.
Rulers are warned by Manu to not make priests angry - "even during the utmost extremity", for "when angry they could destroy him." (79)
Compare this with Nietzsche in 1887, when he wrote; "priests make the most evil enemies", and that "the greatest haters in world history, and the most intelligent, have always been priests; - nobody else's intelligence stands a chance against the intelligence of priestly revenge." (80)

Ultimately, Nietzsche has to face up to the fact that Manu is a thoroughly priestly work, and that "as long as priests are considered the highest type, every valuable type of person is devalued." (81)
And Manu is "the purest example of priestcraft"; the so-called 'Semitic spirit' of priestliness is nothing other than Aryan, (82) and "Aryan influence has corrupted all the world!" (83)

73) Nietzsche 2005 EH Birth 2 p. 109
74) Nietzsche 1998, BGE 260 p. 154
75) Manu, trans. intro. p. xxvi
76) Ibid., p. xxxix
77) Nietzsche 2005 EH Wise 7 p.82
78) Ibid. Clever 1 p. 87
79) Manu 9.313 p. 230
80) Nietzsche 1994 GM I 7 p. 18
81) Nietzsche 2005 TI Skirmishes 45 p. 219
82) Nietzsche 1910 143 p. 125
83) Nietzsche 1968 142 p. 92


That the notion of an antithesis between the Semitic and the Aryan was common at the time can be shown from this excerpt from Benjamin Disraeli's novel Lothair of 1870. The character Mr. Phoebus is based on the Hellenophile artist Lord Leighton;

"'Aryan principles', crisply replies Mr. Phoebus, 'not merely the study of nature, but of beautiful nature; the art of design in a country inhabited by a first-rate race, and where the laws, the manners, the customs are calculated to maintain the health and beauty of a first-rate race. In a greater or less degree, these conditions obtained from the age of Pericles to the age of Hadrian in pure Aryan communities, but Semitism then began to prevail and ultimately triumphed. Semitism has destroyed art: it has taught man to despise his own body and the essence of art is to honour the human frame." (84)

So Nietzsche's initial enthusiasm for Manu - typically - turns into a 'revaluation' of Manu, as 'perspectives are switched' [and as we might say in 'post-modern' terms], Nietzsche deconstructs Aryanism itself.
The Aryan priest has spoiled everything from the beginning; but then, following Nietzsche's own logic, "once completed, everything great - a work, an act - immediately turns against the one who did it." (85)
Christianity, derived from the Jewish priestly culture - itself derived from the Aryan - "drew the ultimate conclusion of this movement: even in the Jewish priesthood it still sensed caste, the privileged, the noble - it abolished the priest - The Christian is the chandala who repudiates the priest - the chandala who redeems himself." (86)

And so at the very heart of Aryan priestliness is a self-negating rejection of the caste-order.

And yet, no one repudiates the priest as vehemently as does Nietzsche;

"The priest is our chandala - he should be ostracised, starved, driven into every type of desert." (87)

84) Quoted in Gaunt p. 84
85) Nietzsche 2005 EH TSZ 5 p. 128
86) Nietzsche 1968 184 p. 111
87) Nietzsche 2005 A 62, p. 67


Nietzsche's revaluation of all values then includes a revaluation of Aryan values. The priest must be repudiated in favour of what? - The Nietzschean "artist-philosopher"; (88)

"Our religion, morality and philosophy are decadent forms of man. The countermovement: art." (89)

"Art as the actual task of life, art as a metaphysical pursuit." (90)

The 'artist-philosopher' [i.e., the new Nietzschean philosopher who is related to the artist, and not to the priest, as the old philosopher was] is to replace the priest at the apex of the caste order as the priest has been cast out.

A very revealing passage, entitled "the inversion of the order of rank", says;

"The pious counterfeiters, the priests, among us become chandalas - they replace the charlatans, quacks, counterfeiters, and wizards; we consider them corrupters of the will, great slanderers of life on which they wish to revenge themselves, rebels among the underprivileged. We have turned the caste of servants, the sudras, into our middle class, our 'Volk', those who make political decisions; business and land-owners - the military - the scholarly classes. On the other hand, the chandala of former times is at top: foremost, those who blaspheme God and the immoralists, the nomads of every type, the artists, Jews, musicians - at bottom, all disreputable classes of men."

It seems at this point that Nietzsche is now identifying himself with this latter group;

"We immoralists are today the strongest power." (91)

Here Nietzsche describes a new triple caste order, which in descending rank is;

Artist [new philosopher-artists, immoralists etc.]
Servants [politicians, military, scholars etc.]
Chandalas [priests, old philosopher-priests etc.]

88) Nietzsche 1968 795 p. 419
89) Ibid., 794
90) Nietzsche 2002 p. 106
91) Nietzsche 1968 116 p. 71


Had Nietzsche succumbed to the folie de grandeur, as Heinrich von Treitschke is reported to have said of him (92), or had he indeed prophesied - unsung - a 'new order', beyond all those known hitherto?

"All prophets have been liars so far - the truth speaks out of me - but my truth is horrible: so far the lie has been called the truth ... transvaluation of all values is my formula for an act of supreme stocktaking of mankind: my fate wants that I look down deeper, more bravely, more honestly into the questions of all times than man has ever had to discover before ... I am not challenging what is living now, I am challenging several thousands of years." (93)

Is Nietzsche's claim to speak the 'truth' here out-of-step with his aforementioned 'perspectivism'? Possibly, but the 'lie' he refers to above is a specific one and akin to that of the 'holy lie'. It is the 'lie' which maintains that there is such a thing as a 'moral world order,' (94) a lie as prevalent in Manu as it is in Christianity [and Kant.] (95)
Nietzsche's 'truth' is then the opposite of this 'lie'; "the self-overcoming of morality out of truthfulness." (96)
Morality is defined here as "the idiosyncrasy of decadents with the ulterior motive of taking revenge on life - and successfully." (97) The point is that "humanity" has only - before Nietzsche - affirmed "decadence values as the highest values." (98)

Nietzsche had recognised this five years before reading Manu with his own Zarathustra, but was at first uncertain, confiding to Gast that "I am curious to know if it [i.e., TSZ] has any merit." (99)

It was only after encountering - and then attempting to overcome - the seeming non plus ultra of Manu that Nietzsche was able to give his revaluation world-historical ambition. Only now could he say that "the poets of the Veda are priests and do not deserve even to tie the shoelaces of a Zarathustra." (100)

92) Butler p. 156
93) Nietzsche 2002 p. 150
94) Nietzsche 2005 EH Destiny 3 p. 145
95) Ibid., Wagner 2 p. 140
96) Ibid., Destiny 3 p. 145
97) Ibid., 7 p. 149
98) Ibid.
99) Nietzsche 1996, Letter #113 [to Overbeck March 1883]
100) Nietzsche 2005 EH TSZ 6 p. 129

Abbreviations used for Nietzsche's works:
Thus Spake Zarathustra TSZ
Beyond Good and Evil BGE
On the Genealogy of Morality GM
The Antichrist A
The Will to Power WP
Ecce Homo EH
Twilight of the Idols TI

All his works are also referred to by section number after the title. The last two works mentioned also have a chapter title before the section number e.g., EH 'Destiny' 3, while GM refers to a book number before section number e.g., GM II 3.

Berkowitz, P. Friedrich Nietzsche, The Code of Manu and The Art of Legislation, Cardozo Law Review vol 24:3 NY W.S. Hein & Co 2003
Butler, R. The Roots of National Socialism, Faber & Faber 1941
Danto, A. Nietzsche as Philosopher, Columbia 1965
Diethe, Historical Dictionary of Nietzscheanism, Scarecrow, 1999
Farrell-Krell, D. & Bates, DL. The Good European, Chicago 1997
Gaunt, W. Victorian Olympus, Cardinal 1975
Godwin, J. Arktos: The Polar Myth, Thames & Hudson 1993
Halevy, D. The Life of Friedrich Nietzsche, trans. JM Hone, T Fisher & Unwin 1911
Manu, The Laws of, Doniger &Smith, Penguin 1991
Nietzsche, F.W., The Will to Power, trans. A. Ludovici, George Allen &Unwin 1910
Nietzsche, The Will to Power, trans. Kaufmann & Hollingdale, Vintage 1968
Nietzsche, Daybreak, trans. RJ Hollingdale CUP 1982
Nietzsche, On The Genealogy Of Morality, trans. C. Diethe, CUP 1994
Nietzsche, Unfashionable Observations, trans. RT Gray, Stanford 1995
Nietzsche, Selected Letters of, trans. C. Middleton, Hackett, 1996
Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra, trans. T. Common, Wordsworth 1997
Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, trans. M. Faber, OUP 1998
Nietzsche, Antichrist & Fragments from a Shattering Mind, trans. O Lichtenworther, Creation, 2002
Nietzsche, The Antichrist, Ecce Homo and the Twilight of the Idols, trans. J. Norman, CUP 2005
Plato, Collected Dialogues, ed. Hamilton & Cairns, Princeton 1963
Radakrishnan, S. Indian Philosophy Vol. I, OUP, 1989
Salome, L. Nietzsche, trans. Mandel, Illinois 2001
Schopenhauer, A. The World as Will and Idea trans. J. Bermann, Everyman 1995
Werner, K. A Popular Dictionary of Hinduism, Curzon 1994