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Women In The Sacred Laws
Kulapati's Preface The Author
Foreword Prologue
The Dharma Sutras Contemporary Evidence
The Manu - Samhita The Later Law-Books
Digest On Hindu Law Espirit Des Lois
Major Sections

CONTEMPORARY EVIDENCE

To sum up, the laws of Kautilya are in substantial agreement with those of Baudhayana and Vasishtha the influence of asceticism, set in motion by Buddhism, is evident in his laws; he prescribes an interval for women before they can remarry, but he clings to the old Vedic rule of allowing them to marry after that short period and by limiting their choice to the family of their husband. Daughters are not excluded from inheritance, and freedom is not denied to women.

His treatise, moreover, refers to some other important changes outside the scope of law, which were taking place in the society of the times. The seclusion of women, which he refers to in connection with the construction of the palace of a king, is an important social change that was slowly but steadily developing.

The law books of this period do not refer to it, but we can find, however, an indirect reference to it in later law-books. The earlier law-books have injunctions for a close protection and watch over wives, lest, through some defilement, the man shall be deprived of his son; for, according to sacred tradition, the son will be claimed by his father in the life after death.

The motive of this rule vouchsafing a close guard over women is obvious; it is two-fold: to keep the purity of the race and to safe guard the funeral oblations of the man, for the food offered by any one will go to his father and none else.14 It was perhaps from this motive that the seclusion of women originated, or, if it was adopted from other foreign tribes, Hindu law-givers found a sufficient Justification for its adoption into Hindu society, on the above mentioned grounds.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About Contemporary Evidence
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