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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

THE COMMENTARIES AND DIGESTS ON HINDU

A son thus became indispensable, and we find the earlier lawgivers classifying sons, into twelve varieties. The later Smritis until  Yajnavalkya, adhere to the opinion of their predecessors. But a further change is traceable at this period of history. We find the lawgivers increasing the number of sons who are adaptable and also defining the word used for a son in accordance with the eschatology behind it. They thus define the term putra. 'Because he saves his father from the hell called ' Put,' therefore a male child is called Putra i.e. protector from Put, a son by Svayambhu himself '. 22

This definition of a son is found in the later law-givers. In some of the law-books, which have come down to us only through commentaries, we find fifteen kinds of sons adopted into society. Haradatta in his two commentaries on Gautama and Apastamba, Visvesvara in his Subodhini, and Nandapandita in his Vaijayanti and Dattakaminamsa quote the following on the authority of an anonymous Smriti: -

'The son of the body, the appointed daughter (Putrika), the son procreated with another man's wife (Bijin), the son of the wife, the son of the appointed-daughter (Putrika-putra), the son of a twice-married woman, the damsel's son, the son received with a pregnant bride, the son of concealed birth, the son given, the son bought, the son self-given, the made or artificial son (Krtrima), the son cast off, and the son procreated anywhere are fifteen classes of sons. In the order here enumerated each following son shall exclude the son proceeding in order, as giver of the funeral ball of rice and par-taker of a share. Thus it has been generally ordained in the Smritis.23

The only Smriti that mentions the last kind of son is the Vishnu Smriti--'Begotten in any other manner than the sons previously mentioned.'

One of the chief features of this law of inheritance is the, recognition granted to a daughter as an heir to the property of her father. In the last chapter it has been shown that according to certain lawgivers of later times the only daughter of a man had the status of a son in the family. This can be traced even to the Vedic times. The commentaries explain it more clearly.

The Mitakshara,24 Mayukha25 and Sarasvativilasa,26 Dattakamimamsa27 explain tile word Putrika-putra in two ways, (1) Putrika considered as a son; (2) the son of a Putrika. According to the first meaning, the Putrika is the only daughter of a man, who has been charged by her father to perform the customary obsequies to him after his death and consequently to become his heir herself. She comes to be counted as a son and takes a high rank among the twelve sons, her place being second only to the son of the body.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Commentaries And Digests On Hindu
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