The Udvahatatva, however, points to one of the instances in which they
deviated from the older writers. It states that a man, who has married thrice, must, if
the wives are living, marry a fourth time. It may probably be due to the, inauspicious
nature of the number three that this deviation occurred. A girl having the same name as
her mother is not eligible for marriage, while the daughter of the preceptor could be
married. A girl could be married into a family separated by three gotra from her father.
These are clearly derivations from the older laws, and the last may
have been adopted on the analogy of the law relating to cousin-marriage existing in South
India especially. The younger brother can supersede elder only under certain
circumstances, if the elder is an outcast, or has left the country, or has taken orders or is
engaged in the practice of Yoga.
The marriageable age of the girl is fixed as in the later Smritis. By
violating this law the father of the girl will incur sin analogous to that of killing a
Brahmin. In this connection the author, while quoting the ancient authorities, mentions a
strikingly interesting verse from the Mahabharata, which goes against all assumption of
the existence or sanction of child-marriages by the earlier lawgivers.
' Trimsatvarshah shodasabdam bharyam vindeta
' One of thirty should marry a bride of sixteen.' It throws light
on two important points: (1) the marriageable age of a girl fixed in ancient law, and (2)
the change in the meaning of the word Nagnika, which did not mean a child who did not
learn to wear clothes as in later law-books. Side by side with this we have the
injunction quoted by the same author from the Smrtisara: 'Marriage above seven years is
lawful for all castes '.
The two passages, occurring in the same context, show the great, length
of time that separated the two stages in society. An- other noteworthy change in the
denotation of words is in the word Didhishu. The word can be traced even to the
Rig-Veda, where it meant 'a wooer.' But here it designates an eldest daughter whose
younger sister is married first. The gradual deviation and the restriction of the scope of
certain other terms have been dealt with in the previous chapter.