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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 DHARMA SUTRAS

These affinities with the Sama - Veda have made scholars associate it with the Sama Vedic School. Its date has been assigned to the 7th century B.C. and hence it is contemporaneous with the close of the Brahmanic period. Marriage, according to Gautama, is a social contract, and certain limitations are laid on it.

Thus it could be contracted between persons who were not of the same Pravaras 2 and ‘who were not related within six degrees on the father’s side and four degrees on the mother’s side’.3 The girl must be one of equal caste, unmarried, and younger than the bride groom. 4

Gautama mentions eight kinds of marriages, viz., the Brahma, Prajapatya, Arsha, Daiva, Gandharva, Asura, Rakshasa and Paisacha. He defines them exactly as Asvalayana defines them. Of these the, first four he recognizes as legal.

But according to his predecessors the first six are legal. As Gautama is the earliest law-giver whose works have been preserved, we have to presume that all these eight kinds of marriages came into prevalence some time before Gautama’s time, though the contemporary literature of his times does not furnish us with any material concerning this point.

The laws of Gautama permit marriage between different castes and the children born of them are not out-casted but are admitted into society. He mentions these children as being the originators of the different castes in society. But it is doubtful if it was ordained by Gautama. The notion that children of inter-caste marriages originated the different castes in society is a myth created by later writers.

For, despite the antipathy of the legislators, the evidence of so late a hook as the Arthasastra shows that inter-caste marriages were quite popular in society, and it was at a much later time than even Manu, that they were stopped by force of law.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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