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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

A wife could not be abandoned unjustly, and any violation of that rule merited severe punishment: ‘He who has unjustly forsaken his wife shall put on an ass’s skin, with the, hair turned outside, and beg in seven houses, saying, "Give alms to him who forsook his wife." That shall be his livelihood for six months.’ 94. The punishment assigned to a wife who has neglected her duty to her husband is not very severe, especially when compared to the inhuman punishments prescribed by Manu for similar cases. He says, ‘But, if a wife for sakes her husband, she shall perform the twelve night Kriccha penance for as long a time‘. 95

As regards inheritance, the legal right of a daughter to succeed to the property of her father where there are no sons, as is implied by the term Putrika, is denied here, and a daughter can only inherit the property of her father on failure of sons, Sapindas, the spiritual teacher or his pupil, 96 who could succeed to the property in the above order on the failure of the heir, who took precedence. Ornaments and wealth received from her relations remained with a Wife. 97

Apastamba discards the appropriation of illegal children and sons of Kshetraja origin and admits, as legal heirs, only sons of the first kind of marriage, i.e., between people of equal caste. He quotes here in support of his view the text referred to by Baudhayana as the view of Aupagandhani. Sons of a woman of equal caste who has not belonged to another man, and who has been married legally,’ have a right ‘toinherit the estate‘. 98 ‘If a man approaches a woman who has been married before, or is not legally married to him, or belongs to a different caste, they both commit a sin.

’Through their sin, their son also becomes sinful. 99 He also quotes from a Gatha, which Haradatta explains as expressing the sentiments of a husband who neglects to watch his wives, as the law declares the sons of unfaithful wives to belong to the father in the next world. A Brahmana says, ‘The son belongs to the begetter ‘.100 Now they quote also the following Gatha from the Veda: ‘having considered myself formerly a father. I shall not now allow any longer my wives to be approached by other men, since they have declared that a son 'belongs to the begetter in the world of Yama.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
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