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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

‘It is declared in the Veda, " A maiden who has no brothers comes back to the male ancestors of her own family; returning, she becomes their son." With reference to this matter there is a verse to be spoken by the father when appointing his daughter, " I shall give thee a brotherless damsel, decked with ornaments ; the son whom she may bear shall be my son." The fourth is the son of a re-married woman.’ (XVII. 6).

It is evident from the above that Vasishtha reverts to the old Vedic order of giving the place of a son to an only daughter. * She comes back to the male ancestors of her family.’ Substituting her son in her place later modified this. This modification of later times is embodied in the next verse in the above. But these two verses, though standing, side by side in the above context belong, by no means, to one age. They represent two ages.

But which of these is Vasishtha’s view is difficult to determine. If the second view is not an interpolation of later writers, it can be safely asserted that the above modification of the Vedic law was the work of Vasishtha, to be consistent with his predecessor, Baudhayana. Among the contemporary lawgivers of Vasishtha’s time, Apastamba adheres to the same view. It is also evident from the above that Vasishtha admits the re-marriage of women and gives legal recognition to their sons.

But opinions differed as to the definition of the term ‘re-married.’ He gives two definitions of the term; She is called re-married (Punarbhu) who, leaving the husband of her youth and, having lived with others, reenters his family.’ ‘ And she is called re-married who, leaving an impotent, out-caste, or mad husband, or after the death of her husband, takes another lord’.123

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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