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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

The son of an unmarried girl is regarded as heir to the property of his grandfather. In support of the above, Vasishtha quotes the opinion of his predecessors, ‘If an unmarried daughter bears a son begotten by a man of equal caste, the maternal grandfather has a son through him; he shall offer the funeral cake and take the wealth of his grandfather’. 124

The sixth kind of son recognised as an heir to the property is the male child secretly born in the house.125 These six kinds of children are admitted into society as legal heirs.126 The other kinds of sons that are counted as member, of the family, are the son of a Sahodhat, the w1opted son, the son bought, the self-given son, the son cast-off, the son of a woman of Sudra-caste.127 ‘ These six,’ he declares, ‘ are kinsmen, not heirs.128 The nuptial presents of the mother are inherited by the daughters.129

The system of Niyoga is admitted by Vasishtha, and according to him the son of a widow belongs to both her husbands and not only to her former husband. A widow shall sleep on the ground for six month, after the loss of her husband, practising religious vows and abstaining from pungent condiments and salt. ‘After the completion of six months she shall bathe and offer a funeral oblation to her husband.

Then her father or her brother shall assemble the gurus who taught or sacrificed for the deceased and his relatives, and shall appoint her to raise issue to her deceased husband ;130 but a mad, ill-conducted or diseased or aged widow is forbidden to be appointed.131 ‘ If she was appointed, the child belongs to both the males connected with the appointment ‘.132

So Vasishtha allows a widow to re-marry after an interval of six months, during which time she has to lead an ascetic life. Young women, if they were not given in marriage by their guardians at the proper time, could choose for themselves and marry. 133 In Vasishtha we find a reference to child- marriage, ‘Woman who is married pregnant. where he says, ‘ Let the father marry his daughter while she still runs about naked. For, if she stays in the house after her marriageable age, sin falls on the father’.134

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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