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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

Vasishtha accepts the thesis of Baudhayana that women possess an unrivalled means of purification (XXVIII, 4), and that women are free from stains, as they haw; a divine gift from Soma, Gandharva and Fire.145  A noticeable change was gradually taking place in the society of this period in the position of an only daughter and in her rights of inheritance. In the Vedic period an only daughter was installed by her father in the place of a son, and she consequently belonged to her father’s family, though we do no, know if she was designated by any special mime.

In the Smriti literature, however, there is a special name for such a daughter-Putrika and the synonym putra is added to it to indicate this special kind of adoption. This original significance of the word has been recorded by the author of the Mitakshara,146 who explains the term Putrika - Putra as ‘Putrika, considered as a son.’ In the Smritis, the earliest law-giver, Gautama, gives her a place next to that of a legitimate son, As regards inheritance he says,147 ‘Sapindas, Sagotras and the wife shall share the estate of a person deceased without male issue or an appointed daughter," and quotes a verse in Support of the above.148

‘A father who has no male issue may appoint his daughter to raise up a son for him, presenting burnt offerings to Agni (fire) and to Prajapati the lord of creatures and addressing the bridegroom with these words, "For me be thy male offspring." Some declare that the daughter becomes an appointed daughter, solely by the intention of the father.’

In the above, if the addition of the translators, which was evidently made to bring about a consistent sense, is put aside, and if the text alone is taken into consideration, then it unmistakably points to the Vedic custom of installing an only daughter in the, position of a son and of giving her the right to perform funeral oblations, which a father could do by the mere expression of his wish and by saying to her, Be thou my son.’

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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