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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 Rig Vedic tradition is thus maintained by Vasishtha, and the other Northern law givers. So we find Vasishtha giving a third place among heirs to an only daughter, 149 and he declares, on the authority of the Vedas, that such a maiden belongs to her fatherís family and, becomes the son of her parents. Even Manu'150 states in unmistakable terms that the property should not be appropriated by anybody, when there are a daughter.

The evidence for the existence of such a custom is further corroborated by the incidents mentioned in the Rajatarangini, and by its prevalence in Kasmir even in recent times. 151The Southern law-givers, however reject it ; for the earliest writer of the South, Baudhayana, discards a Putrika in clear terms : the reasons for such deviation from authority and tradition are not known.

Though Apastamba authorises a daughter to inherit,152 the note, of deviation introduced by Baudhayana his was handed down to posterity. It cannot be doubted, however, that in ancient India there was this custom of installing as only daughter in the position of a son, at least in some parts and among some schools and most probably among the followers of the Rig-Vedic School.

From the foregoing survey we can deduce these following facts :

The earlier Dharma-Sastras allow greater freedom to women ; the later the lawgiver, the more strict is he in withholding liberty from women.  Gautama, being the earliest lawgiver agrees more with the customs prevalent in Vedic times. His date has been assigned to the 7th century B.C. Baudhayana, who comes next, agrees in many respects with Gautama, but differs from him in some ; the note of asceticism is evident in Baudhayana.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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