The scope of the activities of a wife in the religious field is
restricted: he thus declares, a wife is not independent with respect to the
fulfilment of the sacred law . 9 The commentators, however, have burdened this with
some more restrictions, not evidently implied in the above, by laying down that she cannot
perform ceremonies prescribed in the Puranas without the permission of her husband.
Strict discipline in life and fidelity to her husband are demanded from
a woman. Let her not violate her duty towards her husband and let her
restrain her tongue, eyes, and actions. 10 In case the husband renounced the world,
she had, then, to lead a life of strict discipline and self- restraint; 11 but where the
husband had disappeared, the wife had to wait for him for six years before she could marry
again, and, if at the end of six years the husband returned, she had to go back to him.
A father, however, had to give his daughter in marriage as soon as she
attained marriageable age, and any negligence on the part of the father was considered a
sin.13 Gautama does not give the exact age at which a girl should marry. A
child-marriage is to be found, though it is of doubtful authenticity, for the
corresponding Grhya rituals are definitely instituted for mature people.
Hence Gautamas remark Some (declare that a girl shall be given in
marriage) before she wears clothes 14 is not compatible with the rituals of the
Grhya-Sutras. It is, in all probability, an addition of later writers. Gautama, on the
other hand, allows self- choice to girls who have not been given in marriage at the proper
age, but they have to surrender their right to the property of their