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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

Marriage has, however, to take place according to the seniority of the girls, and a violation of this order is considered a sin; Gautama, in his chapter on funeral oblations or Sraddha, where the householder, as a mark of veneration for the Pitris and for the satisfaction of their souls, has to invite people, says that those who have violated the above rule are excluded from the list: 

‘let him not feed a thief, a eunuch, an out cast, an atheist, the destroyer of the sacred fire, the husband of a younger sister married before the elder, the husband of an elder sister whose youngest sister was married first, a person who sacrifices for women or for a multitude of men.’ (XV. 16)

A reference to the son of a twice-married woman is to be met with, 15 but his censure of it is not consistent with the system of Niyoga that he sanctions. This in congruity makes dubious the authenticity of this rule. With the increase in the importance and necessity of a son, ‘lot only for the continuance of the race but also for the peace and happiness of the souls of the dead in the nether-world, sons of every description were admitted into society.

The system known as Niyoga was prevalent at this time, not under the ban of censure, as described by later lawgivers, but as a social institution, and the sons born were legal heirs to the property of the deceased.16 We thus find in Gautama: ‘A woman whose husband is dead, and who desires offspring (may bear a son) to her brother-in-law.’

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