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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

‘Let her obtain the permission of her Gurus’ and ‘ on failure of a brother-in-law (she may obtain offspring) by (cohabiting with) a Sapinda, a Sagotra, a Samanapravara, or one who belongs to the same caste'. 17  The Vedic custom of marrying a brother-in-law was in full swing during Gautama's time, and he ordains the re- marriage of a widow immediately after the death of her husband: no interval, as prescribed by his successors, is enjoined.

Gautama thus declares: ‘Some (declare) that she shall cohabit with nobody but a brother in-law 18 and not bear more than two sons.’ 19 The limit is laid down, probably, because, as the macabreness of the custom came to be realized in society, it was kept up only as a necessity, and was carried on as a religious duty, and so the widow is enjoined to abstain from any pleasure whatsoever as soon as her task of getting a son is accomplished.

Sons of every description were recognized as legal, and they inherited the property of their father. ‘A legitimate son, a son begotten of the wife, an adopted son, a son made, a son born secretly, and a son abandoned, inherit the estate (of their father). 20 We should note in this connection the liberal Outlook of society and the great concessions made for giving legal protection to children.

Gautama enjoins that the 'son of an unmarried damsel, the son of a pregnant bride, the son of a twice-married woman, a son self given, and a son bought belong to the family (of their father).’ As in the Rig-Veda, a daughter still retained her right of inheritance and could take the place of a son, though laws were in operation to deprive her of her position.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Dharma Sutras
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