‘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.