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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 LATER LAW - BOOKS

Brihaspati, who is later than Manu, lessens the age of a girl still more. He says, ' A man of thirty may marry a girl of ten, and one of twenty-one may marry a girl seven years old.' The Vishnu Purana, 32 on the other hand, states the relation of the age of a girl and the boy should be one to three. 33 Hence the, Vishnu Purana is in substantial agreement with Brihaspati. Outside the law-codes, we find in the Mahabharata a passage where the marriageable age is mentioned as sixteen. It appears in one of the commentaries "Trimsat-Varsho shodashabdam bharyam vindeta nagnikam."

As the quality of the children was in accordance with the quality of the family, a close examination of the family, according to the rules laid down, was necessary. Yama enumerates 10 kinds of families that are to be avoided. Manu, too, is explicit about the kinds of families to be avoided in marriage. 34 Harita says: 'The children are, born according to their families. 'Hence great stress is laid on the family. A Mahakula, is always the, best for such a connection. Yajnavalkya 35 defines a Mahakula thus:

"A family whose ten generations, five each on the father and mother's side, are well known is called a ten-generation famed: such a one is Mahakulam. A man should marry a girl from such a family." We have in Manu, too, a statement in support of the above: 'let him who desires to raise his race ever form connections with the most excellent men and shun all low ones' 36

Hence, we find, in the lawgivers, beginning with Manu, more emphasis being laid on the greatness of the family, an element not to be found in the earlier law-books. The later lawgivers have definitely laid stress on kulam or family as one of the attributes to be sought at the time of fixing the match.

The opinion of the earlier lawgivers was different. Gautama asserts 37 a girl should be given to one who is educated, and a man of character. Gautama, thus though laying stress on other qualities, does not mention family. But in Yama we find: "The wise should give their daughter after investigating the seven qualities-family, mentality, health, age, education, wealth and support."

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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