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
"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
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."