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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

Here stress is laid on family, health, age and riches of a man, along with other qualities; whereas, in the former more stress is laid on character and learning. Yajnavalkya adds another quality to be considered; the prospective bridegroom must be 'intelligent and popular'.39 Narada lays down further rules for the examination of the bridegroom.  We thus see the gradual change that was taking place in the outlook on life. The whole mental vision seems to have changed from the beginning of the Christian Era, for unusual stress on kulam is laid only by the later law givers.

Verses, though contradictory in sense, are to be found in Manu; his view is explicitly in favour of getting the daughters married when a suitable husband is available otherwise they should stay at their father's house rather than marry anyone who is not worthy of them. 40. The lawgivers of later schools are definitely for child-marriage. This resulted in the creation of certain names to denote a girl at different ages.

'A girl when eight years old, is called a Gauri, at nine a Rohini, at ten a Kanyaka and at 12 a Vrshali'. 41 Yama classified thus: 'At eight a girl, is a Gauri, at nine, a Nagnika, at ten she is called a Kanyaka and twelve she is known as a Vrshali.' So Yama and Samvarta agree as to the age of the girl, though they differ in names. Marichi, a lawgiver who seems to have flourished not long after Samvarta, has a statement in which he attributes virtue and merit to the father who gives his daughters in marriage at the age stipulated by them. The designations of girls of different ages agree with those of Yama, from which it can be concluded that Marichi lived soon after Samvarta. He thus describes the fruit reaped by the father by encouraging such marriages: -

'By giving away a Gauri (one attains) the highest place in heaven, by giving a Rohini Vaikuntam, by giving a Kanya the region of Brahman, and by giving a Rajasvata the hell called Rorava '. 42 Soon after the time of Manu and Yajna- valkya religion and law was alike striving to bring into force child marriage. The highest merit in heaven is thus set as a reward for a man who gives his daughter before she attains the age of eight.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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