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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

This is clear even from a superficial study of the Vishnu and the Brihaspati Smriti, which were put together between the 5th and the 9th centuries A.D. Hindu society was completely revolutionized soon after this, and we find new Smriti and new commentaries springing up and holding up the custom of widow-burning or Anumarana as the ideal thing for a widow in comparison with life-long asceticism. They last no doubt mention this, but only incidentally.

On the other hand, this practice was exceedingly eulogized, and celestial felicity of the highest type was promised to the widow who immolated herself. In fact, she was believed to raise her dead husband even from bell and make him a participant of her heavenly bliss. The period between the 5th and 9th centuries was a period of transition. The practice of Anumarana was, no doubt, gaining ascendancy, but authors and scholars did not want who condemned it. Such was Medhatithi, and we have already seen in what way exactly he has condemned it.

He was, however, a scholiast and probably belonged to one school of Law. This was not, however, the case with the poet Bana, who flourished in the 7th century A.D. and was a protégé of Harshavardhana, the supreme ruler of Northern India. His views on the subject have been embodied in a characteristic passage of the Kadambari. It is as follows :-

"This practice which is called Anumarana is utterly fruitless. This, is a path followed by the illiterate, this is a manifestation of infatuation, this is a course of ignorance, this is an act of foolhardiness, this is short sightedness, this is a stumbling through stupidity, viz. that life is put an end to when a parent brother, friend, or husband is dead. Life should not be ended, if it does no, leave one of itself.

If the matter is properly considered, this suicide has, indeed, a selfish object, inasmuch as it is intended to arrest the unendurable pain of bereavement. But it brings no good, whatsoever, to the deceased. Certainly it is not a means of reviving him (i.e. the deceased) nor does it cause any augmentation of religious merit, nor is it a means to attain to a world of bliss, nor does it prevent falling into hell, nor is it a means of meeting the deceased, nor does it lead to mutual re-union.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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