[an error occurred while processing this directive]
HinduNet
  
Forums Chat Annouce Calender DigiCards Recommend Remote Invites
[an error occurred while processing this directive]


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

One of these, not being master of him, is carried to an altogether different world acquired as a fruit of his Karman. This other person is merely conjoined with the sin of one who commits suicide. If the person survives, he or she can do much good to the deceased and to him self or herself by offering water etc. (to the spirit); but, if the person dies, he or she can do good to neither". 62

The above is one of the most interesting passages in Sanskrit literature: it supplies us with contemporary evidence on the subject under discussion. It throws a flood of light upon the period when it was written. The first and foremost point that strikes us on reading it is that it was not merely the self-annihilation of the widow but a general annihilation of persons or things related to the dead person, known as Anumarana.

It was this custom that was prevalent when Bana wrote. It was not merely the case of a woman following her dead husband as Sati, but that on the demise of a father, brother, friend, his sorts or daughters, his brothers or sisters, and his or her friends, immolated themselves. Such a thing is unheard-of, and no instance of it is known from any kind of Indian literature, secular or sacred, prior to the time of Bana.

Instances of this general Anumarana are by no means lacking in inscriptions and chronicles of a later period. But it can be asserted, without any fear of contradiction, that such a custom was unknown to India before Bana flourished. The second point that has to be recorded is that Bana passes the same verdict on this Anumarana as has been passed by Medhatithi, viz. that it is an act of suicide.

Thirdly, Bana asserts in the most unambiguous terms that this immolation does no good at all to the person concerned, Whose destination is already determined by his Karman, while living on earth. In the law-codes, however, it is the Vishnu Smriti that sanctions widow burning, for the first time in the religious and legal literature of India. The Vishnu Smriti has been supposed, to have been compiled soon after the 5th century A.D. We have now to see if there is any epigraphic evidence shedding light on the subject.

Back ] Women In The Sacred Laws ] Up ] Next ]

Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
Page1
Page2
Page3
Page4
Page5
Page6
Page7
Page8
Page9
Page10
Page11
Page12
Page13
Page14
Page15
Page16
Page17
Page18
Page19
Page20
Page21
You are Here! Page22
Page23
Page24
Page25
Page26
Page27
Page28
Page29
Page30
Page31
Page32
Page33
Page34

[an error occurred while processing this directive]
More Information about HinduNet Inc.
Privacy Statement
The Hindu Universe is a HinduNet Inc., website.
Copyrighted 1994-2003, HinduNet Inc.