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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

The record runs thus: " Sivaneya Nayaka.... With five of his servants, fulfilled his engagement or vow with Ballala Deva.  Lakkeya Nayaka, with his wife Ganga Devi and three servants, fulfilled his engagement with Narsinga. In the Saka year specified, Kanneya-Nayaka with his wives, Ummavve Jananavve and Kallavve, and with ten maid-servants and twenty-one men-servants, six times embraced Garuda on or from the head of an elephant and fulfilled his engagement with Someshvara Deva " (K.P. 19).

'In the Saka year (specified) Singeya-Nayaka, the son of Kanneya-Nayaka, with his wives Kettavve, Honnave, Nochavve and with ten maid-servants and twenty men servants, on or from the head of an elephant, six times embraced Garuda and fulfilled his engagement with Narasimha Deva.' Inscription No. 146 of the Kadur Taluq76 which records the death of Bammarasa in the battle-field in 1180 A.D., also describes the death of his follower, Bammaya Nayaka, who sacrificed his life in order to win fame. A Virgal is said to have been erected in his memory by his son Hariyama Nayaka.

The above account clearly shows that the practice of Anumarana was widely prevalent in the north and south of India, about the 11th century A.D. The earliest reference to the existence of the custom is, however, obtained from the account of Bana. The Anumarana in its simplest form, i.e. the self-immolation of a widow on the death of her husband, can be traced to an earlier date.

It has also to be noted that the person or persons who thus immolated themselves were, with the exception of the wife or the nearest relatives, pledged to do so before hand and hence on the death of the person fulfilled their Pledge and in so doing showed their devotion to their master. The second point that is characteristically striking is that, with the exception of a single passage from the Atharva-Veda, the entire ancient Hindu literature, sacred and pro- fane, has nothing to say in support of the self-immolation of women. On the contrary, there is ample evidence that goes against such a custom.

The contemporary literature, as we have seen, condemns it and terms it as a kind of suicide. This clearly shows that the custom is foreign to Indian soil, at least to Aryan culture. It has been adopted in Aryan society only at a very late period. India has been the victim of the invader from age to age. Hordes of foreign races swept over the northern plains frequently in its earlier days, and it is not improbable that some of these foreign races brought with them this new custom, which was absorbed into Aryan culture gradually.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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