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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 Jatakas, as we possess them, belong to the second of the three great divisions of the Pali-Buddhist scriptures. The legends of the Jatakas are based on the belief in the re-birth of Buddha in successive ages and his redemption of mankind from sin. There are verses in all the Jatakas; these verses are canonical, the prose portion being only a commentary, explaining how the verses came to be spoken.

Jataka legends can be traced even to the canonical Pitakas: the Sukha-Vihara Jataka and the Tittira-Jataka are found in the Culla Vagga, and Kantivatta Jataka. The Sutta and Vinaya Pitakas are generally admitted to be older than the Council of Vesali (380 B.C.). The shrines of Sanchi and Amaravati represent scene sculptured in their carvings, and the carvings of Bharhut have the titles of several Jatakas engraved on them.

This shows the extensive popularity of the stories. These bas-reliefs prove that these birth-legends were widely known in the 2nd century B.C. and were then considered as part of the sacred annals of religion. These Jataka stories thus reflect and illustrate the ideas against which religion and law was contending in the country.

They betray a low opinion of women and seem to have been designed, to illustrate the wicked nature of women. The rigorous asceticism preached by Buddha and his disciples affected to no small extent the position of women in society. Women came to be considered as the root of all evil, and stories illustrating the snares of women and their untrustworthy character were devised as a means of warning men against their evil influence.

We have in the Punnika Jataka a man making love to his daughter, in order to test her chastity.77 The Udanchani Jataka describes how a girl seduced a young hermit.78 The faithfulness of a wife is often doubted. The Radha Jataka79 describes how a Brahmin asks his two parrots to watch his wife's conduct during his absence; they note her misconduct and report it to the Brahmin on his return.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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