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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 lawgivers, such as Vishnu and Brihaspati, mention the eight kinds of marriages, whereas the rest of the later group confine themselves to the Brahma marriage. We do not find even the names of the other kinds of marriages mentioned in them.

Yajnavalkya assigns greater merit and higher virtue to the Brahma marriage. This is with a view to discouraging other forms of marriage and to popularize the Brahma, marriage with the support of law. ' The son born of the Brahma marriage sanctifies 21 generation; that of the Daiva 14 generations; that of Arsha and Kayah six each.'

Vishnu, who is not much later than Yajnavalkya, agrees with him as regards the merits of the two, but differs as to the latter two kinds. Thus, according to him, Arsha saves seven generations and Prajapatya four. 4 We thus see that by the beginning of the third century the various forms of marriage were falling into desuetude and that the lawgivers were giving highest sanction only to the Brahma marriage. Vishnu not only ordains higher merit but also attaches heavenly bliss to persons who abide by this rule.

'He who gives a damsel in marriage according to the, Brahma rite brings her into the world of Brahma after her death, and enters that world himself. The Daiva rite brings her into Svarga, which he, the giver, will also enter after death, and the Arsha rite into the world of Vishnu, into which he (the giver of such a marriage) will enter after death, and the Prajapatya rite leads her to the world of the gods, which he (who gives such a marriage) himself will enter after death '. 5

Both Yajnavalkya and Vishnu prescribe a different kind of ritual for inter-caste marriages. The bride has to hold in her hand an article significant of her caste. Yajnavalkya, as we have seen, disapproves of the marriage with a Sudra, whereas Vishnu approves of it. 'Among these (wives) if a man marries one of his own castes, their hands shall be joined. In marriages with women of a different class, a Kshatriya bride must hold an arrow in her hand, a Vaisya bride a whip, a Sudra, bride the skirt of a mantle'. 6

From these law-books, meant for the general guidance of the people, little information about the domestic rituals is available. The longer treatises have some references to the domestic ceremonies, but they are not; arranged in a consistent manure.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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