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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

In the introduction to the Asatamanta Jataka,92 the Master, while at Jetavana, says to the Brother, 'Women, Brother, are lustful, profligate, vile and degraded. Why be passion-tossed for a vile woman? The Sussondi Jataka 93 describes the unfaith- fulness of Queen Sussondi to her husband as well as to her lover. She deceived the Garuda, who was enamored of the queen and carries her off from the palace by creating a magical storm. Then he repents and says - 'Though I dwelt in the abode of the Garuda, I failed to guard her safely. What is this wicked woman to me?

We thus find most of the Jataka stories highlight the wickedness and the vile nature of women. They serve as a clue to estimate the position of a woman in those times. Types of nobler womanhood are not wanting, but they are few, compared with the enormous number of references to the wickedness of women.

Some of the Jatakas display a striking resemblance to stories in the Mahabharata and Ramayana. The Kathahari Jataka, which has been traced by the Ceylon RAS Journal, 1884, to the story of Dushyanta and Sakuntala of the Mahabharata and to Kalidasa's drama of the Lost Ring, betrays in the course of the narration the opinion about women in those times. The king, after marrying a woman whom he met in a wood, gives her a ring when leaving for his kingdom, and says:

'If it be a girl, spend this ring on her fortune; but, if it be a boy, bring the ring and the child to me.'

The child is born and grows up. One day he is taunted by his friends at playtime with having 'no father, upon which he comes to the mother and inquires about his father. The mother takes the boy to the palace and presents him to the king, saying, ' This is your son, sire.' The king knows that it is true, but, as lie is overcome by shame, he declines to recognize him, and says: 'He is no son of mine.' The mother shows the signet ring, on which he says, 'Nor is this my signet ring.' On hearing this she appeals to truth, saying, 'Wherefore, if you be the father of my child, I pray that he may stay in mid air; but if not, may he fall to earth and be killed.'

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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