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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 support of this we have the following from the Markandeya Purana: 'The funeral rites of a maiden wedded in accordance with the marriages beginning with Brahma, i.e. Brahma, Daiva, Prajapatya and Arsha, should be performed by the Gotra of her husband; but of marriages beginning with Gandharva, i.e. the last four kinds, by the Gotra of her father'. 16

The above reveals to us two important points: (1) the legal importance given to the persons, viz. father, brother and others who are entitled to give away the maiden in marriage and (2) the cause of the rejection of the last four kinds of marriages as lawful. As the bride did not obtain the Gotra and the sameness of Pinda with her husband, they were not counted as marriages at all and hence became obsolete in society.

This notion, that, unless the girl is given away by her guardians, she does not belong to the family husband, is clearly a later development; for we do not find anything in support of it in the earlier law-books. In the Grhya-Sastras, this part of the ritual has not attained such unique legal importance. In the earliest Grhya rituals there is no mention of it. It gradually developed until it acquired this legal importance at the bands of later lawgivers.

It is clear from the above that the entire question of consanguinity depended upon the sharing of the funeral cake, or Pinda, by the Pitrus in the life after death. The same eschatological belief that stressed the necessity of a son and laid such extraordinary emphasis on the birth of sons at the sacrifice of all other considerations in the earlier ages, now formed the basis for determining the question of consanguinity and the validity of the marriages of later times.

The marriage ceremony as described in the Grhya-sutras extended over four clays; but it is not clear at what stage the, marriage could be considered valid. The earlier Dharma-Sastras, too, have not mentioned any thing about it. The arrangement of the constituent parts of the ceremony is not the same in all schools. As the ceremony of taking mutual vows before the fire, which was considered a witness of the union, the centre of the older ritual, and as all the schools unanimously adopt this, it may be presumed that this determined the validity of the marriage.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Later Law Books
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