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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 MANU-SAMHITA

The Manu-Samhita forms the beginning of a set of law-books, which have come down to posterity under the special designation of Samhita. It stands midway between the old law-books and the new, forming a connecting link between the ancient and the modern ‘legislators. As a code of law, it has for centuries held supreme, sway over India and the Hindu population.

The later lawgivers all based their treatises on Manu. It authoritative position in society has rendered it liable to additions by later writers, who included their views in this treatise, to make them popular and authoritative in society. Hence, under the name of Manu, we have a huge mass of legal opinions of different ages. The book has been ascribed to a Manava school, and, if the legends are to be believed, the name of Manu goes back to eternity.

But scholars have discussed its date from a linguistic and historical point of view, and have placed it between 200 B.C. and 200 A.D. Of this heterogeneous mass of legal rules, it is hard to determine how much are the genuine composition of Manu and his predecessors and how much we owe to later writers. Generally speaking, it might be presumed on reasonable grounds that the laws are more in affinity with the earlier lawgivers.

Coming to the sphere of domestic rites, Manu allows a twice-born man to marry a wife of equal caste, who is endowed with auspicious bodily marks. 1 These marks; are the same as those mentioned by Apastamba. In contemporary literature Vatsyayana mentions them. The earliest lawgivers are silent about the matter, showing thereby that these new complexities and tests of a marriage ritual had not then come into existence.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Manu-Samhita
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