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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

By prescribing these rules Manu admits the legality of inter-caste marriage. But it cannot be held that these verses are consistent with the other statements attributed to him. For, in the same context, he declares:

‘A Sudra woman is not mentioned even in any ancient story as the wife of a Brahmana or of a Kshatriya, though they lived in the greatest distress. 23 Twice-born men, who, in their folly, wed wives of the low, i.e., Sudra caste, soon degrade their families and their children to the state of Sudra’. 24

These verses, apparently, cannot be from the pen of the same legislator; for they contradict the legally recognized marriage institutions and the Laws of Inheritance. Even if they have found their way into Gautama 25 and Vasishtha, 26 they are presumably later interpolations; for, all these lawgivers, not only recognized inter-caste marriage as legal, but accepted the children of such marriage as legal heirs to the property.

The next verse represents a still later stage, when an inter-caste marriage would not only outcaste a person, but also send him to hell after death. ‘A Brahmana who takes a Sudra wife to his bed will after death sink into hell; if he begets a child by her, he will lose the rank of a Brahmana’. 27

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Women In The Sacred Laws
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