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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

As against this, we have in Manu the view of the age of tolerance, which permitted inter-caste marriage. ‘For the first marriage of twice-born men wives of equal caste are recommended; but for those who, through desire, proceed to marry again the following females, chosen according to the direct order of the castes, 28 are most approved.’

Hence these contradictory opinions represent different periods of Indian history. Now it can be asked, to what periods of Indian history do they exactly correspond? An answer to this question will be based mainly on conjecture. Gautama and Baudhayana represent schools of law when the caste system was not so predominant and rigorous, for they put little stress on caste in the institution of marriage.

Manu expresses in some of his verses not only extreme contempt for the Sudra, but the rigid stamp of caste system. Vasishtha stands between these two schools and represents a society that was fast becoming rigorous but he still sounds a note of toleration. Gautama thus reflects a Pre-Buddhist society, and Vasishtha a post Buddhist society, and Manu that of a conservative Hindu society, where castes and creeds had become more prominent and special safeguards had to be made for its protection from disorder.

Apastamba refers clearly to this change in his treatise, and declares that the laws of antiquated India will not suit his times; the sages of olden days were specially gifted, and hence strict and rigorous rules were not needed for them, whereas, for the men and women of his times they were absolutely necessary.

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Women In The Sacred Laws
About The Manu-Samhita
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