Faces of the Feminine in Ancient, Medieval, and Modern India

By Mandakranta Bose | Go to book overview
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us they once at least partially had -- namely, equal rights with men in marriage, divorce, and remarriage.


Notes
1.
A similar verse also appear in Naradasmṛti xii-97, Agni Purāḳa 154.6, and Viṣṇudharmottara Purāḳa ii.87.11, iii.329.14.
2.
In the Nāradīya ManusaṀhitā, which does not give that ascription, it appears with a slight variation:

In case of the husband's renunciation or disappearance or impotence or loss of caste or death: in these five predicaments a woman is allowed to remarry.

3.

One who at first marrying a husband afterwards marries another may not be separated if five dishes of rice and a goat are offered by them. If five dishes of rice, goat and fees are offered, the second husband attains same world with the remarried wife.

4.
Manusmṛti v.144-147
5.
Gautama Dharma sūtra ii.6.18. Manusmṛti iii. 145-56; Yājñavalkyasmṛti i.222, 224.
6.
The custom of niyoga stands for the practice of appointing a substitute male to procreate progeny for a deceased man in his wife's body. As the following judgments show, custom came to override the scriptural provision for niyoga.

When dharmaśāstra (religious law) is controversial, a rule based on logic is to be followed. Custom is powerful, and religious law is overruled by it.

The injunction of the dharmaśāstra (that) "the brother-in-law or a sapiṇa or a sagotra intending to procreate a son, with the permission of the preceptor, will approach a sonless woman in the monthly period, being annointed with clarified butter," and also the rule that "a woman is ordained [to take another husband in five calamitious conditions, such as] the disappearance or death of her husband," though prescribed by the dharmaśāstra, have been abandoned in actual practice. Asahaya's interpretation of the verse naṣṭe mṛte . . . is not available, as Asahaya's commentary has not yet been obtained in its entire form.

-16-

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