by R. Shamasastry | 1956 | 174,809 words | ISBN-13: 9788171106417
The English translation of Arthashastra, which ascribes itself to the famous Brahman Kautilya (also named Vishnugupta and Chanakya) and dates from the period 321-296 B.C. The topics of the text include internal and foreign affairs, civil, military, commercial, fiscal, judicial, tables of weights, measures of length and divisions of time. Original ...
If, under any other excuse than danger, a woman gets out of her husband’s house, she shall be fined 6 paṇas. If she gets out against the order (of her husband) to the contrary, she shall be fined 12 paṇas. If she goes beyond her neighbouring house (prativeśagṛhātigata), she shall be fined 6 paṇas. If she allows into her house her neighbour, takes into her house the alms of any mendicant, or the merchandise of any merchant, she shall be fined 12 paṇas. If she deals as above though expressly forbidden, she shall be punished with the first amercement. If she goes out beyond the surrounding houses (parigṛhātigatāyā), she shall be fined 24 paṇas. If, under any other excuse than danger, she takes into her house the wife of another man, she shall be fined 100 paṇas. But she will not be guilty if the entrance is effected without her knowledge or against. her orders to the contrary.
My teacher says: With a view to avoid danger, it is no offence for women to go to any male person who is a kinsman of her husband, or is a rich and prosperous gentleman (sukhāvastha), or is the headman of the village, or is one of her guardians (anvādhikula), or who belongs to the family of a mendicant woman, or to any one of her own kinsmen.
But Kauṭilya questions: How is it possible for good women (sādhvījana) to know at least this fact, that the family of her own kinsmen consisting of a number of males is good? It is no offence for women to go to the houses of kinsmen under the circumstances of death, disease, calamities, and confinement of women. Whoever prevents her going under such circumstances, shall be fined 12 paṇas. If a woman conceals herself under such circumstances, she shall forfeit her endowment. If her kinsmen conceal her (with a view to exempt her from giving her aid under such circumstances) they shall lose the balance of śulka money due to them from her husband for giving her in marriage. Thus vagrancy is dealt with.
(Elopement or Criminal Rendezvous)
If, leaving her husband’s house, a woman goes to another village, he shall not only pay a fine of 12 paṇas, but also forfeit her endowment and jewels (sthāpyābharaṇalopaśca). If under any other excuse than receiving her subsistence or pilgrimage (dharmadānatīrthagamanābhyāmanyatra), a woman goes to any other place, even in company with an associable man, she shall not only pay a fine of 24 paṇas, but also lose all kinds of social privileges (sarvadharmalopaśca), But the man who allows such a woman to accompany him in his journey shall be punished with the first amercement. If both of them (man and woman) have similar ideals in life (tulyaśreyaso) and are of sinful life (pāpiyasoh [pāpiya?]), each of them shall be punished with the middlemost amercement. If he whom a woman accompanies in her journey is her near relative, he shall not be punished. If a relative allows a woman to accompany him, though he is forbidden, he shall be punished with half the above fine (middlemost amercement). If on a road, or in the middle of a forest, or in any other concealed places a woman falls into the company of any other man, or if, with a view to enjoyment, she accompanies a suspicious or forbidden man, she shall be guilty of elopement (saṅgrahaṇam vidyāt). It is no offence for women to fall into the company of actors, players, singers, fishermen, hunters, herdsmen, vintners or persons of any other kind who usually travel with their women. If a man takes a woman with him on his journey, though forbidden to do so, or if a woman accompanies a man though she is forbidden to do so, half of the above fines shall be meted out to them. Thus elopement is dealt with.
(Re-marriage of Women)
Wives who belong to Śūdra, Vaiśya, Kṣatriya or Brahman caste, and who have not given birth to children, should wait as long as a year, two, three, and four years respectively for their husbands who have gone abroad for a short time; but if they are such as have given birth to children, they should wait for their absent husbands for more than a year. If they are provided with maintenance, they should wait for twice the period of time just mentioned. If they are not so provided with, their well-to-do jñātis should maintain them either for four or eight years. Then the jñātis should leave them to marry, after taking what had been presented to them on the occasion of their marriages. If the husband is a Brāhman, studying abroad, his wife who has no issue should wait for him for ten years; but if she has given birth to children, she should wait for twelve years. If the husband is a servant of the king, his wife should wait for him till her death; but even if she bears children to a savarṇa husband (i.e. a second husband belonging to the same gotra as that of the former husband), with a view to avoid the extinction of her race, she shall not be liable to contempt thereof (savarṇataśca prajātā nā’pavādam labheta). If the wife of an absent husband lacks maintenance and is deserted by well-to-do jñātis, she may re-marry one whom she likes and who is in a position to maintain her and relieve her misery.
A young wife (kumārī) who is wedded in accordance with the customs of the first four kinds of marriage (dharmavivāhāt), and whose husband has gone abroad and is heard of shall wait for him for the period of seven menses (saptatīrthānyākaṅkṣeta), provided he has not announced his departure; but she shall wait for him a year in case of his having announced the same. In the case of a husband who is gone abroad but who is not heard of, his wife shall wait for the period of five menses, but if the absent husband is not heard oḥ his wife shall wait for him for the period of ten menses. In the case of a husband who is gone abroad and is not heard of, his wife shall, if she has received only a part of śulka from him, wait for him for the period of three menses; but if he is heard of, she shall wait for him for the period of seven menses. A young-wife who has received the whole amount of śulka shall wait for the period of five menses for her absent husband who is not heard of; but if he is heard of, she shall wait for him for the period of ten menses. Then with the permission of judges (dharmasthairvisṛṣtā), she may marry one whom she likes; for, neglect of intercourse with wife after her monthly ablution is, in the opinion of Kauṭilya, a violation of one’s duty (tīrthoparodhohi dharmavadha iti Kauṭilyaḥ).
In the case of husbands who have long gone abroad (dīrghapravāsin), who have become ascetics, or who have been dead, their wives, having no issue, shall wait for them for the period of seven menses; but if they have given birth to children, they shall wait for a year. Then (each of these women) may marry the brother of her husband. If there are a number of brothers to her lost husband, she shall marry such a one of them as is next in age to her former husband, or as is virtuous and is capable of protecting her, or one who is the youngest and unmarried. If there are no brothers to her lost husband, she may marry one who belongs to the same gotra as her husband’s or a relative, i.e. of the same family. But if there are many such persons as can be selected in marriage, she shall choose one who is a nearer relation of her lost husband.
* If a woman violates the above rule by re-marrying one who is not a kinsman (dāyāda) of her husband, then the woman and the man who re-marry each other, those that have given her in re-marriage and those who have given their consent to it shall all be liable to the punishment for elopement.
[Thus ends Chapter IV, “Vagrancy, Elopement and Short and Long Sojournments,” in the section “Concerning Marriage,” in Book III, “Concerning Law” of the Arthaśāstra of Kauṭilya. End of the section concerning marriage. End of the sixty-first chapter from the beginning.]
Footnotes and references:
Tīrthagamana: intercourse with the husband after menses.—T. M.—Com.
Compare N. 12, 97-100; Vas. 17, 74-80; M. 9, 76-77; Gaut. 18, 15-17.