Book III, Chapter 2, Concerning
Marriage and Women
Marriage is the basis of all disputes. The giving in marriage of a virgin well-adorned
is called "Brahma-marriage." The joint performance of sacred duties by a
man and a woman is known as "prajapatya-marriage." The giving in marriage
of a virgin for a couple of cows is called "Arsha-marriage." The giving
in marriage of a virgin to an officiating priest in a sacrifice is called "Daiva-marriage."
The voluntary union of a virgin with her lover is called "Gandharva-marriage."
Giving a virgin after receiving plenty of wealth is termed "Asura-marriage."
The abduction of a virgin is called "Rakshasa-marriage." The abduction of
a virgin while she is still asleep and intoxicated is called "Paisacha-marriage."
Of these, the first four are ancestral customs of old and are valid on their being
approved of by the father. The rest are to be sanctioned by both the father and the
mother; for it is they that receive the money paid by the bridegroom for their daughter.
In case of the absence by death of either the father or the mother, the survivor will
receive the money-payment. If both of them are dead, the virgin herself shall receive it.
Any kind of marriage is approvable, provided it pleases all those that are concerned in
Means of subsistence or jewelry constitutes what is called the property of a woman.
Means of subsistence above two thousand shall be endowed in her name. There is no limit to
jewelry. It is no guilt for the wife to make use of this property in maintaining her son,
her daughter-in-law, or herself, whenever her absent husband has made no provision for her
maintenance. In calamities, disease and famine, in warding off dangers and in charitable
acts, the husband, too, may make use of this property. . . .On the death of her husband a
woman, desirous to lead a pious life, shall at once receive not only her endowment and
jewelry, but also the balance of the marriage-price due her. If after obtaining these two
things she remarries another, she shall be caused to pay them back together with interest
on their value. . . If a widow marries any man other than of her father-in-law's
selection, she shall forfeit whatever had been given to her by her father-in-law and her
deceased husband. . . .No woman shall succeed in her attempt to establish her title to the
property of her deceased husband, after she remarries. If she lives a pious life, she may
enjoy it. No woman with a son or sons shall after remarriage be at liberty to make free
use of her property; for that property of hers, her sons shall receive. . . .
If a woman either brings forth no live children, or has no male issue, or is barren,
her husband shall wait for eight years before marrying another. If she bears only a dead
child, he has to wait for ten years. If she brings forth only females, he has to wait for
twelve years. Then, if he is desirous to have sons, he may marry another. . . If a husband
either is of bad character, or is long gone abroad, or has become a traitor to his king,
or is likely to endanger the life of his wife, or has fallen from his caste, or has lost
virility, he may be abandoned by his wife.
Book III, Chapter 3, The Duty of a Wife
Women, when twelve years old, attain their majority, and men when sixteen years old.
If, after attaining their majority, they prove disobedient to lawful authority, women
shall be fined fifteen panas, and men twice the amount. A woman who has a right to claim
maintenance for an unlimited period of time shall be given as much food and clothing as is
necessary for her, or more than is necessary in proportion to the income of her
maintainer. . . Women of refractive natures shall not be taught manners by using such
expressions as "You, half-naked!; you, fully-naked; you, cripple; you, fatherless;
you, motherless." Nor shall she be given more than three beats, either with a bamboo
bark or with a rope or with the palm of the hand, on her hips. Violation of the above
rules shall be liable to half the punishment levied for defamation and criminal hurt. The
same kind of punishments shall be meted out to a woman who, moved with jealousy or hatred,
shows cruelty to her husband. . . .
A woman who hates her husband, who has passed the period of seven turns of her menses,
and who loves another, shall immediately return to her husband both the endowment and
jewelry she has received from him, and allow him to lie down with another woman. A man,
hating his wife, shall allow her to take shelter in the house of a beggar woman, or of her
lawful guardians or of her kinsmen. . . A woman, hating her husband, cannot divorce her
husband against his will. Nor can a man divorce his wife against her will. But from mutual
enmity divorce may be obtained. . .
If a woman engages herself in amorous sports, or drinking in the face of an order to
the contrary, she shall be fined three panas. She shall pay a fine of six panas for going
out at daytime to sports or to see a woman or spectacles. She shall pay a fine of twelve
panas if she goes out to see another man or for sports. For the same offences committed at
night the fines shall be doubled. If a woman goes out while the husband is asleep or
intoxicated, or if she shuts the door of the house against her husband, she shall be fined
twelve panas. If a woman keeps him out of the house at night, she shall pay double the
above fine. If a man and a woman make signs to each other with a view to sensual
enjoyment, or carry on secret conversation for the same purpose, the woman shall pay a
fine of twenty-four panas and the man double that amount. . . .For holding conversation in
suspicious places, whips may be substituted for fines. In the center of the village, an
outcaste person may whip such women five times on each of the sides of their body.
Book III, Chapter 6, Special Shares of
Goats shall be the special shares of the eldest of sons, born of the same mother, among
Brahmans; horses among Kshatriyas; cows among Vaisyas; and sheep among Shudras. The blind
of the same animals shall be the special shares to the middlemost sons;. . .
Book IV, Chapter 12, Sexual Intercourse with
He who defiles a virgin of equal caste before she has reached her majority shall have
his hand cut off or pay a fine of 400 panas; if the virgin dies in consequence, the
offender shall be put to death. He who defiles a virgin of lesser caste who has attained
majority shall have his middle finger cut off or pay a fine of 200 panas, besides giving
an adequate compensation to her father. No man shall have sexual intercourse with a woman
against her will. He who defiles a willing virgin shall pay a fine of 54 panas, while the
maiden herself shall pay a fine of half the amount. When a man impersonates another man
who has already paid the nuptial fee to a woman, he shall have his hand cut off or pay a
fine of 400 panas, besides making good the nuptial fee. No man who has connection with a
virgin that has passed seven menses and has not yet succeeded in marrying her, though she
has been betrothed to him, shall either be guilty or pay any compensation to her father. .
.When a woman, being desirous of intercourse, yields herself to a man of the same caste
and rank, she shall be fined twelve panas, while any other woman who is an abettor in the
case shall be fined twice as much. . . A woman who, of her own accord, yields herself to a
man, shall be a slave to the king. For committing intercourse with a woman outside a
village, or for spreading false report regarding such things, double the usual fines shall
be imposed. He who carries off a virgin by force shall be fined 200 panas; if the virgin
thus carried off has golden ornaments on her person, the highest amercement shall be
imposed. . .
When a man rescues a woman from enemies, forests or floods, or saves the life of a
woman who has been abandoned in forests, forsaken in famine, or thrown out as if dead, he
may enjoy her as he wishes. A woman of high caste, with children and having no desire for
sexual enjoyment, may be let off after receiving an adequate amount of ransom. . . .
Book IV, Chapter 13, Punishment for
He who causes a Brahman to partake of whatever food or drink is prohibited shall be
punished with the highest amercement. He who causes a Kshatriya to do the same shall be
punished with the middlemost amercement; a Vaisya, with the first amercement; and a
Shudra, with a fine of 54 panas. Those who voluntarily partake of whatever is condemned,
either as food or drink, shall be outcastes. . . He who mounts the roof of his own house
after midnight shall be punished with the first amercement; and of another's house, with
the middlemost amercement. Those who break the fences of villages, gardens, or fields
shall also be punished with the middlemost amercement. . . Harm due to the construction of
unstable houses, carts with no support, or with a beam or weapon hung above, or with
damaged support, or with no covering, and harm due to causing a cart to fall in pits, or a
tank, or from a dam, shall be treated as assault. Cutting of trees, stealing the rope with
which a tameable animal is tied, employing untamed quadrupeds, throwing sticks, mud,
stones, rods, or arrows on chariots or elephants, raising or waving the arm against
chariots or elephants, shall also be treated as assault. . . .Whatever a man attempts to
do to others by witchcraft shall be done to himself.
A Kshatriya who commits adultery with an unguarded Brahman woman shall be punished with
the highest amercement; a Vaisya doing the same shall be deprived of the whole of his
property; and a Shudra shall be burnt alive wound round in mats. Whoever commits adultery
with the queen of the land shall be burnt alive in a vessel. A man who commits adultery
with a woman of low caste shall be banished, with prescribed marks branded on his
forehead, or shall be degraded to the same caste. A Shudra or an outcaste who commits
adultery with a woman of low caste shall be put to death, while the woman shall have her
ears and nose cut off. Adultery with a nun shall be punishable with a fine of twenty-four
panas, while the nun who submits herself shall also pay a similar fine. A man who forces
his connection with a harlot shall be fined twelve panas. When a man has connection with a
woman against nature, he shall be punished with the first amercement. A man having sexual
intercourse with another man shall also pay the first amercement. When a senseless man has
sexual intercourse with beasts, he shall be fined twelve panas; when he commits the same
act with idols of goddesses, he shall be fined twice as much. . . .