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Position Of Woman In Devalasmriti

Devala was an ancient lawgiver in Hindu religion. He was said to have taken a revolutionary view of Hindu religious customs and practices and it is found in Devalasmriti. Devala’s Dharmasutra is written in prose and verse.

Devalasmriti, in 90 verses, is a later compilation and deals with purificatory and expiratory ceremonies. Prose passages and verses from Devalasmriti are quoted in several works on Dharmashastra, including those of Apraraka on Yajnavalkya Smriti and of Devanna Bhatta in his Smritichandrika.

Devala describes eleven men and eight women to be honored as gurus. The eight women are mother, mother’s mother, wife of the preceptor, sister of the father and that of mother, mother in law, grandmother and eldest foster mother. Discussing polygamy, Devala assigns a certain priority to wives.

Devala points out that neither the father nor the mother, having only a daughter, needs to have any fear of going to hell, if they bring up the daughters properly and give them in marriage to suitable persons.

As per Devalasmriti, family, conduct, age, character and beauty were the five qualifications to be considered for marriage. Devala does not give much importance to the education of women. Marriage should be considered as a sacrament, otherwise it is invalid. Devala permits remarriage of women when the husband has died, or when he becomes an ascetic, or when he is impotent, or when he becomes an outcaste or turns traitor. For propagation of the race a woman can have another husband, even if her earlier husband is alive or dead.

About the share and inheritance of ancestral property, Devala follows Manu is various major aspects.