These affinities with the Sama - Veda have made scholars associate it with
the Sama Vedic School. Its date has been assigned to the 7th century B.C. and
hence it is contemporaneous with the close of the Brahmanic period. Marriage, according to
Gautama, is a social contract, and certain limitations are laid on it.
Thus it could be contracted between persons who were not of the same
Pravaras 2 and ‘who were not related within six degrees on the father’s side
and four degrees on the mother’s side’.3 The girl must be one of
unmarried, and younger than the bride groom. 4
Gautama mentions eight kinds of marriages, viz., the Brahma,
Prajapatya, Arsha, Daiva, Gandharva, Asura, Rakshasa and Paisacha. He defines them exactly
as Asvalayana defines them. Of these the, first four he recognizes as legal.
But according to his predecessors the first six are legal. 5
Gautama is the earliest law-giver whose works have been preserved, we have to presume
that all these eight kinds of marriages came into prevalence some time before
Gautama’s time, though the contemporary literature of his times does not furnish us
with any material concerning this point.
The laws of Gautama permit marriage between different castes and the
children born of them are not out-casted but are admitted into society. He mentions these
children as being the originators of the different castes in society. But it
is doubtful if
it was ordained by Gautama. The notion that children of inter-caste marriages originated
the different castes in society is a myth created by later writers.
For, despite the
antipathy of the
legislators, the evidence of so late a hook as the Arthasastra shows that inter-caste
marriages were quite popular in society, and it was at a much later time than even Manu,
that they were stopped by force of law.