Contemporaneous with the legal literature of this period is the works of
Kautilya (1) and Vatsyayana. The Artha Sastra of Kautilya records contemporary legal opinion
of the 4th century B.C., outside the schools of Law. Some scholars, like
Hillebrandt, would have it that the book does not belong to a particular author, but to a
school existing in that name.
Their argument is mainly based on the occurrence of Iti Kautilya 72
times in the book. This doubt in regard to authorship has been met by others, but to a
close examination of the internal and external evidence has cleared such doubts to some
However, Kautilya was the Minister of the historical King Chandra
Gupta, and, as such, his work provides, evidence of the society of his times. He lived at
a time when the schools of law were progressing in the South, and his descriptions of
conditions and laws are more reminiscent of the atmosphere of Northern India and
especially of the courts of kings.
The third chapter of this book deals with marriage and subjects
relating to women. He Kautilya begins his discourse by saying Marriage
precedes business. He enumerates, as do the lawgivers, eight kinds of marriages as
legal: the Brahma, Prajapatya, Arsha, Daiva, Gandharva, Asura, Rakshasa and Paisacha. He
defines them exactly as the other lawgivers.