May 15, 2008

Bhadrabahu Samhita: Jain Law

By Acharya Bhadrabahu
Translated by J.L. Jaini

1. In the world, the existence of a son is such a source of happiness that, in the absence of a son, one's birth if fruitless, and a son is taken in adoption by men.

2. If a man has many brothers, and if they are one mind, it is due to his great punya (religious merit). So the great Risis (ascetics) have said!

3. Because of the decline in religious merit, those many brothers for greed of wealth entertain hostile feelings. To remove this trouble, this Law of Partition in undertaken.

4. On the death of father and mother, all those brothers get together the patrimony and divide it equally among themselves. But during the lifetime of the father (the brothers take only), according to the desire of the father.

5. The eldest son alone takes the remaining property of the father. The other brothers, looking, upon him (the eldest son) as a father, should live, in accordance with his wishes.

6. By the birth of the first-born son a man becomes putri, i.e., sonful or a man having a son: and how many soever may be born afterwards, the first-born remains the head of them all.

7. By the birth of the Dharma (religious, i.e., begotten as a duty) son (i.e., the first son) the world calls a man's life fruitful otherwise he is called sinful. This is very surprising.

8-9. Men by having sons become religiously meritorious; and by being sonless, sinful. In this world, many with sons are seen in a low position and begging for grains. And sonless Tirthankaras (the Jaina men-gods) are found to attain the Five Great Acquisitions. [The Panchakalyânâ are: Human conception (grabha), Human Birth (janma), Austerities (tapa), Omniscience (kevala jnâna), and Salvation (moksa)], their lotus-feet are worshipable by the god of gods, and they are possessed of insight into the three worlds.

10. It is the duty of the eldest brother to protect like a father his undivided younger brothers. And these younger brothers also should always look upon the eldest brother as a father.

Commentary: Although it is an effect of religious merit that brothers should be of one mind, yet it is desirable to live separately, for the increase of dharmma (religion or piety). For the merit arising from feeding ascetics, from charity, etc. (on partition), shall accrue to each brother separately, and which merit is rewarded in the form of birth in bhogabhûmi (the land of enjoyment, where men do nothing and get all they want from wishing-trees).

11. Divided brothers live separately each with his own family; for religious merit is increased much by charity, worship, etc.

12. The wealth (that is partitioned) is of two kinds: Sthavara (immoveable) and Jangama (moveable). That property which cannot go from place to place, for example, land etc., is called sthâvara.

13. And that which can be taken from place to place is jangama (moveable), e.g. silver, gold, ornaments, clothes, cattle, women, etc.

14. Sthavara (immoveable property) is not subject to partition, and even such a desire should not be entertained. "In this fourth part of the house, I shall live, you live in that part"- thus (the brothers should) arrange.

15. All brothers from the moveable property that is to be partitioned should give some portion to the eldest brother, and then divide the remainder equally with him.

16. Cattle, etc., being equally divided should be taken (by the brothers), according to the desire of each one. But if some one is unable to take his share, the others can undoubtedly appropriate it.

17. If the brothers have one or more uterine sisters, a fourth part of the share of each brother should be collected and the girls married.

18. The share of a married daughter in the property of the father, in the presence of her brothers, is nothing. Whatever the father gave her at the time of marriage, that only belongs to her.

19. Their mother is also said to be entitled to an equal share with the brothers (her sons). She is entitled to a slightly larger share for meeting the ordinary social expenses (vyavahârârtha). And on her death, all share it.

20. Of the twin-born sons, the son that is produced first is said to be the first-born or the eldest. And the wise have considered him to be entitled to the privileges of the first born at the time of partition.

21. If a daughter is born first, and a son is born afterwards, then also the son is eldest born and not the daughter, according to the Jaina scriptures (jinagama).

22. If a man has only a daughter, and other male issue (santâna) is non-existent, that daughter and her son become the sole owners of the wealth of her father.

23. In the absence of the aforesaid dispositions (rules), a daughter is like a son. For purposes of partition (dâyabhâga) and oblation ceremonies (pindadâna), the daughter's sons are like the sons.

24. The son is born as one's own self. The daughter is like a son. Then, in the presence of that daughter, like one's own self, how can another take the wealth?

25. The mother's property goes to the daughter, whether she be married or unmarried. And of the property of a sonless father, the daughter's son becomes the owner.

26. In this world there is no difference between one's daughter's sons or a son, both of whom are born of the same union and of the same two bodies of a man and his wife.

27. A married daughter dying and being without a son, her husband alone always is the owner of her stridhana, her property.

28. In the absence of thee two (husband and wife), a son, or adopted son of the family, devoted to the father, full of merits, becomes owner of the property of the father.

29. The sons born of a Brahman, Ksatriya, or Vaisya girl married to a Brahman, have their shares thus laid down by the wise.

30. Of the father's immoveable and moveable property, and cattle, etc., ten equal shares have to be made. Each brother should take thus:

31. Four shares should be taken by the sons of the Brahman mother; three by that of the Ksatriya, two of that of the Vaisya mother; and one should be given for religious purposes.

32. The male and female-servants (or slaves) in the house should be maintained by the younger brother, or all brothers united should make arrangement for food and clothes for them.

33. Sons by a Ksatriya father, born of a wife of the same varna (i.e., a Ksatriya woman) get one half of the father's property, and the sons of a Vaisya wife get one-fourth of the same. The sons of a Sudra wife take only what the father has given them, as clothes, etc.

34. The sons of a Vaisya father by a wife of the same varna (i.e. a Vaisya wife) become owners of all his property. His sons by a Sudra wife are entitled only to food and clothes. This is the rule of (inheritance among) the three varna (Brahman, Ksatriya and Vaisya).

35. The sons of a Sudra father by a Sudra wife whether they are one, two or more, or even a hundred, become owners of equal shares.

36. If, of brothers both of the same father, one has a son, all the brothers are considered to be sonful (with a son), because of that son. So it is said by the wise.

37. If of a man's many wives, one becomes the mother of a son, all his wives are considered to be sonful with (a son), because of that son. So it is said by the wise.

38. All these wives dying, that son undoubtedly takes the property of them all. When even one sister (of his mother, i.e., her co-wives) does not remain, the son of that (mother) takes the property of the husband.

39. Not having a son of their bodies, the parents should take a son in adoption. For the adopted son also, like a son of the body, serves the parents affectionately.

40. A sonless man or woman takes a son in adoption. First, they take a writing before witnesses (sasaksi) from the mother and father of the son (to be taken in adoption).

41-42. Having the writing attested by one's relations and people of brotherhood; having it sealed by the King's officers with the royal seal; they invite the man and women of their family and have music, dancing and singing, along with auspicious introductory prayer.

43. In a Jaina temple perform the auspicious ceremony of dvârôdhghâtana (opening the door) and other good deeds (charity, etc.); and place a pitcher of ghee and svastika, and instal the guru (preceptor) before the image of the god.

44-45. Having given head-cloth and waist-cloth (uttariya and adho bastra) (for use in worship) in the temple and having tinkled the sacred bell, they return to their home and give betel-leaves and sreephala (the bilva fruit), etc., previously sprinkled with saffron, to men and women and to servants. Having feasted all, they perform the birth ceremony.

46. The father of the boy should accept and keep the diadems (literally, "crown", mukuta, but here "cap"), sreephala, etc., and one, two, three or four coins (mudrâ) brought by the brotherhood and others.

47. When giving and taking has taken place according to these rites and ceremonies, then the boy is said to be the son of this man (the adoptive father).

48. And it is then alone that in works of estate and trade the son gets recognition, and becomes entitled to land, villages and other things.

49. And then he (the adopted son) obtains ownership and respect in the world, on this samsakâra (the birth ceremony being performed), and the mother and father are considered to be sonful (puttrina).

50-52. If the adopted son beyond the control of the parents, he should be counseled by the parents in persuasive language. then, with the same object, he should promptly be threatened by the father. Then his fault should be disclosed to his (natural) parents, and they should counsel him. If he does not improve, the adoptive father should obtain the acquiescence of his relations and the King's officers, and expel the boy from the house. The King, then, cannot listen to any petition of his rights by the expelled boy.

53. A woman, adopting a boy, and making over all authority to him, puts him in possession of all the moveable and immoveable property, in order to devote herself to her religious practices.

54. And if by chance this boy dies, efforts should be made to protect from theft the property of the husband.

55. But in his place a new boy cannot be installed. The Jaina scriptures do not allow this, (even) if the son dies unmarried.

56. That property (left by the deceased adopted boy) goes to the daughter's son, daughter's issue or to sister's son; or to son-in-law, or may be given to some one else, or employed in feasting the community or in other religious purposes.

57. If the son is dead, it is permissible to instal a son in one's own place; but a new boy may not be installed in the place of the unmarried (deceased) one.

58. In the life-time of the parents, he (the adopted son) has no power to hold or sell the moveable and immoveable property of the father and mother and of the grand-father.

59. In property acquired by the father-in-law or descended from his ancestors, the son's widow is said to have no right to meet her personal expenses whatsoever.

60. One can meet one's proper expenses for social, communal or religious purposes from joint property or from property partitioned, without the consent of the son.

61. On his death, his widow is powerless to alienate the property; she can have an allowance for food and clothes only in proportion to the estate.

62. The son has full control over the property for purposes of trade; but in the presence of the mother he has no power to spend the moveable property.

63. On the son's death, his widow inherits all his property; she should, however, for some time live respectfully with her mother-in-law.

64. Preserving the husband's bed, protecting the family and fixed in her religion, she should instal her son in the place of her husband.

65. The mother-in-law of the widow has no right to obstruct her in installing her son in the estate of her husband. Nor her father and mother have any such power.

66. Good people do not take back the four kinds of property that has been given. Otherwise they go to hell with their families.

67. When a man dies, leaving many sons, and any of the brothers be affected by impotency, etc., then there should not be an equal division to all out of the property of the father.

68. Those who are lame, lunatic, impotent, blind, vicious, hunch-backed, and idiotic should be looked after by their brothers, but they are not entitled to a son's share (in patrimony).

69-70. The manager shall be counselled by the widow in persuasive language (sweet words). If he does not listen to the advice, he should in the first instance be counselled through the King, and his officers, etc. If he does the same again, then, with the
consent of the officers of the king, he should, whether old or new, be publicly expelled from the house.

71. The widow, descended from a good family, should exert herself and preserve the property even as her husband did. And, in accordance with the family traditions, should have her business taken care of by other proper persons.

72. Similarly, she should support the family and relations, so as to obtain the good opinion of the world and an increase of wealth.

73. The good lady may, like her husband, take to herself a son of a good gotra (lineage) and instal him in the estate of her husband. This with regard to her (widows') husband's estate cannot be done by her mother-in-law.

74. The widow of the son has power to spend all. According to the Jaina scriptures, her mother-in-law does not have this right.

75. The son's widow should serve the mother-in-law as her husband did. And if the mother-in-law desires to spend in religious matters, the son's widow should give her funds for that purpose.

76. (Of sons) aurasa, dattaka are primary; and kreeta, sauta, sahodara and upnata are secondary in Jaina scriptures.

77. And these are entitled to get the inheritance and to offer oblations. The others beyond these are not entitled. Aurasa is the son born of one's own wife. Dattaka is the son given and taken with affection (in adoption).

78. Kreeta is the son taken by giving money. So have the wise men said. Sauta is the son of the son's body (i.e., the grandson by a son.) Sahodara is the name of a younger brother (by the same mother.)

79. Upnata. A son who, abandoned by his mother and father, and wandering about in distress (comes and), says "I am a son," is considered an upnata son by the learned.

80. Kritrima is the son whose father, etc., (and mother), are dead and who is like a son. In this way, the differences among primary, secondary and other sons are given.

81. Of these, the first two (i.e., aurasa and dattaka) are primary; and the three, beginning with kreeta, (i.e., krita, sauta, sahodara) are secondary; and upnata and kritrima are reckoned as sons, but cannot offer oblations.

82. If before partition one of the brothers is determined to follow the path of salvation, then, leaving aside the woman's property, shridhan, the property should be equally divided.

83. At the time of marriage, ornaments, etc., given by the parents are called Adhayagni krita stridhana, as given in the presence of fire and Brahmans.

84. Whatever ornaments, etc., the girl brings from her father's house, is called Adhyâhavanika stridhana, as offered in the presence of her father and brother.

85. Whatever is given affectionately as clothes, etc., by the girls' father-in-law or mother-in-law, on the ceremony of seeing the face or sprinkling the (feet with) water, is called Pitridâna stridhana by the wise.

86. Whatever is received by the married girl, such as things, ornaments, clothes, etc., from the parents, brothers or husband, is called Audayika stridhana by the wise.

87. Whatever is given at the time of marriage-ceremony as gold, jewels, clothes, etc., of the girl, by her own or her husband's women relatives, is called Anvadheya stridhana by the wise.

88. These five kinds of property have been called stridhana. It should not be taken by anyone, except in time of famine, acute distress, or for religious purposes.

89. If a man desires to give out of ancestral property anything to his sister or to her son, his son can object to the gift.

90. Without the consent of the son, the father undoubtedly has no power to give anything. On the death of the father, who can obstruct the son giving away the property.

91-92. After having adopted a boy, if a son is born of one's lawful wife, this son alone is worthy of turban-binding ceremony (symbolical of title to succession). And a fourth part being given to the adopted son, he should be separated from the family without witnesses. But if the turban-binding ceremony has been performed (on the adopted son) before the birth of the son, the partition should be in equal shares.

93-94. On the husband dying without son, the widow becomes the owner of the property; she should not, out of affection for her daughter, take a son in adoption. The sons of her husband's elder or younger brother have no right in the inheritance. On her death, her daughter becomes chiefly the owner of all property.

95. On the death of that daughter, her husband becomes owner; on his death, his issue, etc. But his father and brothers and their descendants, etc., have no right in it whatsoever.

96. On the death of the father, whatever property comes into the hands of the elder son, his younger brothers, engaged in the acquisition of learning, have a right to a share in it.

97. The illiterate brothers should make money by trade; and, keeping the father's wealth apart, in the remainder all share equally.

98. The father's estate acquired by his merit is not divisible among the sons. Only one, and not all, should possess it, and he should improve it, by his hand.

99. Whatever ornaments or money are given to the wife by the husband, should not be partitioned by the co-sharers, for fear of going to hell, after death.

100. Whatever a man has acquired by digging (treasure trove), by learning, from friends, from his wife's relatives, cannot be partitioned by anyone.

101. If a man dies leaving many minor sons, the self-acquired property of any of these is not liable to partition.

102-103. When the sons have been separated by the father with due (shares from the) property, and the sons themselves unite their funds and earn a common livelihood from it - in this property, on a re-partition, the brothers themselves should arrange their equal shares, and the eldest brother taken no additional share in it.

104. After a partition among several sons, if one of them dies, on partition of his unobstructed property, his brothers and sisters take in equal shares.

105. If, being full of greed, the eldest brother conceals the property from the younger brothers and cheats them, he deserves to be punished by the King, and he cannot get even his own share.

106. All the brothers who forsake their religion and duty, and become addicted to gambling and other vices, cannot get property, but are liable to punishment.

107. If a son is born after partition, he can take only his father's property. but if it be too small, then his brothers should have him married.

108. If the son dies sonless, the property is taken by his wife herself. On her death, the mother of the son takes the property.

109. After having paid the debts, the balance should be partitioned according to rules. Otherwise, the father and sons should all set about diligently to earn.

110. A well, ornaments, clothes, cattle, pit, secretary, messenger, and priests are not partitioned by the learned.

111-112. If a son dies in the life-time of his parents, his chaste wife has no right, like him, in the grand-father's property. But preserving the husband's bed, fixed in her religion, the widow should, with head bowed down, beg the mother-in-law for a son.

113. If the husband's property is placed in the hands of the father-in-law and mother-in-law, the widow cannot claim it; she can only take what the late husband gave her.

114. If the widow with this permission, takes a boy in adoption, she must take one of the same family, younger than herself and possessed of all qualities.

115. In the Jaina sacred procession, in the image installation ceremony, and in similar religious deeds, and in the bringing up of the family, the widow has power to spend. But in nothing else she has the power to spend.

116-117. Thus, briefly, the rules of Inheritance and Partition have been narrated by me substantially from the Upasakadhyayana, in order to remove troubles and quarrels. Having read this, if one performs public (kingly) duties, one will get praise and reverence in this and a good gati (condition of existence) in the next world.


ashok jain said...

Thankyou for such a marvellous job. I think that Jains should follow the Personnel Law of Inheritance as it is perfact and PUNYOPARJAK. POST more on like subject. ASHOK JAIN NASIRABAD RAH

tkelch said...

I am interested in jainism and wonder if these laws are or have been a part of the law of any country or region, or are just cultural and religious rules? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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