adoption & marriage: legal question

Jonathan Silk silk at HUMNET.UCLA.EDU
Fri Nov 21 18:52:43 UTC 2003

For the Dharmazaastrins:

In a story I have studied, Indian but available only in Tibetan (the
tale of Utpalavar.naa), a man with a daughter, but no son, meets a
young man, who is an orphan. He tells the young man he will give him
his daughter in marriage if the young man will come to live in his
house. The young man agrees, and marries the daughter. (the story
gets interesting because the man dies, the son-in-law has a sexual
liason with the widow=his mother-in-law, the wife finds out about it

Question: is there any question of adoption possible here? The young
man could make himself a svaayamdatta, as I understand it, but in
that case --if I understand correctly--there is no way he could marry
the daughter, right? He would then fall under all the restrictions on
marriagable women (and agamyaa in general) that would apply to a
natural son. Is this correct? (The text never says he is adopted.).

Part of the reason I am wondering about this may be my long-held
doubt about how things work in the, admitted entirely unrelated, case
of Japan, in which young men are adopted as husbands for daughters in
families without sons. Although Japan has no notion of pi.n.da as
such in the Indian legal sense that would make the presence of one
able to give the pi.n.da so important, the overall notion is the
same, continuation of the line. I do not know how Japanese law or
custom explains what should, prima facie, be the subsequent sibling
incest of husband/adopted son and daughter.

Any hints would be much appreciated, jonathan
Jonathan Silk
Department of East Asian Languages & Cultures
Center for Buddhist Studies
290 Royce Hall
Box 951540
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1540
phone: (310)206-8235
fax:  (310)825-8808
silk at

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