dAya vibhAgaH – Partition of Inheritance

Having dealt with the vivAha in first three chapters, cANakya deals with the second most important civil matter – dAya vibhAgaH – Partition of Inheritance in three chapters (chapter 5 – dAya kramaH – Order of Inheritance, chapter 6 – amSa vibhAgaH – division of shares and chapter 7 – putra vibhAgaH – classification of sons )

When to divide and what is the order of division:
Sons, having fathers are not masters of the property. Only after the fathers reach the higher realms, sons should partition the inheritance. It is ideal to partition the property after three generations at the level of great grand sons taking the parts of great grand fathers. Sons get a larger share, grand sons a smaller and great grand sons still smaller parts.

Either undivided property or of combined families, the partition should happen again after every generation. One who has put the effort to increase the property should take twice the others.
The eldest son should take a larger portion as the eldest son has the responsibility of performing the srAddha karmas for the forefathers.

More on parts of shares is discussed in the chapter 6. Another important question is who are the sons? Legitimate sons are from the married wife (of same varNa) when inter varNa marriages happen the sons belong to father some teachers say. Some others hold the father belong to the mother; cANakya says it could be both ways.

Having discussed all the rules of Inheritance cANakya concludes:
देशस्य जात्याः संघस्य धर्मो ग्रामस्य वापि यः ।
उचितस्तस्य तेनैव दाय धर्मं  प्रकल्पयेत् ॥ (Last verse of 7th chapter)

In respective countries, in the respective community, in the respective society, in the respective village, what is the customary practice, based on that alone one should divide the inheritance.

So, The Law related to division of property is to be based on local customs even though the high level guidelines are given by the SAstra. Judges should be familiar with the customs pertaining to the case involved and take help of local elders while settling disputes related to the division of property.

With this 44th post we come to the end of 7th chapter of dharmasthIyam of artha SAStra of kauTilya.


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