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Part of the Encyclopedia of Indian Religions book series (EIR)


Dvamushyana A person having two fathers

Jankavya People’s poetry

Ksetra Field

Ksetraja – A son born to a woman from a man other than her husband

Sapinda/Sagotra A person of same linage

The Mahābhārata – An Indian Epic

The Manu Smṛiti A Sanskrit text giving information about the laws and customs prevailing in Ancient India


Sanskrit texts refer to the practice called Nīyoga, in which a woman is allowed to produce a male child from a man other than her husband in special circumstances like if the husband is dead or is impotent.

Why ‘Nīyoga’?

If the husband was sterile or impotent he had to take further measures. In the last resort he would appoint a close relative, usually a brother, to produce offspring on his behalf. ([1], 176)

Patriarchal Indian society gives lot of importance to son. Apart from being a support during the old age, it is also believed that the parents will not get to heaven without son. The Mahābhārata ([2], 251) refers to the different...

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  1. Basham AL (2004) The wonder that was India. Picador, London

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  2. Ganguli KM (2008) The Mahābhārata, (Adi Parva, Sabha Parva, Vana Parva), vol I. Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi

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  3. Ganguli KM (2008) The Mahābhārata, (Virata Parva, Udyoga Parva, Bhishma Parva, Drona Parva), vol II. Munshiram Manoharlal, New Delhi

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  4. Olivelle P (2004) The law code of Manu. OUP, New York

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Correspondence to Ravi Khangai .

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Khangai, R. (2018). Nīyoga’ . In: Jain, P., Sherma, R., Khanna, M. (eds) Hinduism and Tribal Religions. Encyclopedia of Indian Religions. Springer, Dordrecht.

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