Vedic Training:
How To Become  A Krishna Conscious Wife
For ISKCON Brahmacarinis

"Divorce & Remarriage" chapter of the Brahmacarini Training Manual.  >Contents Page

Divorce and Remarriage & The Laws Of Manu:

There is no such thing as divorce. Manu Samhita says that the woman who leaves her husband should be shunned by the society. Not only should no other man ever marry her, those who wish to follow the brahminical principles strictly, men or women, they should no longer associate with that mataji. A woman who leaves her husband, in Vedic culture, has no other place to turn.

Srila Prabhupad has also written that only sudras divorce and remarry. If devotee men were to act on these instructions (not to associate or remarry another man’s (ex-)wife), then women will not so easily leave their husbands. In today’s world they see that so many other men will re-marry another man’s wife. There is no fear for them to leave one husband as they have confidence they can find another. As soon as some dissatisfaction comes they think, ‘Why should I put up with his non-sense any more? There are so many other men who will remarry me.’

This Vedic system must be followed. The peace of the whole human society depends on this. When women are insubordinate most marriages will fail. When the family is broken the children suffer. Many such children are psychologically scarred and strike back at society. Statistics have shown that children from broken families do not do well in school. They also have a more difficult time fitting in socially. Young girls, daughters of broken homes, are easier to loose self-esteem. Feeling low about themselves they take their own life cheaply and are more prone to a life of prostitution. Or the young girl’s of broken homes become increasingly independent minded and thus themselves do not make good wives, meaning their own marriage(s) will be more difficult. Young boys do not do so well in school leading them to a life of hard work and low pay. And many turn bad. Often children of broken homes become, in some ways, for a period, unwanted. I have seen a mataji had three children and was divorced. She wanted to remarry and found one man. Even though she had been raising her children for many years after her divorce, suddenly they became unwanted. She now had a chance to marry someone else, so she sent the children off to their father so she could go live with her new devotee boy-friend. She explained that she had been ‘stuck’ with the ‘burden’ of raising her children for all those years, so now she reasoned it was her ex-husband’s turn to take the ‘burden’. The children had become unwanted ‘burdens’ in the fulfillment of her (illicit) sex-life of living with another devotee man. Children understand this. They will understand the confusion, the feeling of being an unwanted burden. And that will scar them.

As society becomes full of such unwanted children the whole human society becomes terrorized and goes to hell. Such is the condition of many modern cities. The key is for women to become submissive and to be properly protected.

Morning Walk Rome, May 28, 1974

Prabhupäda: ...So you have to set up real human society in a small scale so people will see, "Yes." Because man has got intelligence. Just like, although I am condemning the western mode of life, still, so many western young boys, they have come. I never came to speak to flatter you, that "Your western civilization is very nice." I never said that.

… Yogesvara: So here’s a practical problem. People would be interested to know our position on divorce. Here in Rome they just passed a divorce law.

Prabhupäda: That is also animalism. Just like a dog having sex intercourse with another female dog, and another, another, another. It is also animalism. So that is your decision. They are animals, and different way they are coming to be naked animal, that’s all. The divorce is also dog’s business. Dog is having sex intercourse with this female dog and another, another, another, another. It is animalism, That’s all.

Srila Prabhupad is being very clear and heavy. Divorce and so-called remarriage Srila Prabhupad says is animalism. Like dogs having sex with one dog, then another female dog, another. Srila Prabhupad was very explicit. This sort of misbehavior definitely does not please Srila Prabhupad at all, even among the non-devotees, what to speak of his own followers. It is against all religious injunctions. It degrades the individuals and society. This is not the way one wins the favor of Krishna and his pure devotees. Yet, we continue to act like this because we refuse to follow his instructions on how to create a peaceful and happy family.

Another important point to note: Often devotees concoct some idea that devotees can stay engrossed in their Western lifestyle, but simply add Krishna. They will say that these Vedic ideals are nice, but totally impossible in the West. Therefore they say that it is all right for devotees to engage in so many non-sense activities of the Western lifestyle. They say it is all right for our children to date and freely associate because the Vedic system just doesn’t work here. This concocted way of thinking was not at all supported by Srila Prabhupad. He condemns the Western modes of life. He only taught us the ideal Vedic system. And when he departed he left it up to us to somehow introduce the varnasram system, the Vedic cultural system, into not only our own society, but the whole world.

At another time a devotee complained that certain things were not acceptable to Westerner’s and Srila Prabhupad replied that we must therefore kick out the West.

In his Purport to Bhagavad Gita 16.7 Srila Prabhupad states:

Actually, a woman should be given protection at every stage of life. She should be given protection by the father in her younger days, by the husband in her youth, and by the grownup sons in her old age. This is proper social behavior according to the Manu Saàhitä. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed-up concept of manly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. Nor is the moral condition of woman very good now. The demons, therefore, do not accept any instruction which is good for society, and because they do not follow the experience of great sages and the rules and regulations laid down by the sages, the social condition of the demoniac people is very miserable.

We must accept the experience and social injunctions given by the great sages. Women must remain chaste and submissive to their husband. Only when women are of good chaste and submissive character will all of human society become peaceful.

The demons, Prabhupad says, do not accept instructions that are good for society. Demons do not follow the experience of the great sages. Therefore they are miserable. A follower of Srila Prabhupad, therefore, must accept these instructions. Prabhupad leaves us no choice. He says that those who do not, they are demons.

Srimad Bhagavatam Lecture Sept. 13, 1969

... In India still, the system is follow(ed) in conservative families that a widow cannot marry. There is no widow marriage in India. They, the... Manu-samhita, the law-givers, the saintly persons, Manu-samhita... Why widow marriage is prohibited? The idea is generally, everywhere, in all countries, the female population is greater than the male population. So the idea is that she has become widow. She was once married. Now if again she is married, another virgin girl, she does not get the chance of being married. Therefore there is no widow marriage according to Hindu scripture. And a man is allowed, if he is, I mean to say able man, he can marry more than one wife. Not that simply marry. To get more than one wife does not mean sense enjoyment. The wife must be maintained very respectfully. She must have good house, good ornaments, good food, good servants.

A woman cannot remarry, but a man may take more than one wife. These are the laws and duties prescribed by Krishna. Here Srila Prabhupad states that if a woman who has already been married marries again, she is taking the away the chance for a virgin girl to get a husband. The other way to see this, which is supported by the laws of dharma, is that a man should only marry a girl who is virgin. He should not consider fit for marriage any woman who has been previously married.

One point here that has to be mentioned is that Srila Prabhupad has made exception only in the case where the divorced woman comes to Krishna Consciousness. When one becomes a devotee and is initiated in the chanting that becomes a new life. Therefore, Prabhupad gave some concession. Even the girl may have been married, or had association with other men, once she became a devotee that was considered her past life. Now she was to be trained in chastity and could be married by a devotee man who would accept her. In any other circumstance, however, this is not to be accepted.

There is one point that I would like to offer in this connection. It is important that the husband and wife be of equal character and quality. I would like to say that there are some men who will only be happy with not only a chaste girl for a wife, but they also want that she be a virgin. Many girls would also prefer to marry a man who was somewhat restrained. Sometimes, after marrying the man finds out that the girl may have had many relationships with other men and this can adversely affect their relationship. He may feel dissatisfied (or as a popular expression, he feels cheated having received damaged goods). When some problems arise he may see this as an excuse to get out of the relationship. What my point is, is that if it is of a great concern to either one or both of the parties, this should be presented before any final arrangement is made. It can and would save a lot of misery in the future.

Manu Samhita states that a man can reject a wife who is not virgin if the father who gave her did not inform him prior to the arrangement. (Or if she has some long-term illness, or other physical or mental defect which was not revealed prior to final arrangement).

It is advised that a brahmana not accept a wife who is not pure or who is defective (at least as his first wife). However, if the father has informed the man that the girl is no longer virgin (or has some other defect) and the man agrees to marry her, than he can no longer reject her on that account.

The point is that according to Manu these things should be disclosed prior to making any final arrangements.

Srimad Bhagavatam 7:11: 28, Purport

...Although the duties of a woman are different from those of a man, a chaste woman is not meant to serve a fallen husband. If her husband is fallen, it is recommended that she give up his association. Giving up the association of her husband does not mean, however, that a woman should marry again and thus indulge in prostitution. If a chaste woman unfortunately marries a husband who is fallen, she should live separately from him. Similarly, a husband can separate himself from a woman who is not chaste according to the description of the sastra. The conclusion is that a husband should be a pure Vaisnava and that a woman should be a chaste wife with all the symptoms described in this regard. Then both of them will be happy and make spiritual progress in Krsna consciousness.

Here Srila Prabhupad says that for a woman to marry again is to indulge in prostitution. That is the verdict of shastra. It isn't pleasant for any devotee whose family is in such a situation to hear this, but it is what Srila Prabhupad said. It is the Vedic law. Although it is not palatable, it must be taught and preached often enough so that our future generations will know that it is seriously prohibited in Vedic society.

If we hide these important aspects of our philosophy, how will this help ourselves or the future generations? In the long run it is to their benefit to know and learn this, even if they are a product of such a home. We cannot preach only that which we like to hear, that which supports our life-style and ignore and reject that part of scripture which condemns the sinful acts that we are committing (as a society). If we do this, then we will be jeopardizing Srila Prabhupad’s mission.

So many ISKCON marriages today are remarriages. One man leaves his first wife and remarries the wife of another devotee. No one wants to preach that this is wrong. No one wants to hear that by living with another man’s wife he has caused this woman to become a prostitute. No one wants to hear that his mother or step-mother is living like a prostitute. No man wants others to think of his current wife as a prostitute.

Believe me, I don’t make friends by writing and preaching these things. My goal is not to become the most popular man in IKSOCN, my only goal is to assist Srila Prabhupad in his preaching mission. He said these things. This is what he taught. It is what is taught in the Vedas. I happen to full-heartedly accept these things. It is my duty as a disciple to repeat these teachings. I understand and see the need for it, therefor I cannot turn my back on preaching the truth just because it may cost me temporary friendship. Believe me, my wife and I feel, at times, alienated, and sometimes I have been bluntly asked to stop preaching like this. I am not saying any of this to be offensive. I do not want to offend anyone, but, regardless, the truth has to be presented. Let the cow-dung chips fall where they will.

No one wants to think their mother is impure, a prostitute, but if she has remarried, that is the truth. Some have told me that I will be adversely affecting the children of mother’s who have remarried by preaching this. No, they have already adversely affected their children by their own misdeeds of remarriage, so don’t blame it on me for preaching. These kids read Prabhupad’s books, so I am not the first or last person they will hear this from.

Besides, the word prostitute does not mean a professional prostitute who earns her livelihood from selling her body out to any and all men. The word prostitute, as Srila Prabhupad uses it, means any woman who is engaged in illicit sexual behavior. A woman who marries and then lives with another man is engaging in illicit sex according to Vedic injunction because there is no such thing as divorce. Therefore she is called unchaste, or prostitute. This does not mean that she sells her body for sex to any and all men. That is called a professional prostitute. A little difference, but no matter how you look at it, it isn’t good or nice.

There is no such thing as divorce, so if the woman remarries, then she is living a life of illicit sex, sleeping and living with a man other than her religious husband. The irreligious thing is that she has broken her sacred vows to be life-long faithful to her religious husband.

On July 7, 1976, in Baltimore (although Hari Sauri Prabhu says is a mistake, that it was actually recorded on July 6, in Wash. DC.) Srila Prabhupad was speaking with devotees and he asked when divorce was introduced. Pradyumna said it was introduced by Henry the Eighth, the King of England. The Catholic Church didn’t allow divorce or for a man to take more than one wife. The king very quickly got dissatisfied with his wives and since he couldn’t divorce or take another wife he did what any completely degraded morally corrupt demon would do, he had their heads cut off. This way (‘till death do we part’) he could ‘legally’ marry another wife.
After the second time the Catholic Church ex-communicated him.

King Henry the Eighth, however, retaliated by starting his own Church, the Church of England. The sole purpose of this new church was to allow for a ‘religiously authorized’ divorce. But, that is an incompatible dichotomy. There is no such thing. Divorce is irreligious. True religious scripture does not authorize divorce. There is no such thing as religiously authorized divorce.

Divorce was conceived by a man of complete immoral and degraded character. A murder of women, his own wives. A drunkard. This is how divorce was introduced into our modern society. (Srila Prabhupad pointed out that Vedic law allows the man to take more than one wife. Rather than murdering his first wives and starting his own religion just to allow for irreligious divorce, he should have taken more than one wife. Vedic culture and varnasram-dharma can accommodate any type of man and situation if applied properly).

According to Vedic law marriage vows are sacred and are life-long. You have taken a vow, a sacred promise, before fire, Krishna and guru. Such vows cannot be broken.

MS (Manu Samhita) 9.46 states that neither by any amount of money or by legal or social repudiation (divorce) can a woman be released from her vow of being the wife of her husband. This is the law of dharma. (There is no such thing as divorce according to the laws of dharma).

There is no Vedic divorce law. By Vedic Law there is no way for a woman to nullify a consummated marriage. Therefore when a woman gets a so-called modern divorce it is not a recognized in the eyes of the Vedas. These are the laws that Krishna Himself taught. In Krishna’s eyes there is no divorce. These are the laws that the demigods must follow in execution of their duties of managing the universe. These are the laws that Yama raj is obliged to judge us on.

When a woman so-called remarries it is not a legal Vedic arrangement, it is an illicit, irreligious, situation. She is making arrangements for herself to sleep and live with another man while still she is bound in a life-long Vedic vow of marriage to another man. This activity is the same as prostitution. It is due to the lack of society to protect the women and is the cause of the degradation of society.

Srimad Bhagavatam Lect. 72-09-22

...Therefore Canakya Pandita says, "The father who dies a debtor, he is an enemy." Rna-karta pita satruh. Rina means debts. Karta means one who has committed so many debts and dies. A father... Instead of enjoying father’s property, he has to pay the father’s debts. So therefore that father is called enemy. Rna-karta pita satruh mata satruh dvi-carini. "And mother, if she marries for the second time, she is enemy." Rna-karta pita satruh mata satruh dvi-carini, rupavati bharya satruh. "And very beautiful wife, she is enemy." And putra satrur apanditah. "And if the son is a fool, rascal, he is enemy." Four kinds of enemy in the family.

Srimad Bhag. 3:23:52 Purport

It is said that the father himself becomes the son in another form. The father and son are therefore considered to be non-different. A widow who has her son is actually not a widow, because she has the representative of her husband.

The mother who remarries becomes the enemy of her children. Again Srila Prabhupad uses strong language in dealing with this topic. We can clearly understand this in many ways. There is sufficient University research which shows that in general the children of divorced and remarried parents psychologically suffer very much. Such children often have more difficulty relating with peers, more trouble in school (grades and behavior problems), and many other related social problems. Therefore, a mother who divorces and remarries becomes her children’s enemy.

The problem is that so many of the marriages in our movement are remarriages, 2 or 3 times. Practically speaking over half the population of devotees don’t want to hear these things because their own marriages or families are like this. But, as Prabhupad said, we cannot compromise when speaking of Vedic knowledge. The truth is the truth, whether it is palatable to hear or not.

My point is that everyone must consider these things prior to marriage and try to avoid such horrible and unpleasant and degrading situations. What ever husband or wife Krishna gives you, simply accept it. That is all.

Manu Samhita on divorce and remarraige (and other instructions on mariage):

I have quoted several times from the Manu Samhita. And, following this explanation I will list a number of further quotes. Many devotees may question why or if this is bona-fied. Srila Prabhupad did not translate it, so is it bonafied to quote from it? That is a good question, especially considering the intensity of some of the quotes in the Manu Samhita.

Currently the majority of ISKCON devotees are not living according to the Vedic laws which regulate society. These laws are called the laws of dharma, or varnasram-dharma. These laws are written in a number of books, such as Niti-shastra, dharma-shastra, manu-samhita, etc. Srila Prabhupad most often quoted from and spoke of the Manu-Samhita:

In the Purport to Srimad Bhagavatam 7.8.48 Srila Prabhupäd explains nicely the importance of applying the injunctions of Manu.

Purport to SB 7.8.48

In many places in Bhagavad-gita, the Supreme Lord, Krsna, refers to the varnashrama-dharma of four varnas and four ashramas. He teaches people about this varnashrama-dharma so that all of human society can live peacefully by observing the principles for the four social divisions and four spiritual divisions (varna and ashrama) and thus make advancement in spiritual knowledge. The Manus compiled the Manu-samhita. The word samhitä means Vedic knowledge, and manu indicates that this knowledge is given by Manu. The Manus are sometimes incarnations of the Supreme Lord and sometimes empowered living entities. Formerly, many long years ago, Lord Krsna instructed the sun-god. The Manus are generally sons of the sun-god. Therefore, while speaking to Arjuna about the importance of Bhagavad-gita, Krsna said, imam vivasvate yogam proktavan aham avyayam vivasvan manave praha: "This instruction was given to Vivasvan, the sun-god, who in turn instructed his son Manu." Manu gave the law known as Manu-samhita, which is full of directions based on varëa and äçrama concerning how to live as a human being. These are very scientific ways of life, but under the rule of demons like Hiraëyakaçipu, human society breaks all these systems of law and order and gradually becomes lower and lower. Thus there is no peace in the world. The conclusion is that if we want real peace and order in the human society, we must follow the principles laid down by the Manu-samhita and confirmed by the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krsna.

Srila Prabhupad very specifically instructs that if we want real peace and order in society, we must follow the principles laid out in the Manu Samhita. The principles of varnasram-dharma.

Srimad Bhagavatam 4:18:3

"To benefit all human society, not only in this life but in the next, the great seers and sages have prescribed various methods conducive to the prosperity of the people in general."

Excerpted form Purport...

Vedic injunctions are known as shruti, and the additional supplementary presentations of these principles, as given by the great sages, are known as småti. They follow the principles of Vedic instruction. Human society should take advantage of the instructions from both çruti and småti. If one wants to advance in spiritual life, he must take these instructions and follow the principles. In Bhakti-rasamrta-sindhu, Srila Rupa Gosvami says that if one poses himself as advanced in spiritual life but does not refer to the srutis and smrtis he is simply a disturbance in society. One should follow the principles laid down in srutis and smrtis not only in one's spiritual life but in material life as well. As far as human society is concerned, it should follow the Manu-smrti as well, for these laws are given by Manu, the father of mankind.

In the Manu-smrti it is stated that a woman should not be given independence, but should be given protection by her father, husband and elderly sons. In all circumstances a woman should remain dependent upon some guardian. Presently women are given full independence like men, but actually we can see that such independent women are no happier than those women who are placed under guardians. If people follow the injunctions given by the great sages, srutis and smrtis, they can actually be happy in both this life and the next. Unfortunately rascals are manufacturing so many ways and means to be happy. Everyone is inventing so many methods. Consequently human society has lost the standard ways of life, both materially and spiritually, and as a result people are bewildered, and there is no peace or happiness in the world.

We are to apply the principles laid down in the srutis and smrtis not only in spiritual life, but material life as well. Just see, Srila Prabhupad says the same thing that the sages 1,000’s of years ago said, and millions of years before then. Over 120 million years ago Krishna instructed the Sun-God Vivisvan in this science. And he in turn instructed his son Vaivasvata Manu. Manu wrote the social laws down in the form of the Manu Samhita. It is a very old and ancient science, yet it is completely practical in all places and at all times. It is coming directly from Lord Krishna Himself.

Srila Prabhupad is instructing that it is to be followed by all of human society, including right now at the present time. Several times Srila Prabhupad has referred to the laws of Manu, varnasram-dharma and sanatan-dharma as being one and the same. The laws of Manu are sanatan-dharma. Our eternal duties in life. Of course, normally devotees speak of sanatan-dharma to mean our single most important eternal occupation, which is transcendental loving service to Krishna. However, it also is used in a more mundane sense to mean the non-changing eternal duties of society. The goals of the laws of varnasram are to guide and engage society in the service of the Supreme Lord.

The Manu Samhita is very heavy on the topic of marriage and chastity and submissiveness of the wife, and is explicit about divorce as well.

Manu Samhita 9.64 states that no one can authorize a widow to sleep with another man (to obtain offspring in the event her husband dies). Nor can anyone authorize the remarriage of a widow. Manu says that a brahman, who in his folly, authorizes such is in violation of sanätan-dharma.

Srila Prabhupad never sanctioned women to divorce and remarry. It is not sanctioned by Varnashram or Sanatan-Dharma. Any temple authority who would sanction a mataji to divorce and remarry is in violation of the laws of sanatan-dharma, and in violation of the laws of Manu.

MS 9.65 says that in all sacred Vedic texts that refer to marriage, no where is found that a widow can remarry.

MS 9.30 it is stated that if a woman becomes disloyal to her one and only husband, all other men must shun her. In her next life she must take birth in the womb of a dog (jackal), tormented with diseases as punishment for her disloyalty. (This verse is, shall we say, heavy!).

MS 9.41 states that men of good quality must never lay down with another man’s wife.

In Manu Samhita there are many laws which are aimed at encouraging women to remain chaste and submissive and to not leave their husbands.

MS 9.78 A woman who shows disrespect to her husband should be deprived of her ornaments and furniture and deserted by the husband for 3 months. (Whew, heavy. A wife who shows disrespect to her husband, her master, prabhu, should be deprived of her ornaments and deserted by her husband for 3 months. That is really heavy. Srila Prabhupad has stated, "if we want real peace and order in the human society, we must follow the principles laid down by the Manu-saàhitä". Imagine if all men started implementing this one.)

However MS 9.79 says that if the man is mad, an outcast, destitute of manly strength or under punishment of a crime, these are exceptions.

MS 9.80 states that a wife who drinks alcohol, or is non submissive and is rebellious toward her husband, or a wife who is wasteful, the husband may at any time take another wife and make the new wife prominent.

What is significant here is that all through the Manu Samhita it is openly accepted that a man can take any number of wives at any time. And it is up to him, although he should seek out and have his guru’s permission. But, one need not seek out the permission of the wife. The wife is supposed to be submissive to her husband, even if he takes additional wives.

What is of importance though, is that normally the first wife is the most prominent wife. When we think of Vasudev, we think of Devaki, although he had about 18 wives total. When we think of Arjun, we think of Drupaudi, although he also married 3-4 wives (including Lady Srimati Subhadra, Krishna’s own sister). When we think of Krishna in Dwaraka we first think of Rukmini, his first wife, although he took another 16,107 wives. The first wife is generally the prominent wife.

However, here Manu says that if the wife becomes non submissive or rebellious toward her husband (or she is wasteful, or she drinks), then the husband can not only take another wife (he can do that anytime), but he can make the new wife his prominent wife. That means that he can take the prominence away from the first wife and make his second wife prominent. That is extremely heavy. Imagine the fire such things would produce in today’s totally untrained women.

Why are such injunctions there in Shastra? Do they have any benefit to society? YES or Manu and Krishna would not have included them.

I will explain more at the end of Manu Samhita quotes.
MS 9.81. The wife can be superseded in her 8th year if she is barren. In the 10th year if all the wife’s children die. In the 11th year if she has given birth to only girls. But for a wife who is quarrelsome, without delay the husband can take another wife to supersede her.

Again, the same idea. If she has had no children for 8 years a man can take another wife and make the next wife his prominent wife. If all children die, then he can do so after 10 years of marriage. If she has only had girls, then he can make another wife prominent after 11 years,

But, if she is quarrelsome with her husband, if she fights and argues with him, then he can make another wife prominent without any delay. Not 8 years, 10 or 11 years, but immediately he can make another wife prominent.

Again, I will explain more after the quotes why these injunctions are there and why they are for the benefit of all society.
(Note: This does not mean that he leaves his first wife. It does not mean that the first wife is rejected. She remains as wife, but the husband had the option to make someone else the prominent wife.)

MS 9.82 states that if the wife is sickly, yet is submissive and always kind to her husband, she can only be superseded with her own consent. But she must never be disgraced.

MS 9.83 states that a woman who is superseded in accordance with the above laws of dharma, if she becomes angry and leaves her husband’s house, she must be either locked up by the family or totally rejected as a wife in presence of family members.

Whoa. This is an interesting end to this series of instructions from Manu.

If the first wife has been superseeded, if another wife has been taken and made the prominent wife, if the first wife gets more angry and leaves the house, then her own family is instructed here to lock her up (until she again becomes submissive to her husband) or the husband can totally reject her as his wife. Whoa. Extremely heavy.

So, why all these heavy injunctions. Imagine devotees following this injunctions today?

What is Manu’s and Krishna’s point here? That becomes more clear by seeing these instructions in light of a verse, instruction, Manu gives just prior to these instructions:

MS 9.22. "The whole world is kept in order by punishment, for a guiltless man is hard to find; through fear of punishment the whole world yields the enjoyments which is due".

Through fear of punishment the word yields the happiness we are due in this life.

This is how Manu instructs throughout the Samhita. Very heavy rules are given for the purpose of striking fear into the hearts of those who may otherwise think of doing wrong. In other words, a wife is to remain submissive to her husband, she is not to get angry at him.

That is nice, and we can discuss the philosophic reasons why. We can try to explain all the good reasons to do so, and all the bad things that could happen by not doing so.

But, nothing shapes people up faster, nothing works better on controlling the people, then the fear of punishment.

Manu says all of society is controlled by fear of punishment. And, that through the fear of punishment the world yields the happiness that we are due.

That is the whole point for the heavy injunctions in the scripture. They are meant to induce fear for the benefit of keeping society on track.

Women are to remain submissive to their husbands. Doing so will create a peaceful and happy home. All right, some matajis will listen and follow. But, many will not have enough impetus to. Now, lets add a little fear. If you get angry at your husband he can take a second wife and make her prominent. And give it bite by authorizing this as a law within the law books for mankind.

Well, in Vedic culture this injunction would be fully supported by society, but the neighbors, by the temple priests, but the government rulers, by the girl’s own parents and family, by all of society. Now, there is fear of punishment if she does not remain sweet and submissive.

What if she does remain sweet and submissive. Then it is to her benefit. Then she will reap the happiness in this world she is due. Then her marriage will be peaceful and happy. Thus, it is for her benefit and society’s benefit that she follow this. These injunctions were not written by chauvinistic materialists who simply wanted to have power over women for the sake of exploiting them for their own enjoyment. It is a complete science. Understanding and applying that science will save us and save the world.

Today, women do not have this fear of punishment. Women today have no fear of any reprisal if they loose their temper and get angry with their husband. They have no fear to become disrespectful and non submissive toward their husband. The result is so many miserable and failed marriages, so many miserable women. So much social disruption. These injunctions are for everyone’s ultimate benefit, not otherwise.

In Manu Samhita there are many injunctions given in the regulation of marriage. Vedic culture is very strict in this regards, and for good practical reason. It is not like the strict and restrictive laws of mundane dictators or egotistic kings. The non-devotees suppress society in order to gratify their desires to lord-it-over material nature.

Although the laws in Manu Samhita are strict as well, they are so for a completely different purpose. They have been given to us from the great and learned sages who received them directly from the Supreme Lord Himself. These laws have one main purpose, to lead and engage human society in the loving service of Sri Krishna. As a result, those who follow this system will achieve the greatest material peace and happiness possible in this material world and will have full opportunity to gain entrance into the eternal abodes of Vaikuntha and engage in Krishna’s service eternally. If we follow the injunctions of the great sages we will be happy in this life and the next.

In his Purport to Bhagavad Gita 16.7 Srila Prabhupad states:
Actually, a woman should be given protection at every stage of life. She should be given protection by the father in her younger days, by the husband in her youth, and by the grownup sons in her old age. This is proper social behavior according to the Manu Saàhitä. But modern education has artificially devised a puffed-up concept of manly life, and therefore marriage is practically now an imagination in human society. Nor is the moral condition of woman very good now. The demons, therefore, do not accept any instruction which is good for society, and because they do not follow the experience of great sages and the rules and regulations laid down by the sages, the social condition of the demoniac people is very miserable.

Women must remain chaste and submissive to their husband. These laws are given under the direct guidance of Lord Krishna just for this purpose. When women are of good chaste and submissive character then, and only then will all of human society become peaceful.