Vedic Training: How To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife For ISKCON Brahmacarinis
"Divorce & Remarriage" chapter of the Brahmacarini Training
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 mans (ex-)wife), then women will not so easily leave their husbands. In
todays world they see that so many other men will re-marry another mans 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
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 girls 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-husbands 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 heres a practical problem.
People would be interested to know our position on divorce. Here in
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, thats all. The divorce is also dogs business. Dog is having sex
intercourse with this female dog and another, another, another, another. It is animalism,
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 doesnt 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 Westerners 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
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
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
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 Prabhupads 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
mans 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
Believe me, I dont 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 mothers who have remarried by preaching this. No, they
have already adversely affected their children by their own misdeeds of remarriage, so
dont blame it on me for preaching. These kids read Prabhupads
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 isnt 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
divorce or for a man to take more than one wife. The king very quickly got dissatisfied
with his wives and since he couldnt 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
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
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 Krishnas 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 fathers
property, he has to pay the fathers 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 childrens 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 dont 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
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.
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
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 1,000s 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 mans 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 gurus 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, Krishnas 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 todays 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 wifes 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
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 husbands
house, she must be either locked up by the family or totally rejected as
a wife in presence of family
Whoa. This is an interesting end to this series of instructions
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 Manus and Krishnas 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 girls 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
societys 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 everyones 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 Krishnas
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