Srimad-Bhagavatam 1.8.51
by His Divine Grace A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada
Los Angeles, May 13, 1973

Jagadisa: (translation) “I have killed many friends of women, and I have thus caused enmity to such an extent that it is not possible to undo it by material welfare work.”

Prabhupada: So here is a special reference to the woman, strinam. Previously there was reference bala-dvija. Eh? Previous verse? Bala-dvija-suhrn-mitra-pitr-bhratr-guru-druhah. Bala. Bala means children. Dvija. Dvija means brahmana or Vaisnava, who are fully engaged in the matter of cultivating spiritual knowledge. Brahma janatiti brahmanah. One who knows what is Absolute Truth, Brahman.

So children, brahmana, and here it is said stri, woman. According to Vedic politics, the children and brahmana, old men and woman, they have no fault. They are out of all laws of the state. Their fault will never be taken as seriously. They are innocent. They require protection. Now the agitation is that woman should have equal rights with man. So that is not Vedic idea. Vedic idea is that woman should be always protected. She is not independent. Just like child. All these children, their mother is always attentive. Child is going here; she is taking care. So that dependence is required. If the child says, “I am independent,” that is not for his profit. The child must be taken care of. That is good. Similarly, woman also. Just like old man like us, I am always taken care of. Similarly, a brahmana also should be taken care of, first consideration. First protection, brahmana, saintly person. That is civilization. That is human society. Not that the children, women and the brahmanas should be treated like cats and dogs. No, that is not civilization.

So Maharaja Yudhisthira is very much repentant: “I have killed so many men, and they are, some of them are father, some of them are brother, some of them are sons, some of them are husbands of the women. And because I have killed them, now this woman class, they have become friendless.” So he is… Just see how much he is aggrieved, thinking of the condition of the woman. And people accuse that India, woman are considered just like slaves. Just see. The king is thinking of woman so seriously, and is it a fact that in India woman is taken as slaves? Who cares for the slaves? So much anxiety. And that is king. Yes. A king shall give protection to everyone, especially those who are helpless.

So woman is protected in childhood by the father, and when she is grown-up girl, youth, although the father is ready to give her protection in every respect, but she has developed by that time sex desires. Under the circumstances, it is the duty of the father to hand over the girl to a nice young boy to take her protection. This is marriage. Kanya-dana. According to Vedic system, kanya, means daughter, is given in charity. To find out a suitable… Practically, I’ll say, in our childhood age, my sisters were married between nine to twelve years. My eldest sister was married when she was nine years old, before my birth. She is the eldest. And my second sister was married at the age of twelve, twelve years. And my third sister was married at the age of (indistinct) years. So by the (indistinct) years, the marriage must be finished. That was the duty of the father. I remember, because my second sister was going twelve years, my mother said to my father that “I shall go to the river and commit suicide. The daughter is not married.” (laughter) You see. The father was very sorry, “Yes, I am trying. What can I do?” (laughter) And then next generation, when my… I was also married man, you know. I was married when my wife was only eleven years old. And at the age of fourteen years she gave birth to first child. And next generation, when my eldest daughter was married at the age of sixteen years—it is little increased—but I was also very much upset that the daughter is sixteen years old.

But now things have changed. Nobody cares whether the daughter is married or not. But that is not good. Another difficulty is that everywhere, all over the world, the female population is greater than, on the average, than male population. So if each and every woman has to be married, then there is no sufficient number of male population. Therefore, according to Vedic rituals, those who are higher caste, just like the ksatriyas or the brahmanas, especially, others also, polygamy is allowed. Polygamy is allowed. Just like our most exalted personality, Krsna, He has married sixteen thousand wives. He is God. (laughter) Unless you have got so many wives, how you can be God? Not that sixteen thousand wives, one wife is to be seen one day, so that the turn will come after sixteen thousand days. No. That is God. He expanded Himself into sixteen thousand forms also, so that every wife was happy to live with the husband. And for Krsna, why sixteen thousand? If He marries sixteen millions, still, it is not sufficient. Because in the Bhagavad-gita it is said, isvarah sarva-bhutanam hrd-dese ’rjuna tisthati: [Bg. 18.61] “The Supreme Lord is situated in the heart of all living entities.” So all living entities, if Krsna can expand Himself to live in the heart of all living entities, and from the heart He comes out to become some woman’s husband, is it very difficult for Krsna? That is not difficult.

Anyway, the point is that Maharaja Yudhisthira, he, how responsible king, just think over. Arjuna was also thinking before fighting. He was arguing with Krsna that “If I kill my brothers, all the my sister- in-laws, they’ll be widow.” And there was no such thing as widow- marriage in India. No. No widow can marry. Why? Because the woman population is greater than the man. If widow again marries, then the unmarried girl does not get chance to have another husband. Therefore there was no widow-marriage. Widow-marriage was especially allowed only when the girl did not see her husband at any time or she had no children. Formerly, in our days, younger days, although the girl was married at an early age, she was not allowed to see her husband unless she is grown-up fully. Unless she has attained puberty, she is not… She lives with her parents. But she knows that “I have got my husband.” This consciousness is a great pleasure for a women psychologically, that “I have got husband.” A very nice system. And when the girl grows up, puberty, then again another ceremony is taken. That is almost like second marriage. The girl goes to her husband, to live with her husband. This was the system.

So women were taken so much care by the Vedic civilization. Still they are taken. It is the duty of the father… Until she is married, it is the duty of the father to give her all protection. Therefore the father wants to get her married, to get relief from the responsibility. He has a great responsibility. It is called kanya-daya. Actually the word is called kanya-daya. Putra-rna. Rna means debt. If you are debtor to somebody you may not pay it, saying, “Sir, I have no money. Whatever you like, you can do.” But daya means a great burden. It must be get relieved of. Daya means a great responsibility. Daya. Daya-bhak. Just like a son inherits the property of the father… It is called daya-bhak, law. Similarly, this is the, I mean to say, most obligatory duty of the father, to get the daughter married. And then it is the duty of the husband next. Just like we get… When we perform marriage ceremony in our society, we get the husband promise that he takes charge of the girl for life. And the girl agrees to serve the boy for life. There is no question of divorce.

So the father hands over the charge to a nice boy. Never mind he is rich or no. That doesn’t matter. He must be a responsible boy, who knows his responsibility. Not that “Today I marry, and tomorrow I go away. That’s all.” Not like that. Still you will find in India, even the poorest man, living with husband and wife very happily. Still you will find. I have seen (in) Ahmedabad. One day I saw in the street one husband and wife pulling on a thela, hand-cart, with great load, and the small child is on the load. That means their child. They are laborer class. But ordinary laborer class, poor man, but they are living husband and wife and children happily. Still.

So marriage is very compulsory in Vedic system because who is to take charge of the woman? They require protection. The father must take charge naturally, or the husband. And when she is old… Just like Caitanya Mahaprabhu was taking charge of His widow mother. So when He took sannyasa, so mother became very much upset: “Oh, that I have no husband, and this boy is going to take sannyasa.” Naturally. But that is a different case. For Krsna’s sake, we can forsake our obligatory duties. For Krsna’s sake. In the sastra it is said that one who has fully surrendered to Krsna, he has no more any material duty. Neither he has got any obligation that he must perform. But so long he is not fully surrendered to Krsna, he has to execute each and every duty as obligatory.

So the point is that Yudhisthira Maharaja, how much responsible king he was, that for ordinary woman, the soldiers… Take for… Soldiers or officers, commander-in-chief, they all died. Now he is thinking of their welfare activities, how to give protection to these woman. Just imagine how much responsible king. And he is thinking in this way, that “The sinful activity which I have done in this connection by killing their husbands or sons or father, even if I give some donation as welfare…” Just like in your country there is welfare department. All these helpless girls are given some donation. He says, “That is not sufficient. That… By that way, I cannot compensate what harm I have done to them.” That is… That is his con… “Even if I give some money, donation, they’ll not be happy, because they have lost their protection.” This is called responsible king. How much they are thinking. And similarly he was thinking for the children.

Naturally… I have sometimes told you that we have got one Godbrother, German. He said that in the last war, in the first war, which started in 1914, so all the men were killed everywhere. And the women, they went to the church, either as wife or as sister or as daughter or as mother. Naturally, they prayed for their relatives to come back. But who is coming back? They were all dead. So they became atheist, that “There is no God.” Because they prayed for their relatives to come back… So that is our position. We want to worship God if He becomes my order-supplier. “I will order and He will supply. Otherwise there is no God. I don’t care for this nonsense God. He must satisfy my senses. I want this, and You must satisfy.” Just like the Communists, they ask people in general to go to the church, and they say, “Now pray.” So the Christian prayer, “O God, give us our daily bread.” So when they come out, the Communist leaders, they ask, “Have you got bread?” “No, sir.” “You ask us.” They ask, “O my Communist friend, give me the bread.” “Take bread, as many as you like.”

So common men, they think that bread is coming from these rascals. But actually, bread is coming from God. So because God could not supply the bread in the church, they become Communists. This is the position. They take God as some solace, what is called, opium? Opiate. Yes. When there is no other source… And the whole over the world, they do not know, actually, what is God, what is our relationship with, what is God’s function. That you will find only in Krsna consciousness movement. That we can say very proudly. What is God, what is the philosophy, what He is doing, what is His name, what is His address, what is His father’s name—we know everything. (laughter) That is our position.

So a king must be very responsible for the citizens how they are happy. So Yudhisthira Maharaja was that type of king. Every king was like that. It was the duty of the king to see. You have read already that during Yudhisthira Maharaja’s time there was no excessive heat or excessive cold, neither there was disease in the country. Because the king was so perfect, so pious, so God-conscious, that these things would not disturb. And the citizens, also, would abide by the orders of the king. So everything was very peaceful. Very peaceful. So without king, not like the present government officers, all rogues and simply take taxes and let the citizens go to hell. There is no protection for anyone, either for the children, either for the brahmanas or for the women. No protection. “You go to hell. If you like, we can give you some contribution. That’s all.” No. The king must be so responsible that he should see to the comfort of the citizens, especially the brahmanas, the children and the women. This was the duty of the king.

Go on reading. Grhamedhi, the purport, grhamedhi.

Pradyumna: “The grhamedhis are those whose only business is to perform welfare work for the sake of material prosperity. Such material prosperity is sometimes hampered by sinful activities, and the materialist is sure to commit sins even unintentionally in the course of discharging material duties. To get relief from such sinful reactions, the Vedas prescribe several kinds of sacrifices. It is said in the Vedas that by performing the asvamedha-yajna, or horse sacrifice, one can get relief from even brahma-hatya, the killing of a brahmana. Yudhisthira Maharaja performed this asvamedha-yajna, but he thinks that even by performing such yajnas it is not possible to get relief from the great sins committed.”

Prabhupada: Yes. Suppose you have done something wrong. So the court fines you, “Oh, you have done this wrong.” Just like one man knocked some of our student, and he died, and then he was fined twenty thousand dollars, like that. So everyone knows that “If I knock somebody or kill somebody, there is motor accident, there will be so much trouble.” And when there is trouble, actually, they go and fine some fine. But the accident is going on. Nobody is careful. So that is the position. Unless one is careful to his sense that “Why should I drive so fiercely or without any care that others may be injured, my car will be injured? Why shall I created this trouble? Let me drive the car very conscientiously…” So that is required. Simply atonement, or giving fine for some misdeed, that is not sufficient. One should be awakened to his knowledge about his responsibility.

So this grhamedhi… There are two words: grhamedhi and grhastha. I have explained many times. Grhamedhi has no philosophy. He is like cats and dog. Every animal has also family, wife, children. So those who have no responsibility in life, no Krsna consciousness, they are called grhamedhis, and those who live with family, wife and children, but have got this sense of responsibility, that “I am meant for developing my dormant Krsna consciousness,” they are called grhasthas. So there is two words. So don’t become grhamedhis, simply having a wife and few children. That, cats and dogs they have also got. That is not required. You find inconvenience to live alone as brahmacari—all right, you take to a wife. Live with wife. Live responsibly. Develop Krsna consciousness. That is grhastha. Not that grhastha like cats and dogs.

Thank you very much. (end)