"It is advised that all women get themselves married, and if there is any man who is better able to maintain wife and family, he is advised to marry as many women as he can maintain..."
[ NOTE: I wrote this page for non-ISKCON devotees. I have written several
other essays on the topic for members of ISKCON, one on Dharma, Marriage and the
Daughter. The Dharma, Marriage and the Daughter page is similar to this one, only directed toward
ISKCON members specifically. ]
(Return to Dharma Marriage Index)
Vedic Social Standards - Different Does Not Mean Wrong
Summary of Chronology of the Teachings of ISKCON's Founder-Acharya (Teacher), A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad, Regarding Polygamy
The Religious-Legal Connection Of Polygamy
What Is The Need For Polygamy?
Why Do Women Require Protection? Protection From What? Protection By Who?
Women Are To Be Respected, Worshipped. Equal Respect, But Different
Why Is Polygamy Needed In Today's Society In Order To Protect Women?
What Is The Guarantee That If Polygamy Is Allowed, That Women Will Get A Good Husband?
Polygamy Is Engaged In Today, But Irreligiously, In A Degraded Form
If Men Can Take More Than One Wife, What About Women? Can A Woman Have More Than One Husband?
What About Divorce and Remarriage?
What Is The Origin Of Divorce and Remarriage In Modern Society?
What About Polygamy In Other Religions?
Until It Is Legal, How Can Those Who Wish To Do So, Practice It?
What About Me Personally?
[ A note about my use of the word polygamy. Technically speaking, the word polygamy means either spouse, man or woman, taking more than one spouse. However, it is usually used to refer to a man taking more than one wife, and that is the way in which I use it. The word polygyny is the actual technical word meaning men taking additional wives, and polyandry means to take more than one husband. However, most people identify the word polygamy to mean men taking more than one wife, and are not familiar with the word polygyny, i will use the word polygamy. But i am only referring to men taking more than one wife, not women taking more than one husband. ]
This article represents my own views on the subject. It does not, in any way, represent ISKCON's (the International Society for Krishna Consciousness, of which I am a member) official view. Nor are the views presented here indicative of any majority view among members of ISKCON. In fact, it is my experience that the views I will present here are not at all popular either inside or outside the religious society of ISKCON. And I personally know of no one who is currently involved in such a marriage or relationship.
I personally favor the practice and base that view firmly on the conclusion of religious principles, the Vedic scriptures and the instructions of my spiritual teacher. This article is an attempt to convince others of the need for allowing it's practice openly and legally in all of human society, not just within the religious society that I adhere to.
It is the sincere desire of the author that those of you who currently oppose polygamy will change your attitude about polygamy before you complete reading this article.
Being a member of a spiritual/religious society whose philosophy and goal is to control sex desire, why promote polygamy? Good question. In fact, there are many such good questions, and when you read I hope this and other questions like it will be answered (why promote polygamy, because ultimately it is for the benefit of keeping society pure and peaceful, which is conducive to spiritual / religious life).
This page will give an in-depth look as to why polygamy is needed in society, it's purpose, it's good features. I will explain, first, my Krishna Conscious connection with it, how it is viewed in my own religious tradition and society. Then I will describe why it should be accepted and practiced in all of human society, especially in religious societies like ISKCON.
Vedic Social Standards - Different Does Not Mean Wrong
In America most of the ISKCON Krishna devotees are American. Personally, I was born in a Christian - American family. But, I was always attracted to India, and India's religion and culture. I seriously began studying the Vedic literatures when I was around 17-18. I became a full time Krishna devotee, living at the temple in LA in 1973, at the age of 22. I adopted Vedic culture and religion as my own. In 1981 I married a Hindu girl as my wife.
Therefore it should be no surprise that I also have become attracted to the cultural laws of the Vedic scripture in regards to marriage and social-family culture and chose to apply these standards, as much as possible, to my and my family's lives.
However, there are many Vedic standards and regulations that are very 'different' than what is accepted as 'normal' in the modern world. Because they are 'different' the view today is that such standards are 'wrong', even a few things some people may consider immoral or irreligious. But, all of these standards, taken together, form the basis of a social science that is the basis of religion itself.
Even in modern times our idea of what is right or wrong changes from generation to generation or from place to place. In some countries it is illegal for a girl to become religiously married under 18 years old, yet in some of these same countries it is 'legal' for a man to have (illicit- irreligious) sex with a 16 or even in some countries a 14 year old girl as long as she gives her consent.
The point is what we think is right or wrong is what we have been trained by society to accept as right or wrong. However, from a religious point of view, there is an absolute right and wrong. Some readers, the atheists, may disagree, but I am a religious person and therefore I accept God's laws as being what determines the absolute nature of right and wrong. As a devotee of Krishna I accept the Vedic scriptures being the true word of God.
Those of other religious faiths have a different scripture, but the essence of all major scriptures is similar, the primeval origin is the Supreme Personality of Godhead.
The Vedas are also a science, and the Manu Samhita contains the social laws of the Vedic scripture as they relate to government and marriage and society in general. The mundane laws of material life. In regards to marriage, the Vedas give very explicit rules and guidelines to follow. Some of the rules may seem 'outdated' or out right wrong to our modern way of thinking. That, does not, nonetheless, mean these rules are actually 'wrong'.
Over the years I have studied the different aspects of these Vedic laws and rules that guide and govern social relations. I have found that it is an interconnected science. Each aspect of the culture, regardless of how 'strange' it seems to us today, is required. Each aspect is interdependent on other aspects. The goal of all these Vedic rules is ultimately Transcendence from material bondage. The ultimate goal is Love of God. Peace and harmony in human society makes for a social environment that is very conducive to spiritual God Conscious life. The mundane goal of these rules and laws are to make society peaceful, but there the ultimate purpose is to encourage and facilitate the spiritual goals of human life. (Just see the stark difference of a Godless social system such as Marxist communism that promotes social upheaval, social disruption, social revolution, as the basis of their social system). Peacefulness requires religious piety. Therefore, rules that encourage society to become pious are required. Each aspect of Vedic marriage, the rules and laws, are aimed toward increasing the piety, the righteousness, the good of the people, to facilitate peaceful and harmonious families which provides the basis for a peaceful and prosperous society. The aim of which is to make the goals of spiritual life easier to attain.
Below is a list of social rules, based on the Vedas, that may be considered 'unacceptable' or at least 'strange' by modern standards. However, as you look over the following list keep in mind that the goal of these rules collectively is to uplift society, these standards are for society's religious, spiritual and material benefit.
Standards of Vedic marriage which may appear 'different' or
'unacceptable' to the masses today:
|The Father must select the husband for his daughter. In Vedic culture, marriage is
based on duty. Duty to society, duty to God, which is fixed and doesn't change from day to
day or year to year. But, modern marriages are based on 'like' and 'dislike', which is
flickering and temporary and is practically guaranteed to change from one day or year to
the next. Marriages or relationships based on 'like' are practically guaranteed to fail.
Marriages whose basis is duty to God will not fail.
The father's duty is to find a suitable husband for his daughter(s). A girl, left to her own devices will either, almost always, base her choice on 'like' or 'dislike', often blinding herself to seeing the boy's long-term good or bad qualities. Or, by dressing herself to attract some 'good' (looking) man, will inevitably attract men who are only interested in exploiting her good looking body. Rather than attracting the good man she is after she winds up being taken for one nowhere ride after another. Because a young lady is driven by 'like' or 'dislike' she will look for someone who (at the moment, at least) is fun to be with. And men will look toward her as someone they can have 'fun' with, either for one night or one month. The Vedas teach that it is very difficult for a girl to find a good husband on her own.
A father, however, has his daughter's long-term best interest in mind. He knows his daughter very well, her likes and dislikes. He is older, wiser. He uses his more mature experience in life to find a man who is responsible, trust-worthy, mature, and is either successful or has the potential to be successful in life. According to the Vedas, this is the preferred system of marriage.
In this system the young man and girl enter into the relationship based on 'duty'. Duty to God is foremost, duty to society, duty to each other, duty to the children that will follow. That forms the basis of the marriage, and those duties never change. The foundation of the marriage is solid and permanent. Whereas a marriage based only on 'like' will surely change. It has no solid foundation, it has no permanence.
[It must be noted here that the current system of arranged marriages in modern India, for the most part, at least in the large cities, is more or less, degraded from true Vedic standards. Modern India has degraded to that of a 'caste' system. Varnashram-Dharma teaches a 'class' system. It classifies men as belonging to one of four classes of men. This classification is to be based on the individuals qualifications, or lack thereof. Modern India bases the classifications on 'birth' - thus it is a 'caste' system and such a system is not supported by the Vedic scripture, which rejects such culture.]
|Girls Must Be Married
At Early Age
|Girls are to be married at an early age. Vedic scripture teaches that the girl should
be married before she reaches puberty. Srila Prabhupad wrote to a teacher that getting the
girls married at 9 or even 6 years of age was not too early. One of his sisters were
married at 9. This is not what some people may mistake it to be. If a girl is married
before puberty, there is no 'sleeping' together, there isn't even hand-holding, no dating
and absolutely no kissing. Only very limited and very strictly supervised association is
allowed. And that is so the girl can be trained how to be a perfect wife.
The point of marriage at that age is not so the boy and girl can enjoy sexlife, rather, it is to assure that there will be no illicit sex. Psychologically the boy and girl will now no longer care about it. They are already married, so they don't have to think about if this boy or girl likes me, or I like him or her. They don't have to (and they don't) think about it. It is already a done-deal. Now, they can concentrate on learning and training without being bothered by the opposite sex and the whole issue of boy friends and girls friends at all. In this way, child marriages are considered extremely religious and pious. Their intended purpose is to eliminate pre-marital, irreligious and illicit relationships. To prevent illegitimate and unwanted children. Thus, it is a great benefit to society.
This is taken very seriously by the Vedic scripture. One verse actually states if the father has not got his daughter married before puberty than he must drink her first menstruation.
And, if a girl is not married before puberty, Vedic law states the father must marry her no later than 3 years after she reaches puberty, otherwise the father is to be seen as a failure, useless, by the society. Three years after puberty translates to about 16 years of age (which is the age Srila Prabhupad specified as being the maximum age a girl is to married by). By Vedic standards a girl who is 17 or older and not yet married is considered an old-maid and men of knowledge in a Vedic culture would not agree to marry her after that age (there are reasonable and scientific reasons for each and every aspect of these Vedic standards, even if they do seem 'unacceptable' to our modern way of thinking. All of the Vedic standards serve to benefit society in it's religious and spiritual progress. They all work to keep society peaceful and God centered. Read the next item in the list for more information about why men should only marry younger girls.).
If a girl is married, then as soon as she reaches puberty, or as soon as she is married after puberty, Vedic science teaches that the girl is to move in with the boy's family and be given a child as soon as possible. She must be given a child immediately by her religious husband as soon after puberty as possible. This is certainly 'different' than today's standard. But, there is good, solid logic reason for it.
When a girl reaches puberty she develops strong desire for a boy's association. She develops lust. If this lust is left unchecked then it can lead to more and more material desire. She will dress herself in shorter skirts, trying to attract some boy. The more 'attractive' she makes herself the more chance there will be that she will attract boys who are interested only in irresponsible, irreligious, sense enjoyment.
However, when a young girl is given a child and she becomes a mother the lust that was just starting to grow in her heart becomes diverted into love and affection for the baby.
By Vedic standards a girl who has reached puberty and older who is unwed is like a problem waiting to happen. The problem will not only be for her, but for all of society. If a girl becomes pregnant out of wedlock at the age of 12 and up (and that is what has been happening in America on a regular basis) very often the father will not be there for the child. The child will have been conceived only in the mood of sense-enjoyment, passion. According to the Vedas, there is a direct cause and effect relationship between the mentality of the parents at the time of conception and the mental attitude the child will be born with. Children born out of lust will more than likely become socially dysfunctional and disruptive as they grow older. And, the child will be, often times, unwanted, at least the father did not want the child, he left. Often, the mother or young girl also doesn't want the child, as the child now becomes a burden for them. And society also doesn't want an unwanted child. Unwanted children create problems for all of society. Children born out of wed-lock are considered by the Vedas to have a very degrading effect on all of society. Thus, assuring that a girl is not only married, but given a child, as soon as possible assures the religious purity of the society. It forms the religious purity of the society.
These standards may seem 'odd' by today's standards, but in today's world (at least in America) it is a statistical fact that the vast majority of unwed girls past the age of puberty engage in premarital sex. Teenage girls, high-school girls, the majority of them engage in premarital, illicit, irreligious sex life. Even by 11 and 12 some girls have become, what is termed, 'sexually active' (promiscuous), engaging in sexual relationships with a number of boys. The modern solution to this is to teach "sex education" and hand out condoms and tell 12 year old girls that if you are going to have sex, do it 'safely'. So-called 'safe' illicit, irreligious sex. That is the modern generally "accepted" moral standard. To give 12 year old (I heard recently even 11 year old) girls condoms in public schools and teach them how to engage in 'safe-sex' is 'acceptable' moral behavior? While the Vedic culture of the father arranging the marriage of a girl to be married as a child and to live as wife and become a mother - under strict religious marriage, is somehow immoral? It is different then the west, yes, but not wrong.
From the Vedic perspective this modern day present system is extremely degrading and irreligious. The Vedic view point is that it is far more religious and beneficial to society that the girls be married at puberty and be given child as soon as possible by her lawful religious husband then the current alternative, which allows and encourages irresponsible men (young men - or boys) to misuse and abuse young girls for their lusty sense-gratification. (How many fathers who care about their daughter's like the idea that their 13 + year old daughter has already had sex with 2-3 different boys?) (Unscrupulous men favor the modern standards because it gives them an opportunity to have irresponsible affairs with young girls who are told that it is 'normal' to jump around from one boy to the next. By the time a girl today reaches 18 and become legal for any man to exploit her, she is well indoctrinated into the culture of illicit sex and promiscuous behaviors. Thus, modern standards are favored by such unscrupulous men. While, the ignorant, or uninformed, masses reject moral standards of the Vedic system).
Srila Prabhupad's wife was 11 years old when they were married, which was prior to her reaching puberty. They did not live together, association was very limited and strict and supervised with both parents present. Then, when she had her first period at 12-13, at that time they lived together and she gave birth to their first child when she was 14. This is considered a proper and religious system of marriage.
|Boy Must Be 5 Years Older, Minimum
|The boy must be 5 years older. 8 to 10 years older is considered better. If the above
standard is followed and girls are married at puberty, say at 13, according to the Vedas
girls are mature enough at that age to become a mother, but a 13 year old boy is not
mature enough to become a father. If the standard of getting the girl married very young
is followed then it only makes sense that the boy must be older. A 21 to 23 year old (or
18 minimum) young man is mature enough to become a responsible father and husband, but not
a 13 year old boy.
Srila Prabhupad was 10-11 years older than his wife, he was 21-22 when they married. He was about 23 when they started living together, and he was 24 to 25 when the first child was born. This is the Vedic system. A man is mature enough at age 25 to be a responsible father and good husband. And, in a society that accepts these standards, where it is 'normal' for girls to be married at 11 and become mothers by 12 to 14, amazingly young girls make excellent affectionate and caring and responsible mothers at that age. We may not think so because of our conditioning in modern times. The idea of a 12 year old girl becoming a 'mother' and a 'wife' seems 'wrong' to us. It would seem that a girl of that age could not handle it, that they would not make good mothers. But this standard existed for countless millennia in India. For countless thousands of years countless millions of girls became mothers at the ages of 11-16 and it had no adverse effects on their society. The whole population did not cease to prosper and flourish because all girls became mothers just upon reaching puberty. By Vedic standards this is 'healthy' and these are the proper 'religious' ages for marriage. See next 2 items for further description of this.
The Manu Samhita actually gives the ideal age for marriage for girls at 12 and age for husband at 30. 18 years difference!!!. If the boy cannot wait for so long, he can marry earlier. It says at 24 he can marry a 14 year old, then he won't have to wait at all.
|No Maximum Age Difference
|According to Vedic standards, there is no maximum age difference. Srila Prabhupad once
stated that an 80 year old man could marry a 16 year old. Marriage means to have children.
A wife will become the mother of the man's children. A chaste woman makes for a more
healthy family. If a man marries a chaste and virgin wife there is far less chance she
will become unchaste. Therefore, since the goal is to assure a marriage has the best
chance for succeeding, it is to society's benefit that men, no matter what their age, only
marry chaste virgins. Which mostly leaves only the younger girls. For men to marry
non-virgins is in and of itself irreligious, it is degrading, and it encourages more
degradation in society. It encourages divorce. If men become cultured to only marry chaste
virgins this encourages chastity and purity in society.
Another reason is that women are to adjust their personality to become compatible with the husband. This makes for a good marriage and peaceful family life. The Vedas teach that the wife is to mold herself around the personality of the husband. She is to adjust her mood to match that of the husband.
The goal is to assure a life-long marriage. Marriages which break up are degrading to society. They are harmful to the children of that marriage. Therefore, all these things are accepted in Vedic culture to help to assure a life-long marriage, which is to the individual's and society's benefit.
Vedic wisdom teaches that a young girl is like green bamboo which can be curved and shaped. When green bamboo is bent into a shape it will harden to that shape as it matures. Like green bamboo a young girl will naturally conform herself to her husband's disposition. Therefore, the best marriages are described as those in which the girl is married before puberty and is then trained to match her husband's personality. By 16 years of age a girl is still considered 'green' and 'moldable'. Thus, it is advised that whatever the age of the man, if he is to marry, it is best, not for his sense enjoyment, but it is best for the longevity of the marriage itself (which is also best for the children of that marriage which is also best for the society in general) if the man can marry a still yet young girl. This will increase the likelihood that the marriage will last as the girl will mold herself to her husband creating a more compatible and peaceful marriage.
However, the personality of a girl who is over 16 begins to harden like mature bamboo. A matured stick of bamboo is rigid and strongly resists being bent. It not only is hard to bend it, but it will not hold the shape. It will bounce right back to where it was. Thus, according to Vedic standards a matured lady is considered not very desirable for marriage by an intelligent man, for he knows she will not be willing to mold herself around his personality. She will resist shaping herself to become more compatible. Thus, marriage to a mature lady is not a desirable marriage according to the science of the Vedas for it is risky, it has a higher chance of being incompatible. It has a higher risk of becoming a broken marriage in the future, a higher risk that the children of that marriage will suffer, thus a higher risk that society will degrade further due to another broken marriage. Therefore, Vedic culture accepts the principle that no matter what age a man is, if he were to marry (1st marriage or 10th, doesn't matter) he should only marry (if he can find) a young girl.
When Srila Prabhupad was a young man his father had one friend, whom Srila Prabhupad described as a great devotee, whose wife died when the man was no less than 65. At that age he remarried and took a second wife. Srila Prabhupad described that when the man was 75 the wife was only around 25, 50 years younger than her husband. This means when he remarried at age 65 his wife was only about 15 years of age. A 65 year old man marrying a 15 year old girl. Imagine what sort of scandal that would cause today in America?! Srila Prabhupad described this man as a pure devotee of God, very devoted. And, he commented how chaste his wife was, how she served her older husband very nicely. Srila Prabhupad didn't object to such a marriage.
Obviously, such age differences are not 'normal'. Such marriages do not occur very often, but, when they do, those who understand the Vedic science of marriage and social culture do not object to such a marriage as it is within the laws of dharma, religion. Such marriages are allowable in Vedic culture because allowing them serves to benefit society much more than, say, the old man were to remarry some widowed or divorced woman who already had children.
You can see the differences between modern standards and Vedic standards. Today it would be acceptable for a 65 year old man to marry a 50 year old or older lady who may not only be a mother, but a grand mother. Yet, by Vedic standards that is considered completely degrading for the man and the woman. Vedic law states that a woman who remarries is engaging in illicit sex, prostitution. (In this sense the word prostitution means engaging in illicit sex, as opposed to professional prostitution which means to earn a living from illicit sex). The man, according to Vedic law, would be guilty of being partner to turning this lady into a prostitute and sleeping with another man's wife (see below, there is no such thing as divorce in Vedic scripture). This would be considered very horrible for the woman's children and grandchildren, it sets all bad example.
Such a marriage is considered adharma, irreligious. Actually, in Vedic culture a man who were to sleep with and remarry such an older woman who has children would risk becoming an outcaste by being run out of his village. It was totally unacceptable by all Vedic standards. If the same man were to marry the same woman's 14 year old granddaughter, that was certainly not 'normal' that is to say, it was not the type of marriage one would see very often, but, it would be 'acceptable' in Vedic culture. It would be a religious marriage, a proper marriage, as the girl is chaste and virgin. It is religious when a man marries a chaste and virgin wife, it is irreligious for a man to marry an unchaste woman. Thus, even if a 65 year old man married a 15 year old girl he would not loose any respect in his village for doing this. However, by today's standards such a marriage would be considered cradle-robbing. The man would be seen as some sort of sexual pervert, a 'dirty-old-man', practically a child-molester. If such a marriage were 'legal' it would certainly not be 'acceptable' to the masses of today.
The real difference today is that people base their idea of what is right or wrong on material sense-enjoyment which forces them to have self-centered, near-sighted vision. Vedic culture sees what is right or wrong based on the comprehensive far-sighted vision of what is good or bad in the ultimate end for society as a whole, and what is best for the children of the marriage, what is best to keep the marriage together, that is what is best for the individuals. Vedic culture achieves all of this because it strictly follows the laws laid down by God, Krishna. Personal sense-enjoyment is not considered that important, but that is automatically satisfied by following the Vedic principles.
|Men Should Only Marry Chaste Virgins
|This is explained above.
|Divorce & Remarriage For Women Is Not Allowed
|There are no provisions for divorce or remarriage in Vedic law. It specifically states
in the Manu Samhita that a woman cannot divorce by any means, not by paying for it, or by
any legal means or documents. Marriage for the wife is life-long. She can, if she gets a
bad husband, leave the husband if there is sufficient reason, but she is not allowed to
remarry. Why not? For the reasons stated above, for her to remarry makes her unchaste (by
Vedic definition). Society becomes pure when women are properly protected and their
chastity is protected and respected. When women become unchaste, society degrades. Thus, a
man who remarries a previous married woman is partly responsible for society's further
Manu Samhita states that brahmans, priests, who help an already married woman sleep with another man (or remarry), is to be understood to have broken the laws of Sanatan-Dharma (the highest codes of eternal religion). I know, personally anyway, of no incidents where Srila Prabhupad helped, in anyway, to arrange the remarriage of an already once married woman. But, I have seen, recently, GBC (leading men in ISKCON) helping arrange for a girl to divorce her devotee husband and remarry another devotee who himself just divorced. Such actions are totally against the law of Dharma and must be understood and stopped by members of our society. A brahman who acts in this way is guilty of irreligious acts which serve only to further degrade society. Brahmans, priests, must only engage in works that will uphold the principles of dharma, religion, such as strictly not allowing or recognizing divorce and remarriage of women.
Many members of ISKCON do not yet understand the far reaching importance of following varnashram-dharma, the laws of Manu-Samhita. I hope I can help change that.
For the upliftment and protection of society, to keep it's social standards high, divorce and remarriage for women is not allowed. Protection of the chastity and purity of women is most important and that standard must not be compromised.
|Men Can Marry More Than One Wife
|Men, however, can marry more than once. This is the topic we will discuss here. Briefly, a man does not loose his stature, his 'chastity' so to speak, by remarriage or by living with more than one wife.
|The Wife Must Be Trained To Be Submissive To Her Husband
|This is the single most important 'key' to the Vedic system of marriage. It is the
'key' to a peaceful God-Conscious society. And this is the most 'foreign' and
'unacceptable' idea to women of modern times.
Once during a TV interview the female newsreporter asked Srila Prabhupad if he taught that men are superior to women. Srila Prabhupad at first replied yes. Later he explained that women are not 'less' then men, ultimately we are all equal spirit souls, but that it is a question of social duty. A wife is supposed to be trained to be submissive to her husband. The female reporter said that in America we are trying to make women equal with men, Srila Prabhupad replied, "I am not trying".
Then the reporter asked what the result is if women refuse to be submissive to their husbands and instead demand equal rights. Srila Prabhupad said that all social problems stem from this. ALL of society's problems are due to this one point. First, there will be no peace in the home. Fighting will occur over all insignificant things. Then, family life is broken. When men are not happy at home they look for another relation outside the marriage. There will come divorce, and the children will be made to suffer. There will be all sorts of illicit sex for men will be having affairs not being happy and satisfied at home. From so much illicit sex unwanted children will be born into society, and it is the unwanted children who turn society into hell. Being unwanted, many such children are raised unloved, uncared for. They grow up without love, they form no self-respect. They don't know how to respect others. These children mature to become the rapists, murderers, vandals and social misfits. Srila Prabhupad (basing his view on the Vedic scripture) put the full square blame for all of this on this one social principle, that women were not trained to be submissive to their husbands. He made it extremely clear that most all divorce and all social disruptions stem from this one thing.
The reporter asked if all of these things will subside if women agree to become submissive. Srila Prabhupad agreed, yes. When women become submissive automatically the men become more responsible. That it is natural, that men want that a woman becomes dependent on him. And, by remaining submissive very few, if any, marriages will end in divorce. There will be very few, if any, broken homes. Illicit affairs will subside and the population of unwanted and unloved children will subside. The children of families that stay together will become productive and responsible members of society. All of society becomes uplifted and purified.
The key is for women to remain submissive to their husband.
|No Dating. No Premarital relationships.
|Vedic culture does not tolerate any form of premarital relationship, even dating. In
fact, the rules are very strict in regulating social interaction between men and women.
The immediate goal is, again, the chastity of the women.
Young men and women are not to be allowed to freely mix. As I read from one Christian writing about kissing before marriage They described it is like playing with a stick of dynamite. The analogy is like this: A boy and girl are alone on a date, and they decide to light the fuse of a stick of dynamite and play with it for a while. They have full intentions of putting out the fuse before it burns too far. When they put out the fuse, they think, 'no harm done, the dynamite didn't go off'. On the second date they again light the fuse and play it, again, intending to put it out. On the 3rd night they again light it. Kissing and caressing and touching and petting is like lighting the fuse. Each side (or sometimes only one side) fully intends to put out the fuse before it gets too far. Problem is, each time they do this the fuse keeps getting shorter and shorter. The first night it ended with kissing, the next night starts with kissing and ends with real passion. The third night it starts with passion and ends... ...further along... Each time they are alone together, the fuse is shorter and shorter, until one night they light the fuse and it doesn't take long until the dynamite blows up. Now, everything has changed. The boy got what he was after, and gets a bit scared thinking of long-term - final - this is it arrangements. The girl, she has now become a woman, of sorts, and lost her innocent virginity. If she is religious and wants to be chaste, then she will want to make this relationship work. But, is the other side really into it??
As one popular radio talk host, Dr. Laura, (I have heard her show a few times, and somethings I agree with her on, some I don't, but, I will tell you, she is more hard-hitting and moral then even many members of ISKCON) asked (quotes are from memory), "Are married men more concerned for their wife then a non-married man is for his girl-friend?" One girl had expressed her dismay when the boy she had been 'shacking up' with and sleeping with for 2 years moved to another town and called her to say that if she wanted to come stay with him in his new apartment it was 'cool' - otherwise, he wanted her to know he had a real great time living with her for the past two years. The girl was horrified. She thought they were shacking up because they wanted to live with one another, on a long-term basis - like in marriage - like for life. They had talked about it, talked about children, but it was always decided they were both in college and not quite ready. It was only a matter of another few months or a year... But, Dr. Laura pointed out that if the guy isn't committed to marriage, then he isn't committed to the girl, he is only shacking up because shacking up gives him everything he wants. Shacking up isn't great for women, it is great for irresponsible men. It gives the irresponsible man a woman to sleep with every night, but it removes him from any of the strings that come with a real life-long commitment (marriage), especially it removes them from the burden of responsibility. Fortunately this girl had not bared children yet, but if she had, there would have been little difference in the man's attitude, only now he may be legally bound to 'pay' for helping to raise the child.
Without marriage, there is no commitment, morally or legally, for the man to be responsible for his actions, to be a father or a life-long husband. Therefore, men who tell the girl, "look, lets just sleep together, we don't need a marriage license, and we really aren't ready for children yet, so just take birth-control pills and let have 'safe' sex", is in-effect telling the girl, "all I really want is sex, and I do not want to be tied down to a life-long commitment. So, if there is a 'mistake' and you get pregnant, well, it is your mistake and I am out of here. Like this girl who was dismayed that after 2 years the boy simply told her it was 'cool' if she moved in with him again so he could have sex with her again, and if not, hey, he just wants her to know he has had a great time having sex with her for 2 years.
This is where modern American culture is at today in it's idea of relationships. Women are crying for equal rights, but, in the name of so-called freedom and independence and equal rights, they are being taken for even bigger fools. This girl was typical of many girls today. She is simply being used as a cheap prostitute. A live-in prostitute. There was no idea of commitment on the man's part, no speck of idea of responsibility or duty. Is that 'love'? No, it is simply an arrangement for the irresponsible sense-enjoyment of irresponsible men. But, it is promoted to the women that this is their 'freedom' and their equal-right. What is equal? For two years the girl was thinking the man 'loved' her, and for 2 years the man was thinking that liberated women make life real easy... You can sleep with them for 2 years and walk away and find another one with no strings attached. 'Cool'. (or cruel, depending on perspective).
The point is that this is the end or culmination of a society whose system of marriage is based on dating. Srila Prabhupad likened dating to letting a female dog run wild in the streets to find a mate. It is uncivilized according to Vedic standards.
Equally as bad as shacking up is allowing girls (over the age of 9 or so) to freely mix with and associate with young boys. Co-ed schools are no good. Neither is 'supervised' association. There should be no loose mixing of young boys and girls.
There would be no need for it if the principles listed above were followed, namely that all girls be religiously married prior to puberty, and that they live with their lawful husband as soon as they reach puberty. Following these standards will totally eliminate the need for dating or free mixing of young boys and girls. By Vedic standards, allowing a girl to mix freely with boys is totally degrading to society.
Girls are to be protected. Their chastity is to be protected. Again, the whole point of all these standards. Allowing a young girl to freely associate with boys is to abandon society's duty, the father's duty, to give the girl protection. And young unwed girls are the most vulnerable and the most in need of protection of all women. Allowing unwed young girls to associate with boys is like throwing to the wolves. A father who allows this has abandoned all his obligations to giving his daughter proper protection.
Why is free association of young boys and girls bad? Because it robs the girls of their chastity. It robs them of their natural shyness. It plants the seeds for illicit affairs. Even if the girl remains virgin until marrying, freely mixing with boys prior to marriage plants seeds that can latter fructify and cause her many problems and a failed marriage in the future. After marriage such a woman will find nothing wrong with freely associating with other men, thus drastically increasing the risk that she may wind up having affairs with other men even after marriage. By Vedic standards, allowing girls to freely mix with boys is considered extremely unchaste and unwanted behavior.
Young girls simply allowed to laugh and joke and associate with boys is dangerous. It will inevitably lead to increased numbers of illicit affairs and unwanted pregnancies, unwanted children (and children raised without a father).
The alternative to not allowing free mixing of young boys and girls is to get the girls married before or just after puberty, and to allow the boy and girl to start their family as soon as the girl is physically able. This way, girls will not have to worry about flirting to attract someone, boys will not be bothered about it, and can dedicate their youth to study and society will not have to worry about what to do with all the young unwed girls having babies that the young boys do not want to father.
I consider the Vedic system, the system of Varnashram-Dharma, to be far superior to what system is accepted and practiced today. This Vedic system was taught and promoted by my teacher, Srila Prabhupad, for the members of ISKCON to also practice.
However, in ISKCON today I see that most fathers do not provide such standards of protection for their young daughters. The young girls are allowed to associate with boys. Boys are allowed to associate with their daughters. This was not the standards that Srila Prabhupad taught. And, virtually none of our girls are married before puberty nor do the parents that have considered doing this in the past considered to allow the girl to live with her husband just after reaching puberty. In otherwords these standards were never practiced in full by members of ISKCON, and currently most members reject such ideology as being impractical. Many girls, by age 14-16, very freely associate with the community's and parent's consent. Dating is also allowed. But, all of this was strictly prohibited and rejected by Srila Prabhupad. Parents have told me that I don't understand, that when the girls get to be that age, there is no stopping them, they want to have the association of boys. But the solution is there: The father must get his daughter married before or just after puberty. And, just after puberty, allow them to live together to start a family (which is why the boy must be at least 5 and preferably at least 8 to 10 years older than the girl). Only the Vedic system, followed in full, will provide the proper solution. The other complaint I have heard is, I wanted to get my daughter married, but, I could not find anyone who I felt was really qualified. I wasn't sure if they were going to remain fixed in their religious vows (so they did nothing and abandoned their responsibility to protect their daughter, and now most of these girls are freely dating, even some are unwed with children). The solution, give them to a man who has a proven track-record. A man who already has one wife and has proven his ability to take care of her nicely. (These are not my suggestions alone, they are my teacher, Srila Prabhupad's instructions, in over half of the times when he gave instructions about getting the daughter married in her youth he would also mention polygamy as being needed in order to find enough qualified men for all the girls). But, to not follow these standards leaves us with no choice but to abandon all ideas of giving the unwed girls proper religious protection, thus the continual degradation of society will not be stopped.
Over 5 years ago I was speaking with one Indian man, he was from Bangalore, in South India. He was, at the time, 55 years of age. He was from a high brahminical family. His grandfather was a 'true' brahman, his father had become a lawyer under the British government, and he became an electronics engineer. Anyway, he was telling me that in the early 1960's while he was attending college he was a very rebellious youth. To show his rebellious nature to his college friends he once got on his bike and rode past the all girl's school and shouted out to several of the girls and smiled at them... That was his wild show of rebellion, for which his friends considered him extremely daring...
He explained that in India, in Bangalore, at least up to that time, the chastity of young unwed girls was extremely guarded. Boys and girls were not allowed to even flirt, even from several hundred feet away, what to speak of talking or joking or freely associating with one another.
If he had been seen by any one older who knew his father, he explained that his family's whole reputation could have been ruined. He said that at that time if a man were to be caught talking with a young unwed girl, trying to flirt with her or joke with her, that any men standing nearby who witnessed it would run to the girl's aid, to protect her chastity, and they would let the rebellious boy have it by beating him good and allowing him to walk away with his life. That is a very strict social order, aimed at protection of the chastity of the women. However, it was not fully implementing all of the Vedic standards, thus it was doomed to fail. It was good that society was earnest at protecting the unwed girl's chastity, but, it will fail in the end because these girls were older and still unwed. If these girls were all duly and religiously married prior to puberty then the system would still be there in full. Unfortunately, influenced by the British, the girls were no longer married at an early age, and thus it becomes impossible to maintain their chastity. Then the system breaks down.
My point is that the Vedic system of marriage is a science. A science whose goal is to purify and uplift society, to make society peaceful and to encourage spiritual - religious life. My religious society, any society, cannot achieve those goals by abandoning or not following ALL of the regulations that allow such goals to be achieved. We cannot attempt to practice one while telling ourselves another standard is not possible, thereby abandoning it. Then such systems will be doomed to failure. Everything, arranged marriages, strict no mixing of young boys and girls, girls married before puberty, having children just at puberty, observing the age differences, training girls to be submissive, and allowing men to protect more that one wife, encouraging men to only marry virgins. All of the above are required. If you attempt to eliminate one, the process will not work. All together these standards work to elevate, purify and uplift human society.
As you can see by the list, polygamy is only one of the 'controversial' standards of marriage according to the Vedic scriptures.
It also can be seen that among the members of ISKCON and Hindus in India, most of these standards are no longer followed. Polygamy is now illegal even in India, the land of dharma. In India they even have more restrictive laws than in America for they have made it illegal for parents to marry their daughter 'before' the age of 18. This is completely in opposition to the laws of Dharma, to the religious principles of the Vedic scripture. The result will be the further degradation of their culture. Everyone, except Srila Prabhupad, is working to give women equal rights, to teach them how not to be submissive, which is the best guarantee that their marriages will end in divorce and their lives will become miserable and their children will suffer. Divorce and remarriage are allowed. Society no longer encourages men to only marry chaste virgins. All religious principles are being outlawed and abandoned in favor of adopting the Western sub-standards. That is true both in India, and practically in ISKCON as well.
A few years back I was speaking with a mother of a young girl who was looking to find her daughter a good husband. She asked me what alternative were there since she couldn't find any young boy she felt was qualified. I suggested she consider a man who is already successfully married and asking him to take her daughter as his second wife. She asked if there was any other alternative, and I told her, yes, there is no age limit, you could consider an older man as well. I then informed her that I was interested in taking a second wife and offered I could give her daughter protection. Needless to say, she didn't agree. Rather, the community in which I live considered that I had 'fallen' and considered what I was proposing to be degrading and totally unacceptable. A few months latter one devotee, whom the GBC of ISKCON has authorized to help set 'higher' marriage standards for ISKCON told me that he felt my ideas were totally despicable. Totally out of line, totally unacceptable. Then he told me if I really wanted to take a second wife that there was one woman who has 3 children and is now divorced and is looking for another husband. He suggested I marry her. The reason I am mentioning all this is that it points out just how 'wrong' the majority of the members of ISKCON (what to speak of others) are about what is right or wrong. A man that our leaders appointed to help set 'higher' religious standards for marriage doesn't even know what the standards are. For men to marry chaste virgin girls is one of the very pillars of dharma, social religious life. It is our duty, the duty of the brahmanas, of the heads of society, to set and uphold the true moral and higher principals of dharma. To uphold and promote the standard that men should only marry chaste virgin girls is for the ultimate upliftment and benefit of all of society. To authorize or recognize 'divorce' and the remarriage of a woman who already has 3 children (one of whom was, at the time, a 12 year old girl, who was herself of marriageable age), is totally a-dharmic, totally irreligious, and such standards (or lack of them) only encourages the further degradation of society. It encourages divorce and encourages the on-going break up of more and more families. It encourages the suffering of the children who must become the unwilling victims of such broken families.
In one letter writing about our men taking more than one wife, Srila Prabhupad wrote, that it is to be strictly forbidden to accept women who were previously married, especially if they have children. Yet, this is what a devotee authorized to set 'higher' standards in ISKCON was suggesting.
Again, my point is that even in my own religious society, ISKCON, the vast majority of our members do not understand the real religious principals of marriage based on varnashram-dharma. It is the author's mission to attempt to change their way of thinking, as well as to influence any and all who read these pages, as to what are the higher principals of religious married life. Because it is not just polygamy, as you can see above, that is only one ingredient. All of the above principals are to be understood and implemented in order that any society can become uplifted.
My goal is to educate and try to convince as many as I can, either inside ISKCON, Hindus and any and all who will listen, of the superior value and need for adopting the higher standards as set forth in the Vedic laws. Social standards and marriage is a precise science. The Vedas set forth very precise rules and each of them has deep meaning and logic behind them. And each and all combined work to achieve a very precisely defined goal, the upliftment and purification of the whole society. In contrast modern standards are a hodgepodge of inconsistent concoctions as to what is right or wrong with no fixed goal except material sense-gratification.
I started this page to write about polygamy, but got a little off-topic by covering all the 'related' aspects, because in Vedic culture, all the aspects are related, so I could not talk about one aspect without explaining something about all other aspects. So, back to the topic of polygamy. I have tried to make it clear before, most members of ISKCON do not favor polygamy. Many members adamantly argue that it should not be practiced. They say our Founder, A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami, Srila Prabhupad, opposed it. Well, yes he did, and no, really he didn't. You see, Srila Prabhupad has given instructions both favoring polygamy and opposing it. He has both asked it to be instituted in our own society, and he has given instructions that it must strictly not be allowed.
Because of this it is something that is not practiced any more inside ISKCON then it is outside. In fact, I know of only 3 or 4 cases in the last 25 years, and all of those were well over 20 years ago. And of those, none were actually proper marriages which followed most of the standards outlined above.
The fact that I personally favor it and promote it must not be misunderstood that this is the view that is popular in ISKCON, it is not. However, with writings like this I hope to someday influence a change in that attitude, not only in ISKCON but throughout the entire world.
The sole basis for practicing and allowing polygamy is for the protection of the chastity of the women. (I will explain more about this in the body of this work).
A Summary of the Chronology of What ISKCON's Founder-Acharya (Teacher), Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad Said Regarding Polygamy.
As far as what my spiritual teacher, ISKCON's Founder, Srila Prabhupad, actually said and instructed (both favorable and unfavorable) I have dealt with this in detail in another similar manuscript I wrote entitled 'Polygamy, Authorized By The Sacred Laws Of Varnasram-Dharma' which was written specifically for the members of ISKCON. It's basis is the teachings of A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad on this topic. In the book I list all of his instructions I could find, both favorable and unfavorable, in chronological order so that it becomes more clear what his actual position was, and when and why it changed - leaving us with both instructions that were favorable and those which were unfavorable. Because he gave instructions both ways, those who like the idea could find plenty of instructions supporting their view, and those who were personally against it could find plenty of support for banning it. But what really was his actual stand on the issue?
Because most of my 'personal' opinion is based on and influenced by both my teacher's instructions and the conclusion of the Vedic scripture, I will give a brief account of the chronology of his instructions on the matter before I proceed:
In 1972 in his lectures Srila Prabhupad spoke very clearly in favorable of it. At one point he said that if men today do not accept at least 12 wives they will all go to hell (in reference to so many women who were being exploited by degraded men. His point was that the well trained men should each take at least 12 wives each so as to protect the women from falling into abusive hands of men who only look to women as sex objects to be exploited for their own sense gratification. If the well trained men were to take so many wives and keep them nicely engaged in God's service and guide them in spiritual life, this would work to uplift and purify the society. This would be a far better situation for the women who would otherwise be enjoyed and discarded by one unscrupulous man after another. Srila Prabhupad taught that polygamy would protect women from such a miserable way of life). In 1972 lectures he said other favorable things as well.
In January of 73 he wrote a letter to Karandhar, ISKCON's leading Governing Body Committee member (GBC member) in Los Angles,, and instructed him that polygamy was the best system and was needed in order to protect our women. He acknowledged that it was illegal and told him to take the laws into consideration and proceed in such a way as to not make a scandal. He noted in the letter that many of the marriages he had arranged or approved of had failed, he said this was proof that not all the men were able to make responsible and good husbands. Therefore those few men who proved themselves to be responsible and able to maintain their wives, Srila Prabhupad advised that these men should take as many wives as they can maintain. The idea was to provide the best protection for the women of our society and this, the system of polygamy, is the authorized system given in the Vedic scriptures. The letter was clear, he asked his leading manager student to introduce the practice in our society, officially, and widespread.
This letter alarmed several of his leading students. They felt this was 'wrong', or they felt that ISKCON was not ready for this. They argued that there were no men who would be able to handle the responsibility of it. They met among themselves and approached Srila Prabhupad requesting him not to do this. Just one month latter Srila Prabhupad sent letters to several leading students requesting that the practice be strictly prohibited in our temples (but he did qualify that statement several times by saying, not at the present time). He observed the passionate response and reaction taken by several of his leading students and agreed that it was too early, his students were not mature enough yet to handle this [my personal observation]. There was also the issue that since it was illegal several members pointed out that it may cause serious legal problems for ISKCON.
After this, however, Srila Prabhupad continued to speak favorably about it in his lectures. Yet, when several disciples wrote and requested permission to take a second wife, Srila Prabhupad said no, pointing out that it was not allowed in ISKCON, that it was illegal. Now, the question of it not being allowed is interesting. Srila Prabhupad's original request was that this be practiced, he requested it be started himself. It was a few of his leading men who objected and asked that it be not allowed. Srila Prabhupad was the Founder of ISKCON, but he instituted a system of management, the Governing Body Committee, and at times he even followed the advice of his GBC students. This was such a case. Srila Prabhupad requested polygamy be practiced, but several of his leading students requested it be prohibited, and for a while Srila Prabhupad agreed to conform to their requests over and above insisting that they follow his original request. But, personally, as we shall see later, Prabhupad did not actually object, and later he would even argue for it. But, for at least several years he conformed to the request of several of his leading students and insisted it not be allowed.
And there was another underlying reason that he did not grant favorable permission to several requests that were made at the time. He pointed out that the men who asked were not even, at the time, maintaining their own wife, they were being maintained by the temple for doing service. A householder, a married man, is supposed to live outside the temple and work independently and not only support his own family situation but he is to contribute to the support of the temple. These students who requested were living in the temples and were being maintained by the temples in exchange for their service. That he would not allow, that the temples should maintain men who keep more than one wife along with their wives. One devotee was a temple president. He was married and was caught having an affair with another unmarried girl. He requested to be allowed to take the girl as his second wife. Srila Prabhupad pointed out that a temple president is supposed to be a sannyasi, in the renounced order, a celibate monk, but he has granted that as long as a married man agrees to live a very restricted life then he has allowed married men to take the post of temple president. He said, however, it is not good for a temple president to live at the expense of the temple while keeping more than one wife. He told him that he will have to step down from the post of temple president, live and work outside. He said similar things to several devotees. Many ISKCON members have, in my humble opinion, misinterpreted this. They argue that when Srila Prabhupad said they must live 'outside' on their own, that he was in effect 'kicking' them out of ISKCON, or ex-communicating them as punishment. They argue that because he requested one devotee that he must step down from the post of temple president that this means that any devotee who dare take a second wife must be removed and barred from any official position of any manner at all within ISKCON. This, in my humble opinion, was not at all what Srila Prabhupad meant. He specifically explained why a temple president, being a post meant only for celibate monks, should not be taken by a man who has more than one wife, but he gave absolutely no indication this was to be a blanket policy for any and all other positions in ISKCON. And, it is not a fact that he was 'kicking' anyone out who took more than one wife. He had many times previously instructed that any man who marries even one wife is technically supposed to live 'outside' the temple ashrams and live on his own and maintain his family and at the same time help donate his time and money as he can to the temple. That is the 'proper' system for any married man. Yet, for married men who agreed to live more restricted lives he granted they could remain at the temple and be maintained in exchange for service. Where he drew the line was if the men take more than one wife. Then no temple should support them in exchange for service, that is where he drew the line. For these men, they must follow the 'proper' grhasta (married householder) regulations. They must live and work outside on their own. Not 'kicked out' of ISKCON, but to live and work on their own and do what ever service they can do as a donation. That is 'proper'. That was not 'punishment' for taking a second wife, it was simply the standards that must be followed. Yet, many members to this day interpret those standards as to be taken as punishments and they say that men who take more than one wife must be kicked out of ISKCON, barred from any position, for being rascals. No. That is a wrong interpretation that does not hold up to the other teachings of Srila Prabhupad regarding polygamy.
In 1975, Prabhupad was speaking on a walk saying that a father needs to find a husband for the daughter, so he said that if a man is qualified to be a good husband, if he is responsible and caring, even if he has already got 50 wives, the father can ask him to also marry his daughter. In this way the girl will be properly protected and the father's obligation to find his daughter a good husband is satisfied. In the same talk he mentioned that the higher classes of men, the priest and government men, mostly they would take more than one wife. He also mentioned that even a man over 50 years old could take an additional wife.
He said that the system is generally when the wife becomes pregnant that she will return to her mothers' house so she can be taken care of properly. A pregnant woman should not have to do regular house work, cleaning or cooking, at least not everyday all day, she should be taken care of. Prabhupad said, in this way, a man who has more than one wife, when one wife is pregnant she will go and he can go to the next wife. He then suggested that in ISKCON since most of the girls no longer live with family, that the temples should set aside one house where the pregnant wives can go and be taken care of. (I have the transcript to this in my other book on polygamy, it is also in the BBT Folio on CD ROM).
After speaking like this one student asked Srila Prabhupad if Prabhupad was suggesting that our men should take more than one wife? Srila Prabhupad replied, "I have no objection". How was this to be reconciled? Yes, in 1972-73 he was promoting it, but then, at the request of his leading students he requested it be strictly prohibited. And even though he kept speaking favorable in his lectures, up till now he blasted away the few students that asked permission to take a second wife. Why now he says that he has "no objection"?
My conclusion is two things. One is that Srila Prabhupad was always of the opinion that it was a good system. He requested it to be introduced. He personally never objected to it being practiced. It was when he observed the frantic and fanatic reaction exhibited by several of his leading men, he agreed with them that they were not mature enough at the time to handle it. And everyone who asked from then until now in 75 where not living outside and maintaining themselves properly, therefore those men were not materially qualified to take more than one wife.
The difference about this conversation is that it took place on one of our farm communities. The whole talk was about how the men must be responsible and all earn their own livelihood by farming and living off the land. The talk was centered around this, how the men were to be self-sufficient and maintain their own families (rather than being maintained by the temple). In the context of this conversation Srila Prabhupad said that he had no objection if his followers were to give proper religious protection to more than one wife.
If the man was not maintaining his first wife, but was being maintained by the temple, like a monk, than Srila Prabhupad objected. He did not object to the idea of his men taking more than one wife, but he objected to how they were improperly requesting to do so, while they were being maintained by the temple.
But, in 1975 when he made the statement saying that he had no objection one of his leading students (one of the same who objected in 1973 when Srila Prabhupad wrote the letter requesting this to be introduced to our society) immediately objected and some discussion occurred on the topic. Several of his leading men argued against allowing it's practice, and to each argument Srila Prabhupad defeated them and argued that it should be allowed and by our own members.
It was pointed out that the worst problem was it was illegal. Srila Prabhupad replied that was not difficult. He said that the man should not marry more than one wife. The other 'wives' he said they must call one another boyfriend and girlfriend, not husband and wife. In this way he said there is no law prohibiting a man from keeping many girlfriends. Then it will not be 'illegal'. One student, Brhamananda, mentioned that he had heard it may be possible to change the law and get it legalized in the State of California. Srila Prabhupad said, then, all our men should move there and marry more than one wife there. (This talk, more than any, showed that his actual position on the matter was extremely favorable. All arguments were made against it, and Srila Prabhupad defeated them and argued for it being practiced by his own followers).
Then it was argued that if we allow this that so many 10th class men will join our society just so they can sleep with many women. To this Srila Prabhupad replied that we are not interested in accepting any but 1st class men. At least, those who come must be willing to be trained up to become 1st class. If someone comes and is not willing to be trained to be responsible man, then, Srila Prabhupad said, he should not be allowed to marry even one wife, nor should he be allowed to stay at our temples. Otherwise, if he agrees to become trained up, to become a responsible man and agrees to work hard and maintain himself independently, then he can stay and marry. Then he is not only qualified to take one wife, but as many as he can maintain.
Another argument was that it if we practiced this that the public would come to know that some of our men were keeping many girlfriends. They argued that public opinion would turn against us. That the public looks down on this. Srila Prabhupad said that the general public, they drink alcohol, take intoxication, they chase after women, they pay to see women dancing naked in the bars, they kill and eat the cow, what is the use of their opinion? He said we had our own society and our own opinions based on our Vedic scripture, our religious principles. In the specific context of our men taking many girlfriends Srila Prabhupad said we need not care about the so-called 'public' opinion. (In other words, why should we alter our religious philosophy just to favor public opinion? Religious philosophy is not something decided by popular vote. It is the science coming down to us from God Himself. If the public thinks we should no longer glorify God's Holy Names, are we to immediately stop or ignore their ignorance and continue doing what we know is right? The purpose of polygamy, as he had described at other times, was to provide religious and proper social protection for the women. Without this protection society will continue to degrade. It is actually the religious duty for those men who are able to provide such protection to more than one wife so that all women who need protection can find it and thus society as a whole will become religiously and spiritually elevated).
It appeared that now Srila Prabhupad had turned back to his original stand, that it was something that he wanted introduced in our society. Actually, he never personally departed from that position, just for a few years he supported the request of several of his men not to allow it for that time. Now, it appears, he no longer supported that position but argued for it being allowed. Still, only months later Srila Prabhupad sent a letter in reply to another request, this time from a GBC, a member of ISKCON's Governing Body, who asked if he should arrange polygamous marriages for the men at his temples. Srila Prabhupad said that it is not allowed in ISKCON because it is illegal. But, then he explained if a student wanted to do so he must do so outside the legal "jurisdiction" of ISKCON. He had to make his own arrangements for the second wife (specifically he said that for legal reasons the temple authorities could not make the arrangements, not because it was philosophically wrong to do so, but because of the modern laws and legal implications that might cause). He said the man must live and work outside and maintain himself from his own work. If his students did this, he said he had no objection even if they took 1,000's of wives. But, he said, ISKCON could not be officially involved in any way (for legal purposes). (I will also note that in this same letter talking about polygamy Prabhupad stated that a man can take more than one wife, but, that he must 'strictly' not marry previously wed women. Especially women with children from another man. That was to be 'strictly prohibited'. These means that if a man were to take another wife, he should only consider the never wed - virgin or chaste - girls).
In 1977, in February-March, a leading Governing Body member of ISKCON (the same one who objected to the idea of polygamy in 1973 and in 1975 when Srila Prabhupad spoke favorably for it) approached Srila Prabhupad to complain about how several married men were heading up several all women traveling preaching parties. The complaint was that there was a 'false' philosophy in these parties that these women should respect the man who heads their party just like a husband. The managers of ISKCON said they weren't sure how to handle it and asked if Srila Prabhupad would say something to stop it. Srila Prabhupad said, 'husband?', why don't these men marry all the women on their party? The devotee making the complaint said, in an attempt to object, that there were up to 20 women on some of these parties. Srila Prabhupad replied that he has no objection if his men take more than one wife. He said he had already given that instruction previously.
And finally, in June of 1977, just a few months before Srila Prabhupad physically departed from this planet, he gave more direct instructions favoring it's practice among his followers. It is probably his last instruction he made on the topic, or even on the topic of marriage period. On June 28th, 1977, he was speaking about how the father's duty is to get his daughter married before puberty, by 12 years of age. Then he said that in order that all the girls find qualified husbands, the men who are able, they should take at least 3 wives each. He then instructed that the wife should understand it is a man's natural desire and she should not stop her husband if he wants to take, she should let him. If the husband has given the wife a home, children, clothes, ornaments, good food, then she should allow him to take other wives. But, the man must take care of each girl nicely. The wives must not complain due to lack of proper care.
This was his very last instruction on the topic. Also, in Srila Prabhupad's books and lectures he has only spoke of it favorably.
My conclusion is that he was very much in favor of seeing it implemented in our own society. His motive is as I am presenting here, that it's acceptance and practice is needed to properly protect the chastity of women, it is needed for the purification and upliftment of all of society. Therefore, if practiced properly it is wanted and needed in human society. Therefore, Srila Prabhupad and myself both support it.
I will note that Srila Prabhupad, when he was a young man, just married, had made arrangements to take another wife himself. He had already asked the girl's father and got permission and was making arrangements when his father found out and called him. His father requested Prabhupad not to do so. Not because it is wrong, but because Prabhupad's father knew that someday Srila Prabhupad would take to the renounced order and preach all over the world. He felt that this would be too difficult to do if he took more than one wife. Srila Prabhupad took his father's advice and called off the second marriage. Does this mean that Srila Prabhupad felt it was not to be practiced by any one else? Obviously not, he argued for it to be practiced by his own students, by men who were qualified as good fathers and husbands.
I have researched the topic in detail, at least from the perspective of my own religion and society. And, as far as my own spiritual teacher, Srila Prabhupad, my conclusion is clear, he very much favored it.
I decided not to post the full book on the Internet because it contains many quotes from his lectures and books and letters that are mostly of interest only to his immediate followers. It also contains many Sanskirt words that would be difficult for many to read. The full book is available to anyone who wants a copy, however, for $10 ($7 + 3 shipping - US). But, for the WWW I felt it would be more appropriate to present only the above summary and present my own personal views. Because the whole basis of my personal opinion on the science of marriage and social life is based on my knowledge of the Vedic scriptures and the teachings of my spiritual teacher I will still give some quotes from Srila Prabhupad and the Vedas. The issue of polygamy is a 'religious' one and all my arguments are based on scriptural understanding of it.
The Religious-Legal Question Of Polygamy
Most people in the world who support polygamy do so for 'religious' reasons. Muslims (Islamic faith), the Mormons, Sanatan-Dharma (Vedas or Hindu faith). Despite so-called freedom of religious rights in America, and despite polygamy being accepted by many leading scriptures of the world, in the US all states have laws prohibiting it. Most countries (outside of Islamic nations) also prohibit it. But, to those of us who understand it properly, it is a religious issue, and outlawing it is directly restricting our freedom of religion. Polygamy must be allowed for religious reasons. It is not that polygamy is itself a religion, but its practice and the reasons for it are rooted in religious principles. As I will show, it has enormous benefits to society. It will solve many of society's problems. It promotes morality and strengthens family traditions. Prohibiting it adds to society's moral decay, promotes divorce and remarriages and ultimately weakens and destroys the family tradition. This I will explain in more detail in this writing.
A few years back several members of the Mormon faith made another attempt to get their case heard by the US Supreme Court. The basis of their case was that polygamy was part of the religion of the Mormons and therefore was protected under freedom of religion. The US Supreme Court refused to even hear the case and commented that polygamy was a 'social' issue, not a 'religious' one, and therefore the justices concluded that as a social issue it was under the jurisdiction of the law of the land. In their eyes it was not seen as a part of religion. I strongly say that these justices were in gross error in their limited definition of 'religion'. Marriage may be a 'social' issue, but marriage is also a 'religious' rite. The whole idea of marriage itself has sprung from the womb of religion. For those who are religious, it is their religious scripture that determines their social moral standards, not lawyers who have become Supreme Court Justices, and not lawyers who have become Congressional Legislators. The whole institution of marriage itself is that it is a religious moral obligation. At least, religious morality is what has given birth to the concept of marriage. State Governments have instituted their own laws dealing with monetary and other legal aspects of marriage, the mechanics of it, but the moral issues, the social moral standards, that is the domain of religion, not lawyers who have become judges or legislators.
The question for religious people is should government dictate that lawyers can dictate our moral ethics and standards, or our chosen scripture and God's laws and standards?.
When 2 religious people marry, their 'real' marriage, in their eyes, in their hearts, is when they take their vows in their religious ceremony. Those are vows made to God in accordance with the moral standards of their religion. The marriage is one's vow to God to take the relationship as a religious one. Marriage is a religious ritual, Marriage is a religious rite, and marriage is a religious right. The justices said, in effect, that religion has nothing to do with forming 'social values'. That is a complete misunderstanding of religion. Social values and moral ethics are the domain for religion (or lack of it). Social values and morality are the essence of religion, you cannot separate them. You cannot say that religion and social moral values are two separate things. By stating that marriage is a social issue and not a religious one is a totally incongruous statement. Such a statement makes no logic sense. The fact that this statement was made by a group of lawyers that have become US Supreme Court Justices shows their total and complete ignorance of what is or is not religion. In making this statement they have crossed the bounds of their legal authority and are dictating what is religion. The moral standards of marriage are to be dictated by one's religious scripture, not be the State Government. If they want separation of State and Religion, then give us the freedom to separate them. But, social moral ethics and moral standards are the essence of religion, and that cannot be separated from religion, and therefore those standards cannot be dictated by the State.
The Justices have shown themselves unqualified to be judges over religious principles. Their background is that they have studied man-made laws - they were lawyers, not priests. How can a lawyer dictate to me the moral standards I am to follow when their ideas run counter to those of my scripture?
Marriage and social values are the proper domain of religion, not of the State. And polygamy is, by definition, marriage. It is a system of marriage sanctioned by all major scriptures of the world. The scripture I adhere to is the Vedic literatures, headed by Srimad Bhagavatam, Bhagavad Gita (Mahabharat), the Upanishad, etc.. And most notably, in reference to social standards, the Manu Samhita. Manu Samhita is Vedic scriptural law book for mankind. The laws of the Manu Samhita very much favor the practice of polygamy.
What Is The Need For Polygamy?
According to religious standards there is a need to keep the purity and chastity of the women. In a religious society men are encouraged to remain celibate. Such as the brahmacaris and sannyasis of Vedic culture or the monks of Christianity. Also, in times of war there is often a larger number of women then men, and there are always more men that go bad in society compared with the number of woman. What to do with the women, how to protect their chastity and purity which is required to keep society from degrading? The Christian societies came up with the idea of nuns. Monasteries for celibate women. Vedic culture, on the other hand, accepts and allows the practice of the more qualified men keeping more than one wife.
When Srila Prabhupad first asked for polygamy to be introduced to our society and was met with some resistance, he then asked his leading students to investigate the system of nun convents and create a similar system in ISKCON. This was never really done, however. Then, several years latter one of his students mentioned how there were so many celibate girls at the temples and how the temples were encouraging them not to marry. Srila Prabhupad said this was not at all practical. He said that encouraging girls to remain celibate will only lead them to prostitution for he said, in general, women cannot remain celibate for life. He said the only way to protect their chastity was to assure that they all get married, therefore he said some of our men can take at least 3 wives each.
The religious system for assuring protection for the women according to the Vedic system is marriage, and the only way to assure that all women are properly protected is by allowing and accepting that some men take more than one wife. Other religions may want to try the system of celibate women, but, that is not the Vedic system.
Polygamy, and polygamy alone, provides the best system for giving protection to women. That is the religious observance for it. When a man takes more than one wife with the motive of giving protection to the women, then his actions are totally moral and religious, polygamy for the purpose of protection is dharma, it is religion.
However, we are presuming a whole other social issue that must be explained: Protection!
Why Do Woman Require Protection? Protection From What? Protection By Whom?
Women are considered to be the weaker of the sexes. Or the fairer of the sexes. It is natural for men to want to see that a woman is 'protected', even in today's world of so-called 'equality', men and women are not treated equally in social aspects. And neither should they be.
For example, lets say a husband and wife get in a bit of a quarrel. If the wife hits the husband with a rolling pin she could cause some serious damage, she could even crack his skull or give him a real bad head injury. Still, when the man comes running out of the house holding his head and tells his neighbors his wife just hit him in the head, unless it were a real serious blow, his neighbors would basically just laugh and say, 'the little lady's having a bad day, huh?". But, if the husband had hit his wife in the head with the same rolling pin and the wife runs out and tells her neighbors, no one will think it was funny. No one will be laughing or joking about it. Instead, they will call the police and the husband could be hauled off to jail on a domestic battery charge. Even today, the idea that woman are to be protected is still very much alive, it is a natural response. Woman are weaker, are more vulnerable, therefore they require more protection.
Like a child is more vulnerable to being physically hurt. If a child came running out of the house complaining that the parents hit him/her in the head, it wouldn't matter if the child was male or female, no one would joke or laugh, the response would be to want to protect the child. The same thing with a very elderly person. If an old man or woman came running out complaining of the same thing, again, the general response of society would be to want to protect them. It is stated in the Vedic scripture that children, women and the elderly must be given protection. All of these are vulnerable.
And that is the key point in the need for giving women protection. Women are more vulnerable to abuse then men. Especially when it comes to sexual intercourse, the woman is the one who has the most need for protection. I am not referring to sexually transmitted diseases, but, to the natural result of natural sex - conception of a child. A man hasn't got to worry that his entire metabolism and physical and emotional and social condition will 100% completely change simply because he engages in the physical act of having sex. But, a woman does have these extended worries. The man cannot get pregnant, but the woman can. And getting pregnant causes the complete metabolic, physical and emotional and social change - for life - for the woman. Then comes the issue of who will support the pregnant and nursing mother and the raising of the child? Who will father the child? For the better half of a year a woman is pregnant, then it takes many more months for the body to 'recuperate', then there are lactating breasts to deal with and a totally helpless little infant. Lets don't forget the diapers, and all the attention, 24 hours a night. That need for attention seems to grow, not recede, over the years. It is the woman who must bear the child, who has the lactating breasts and must nurse the child (given a natural existence). If she gets pregnant and the man leaves, then what? Then she is 'stuck' with all the problems. Or society is.
Of course, a proper and good man will be responsible for his actions. That is what protection is all about. What a woman needs protection from the most is from men who are unscrupulous. Who care only about their immediate sense gratification. Who will mislead a woman, take advantage of them for their own pleasure, exploit them for their treasures, then, when they had their fill, or the woman becomes pregnant, they leave. One woman a few years back told my wife, she was divorced and had a child, but, she really wanted to 'be' with a man. One man told her upfront, he told her he would live with her (sleep with her), but he wanted nothing to do with children. So, after a few months of 'sleeping' together the woman got pregnant, and immediately the man moved out and left. She was so, shall we say, unintelligent, she really didn't think he would do that. Now, she had to deal with being pregnant and taking care of an older child, then give birth and try to take care of herself. It is at those times a woman is supposed to have help, when she really needs help, and this woman had to struggle through this alone. Then she had a small baby and another child and society was paying to support her. The man, he was only interested in a warm friendly place to stick it, but he wanted absolutely nothing to do with being responsible for his actions. This is what women require protection from. This is what society requires protection from.
Men do not have those same social and physical problems. Men do not require such need for 'protection'. Sorry, but, there are differences between men and women, or haven't people in the West noticed? Therefore there are different social standards for men and women. Women require protection from being taken advantage of, men do not, not in this way. Therefore the Vedas teach that there are different roles in society, different duties for the men and women. I have written about this in detail in my books, and I will be posting more articles here on my WEB site in the future about this. In brief, for now, I will say here that Vedic culture sees all living entities as spiritual beings. That is, the real life-force that empowers the body, the real conscious perceiving being, that is the non-material and eternal spirit soul. And the Vedas teach that all souls are equal, all souls are genderless. The soul is neither male nor female by nature. The Vedas also teach that the soul is eternal and attaches itself to a temporary body, one after another, the Vedas teach the science of reincarnation. However, along with the understanding that all souls are equal, true equality, the Vedas teach that the material bodies are not. A woman's body and man's body differ. The mental state, the mental capacity, the emotional condition, these are all linked to the body. Only conscious perception is the innate quality of the soul. Mental capacity, emotional range of sensitivity, etc., these are the realm of the gross body. For example, if I ingest alcohol or certain drugs, LSD, etc., I can alter my thinking and emotional states, for these are related to the physical body. If a man takes large quantities of estrogen, he will undergo emotional and mental and physical changes. He can even grow large breasts, his voice will thin and go higher, he will become more emotional. If a woman takes large quantities of testosterone she can grow facial hair, her voice will lower, she will be more commanding, and less emotional. Being male or female is simply a temporary material condition, it has nothing to do with the soul. Yet, the Vedas recognize the material and emotional and mental differences of being conditioned by a male or female body, it does not ignore them. They are real and must be dealt with. Vedic science teaches that society must recognize the differences and give separate duties and roles in society, especially in marriage, for men and women.
The natural role and duty for the woman is to become a mother and housewife. As far as becoming a mother, that is the most natural position for a woman. She has the womb, she nourishes the creation of the body of the child, and she has the delivery mechanism. The baby comes out of her body. Then she has the lactating breasts to feed and nurture the infant. To deny that it is a woman's natural role in society to become a mother is to deny reality itself. Such people may as well deny that the sun gives light in the day. Their denials are simply the result of misdirected intelligence.
Since the woman will naturally be the one to care for the new helpless infant and breast feed the infant for many months, it is natural that she be at home that time. And, if she has 2 or 3 children, it is hard to be a full-time worker in the work place while being a part time pregnant and nursing mother. Besides children do not just need a few months of nursing, they require a full time - 24 hour a day - on constant duty - mother for many years. Small children absolutely require a full time full attention mother. That is natural as well. So, for years a woman with children will be in this position. It simply makes sense if women dedicate themselves to being full time life long housewives. The Vedas specifically state that it is the duty of the wife/mother to make the home a pleasant and peaceful place.
The wife, it states, is to dress herself very nicely for the pleasure of her husband. She is to keep the house clean, she is to place fresh flowers in the house daily and decorate nicely. She is to burn incense and make the house inviting when her husband comes home from work. She is to cook first-class (the way to a man's heart is through his stomach). Being a full time first-class wife, mother and housewife is more than a full time job. So, if the wife also works full time, what about the home? Who will mother the children? Who will keep up the housework? It makes no sense for both people to work full time, for this is done at the cost of family life, at the cost of home life. It is done at the cost of marriages, where children pay the highest price.
The Manu Samhita states that a wife can assist her husband in his work, but she must not work for others outside the home. That is not a chaste situation. A woman is to be provided for. Clothes, home, children, furnishings, jewelry, food. She must be tolerant of whatever God gives them, and as long as her husband is making an honest attempt to provide these things to his best ability, then she must not complain, but be thankful for what Krishna (God) provides, even if it is meager. It is the duty of the husband to work, to his best ability, to make an honest attempt to provide these things for his wife. This way, women can dedicate their full time to being first-class mothers and housewives. Children and housework are more than full time work. If the mother does not become the full time mother, if the wife does not become the full time housewife, then who will? If the man must work to support the family, then when he comes home he is tired, mentally drained as well. He needs to come to a house that is clean, where a healthy meal prepared from all fresh ingredients awaits him. He needs to come to home to a wife who has some time during the day to be relaxed so that when the man comes home she can be his sweet and vibrant heaven. But, if the wife also works full time, she too will be worn out and drained from the workplace. Take two worn out, tired, drained and irritated people in the same house, fighting and misery are guaranteed. In today's world there is no set role, no set duty, and no peace, no harmony, no family, no real home.
The 'old-fashioned' home still remains the 'better' home. It was a 'home'. Today we have houses in which a 2 working parent family, or a one parent family, sleeps. Today, where is the 'home' and the family if the women work?
So, part of the protection required for women is that they be 'taken good care of'. Provided for. They should not need to work outside, that is the husband's duty to become the 'provider'. When a husband can provide this sort of protection for his wife, then the wife can dedicate herself to the care and raising of her children. She can also dedicate her time to the 'home', to keeping a happy and together, tight 'family'. If the man is the sole provider and he takes care of her basic needs, nice clothes, pays the bills, etc., then the wife can take good care of her husband. Cook for him, massage his weary body and feet, she can pamper him. A man would never leave a very serving and caring submissive wife. The home will be peaceful. Why would he go looking elsewhere for happiness? That is the duty of the wife. The Vedas state the wife is to only speak sweet words to her husband. She must listen carefully and give him full attention when he speaks, and even if he is irritated, she must never get angry and quarrel with him. She can't do this if she works outside the home, for she will be just as irritated as her husband. It is stated that if the wife becomes as irritated at her husband as he can become, then the marriage and home will be broken. That marriage will end in misery. Therefore, society needs to come to terms with reality. The reality is that woman are to be provided for, and their real place in society is in the home. (Barefoot and pregnant I think is how I heard it once - at least barefoot and engaged with the children, in family work, house work).
Another form of protection is mentioned in the Vedas, that it is described that women are generally less philosophically inclined. All of the world's greatest philosophers have been men. This is not to be taken as an insult to women, men and women are simply different. That doesn't mean that men are better, but there are distinct differences. Modern university studies have also shown that generally men are more logically or philosophically inclined and women are more sentimental and emotional. In general, and even in a tight spot, men try use logic deduction and reason, they use analytical deduction to come up with a 'logical' solution, whereas in general, especially in a tight spot, women tend to let emotional sentiments, feeling, persuade their decisions.
In dealing with small children, a good mother needs to deal with them with emotional sensitivity. Family life thrives on feminine sentimental emotional input that a wife and mother provide for the family. A woman's natural emotion and sentimental expertise are best and properly utilized at home, being emotionally sensitive to her children and husband.. When was the last time sentimental emotion was vital input for constructing a building, or paving a road, or working at most any job? Men should do the outside work and provide, women are needed as providers of care for the children - as affectionate - emotional and sentimental mothers. That is natural. How many female Einsteins, or female great thinkers have their been? What is the benefit to society? Let men be the great thinkers and builders and laborers, let the women be the affectionate mothers, the great women who use their sensitive emotions to 'care' for others.
The Vedas teach that men our more mentally equipped to deal with the deeper philosophical aspects of life. When 2 men sit and discuss, it is not uncommon, at least in a religious society, for them to discuss philosophy, to discuss the meaning of some verse from an intellectual and logical basis. It is also not uncommon to see women discuss 'social' things. We won't even discuss 'gossip'. According to the Vedic science, men are naturally more inclined to be philosophical, logical, and thus they assimilate philosophic concepts deeper and easier then women. Since women base decisions in life on sentimental emotions it is taught that women require another form of protection, that is spiritual or religious guidance. The man is to be the spiritual guide for his wife and children. The man is to be trained in spiritual knowledge by his teacher, guru, priest, whatever, and thus he is to become the instructing spiritual master, the Siksha Guru, of his wife. In this way he gives his wife spiritual guidance that will protect her from falling into materialistic life, that will protect her religiously and keep her mind on the path of religious life, of purity and chastity. This is the husband's duty, to become his wife's spiritual guide to lead her out of the material world and back to Krishna's (God's) eternal spiritual world.
These are the 'needs' or reasons why women require protection in society.
It is clearly stated in the Manu Samhita that a woman is always to be under the direct protection and care of a man. In her childhood she is under the protection of her father. When she develops desires for a relationship that the father cannot give, then she is to be given to a husband and he is to give protection in the main part of her life. Then, in her old age, her sons are to give her protection and shelter.
Chaste Women Are To Be Respected, Worshipped. Equal Respect, But Different
A woman is always to be taken care of. Not like something less, like something lower, like a slave is to be kept, not like a lower class person, not like something low-class. Just the opposite. How is a father to care for his small child? That is how he is to also care for his wife. A woman is to be treated as something precious. As something delicate, like a beautiful flower. She is to be honored and respected as a mother. Her chastity is to be honored and respected. In the Vedas it is stated that one must bow down his head to the ground before his mother each day and touch the dust of her feet to one's head. One's mother is to be highly respected.
It is stated in Shastra (Vedic scripture) that men are to see all women, other than their own wife, the same as their own mother. That means that a man should be extremely respectful toward women. He should see women like his own mother, and by seeing other women as he would see and respect his own mother, he automatically will not look on other women with lust. This is required in society to uplift it and keep society pure. One's own wife, however, is to be also respected and treated as something delicate. A wife is seen as someone to be provided for and taken good care of. Never should a husband treat his wife with disrespect, as something less, as a lower-class person. Men and women are 'different' physically and emotionally, but within we are all eternal and equal and neutral spirit souls. Eternally, the soul is neither male nor female. The husband and wife are, on the spiritual level, equal. Thus, the Vedas teach mutual respect and mutual care and provision, mutual, equal, but different.
A wife is to respect and worship her husband as her spiritual guide, her guru, and the husband is to respect his wife as something needing his protection and worthy of being provided for. She is respected as the mother of his children. And all other women are to be respected the same as one's own mother. Mutual social respect for each other. Not equally disrespectful - as I would categorize society today. A wife is to be provided for, a house, clothes, food, ornaments and she is to provide affection and a service attitude to her husband.
It often seems strange to me why women complain of the 'old' system when women had the established roles of being housewives and mothers and men had the role of provider and head of the household, if in this setting the women were treated as something delicate and precious. Something to be protected and be provided for. A woman's chastity and shyness are her greatest assets and most treasured gifts. It is written in the Manu Samhita that a chaste woman is to be honored, respected and even worshipped by the brahmanas, the highest class priests of society. Even a priest is to worship and respect a chaste woman. Such attitudes in society make for a peaceful and harmonious society in which everyone mutually respects everyone else. But, each has their own separate duties, their own roles. The respect of men toward women and women toward men is equal and mutual, but it is also different and their roles and duties are different. It isn't that woman are to respect and serve their rotten no good cheating lying drinking lazy husbands and the man can treat her like a low class female dog, simply abusing her as a sex machine and giving nothing in return.
It is the chastity of women that creates a peaceful and Godly society. It is the chastity of women that is to be protected by society the most. In a system in which women are provided with all necessities, home, clothes, ornaments, food, where they are respected as something worthy of being provided for, worthy to be properly protected, and in exchange they respect and affectionately serve and care for their husband, taking the home as their duty, what is wrong with that sort of system? It certainly is not 'evil' why should it be outright rejected by the majority of the people today? It is lack of knowledge as to what is the real proper system for human society. The real proper system is Varnasram-Dharma - which is what this writing is actually presenting. The true social religious activities for human society.
But, no, today women insist that being a housewife is somehow degrading to women. They demand 'equal rights', so they can spend 16 years in school and they can do any work a man can do. Infants, small children, send them off to some nursery and pay other people to be their mothers. Cooking? Throw a frozen dinner (that was cooked (processed) months earlier in a factory by workers who hate their jobs) in the microwave, dinner is served. And forget about even doing that for 'him', if he is hungry, let the guy warm his own meal. How is this modern way of life 'better'? We call our society as being so 'advanced'. What advanced? Divorce rate is so high, divorce means misery. Children are neglected and suffer in divorces. This is the mark of modern society, suffering, but at least women are free to do a man's work. Fire-women, police-women, female solders, no place, no job, is sacred to men anymore. Is this better for society? Women do not have to limit their future aspiration to be only house maids, cooks and baby sitters, today a woman can achieve any position in society she wants, she now has freedom and has equal opportunity as any man. But, at what cost? The cost of happiness, the cost of peaceful family life, the cost of the children who suffer from a non-existent real mother in their youth (as mother was too busy with her career). The whole society and peace will all go to hell, become degraded, but at least women are now free to be 'equal' with men. It is not worth the cost.
Society needs to re-evaluate its priorities and really look at the reality of life in the face. The reality is that the modern so-called freedoms do not make any sense. They do not benefit society in the long run. What is required for a peaceful society, for happiness in life, is a peaceful home life. Where family life is important. What is required is a return to the values of moral decency, where the chastity of women is considered the most important single social aspect of society. Women who are not well protected are considered vulnerable and easily misled into immoral life styles.
Once a girl develops 'desires' or lusty desires, the desire for a man which her father can not provide, then she must be 'protected' by a husband who will provide for her and be responsible for her and the children for life. A husband is to provide protection to keep his wife's chastity, to keep her youthful shyness and purity. This protection a husband must give. The Vedic religious system is to get a girl married just at puberty so that she will be properly protected. So society will be protected, so her chastity will not be cheated from her by some irresponsible boy. Not like today where young girls are handed condoms in the public schools and taught how she must make sure her boy friends wear them. This is not giving 'protection' to women in society. Marriage is how a young marriageable girl is properly and religiously protected.
At this point, I have been writing for sometime without referring to the main topic, polygamy. So, what does all of this have to do with the topic of men taking more than one wife?
The whole point of polygamy is that it is considered by Vedic scripture to be the best system, the only real workable and practical system, that can assure that all women be properly protected. Marriage is required to properly protect the chastity of women. The key is not just marriage to any man, but to be 'properly' protected means they must marry a man who is properly trained to be a good husband and father. A man who is trained to be life-long responsible for his wife (wives) and children. A man who is religious, a man of God, a man of scripture, a man with scruples, a man who can materially provide at least the necessities of life who will see to it that his wife need not have to work outside the home for others. A man who can guide his wife and children in spiritual understanding, in Love of God. These are the men who are qualified to give as many wives protection as they can maintain.
A woman is not to be or remain a wife of an atheist, or a degraded debauch and drunkard. She is not to become the bait for the fly by night playboys. But, neither is divorce and remarriage an option. A woman may want it, but men should know this will only aid to degrade society, it is the religious duty of men not to marry a widow and divorcee, but only to marry chaste virgins. That is man's religious duty to society.
Why Is Polygamy Needed In Today's Society In Order To Protect Women?
Some people argue or think that polygamy increases the population. They argue that in ancient times when there were fewer people that it was needed in order to increase the population. So, they argue that polygamy serves no purpose today. Today there are too many people, therefore polygamy should not be allowed. Or they argue that it is only needed if there are more women in the world than men, and since there isn't, then it should not be allowed. Even though the later argument is one my spiritual master gave, I must state that is not the only reason. Whether or not there are more men, it is true that there are more women who want a good husband in this world than there are good husbands to go around. That is a verifiable fact.
As far as polygamy increasing the population, the math just doesn't add up. Birth rate is a factor of how many babies per woman, not how many wives per man. Say there are 100 men and 100 women in a town. All it takes is one man (and a little herbal help) and he can feasibly get all 100 women pregnant in a month or two, more like a year. The only thing a 100 men could do is, theoretically, get all 100 women pregnant faster, within a month. But, over the years, whether the women have one husband each or all 100 share the same husband, they cannot produce any more or less children simply because of that. The population of that town would expand the same whether all the woman married one man or each had a separate husband. Polygamy would not increase the population. The argument that polygyny should not be allowed in modern times because it will increase the population is not a valid argument.
So, why is polygamy needed in today's world? For the same reason it was needed 1 million years ago, or 5,000 years ago, or 500 years ago or last year. It is the best system that assures the best protection for all women in society. Lets go with that imaginary town of 100 men and 100 women (by the way, all these people are unwed and marriageable). A certain percentage of the men wind up turning bad. In the US the prisons are far more full with men than they are with women. Out of the 100 men about 15 go down the wrong path in life and wind up either in prison or in and of it, or on the edge of being thrown in it any day. These are men who live in a bottle (drunkards), who hunt for women, who gamble, who are addicted to all sorts of nonsense. They would prefer to pay a woman to lay down with then to hassle with courtship and having to create a relationship, what to speak of hassling with the responsibility of their actions. These men lack culture. They often wind up even on the wrong side of modern societies laws, what to speak of God's laws.
There are at least another 5 men who take to spiritual or religious life (especially in a more religious or spiritually oriented society - and in societies that are not spiritually centered, you can add 5 men to the above numbers). These men take to a life of celibacy, they take religious vows never to marry, but to dedicate their life in service to God.
Then there are another 40 men whose main interest in life (at least in their younger unwed days), is to put as many unwed girls under the sheets as they can, one at a time, a different one each night if possible. All they want is a one-night stand, or they may go a few years. But, talk babies and marriage to these guys and they quickly pack their bags and head out the door. These men are totally irresponsible and want nothing to do with being responsible for their actions. All they want is a warm live person to massage their genitals. Some of these men marry, but it is does not last. They remarry, and remarry.
Then there are about 20 of the men who are responsible, but not so educated. They marry to have a family and care for a wife, but, lack any real spiritual qualities that would make them highly qualified to be a guide for any more than one wife.
Then there are the last 20 men. These are extremely desirable and qualified men who have the means and the spiritual qualifications of a first-class husband and provider.
Now, on the women's side about 10 of the women wind up on the wrong side of the fence. At least 5 of these take to very degraded life-style, professional prostitution etc. The other 5 like to go from one relationship to the next (sophisticated prostitutes). That leaves 90 other unwed women who very much want to find a qualified husband who will provide protection for them.
Well, there are only 20 real good husband's out there. Another 20 that will make at least a barely get by husband. That leaves 50 other women who will have no qualified husband. In a society which does not allow polygamy these women then become exploited by those men who are only interested in one night stands. These women can only seem to find the men who are not really interested in being responsible for their actions, who really don't want babies, all they want is a warm friendly massage, and that is what these women become, a warm friendly massage machine. They can only find this type of man because that is all the type of men left. The few good ones are already taken.
Maybe 10 of these women are happy with that sort of arrangement, still, that leaves a minimum of 40 women who are not happy with that. They want and need a really responsible husband who will care for them life-long. Who will be fully responsible. They want one of the few good men.
Now, I may have taken some liberty to exaggerate the figures a bit, but it illustrates a true reality in society. There are much fewer good and qualified men compared to the number of women who want and need such qualified men to be their husbands. And for the purity of society, for the ability of society to assure the chastity of it's women, it is required that the woman who need and want good qualified husbands be given such a husband.
The only viable solution is society's acceptance and practice of polygamy. If the 20 best qualified men were to take 2 or 3 or more wives each, then all of the women who want and need a qualified and responsible man will be able to find one. He may already have a wife, he may even have more than 10 wives, but he is a man who cares, and who will be fully responsible for her and their children - for life. To get that sort of husband there are women who are willing to live with the fact the man has got other wives. Why should society deny women this sort of protection by making such marriages illegal?
The thing that some women should consider is that a man who has been married for some time has got a proven track record. He has shown he is responsible, that he will be there for her. Especially if he already has more than one wife, he has a track record that he will provide necessities and protection and guidance. When men are not allowed more than one wife, as in today's society, then the majority of women wind up marrying less than ideal husbands, or wind up not marrying anyone at all, but 'sleeping' with and having babies from less then qualified men. The result of this is increased divorce, increased abuse. Increased remarriages and worst of all, increased unwanted or unfathered children. Many of these children grow up to become the social miss-fits or low-class citizens and all of society degrades further down and suffers.
Yet, a society that accepts that men can marry more than one wife, then nearly all, if not all, of the women who want a first-class husband will get one. Their children will be raised by their real father. There will be a 'family' environment for them. They will be raised in a loving environment and they will grow to become caring and understanding adults who will benefit society greatly. Thus, Srila Prabhupad, my teacher, said, "The Vedas enjoin, however, that if a man has the propensity to enjoy more than one wife - as is sometimes the propensity for men in the higher social order, such as the brahmanas [priests], ksatriyas [government men], or vasiyas [businessmen], and even sometimes the sudras [working class men] - he is allowed to marry more than one wife. Marriage means taking complete charge of a woman and living peacefully without debauchery. At the present moment debauchery [women-hunting, exploiting them for illicit sex only] is unrestricted. Nonetheless, society makes a law that one should not marry more than one wife. This is typical of a demoniac society". (SB 4.26.6 - Purport *). Srila Prabhupad actually says that it is typical of demons [ungodly men], to prohibit a man from giving protection to more than one wife. Marriage means being fully responsible.
In today's society a man can walk into bars in nearly any city in America and buy liquor and while getting himself drunk he can watch 18 year old girls dance totally naked gyrating themselves to heavy rock music. (In some European countries the legal age is 14 for these girls). That is 'allowed' in today's demoniac society. Yet, if a pious and religious man, a brahman (priest), or a government official, even the president of the US or chairman of a major corporation wants to offer protection to more than one wife, giving protection to the same 18 (or in some countries even a 14) year old girl who may otherwise be destined to ruining her life dancing totally naked in a room full of drunken and lustful men, today's society prohibits the man from doing so. Such an act would destroy the man's social reputation and ruin his career. If he were to 'legally' marry more than one wife, obtaining State marriage licenses for each one, this would be considered a Felony in most states, punishable by fine and prison time.
Just see the dichotomy of today's Godless society. If the same man walks into a bar and while paying for his alcohol and getting himself drunk he watches the same girl dance totally naked, society, nor it's laws, will not take any action against him. Except if he is maybe the president of the US, no one will even take any notice of this at all. It won't ruin his career. If his wife knows of it she may not like it (some wives go with their husbands) but it won't ruin his marriage. And, if a man were caught paying an 18 year old girl to have sex with him he will only get a slap on the wrist for his punishment (and in some countries and places that is 'legal' anyway). Yet, if a man were to legally and religiously marry a second wife with the full intent to provide for her for life and be life long responsible for her and the children, and to do so as a religious person, engaged in daily prayers and guiding the wives in service to God, this in America is a Felony offense for which he can serve prison time and be fined and the family be broken up. But, to pay another woman to have illicit sex, only a minor civil infraction, and to pay to watch a young girl dance naked while getting drunk, that is not illegal at all.
Such upside down values in society are the result of a Godless civilization. This is why Srila Prabhupad says these laws prohibiting polygamy are typical of a 'demoniac' society. The law allows a man can engage in socially, morally irreligious activities of watching a young girl dance naked, but he cannot give more than one wife protection from such a degraded life. Often the girls in bars like this (who are teenagers or in their early 20's, the most desired ages for men) are solicited by these drunken men for more than just to dance naked.
I have read it is common practice of professional American businessman who fly overseas to European countries to visit the Sex Shoppes. On a trip to India I was in an International airport in one European country for hours changing planes. In the corridor I had to walk past large signs advertising "Sex Shoppes". There were a number of large windows and displayed in the window were live young girls laying in beds smiling at the men walking by. A man would walk in, and that girl would go into the back room with the man, and another girl would climb into the bed advertising herself 'for sale' to the next weary business traveler. This is 'legal' for men in this country to pay a young girl to have irreligious and irresponsible sex. Even some of the girls are 16 years old. But, in the same country it would be illegal for a religious man to offer protection as a second or additional wife to a girl who was about to enter a life like this. It is illegal to protect a girl and provide for her and be fully responsible for her and her children as a second wife, but if I pay the same girl to have sex with me, that is legal in that country. I may be married, that is all right, as long as I pay the girl to have sex, then it is 'legal', but it is illegal to religiously marry her as a second wife and provide for her and be responsible for her. That you can be thrown in prison for. As Srila Prabhupad says, these laws are typical of a demoniac society.
It is 'legal' to have an immoral relationship. Even in America, it is 'legal' to pay to watch the girl dance naked, but illegal to provide religious protection as a second wife. And society will turn it's head the other way if I pay a young 18 year old girl to have sex, but society will demand heavy punishment if I protect the girl as a second wife. As long as you pay girls to have sex, or pay to watch them dance naked, that is 'acceptable'. This is a demoniac society. As long as the man does not express interest in a life long religious relationship, he can get away with paying a different prostitute each night to sleep with him, but he cannot give religious protection to more than one girl. He can watch a hundred girls dance naked, but he cannot religiously marry more than one. For that he becomes a Felon and must serve prison time. That is not tolerated by a demoniac society.
All laws prohibiting or discouraging polygamy are grossly wrong. They serve society no practical purpose. Rather, they only work to further degrade women and all of human society along with it. All such laws MUST be taken off the books. It is every good citizen's duty to humanity to do so. It makes absolutely no logical sense to forbid and punish religiously minded men from giving responsible life-long religiously oriented protection to more than one wife while society allows lust-filled irresponsible men to engage in all sorts of degraded activities with the same girls.
If you are the slightest intelligent and open minded person you will see the sane logic of which I speak. It is now your duty, to God, to humanity, to yourself, to your offspring and grandchildren, write your Congressmen, in the State and Federal levels (refer them to this page if you like) and demand that these laws be removed. I am serious, because the issue is serious. Think of it this way, the next time you pass a bar in which you know inside young girls are being exploited, if you and your neighbors would act to have polygamy legalized the same girl could be living in the home of a religiously minded and responsible man as his second wife. Use your intelligence, which of the 2 is better for society? Which of the two scenarios is best for the girl? The answer should be clear. Then do something about it.
At the very least, change your own thinking about a man who would dare take the personal risk to balk society's demoniac nature by trying to give an unprotected girl protection. Men who do so out of religious duty are not to be disrespected.
(Just a side note: The world is overrun with magazines and establishments that sell the bodies of young girls for the pleasure of men. There are no such places which sell young boy's bodies for the pleasure of older women. The point is that men, or even boys, do not require such protection, women and young girls do. There is no need for women having more than one husband, there is a need in society for religious men to give shelter to more than one woman.)
What Is The Guarantee That If Polygamy Is Allowed, That Women Will Get A Good Husband?
Someone may 'intelligently' question the validity of what I have presumed. That is, I have been presuming that when women become additional wives of a man, they will be getting a good husband. What is to stop all the playboy, irresponsible men, from abusing this freedom to simply take 20 wives?
The very nature of multiple wife marriages takes care of that problem automatically. At least in the majority of cases. There are several factors at work which help preclude this. First, we are talking about 'marriage' here, not one-night stands. Marriage means a life-long relationship based on full responsibility by the husband. In fact, there will be a few men who would have otherwise been playboys who will straighten up and become fully responsible men if they can 'legally' have 4 or 5 wives. That is beneficial to society as well. But, most playboy types are by definition not at all interested in marriage and being responsible. That is why they are playboys. These men are not at all interested in marrying even one woman, what to speak of being tied down to more than one, with all the added responsibility it entails. Marriage is a life-long and extremely serious relationship. There is the added life-long responsibility for the added number of children that would come. No way. That is not what the playboys of society want at all. They are simply not interested in practicing true, religiously centered, polygamy. They are interested in sex orgies, not marriage.
Conversely it is the few good men who, by the definition of being good men, are very responsible and qualified to be good husbands and fathers who are also the one's most inclined toward wanting to offer that same protection to more than one wife. They look forward to the increased responsibility, They look forward to being a good father to a larger number of their own children. As Srila Prabhupad says, in Vedic culture it is the members of the higher classes, the priests and government men or businessmen who are attracted to giving their protection to more than one wife.
And, this is also confirmed in the Islamic countries that do allow polygamy. It is not that every man in the whole country has 10 wives. There aren't that many women. Rather, it is only a small handful of men, the men who are most responsible, who take more than one wife. And they do so on religious grounds, to give 'protection' to more than one wife. By their doing this they are doing their society a great deed. In those countries practically every woman who wants to be married can find a husband. The cities do not have 'red-light' districts. In those countries women don't wonder the streets unprotected, becoming prey to fall to less than acceptable moral standards which would work to degrade their society. In countries that allow polygamy it is only practiced by a few men, not by the masses. Thus, it serves only to maintain higher standards of morality throughout their entire society. Thus it is for society's benefit to allow it, it is the cause of society's degradation to prohibit it.
Secondly, especially in 'arranged' marriages, but even when the woman selects for herself, a man who already has a wife and children has a track record of whether he is truly responsible and truly a good husband or not. A playboy type may think it is great to keep 5 women in his house, but if he doesn't straighten up and become responsible, what 5 women who seek a responsible husband will agree? (Only women who really desire to live with a playboy. Then, what is the harm? So polygamy in this case won't hurt anyone - at the very least).
Polygamy Is Engaged In Today, But Irreligiously, In A Degraded Form
Today it is illegal for men to protect more than one wife at one time. But, serial polygamy is legal and widely practiced and accepted by this same society. Serial polygamy means that one man, by the time he dies, has a good chance he will have had a minimum of 2 wives. However, serial polygamy means he responsibly keeps only one wife at a time. How many women today have had more than one husband? How many men have had more than one wife? The law and society allow it, as long as the man has only one wife at a time. As long as he is only responsible for one wife at a time, then he can marry and divorce and remarry as often as he likes, to this there is no law against it. Technically I could marry a different woman each week, as long as I legally divorce the current one before I marry the next, I can have 52 different wives in a single year. And it would be completely 'legal'. But, to marry 2 or 3 at one time and make religious vows and commitments to be responsible for those women for life, that is illegal, that is not acceptable.
According to the Vedas, the Dharma Shastras, serial polygamy is irreligious and degrades society. But, serial polygamy is totally legal in today's society and the majority of people who object if I were to take a second religious wife, they themselves practice irreligious polygamy. But, the law has made their form of irreligious serial polygamy legal, so they are free to criticize a religious person from practicing true religious polygamy. Religious polygamy is illegal, irreligious polygamy is legal. As my spiritual teacher says, this is typical of a demoniac society.
Many marriages break up because the man cheated on his wife. Cheating is there because it is a man's nature to want a relationship with more than one woman. What else keeps the Sex Shoppes in business? The sex shops sell young girls to men, they do not sell young boys to women. The demand for polygamy is on the men's side. The nature is that men naturally are inclined to having more than one relationship, the demand is not there on the woman's side or there would be sex shops selling boys to women. Supply and demand, the demand is on the man's side. If society allowed men to take more than one wife, far fewer men would find any reason to 'cheat'. The sex shops would dry up. (Srila Prabhupad teaches that when polygamy is allowed, only then will illicit sex be stopped). Marriages will stay intact. Fathers will continue to be the loving and caring full time fathers of their first wife's children as well as all other children from other wives. In this way all the children born of these women will have a life-long full time father and one single family and family environment in which to grow.
But, in today's system of divorce and remarriages children from the first wife generally stay with the mother, and the relation with their real father becomes strained at best. Children who grow up in broken families have social handicaps of having only a part-time real father, and often a step-father whom they resent when their mother remarries. The man, he also remarries, and often he will remarry a women who herself was previously married who may have her own 2 children from another man. Now, as complicated as this sounds, this is wide-spread and 'normal' for today's so-called 'family'. These are all considered irreligious and degrading situations by Vedic standards.
Man A has 2 children with woman A, they divorce, woman A marries man B who was divorced and had 2 kids from woman B. Man A remarries woman C, who has 2 kids from man C. Woman C lives with man A now and they make another 2 children. (Actually serial polygamy creates more opportunity to increase the population that does proper polygamy, therefore if one is concerned about population growth, serial polygamy, divorce and remarriage, should be made illegal, and true polygamy made legal). Man A has actually fathered 4 children, woman A and woman C and woman B also have given birth to 4 children each. Now, what does this appear like to the children? Lets say the children of woman C. She has 2 kids fathered by man C, so her first 2 children, their real father is man C (By the way, man C has remarried 3 times since then, each time fathering one child from 3 other women, so the 2 children of woman C have 3 other half-siblings from their real father - man C). Now, woman C has remarried man A and she now has 2 more children. So, her first 2 children, whose father was man C, now have 2 half-siblings from their mother (fathered by man A) (and 3 other half-siblings from their real father, man C). Woman Cs first 2 children live in the same house as their 2-half siblings from their mother and man A. Their 3 half-siblings from their real father, man C, are not really part of their lives. They may not have met all of them, maybe one or two they have seen a couple of times. It is sort of a 'strange' feelings to know they are out there and you are sort of closely related to them, but you don't know them. Now, their step-father, man A, who is not these 2 children's real father, he has fathered their other 2 half-siblings who live with them. There is a relationship with these 2, you have a common mother. But, it is a 'strange' family nonetheless. Now, their step-father man A also has 2 other children from his first wife, woman A. The 2 children of woman C see these other 2 children each week because their step-father wants to be involved with their lives.
Now, is this one big (unhappy) family or what? Remember, man A was originally married to woman A, and she has remarried and has 2 more children from man B. This is considered, by Vedic standards, a very irreligious and unhealthy arrangement. But, it is not 'unusual' for our current times. The example I am giving is totally made up, but it is extremely feasible and most likely quite common today. In fact, in reality, things could be much more complicated.
But, back to the question of how the children see this sort of 'family'. Actually, in the eyes of these children the idea of 'family' life is absurd. Dogs living in the street have not much less sleeping partner morals than 'families' like this. (You wonder why I don't have many friends when I talk like this?). This is like the monkeys in the jungle who jump from tree to tree, sometimes keeping a mate for a year and having babies, sometimes longer, sometimes less. Then jumping to the next tree and make babies with another monkey. These kids may as well have monkeys for parents. (Why doesn't anyone like me when I say things like this?). What does this sort of life style teach these kids? That they can have sex, have babies, then jump on the next monkey in the next tree, have more babies, then jump on the next one? Marriage, to them is not a life-long sacred relationship. Father's are not a live in person, but a step-father is.
In contrast lets assume that man A marries woman A, has 2 children, then marries woman B, but woman B was also virgin, she was never previously married and has no other children. Man A fathers 2 more children with woman B and takes a third wife, woman C, who was also virgin, then he fathers 2 more children. First of all, even though the one man has fathered 6 children, where man A in the serial polygamy example fathered only 4, the 3 women each have fewer children in the case of true polygamy. Each only have 2 children, but in the serial polygamy example each had 4 children. Thus allowing men to keep more than one wife is much better for population control than allowing men and women to divorce and remarry.
Secondly, the first 2 children, the children of woman A, they have 4 other half-siblings. But, in contrast to the serial polygamous marriages, all 6 children all live together. They all share the same one family, meaning all the children are half-siblings, and are blood related. There are no step-siblings. And, they all share one and the same 'real' father who is also the full time live-in father for all his children. He isn't a one day a week father, or what ever. He is the only father any of the children have. He is their 'real' father. These children all experience and grow up in a real 'family' setting. It is a real family setting and it is a single homogeneous family. Besides all the children having one real father, each child also has one real mother and in addition each child has 2 other step-mothers. Children get along far better with step-mothers than they do with step-fathers. It is natural. In Vedic culture the children would see them all as mothers, of course, the real mother is uniquely the real mother, but the step-mothers are almost the same.
True polygamy creates one large homogeneous and happy family. There is nothing complicated about it, not like today with serial polygamous marriages. The children of a true polygamous marriage develop a 'normal' and a very 'healthy' attitude about marriage and family. They learn by example that marriage is a life-long responsible and religiously centered relationship. Unlike the children who grow up in 'families' whose parents practice serial polygamy, or divorce and remarriage. Imagine children whose mother has married 4 times and had children from each man, and each man has married more than twice. So many kids who sort of know each other. Oh, this is my half-sister, from my mother's ex-A, she has other half-siblings from her father, this is my half-brother from my mother's other ex-B, he also has other half brothers and sisters from his father.... I mean, this sort of 'family' or whatever you wish to call it, is not at all 'healthy'.
What I am getting at with all this is that many people say they oppose polygamous marriages because they argue it is an 'unhealthy' situation for the children to be raised in. Unhealthy? How? So true polygamy is illegal, while serial polygamy, which is truly detrimental to a child's growth, which truly creates a socially unhealthy situation for the children who live is such families, that is legal and is acceptable by the same people who would claim true polygamy to be unhealthy.
Please, think about it. We only think polygamy is bad and wrong and unhealthy because that is what we have heard about it all our lives. But, study it like I have and it is like a light bulb going on. Polygamy is not at all bad. It is definitely better than what we accept as being acceptable standards today, namely serial polygamy.
If serial polygamy (divorce and remarriage) is tolerated and legal, then there is absolutely no reason in the world why true polygamy should remain illegal (a Felony). It benefits society, and even at it's worst estimated extreme is in no way any more detrimental to society then serial polygamy.
Therefore, I request all who read this to take it on yourself to contact your Congressmen and demand the law be changed to legally allow polygamy. I am speaking of real polygamy in which each wife is aware of the other wives (and preferably they all live together). What some men have done in the past is to marry more than one wife, often times in different states, and none of the wives knew about the other women. This is not an honest relationship. A man should never take advantage of his wife. A man should always deal honestly with his wives. Such a dishonest man may be punished, but if polygamy were legal, then men would not need to be so dishonest either.
If Men Can Take More Than One Wife, What About Women? Can A Woman Have More Than One Husband?
Technically yes, a woman can have more than one husband. It is not forbidden by the Vedic scripture. But it is extremely rare. It does not help in anyway to facilitate the protection of women in society. And men do not require such protection. Therefore, there is virtually no benefit to human society for practicing it. Men do not require a woman to protect them from becoming taken advantage of by other women for sex exploitation. Women do. Men don't get pregnant, so why do they need protection (other than transmitted diseases) from having sex with women? Women do require such protection for they do get pregnant from having sex.
Where is the benefit to society if a woman has 10 husbands? And, if we see that the purpose of marriage is to have children, then it makes no sense, as it only takes one man to get one woman pregnant. Having 1 husband or 100 husbands will not allow the one wife to get pregnant any more often. However, one man could technically father 100 children a year if he had a 100 wives.
There is one story in the Vedas, in the Mahabharat, about 5 brothers sharing the same wife, but it is considered extremely rare and it was arranged under unusual circumstances. And they were all brothers. (And at least 2 of the brothers had other wives as well). It is an interesting story. One of the brothers, Arjun, was an expert archer. He heard about an archery contest a king was holding and went there without telling anyone. The king was to give his daughter to the winner of the contest. Arjun won and was given the hand of the princess. He brought her home and wanted to jokingly surprise his mother. His mother was in the kitchen and had been cooking for hours. The girl stood outside the door and Arjun went in and told his mother, "Ma, one king held an archery contest and I won a very wonderful prize, close your eyes and I will show it to you". His mother was tired from cooking and was in no mood for fun and games, she told him, "Arjun, I am not interested in seeing any prizes right now, take your prize and go share it with your other brothers". In Vedic culture a child is never to refuse an order by his mother or father, but Arjun protested, he said, "No. Ma, this is no ordinary prize, I can't..." His mother, thinking Arjun simply didn't want to share some token prize with his brothers ordered him not to refuse her order, she said, "I am not simply advising you, this is my order to you, you must not refuse it, I am saying that you must share whatever this prize is with all your brothers. Don't say one more word, just do as I say. I will not take back my order. Now, go and share your prize with your other brothers." So, Arjun told his older brother what happened and they consulted with the brahmans (the priests) and it was concluded that since his mother had said it was an order and that she would not take back her word, the 5 brothers would have to share her as a common wife. This is the only recorded incident in Vedic history of a woman having more that one husband. The way they did this was that she would sleep with only one of the brothers for one year, then go to the next for another year. Otherwise, polyandry, or a woman having more that one husband, simply does not make much sense.
What About Divorce and Remarriage?
Many women today have more than one husband in the form of serial polyandry, by marrying, divorcing and remarrying. According to Vedic law a woman cannot remarry, that is not allowed. It is considered irreligious. Allowing it degrades society. If she has no children, then if a man agrees, she can remarry, but not if she has children. The reason is that when the mother remarries the children will reject the authority of the step-father. Not always, but often enough. They will argue that he is not their real father, therefore they don't have to listen to him. It sets the wrong idea in the children's minds. It tells the girls that it is all right to sleep with many boys, after all, their mother has slept with more that one man. It tells the boys it is all right to sleep with many girls, after all, their own mother is a girl like that. It fosters disrespect for women. But, the worst thing is that these children, for the most part, will tend to loose respect for all authority. They will turn against authority. And this causes them to loose interest in school or in trying to be a better person. Children who loose respect for their authorities also loose respect for themselves as well. Children who grow up with little self respect will have no respect for others. These will be less productive adults, and many will take to a life on the other side of the law. They will tend to degrade society as a whole. This does not mean that all children whose mother has divorced and remarried will end up this way, but the chances are too great. Therefore, for the protection of society in general, Vedic law forbids a woman with children to remarry. It is considered better for society that those children grow up with no father then with a step-father.
However, this is not the same case with a man. Say his first wife died. He can remarry, and there is not the same problem with the children loosing respect for authority. Why? Because men (father's) are by nature seen as the authority in the house.
Men have deeper more commanding voices. I have seen studies on TV that also discussed university studies and it is a proven scientific fact, children naturally see men as the 'boss', the authority. Often the mother can tell her 8 year old to do something all day long and he will find excuses why he can't do it, but as soon as the father comes home and he says one word, it gets done right away. Why? Because, as one 8 year old boy was asked, he just can't stand being told what to do by a 'woman', even if it is his own mother. But, if a man, even his uncle, tells him to do something, the boy said that is 'different', because he is a man. Children naturally see men as their authority. Therefore, if a woman remarries and a step-father enters the picture, the children will often reject him as an authority because he is not their 'real' father. And, the more the mother tries to get the children to accept the authority of her new husband, the more the children are likely to reject their mother's authority as well, and from there, they reject all authority.
But, a father who remarries, there is not this same problem, at all. A child sees the father as their natural authority anyway. So, that authority has not changed. The child does not run the same risk of loosing respect for authority. And, if a man sleeps with another woman, it hasn't got the same natural stigma as if one's own mother sleeps with another man. It simply is not perceived to the child to be as wrong or as bad.
For these reasons Vedic law allows that men can remarry, but a woman, especially a woman with children, she is not allowed. It is not for some nebulas reason, these laws are part of a highly defined science. They are truly God's laws for human society to follow, and by following them society will be elevated. By concocting our own ideas of what is right or wrong, this has resulted only in the degradation of morality, the failing of the family traditions, and the degradation of all of society in general.
What Is The Origin Of Divorce and Remarriage In Modern Society?
This question Srila Prabhupad asked several of his own students once and several students replied that divorce was introduced to society by King Henry the Eighth of England. King Henry the 8th married, but quickly grew tired of his first wife. He wanted to 'cheat' but being the king that was not so easy to hide. Still, he wanted another wife. At the time England was under Catholic authority. The religion of England at the time was Catholicism. The king himself was under the religious authority of the Pope.
Divorce was not allowed in Catholicism. Neither was polygamy. But, King Henry the 8th wanted a different wife. So, he accused his first wife of infidelity, then ordered her beheaded. After he had his first wife beheaded he was now free to marry again. But, he also grew tired of his second wife, and decided to do the same thing. After he beheaded his second wife and married a third time the Pope officially ex-communicated the King of England from the Catholic Church That caused a very extremely difficult situation. The king of England was by law the religious leader of England as well. His authority was that he was representing God as the religious and material authority for his people. But, England's religious authority, it's king, had just been ex-communicated. Where did that leave the king and his authority? Where did it leave the people of England? Kings were not elected, they were members of the 'royal' family. So, what was to be done?
King Henry the 8th had the solution. He formed his own religion. He created the Church of England, which at first closely followed the Catholic Church structure, but in which the King of England was it's head alone, not the Pope. And the Church of England followed most of the social laws as was promoted by the Pope, except one. The new Church of England allowed Divorce and Remarriage - at least at the beginning for men. Now Henry the 8th was free to marry and divorce as often as he liked.
The point that has to be kept in mind here is that the whole idea of sanctifying divorce and remarriage was made by a man who was totally bereft of all sense of morality. He was a drunken, immoral wreak of a man who had 2 of his very own wife's heads cut off just so that he could jump around from one woman to the next. He put his sense-gratification above that of the life of not just 2 women, but women who were his own wives. What was his 'qualifications' for being able to 'sanctify' divorce? What was his qualifications for starting his own religion? And to use that religion to justify immoral and irresponsible and otherwise irreligious actions. What he did was opened the door wide to the complete moral degradation of human society. He set into motion that which would destroy the family tradition. Today well over 50% of all marriages in the West end in divorce. Over 70% of all men and women will marry more than once. And all of this at great cost to the children who suffer the most from broken families, which ultimately leads to all the problems that face society today.
The better solution would have been that he sanctified that a man can keep more than one wife. That would have been supported even by the Old Testament of the Bible, whereas divorce and remarriage are not supported by his own religious scripture.
Divorce and remarriage has no benefit to society in general, yet polygamy does. And yet, polygamy is seen as something suppressive and immoral, at least illegal, while divorce and remarriage are seen as acceptable, 'normal' and even wanted, at least they are 'legal'. As my spiritual teacher says, it is typical of a demoniac society to prohibit polygamy.
What About Polygamy In Other Religions?
Well, I don't know that much about it in that context. However, I have read that King Solomon of the Hebrew faith had many wives and hundreds of concubines. And David of the Jews had at least 4 wives. In America if King David were to have legally married all his wives and obtained State marriage licenses for each of them then he would be guilty of a Felonious crime against society and could be fined and sentenced to serve time in prison and his family broken up. Such laws are anti-religious. The Jewish and Christian communities should get behind this. How can they tolerate laws in America that would turn King David into a Felonious criminal?
Polygamy was allowed by ancient Jewish law, it was allowed in the Old Testament. There is also no general prohibition against it mentioned in the New Testament. Jesus said nothing about it. Favorable or unfavorable. Paul wrote that if possible a man who wishes to devote his life to the service of God should not marry at all, for then he will be free of the burden of wife and family and can dedicate his full energy to God's service. There is also a mention that the head priest (deacon) of a Church should limit himself to one wife. This makes sense, as the minister of a Church should dedicate as much of his time to his congregation as possible. And, this is exactly what my teacher, Srila Prabhupad, taught as well. A temple president (the head brahmana or head priest of the temple) should be a sannyasi, a celibate monk, but, if he lives restricted he can marry one wife. But, a temple president or head priest should not live with more than one wife living off of donations made to the temple. This is totally the same in the Christian Bible as well).
By allowing the more responsible men of society to take more than one wife will in-effect, make it easier for more men to take up the vow of life-long celibacy. By allowing a few men to take more than one wife makes it possible for other men to not marry at all, and thus those men will be free to dedicate their lives to God's service and not be burdened by wife and family. This is beneficial to the spiritual upliftment of the society in general.
In the Bible there are no direct teachings that condemn polygamy as being immoral or irreligious. Rather, prior to the advent of Christ Roman law forbid a man to take more than one wife. I do not know the details of how this came about, I wouldn't doubt a wife of an emperor convinced her husband to pass such a law. At any rate, although a man could not take another equal wife under Roman law, it was, however, allowable for a man to 'buy' a young girl as a slave. And, it was fully accepted in Roman law and culture that the owner and master of such female slaves could father children by in the slave. So, a man could, even under Roman law, have more than one 'woman', but only one legal wife. The other women would be 'bought' and paid for. Rather than paying a prostitute each time you want to lay-down with her, Roman law allowed you could simply 'buy' her in one lump sum. Such laws and culture are very peculiar. A man cannot responsibly marry more than one woman, but, as long as he 'bought' another woman he could have relationships with another woman, but not as a wife, the other woman had to be 'paid for'. Such laws were not for the moral upliftment of society, they did not protect women, they only protected the seeming position of the first wife. Wives of great emperors didn't have to fear that their husbands may take more than one wife, so their positions were safe. When Catholicism became a part of the Roman Empire the Pope adopted many of the social laws of the Roman people and incorporated them into the Holy Roman Catholic Church. Thus an early Pope decreed that it was forbidden for men to take more than one wife. This decree was not, however, based on any scriptural reference. It had no basis in the Christian Bible itself. However, this law stuck and the idea and concept of it has carried on from one generation to the next and from one Church to the next so that today most Christians fully believe that polygamy is forbidden in their own Bible, that it is immoral and irreligious. However, the fact is just the opposite. It is not forbidden, it was practiced by even King David and King Solomon. And there is no direct condemnation of it anywhere in their Bible. Therefore the idea that polygamy is not Christian or not allowed or is immoral according to the teachings of the Bible have no basis at all.
There are a number of sites on the WEB that promote polygamy based on the Christian Bible.
In Islam, Mohammed, I read that he had only one wife up until he was over 50, and then, just to teach others how women must be protected, he accepted additional wives at such an advanced age. I read in one place that he accepted either 4 or 5 wives after his first wife died. Most of his additional wives were young virgins. He was over 50 and yet he married young virgins. However, I also read that one was a widow. He remarried another man's wife after the man died. This maybe acceptable to the followers of the Vedas, but it is not allowable by Vedic scripture. It is written in the Koran that no man should take more than 4 wives at one time. This restriction, however, is not part of the Vedic scripture. In America we would also imprison Mohammed for this criminal act of religiously protecting more than one woman as his lawfully wedded wives.
And, what about the Vedas? There are hundreds and hundreds of kings and saintly persons in Vedic history who have taken more than one wife. It is very common throughout the scripture. And, in Krishna's appearance here on earth 5,000 years ago Krishna, God Himself, married not just 2 or 3 wives, or 2 or 3 hundred wives, but He married 16,108 wives. He is God, For God that is no great thing. It is described that each queen had her own self sufficient palace, with its own fields, army, servants, etc. Each palace was constructed out of the finest transparent marble stone, semi-precious and precious stones, pillars of solid coral, etc. And Krishna expanded Himself into 16,108 expansions so that he was able to spend full time with each wife simultaneously. (Krishna is God, He can do that. For God, that is not so great). Arjun, Krishna's friend, he had 4 wives, including Subhadra, Krishna's sister. Even God would be a Felon subject to imprisonment in America.
How is it that we can tolerate such a law in America that would lock up in prison and turn into Felons all the great religious leaders of 4 of the world's most popular religions? (Hinduism, Christianity and Judaism and Islam - a fifth is also Christian, and that is Mormonism) Such laws are anti-religious. Polygamy laws would imprison and turn King Solomon, King David, Mohammed and Krishna into Felons. These laws must be abolished. To do so, you must make an effort. It has to start somewhere, let it start with you right now.
Until It Is Legal, How Can Those Who Wish To Do So, Practice It?
Well, I am not going to go into detail here, but, the most important thing is to keep it as legal as possible. That means that if a man is not married, then don't actually marry any one with a formal marriage contract, or even with a religious ceremony (one time in New York the judge ruled that the parties of a polygamous marriage had a legal marriage because they admitted that they had a religious ceremony). Rather, I would suggest holding a religious ceremony in which the parties take life-long friendship vows. They would vow to God to be life-long friends and agree to all the terms as a husband and wife would, but, no mention of marriage or husband and wife would be used, instead only the terms 'friends' should be used.
Then, contact a lawyer who has no problem with polygamous relationships and ask him to draw up a contract between the man and the women that would give both (all) women equal legal rights, as close as legally possible that a 'normal' wife would be given. This way all women would have some legal course of action if the husband dies or the marriage ends in disaster.
If the man is already married, he has several choices. One is to legally divorce his current wife (not leave her, just legally divorce, not 'actually' divorce. He should do this so that he can then draw up contracts that would give each girl-friend (including his original 'wife') all equal legal rights. Or, if the first wife will not agree to that (and in modern times that will most likely be the case), then he can remain legally married to his first wife and legally, or officially have other girlfriends, Again, however, a contract must be drawn up that will give the girlfriend as close to equal rights as his wife as legally possible.
According to the Vedas, generally the first wife is given a bit higher respect by the other co-wives. The man is to treat each wife equally, but the co-wives should give some additional respect for the first wife. That is generally natural. Usually the additional wives will be younger, so the first wife being a little older is respected like an older sister to the co-wives. A kings most prominent queen is always his first wife.
However, there is one major legal point that has to be mentioned. That is about minors. In America it is illegal to have an intimate relationship with a girl under 18. That is, of course, good, if it is an irreligious relationship. Yet, the Vedas state, and Srila Prabhupad promoted, that father get his daughter married before or just after puberty, he said once by 12 the girl should be married, then he went on to ask, so, where to find so many qualified husbands? So, he said the men who are able they should take at least 3 wives. This means that the fathers could be giving their daughter to a man as a second or 3rd or greater wife. However, if the man is, say, 25 or 28 and the girl is, say 12 or 14 or even 17, then how can this be done as if the man associates with the girl as his religious wife? If he cannot legally marry her (because polygamy is illegal), then he would be guilty of having sex with a minor and the father would be guilty of encouraging his minor aged daughter to have an illegal (by modern law) relationship. That is why polygamy must be made legal. And that is why the laws that prohibit polygamy are irreligious, as the Vedas provide a religious system of marriage that is not allowed to be legally practice under today's laws. These laws prohibit true religious freedom as they outlaw some of the very basic religious standards promoted by the Vedic scriptures, that of providing true protection for the unwed girls in society.
Until polygamy laws are changed to allow a man to religiously protect more than one wife, then for a man to take as a second or third wife a girl who is under 18 (a minor) would create an illegal situation that is hard to get around. Men can't have girl-friends who are minors. One way would be to legally divorce the current wife, then legally marry the minor (as it is legal in all, or at least all that I know of, States in the US to marry a minor as long as the girl's parents give their permission, and in the State of Florida, if the girl is pregnant and the man agrees to marry her the justice of the peace need not even notify the girl's parents, but can marry the 2, as was done with a 14 year old girl and a 28 year old man recently). Of course, these things would be highly controversial and the public's reaction may be quite negative. On one hand we don't want to create scandals, on the other hand we don't care for popular opinion when it runs counter to the higher religious standards of the Vedas.
What I have put forth here is the Vedic system. It is the system of marriage according to the laws of Sanatan-Dharma (Eternal-Religion). Srila Prabhupad has said that all of human society must again follow these laws. The more this is preached and promoted the more people who realize these are truly higher standards then the more likely it will become that the demoniac laws that prohibit these religious acts will become abolished. And that cannot even begin until people like myself take the very first steps to boldly and publicly promote these truths. If someone decides that it is the best thing that he/she can do for his/her daughter, to follow these religious laws and see to it that their daughter is properly protected in accordance with the laws of their religious scripture, then they must decide what and how they will go about doing so, in secret or what ever, that I cannot say. If it is a question of giving the daughter proper religious protection or abandoning one's responsibility to do so, then we sometimes have to do whatever is necessary to achieve the higher moral good. If, of course, the man and girl wait until the girl turns 18 to actually enter any real relationship, then there is no law against men keeping girl friends as long as the girl is at least 18 years of age. However, that does not fully satisfy the religious need to actually properly and fully protect girls at a young age. But, at least if they have a "husband" and it becomes only a matter of waiting until they are of age, then it is maybe the best that can be done. That, however, is not something I am publicly condoning or condemning.
What I am doing on this page, however, is to at least educate and promote the true system of marriage according to the laws of Varnshram or Sanatan-Dharma as taught in the Vedas (Manu-Samhita) and as taught by my spiritual teacher, Srila Prabhupad. From the promotion of it, gradually more and more will come to understand it and hopefully accept it. Some may feel that to say it is an uphill battle is the understatement of the ages, however, I firmly believe that the Vedic system, when properly understood in full, is the most logical and complete and perfect system for uplifting and purifying human society. Therefore, it becomes obvious to me that those who have sufficient brain substance will see this and will agree that current demoniac laws that prohibit it must be abolished and this system must be, at the very least, allowed to be freely practiced in today's world. It is the only alternative that will save current society from complete moral degradation and self-destruction.
Prohibiting men from taking more than one wife, making it 'illegal', serves absolutely no benefit to human society. It only furthers the degradation, it only encourages divorce and remarriage, it encourages prostitution, it encourages men to cheat on their wife, and ultimately all these things work to destroy the family tradition and cause all of society's social problems.
Allowing men to take more than one wife promotes morality. It allows all women to be properly protected. It discourages divorce and prostitution, it protects and promotes the family tradition and ultimately by allowing it it will assist society to solve all of the social problems that face it today.
Therefore, I am totally in favor of seeing polygamy made legal. And, in writings like this one I want to educate others in it's need and benefit to society.
Do I promote that people break their laws and engage in polygamy illegally?
Polygamy is illegal in all states of the US and in most countries, and that is one thing that I say must be changed, the sooner the better. It will take massive efforts and such efforts start with people like me and you. We must act and work to see to it that these laws are changed. As far as breaking any law, that is not needed in most cases as I just outlined above, the legal issue can be worked around. Marriage is a vow a religious person takes before God, not before a government official or a written government document. But, governments can recognize a religious vow as a legal marriage, so be cautious.
What is specifically illegal in most states is for a man to legally marry more than one wife, either in the same state or to marry one wife in one state and marry another wife in another state. Many states specifically spell out that by marriage they mean that a legally filed marriage license was obtained for each wife separately.
Srila Prabhupad, my teacher, has instructed that this is easy to get around. Simply do not marry, do not call the girl a wife or the man a husband, call them girlfriend and boyfriend. He said there is no law prohibiting a man from having more than one girlfriend. So, even a married man, he can keep other girl friends, that is not illegal. Is it moral? Kings often kept 'concubines'. That was not considered immoral, mostly because the king was life-long responsible for them and the children. We are not just speaking concubines. But, still, a legally speaking, a man can keep more than one girlfriend.
Then it becomes a question of what is a higher morality? Is it less moral to keep girlfriends and not be able to marry them legally or even religiously, or is it less moral to for a qualified man not to protect more than one woman and thus allow more and more women to end up living a miserable life being exploited by unscrupulous men? Which is a higher moral commitment? Therefore, in order to do what is best for society in the long run, what is best for the society and the women involved in the ultimate end, some people may choose to engage in relationships that others may perceive as being immoral (living with more than one girlfriend, or a married man keeping girlfriends) all outside of 'legal' marriage, rather than to not do so and be a part of the further degradation of society. Doing so is not actually 'illegal' as defined by most governments because the man has not legally married more than one woman. And morally, even if the woman is not married in a religious ceremony, it is a question of sacrificing a lessor moral issue to be able to practice a much higher religious and social issue, that of making sure all women are given the best protection.
What About Me Personally?
How many wives do I have? One, the same and only one I've ever had. We've been married for over 17 years and have 3 extremely wonderful children. She is chaste and I do not cheat, by the way. All right, how many 'girlfriends' do I have? None. No, I have only one wife, no other 'concubines' or life-long girlfriends.
Why not? Why not practice what I preach? Well, I keep asking myself that same question. The best way to teach is by setting the right example. But, I am not in the best situation to do that. Financially I do not quite have the means (although Krishna always has met my needs, my one and only wife has never had to work outside the home, nor will she ever have to, nor would any other 'wife' have to). But the biggest reason I do not practice it myself is due to my age.
My age is a factor in relation to other social principals that I follow and would not want to break. You see, Vedic law (and my own realization of the need for society to follow this standard) says that a man should only marry a chaste and virgin girl for a wife. Remarriage for women is not allowed. Especially women with children. And, as far as women without child who was formerly married or had 'relationships' with men, Vedic scripture describes that a gentleman would never consider such a woman as being qualified (although it is 'allowable'). When I think of a woman as a possible candidate for a wife, I look to see if she will make a qualified mother for my children. Children are the purpose for marriage. A woman who has had other relationships, who is less than ideally chaste, is not the type of mother I want for my chidden. My desire is to have saintly children, ones that I can guide, as much as I can, and help them get freed of this material world and return to God's kingdom, the spiritual world. Therefore, the chastity and purity of the prospective wife is of utmost importance to me as it should be to any man who desires to have a religiously based marriage in which the children will be born and raised with religious, spiritual, aspirations.
Also, my first wife, she is from Hindu family, she was totally chaste, by old-fashioned standards. She was trained never to speak with men, not to associate or joke with boys or married men. She has insisted that if I do take another 'wife' (life-long girlfriend to make it 'legal'), then she has to be chaste, she has to be virgin.
I was 42 when I started seriously looking for a second wife. I am now 46 and have not found anyone who is both qualified and who agrees to such a relationship. Due to the age factor it is not very likely that I will find someone. In today's world, unless there is something either wrong with the girl there are virtually no older chaste or virgin women, especially who would be favorable to the idea of becoming someone's second wife.
So, yes, I have made some attempts to find a second 'wife' (girlfriend), but not successfully. So, although the best way to preach is by setting the proper example (practice what you preach), in my case, I will have to settle for simply preaching what I know to be needed and what is right and let others practice it. And by sticking to my ideals of not accepting someone who is less chaste, who is not virgin, is practicing what I preach. (For those in ISKCON who may have heard about my attempts to take another wife and want to hear my side of the story, I have written other pages describing my views in detail, email me and I will send you the URL addresses).
That is it for now, I will be adding and changing a few parts latter. I need to post this for now.
If you have any comments or wish to discuss any points, please do so and contact me by email (for now, link is on my home page).
Other pages on the WEB regarding polygamy: The following WEB pages have agreed to exchange links (they will link my page, I will link theirs) (I had to take several links off - as they were no longer active)
I recently saw this site, I have not asked for a link, but it was interesting so I am linking them first. What was interesting is that the site has personal pages, 1 for single women seeking to become co-wives of an existing family, and another of families seeking additional 'wives'. They refer to the additional wives as 'sister-wives'. But, what was even more interesting is the fact that the web site is put up by two 'sister' wives and is mostly for women who are in or are seeking to be a part of a polygamous marriage. They do not prohibit men for placing personal ads, but they encourage the existing wife to post the message. There point is that the additional wife is to be more of a sister to teh first wife then a wife to the man, so the first wife is the one who should make first contact and see if the co-wife or sister wife is compatible. And the existing wife will be the best person for the interested sister wife to ask about the qualities of the man, and why he would make a good husband of another wife. Interesting perspective