Books & Articles
|Index of the Books and Articles
Explanation and Description of these Books and Articles (explanation of why so many articles / books. Also, most of the articles/books are redundant, each one written for a specific audience. Which one(s) should you read? Reading this explanation should help you decide)
NEW - Dec 2004 - Child Brides - my rebutal of an article opposing child bride marriages I found on the internet newswires.
Dharma: Marriage of the Daughter (written specifically for fathers / parents / temple authorities. Provides as insight into the Vedic standards - Srila Prabhupad's teachings and importance of establishing and following the standards of dharma in regards to marriage of our daughters. A MUST-Read for all devotee parents / temple authorities.)
Vedic Training: How
To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife, for ISKCON Brahmacarinis
Kanya Daya (Fathers Most Obligatory Duty To Give His Young Daughter In Charity For Marriage) NOT POSTED YET - See Dharma: Marraige of the Daughter above, which will serve as an interm Kanya-Daya for now, until I get time to rewrite the Kanya-Daya.
Originally I wrote just one book, the Kanya Daya back in 1993. The Kanya-Daya deals specifically with marriage of the daughters of devotees. For many years I have been interested in the topic of marriage in Krsna-Consciousness and all aspects of dharma. As a society of Krsna-conscious devotees, the foundation of marriage and family life is a fundamental basis for the on-going growth and future of our movement.
My interest in Varnashram-Dharma can be traced to a time before I came into contact with Srila Prabhupad's books. From the late 1960's and early 1970's I had read different books on Vedic culture. I had keen awareness that modern society/culture was headed in the wrong - aimless - direction. I understood that the ancient Vedic system would become the modern future of America.
After joining ISKCON in 1973 I renewed my interest in Varnashrma-Dharma in 1974 when I heard the famous Varnashram morning walk talks by Srila Prabhupad (recorded in Vrndaban). It was many years latter, however, that I began to understand the importance of 'Dharma' as the foundation to establish varnashram-dharma. By early 1980's I came to the conclusion that the establishment of the principles of the Dharma of marriage, the Vedic principles of marriage, was the real core-basis of all social Dharma. Protecting women, protecting their chastity in society is the actual core of social dharma. The social principles of marriage is the actual foundation of a society's character, it's culture. It dictates all other social behavior. These principle of protection of women are not the "goal" of religious principles, but a core basis of the "means" or substance of dharma. The goal is spiritual advancement - to attain the highest love of God. That is the goal of all Vedic literatures. Dharma, or moral and religious principles upon which our duties in society are based, is merely the path to the spiritual goals. It is, of itself, not spiritual and it is not the goal. The modes of goodness are not spiritual, but it helps one on the spiritual path. Love of God is, that is why it is called "transcendental", as it transcends the 3 modes of material existence. Following the principles of dharma lays a path that leads one toward the material modes of goodness, and from the mode of goodness one can more easily and readily take to the transcendental path and more easily take up bhakti-yoga.
The principles of social dharma are upheld in the Srimad-Bhagavatam, they are preached and put forth as principles that Vaishnava must adhere to. Dharma of marriage is taught by Narad Muni, and by all the great acharyas, including our Srila Prabhupad. Until we become 100% pure and liberated from the clutches of the 3 modes of nature, we are not transcendent to the principles of dharma. When we stray from the path of goodness, we can easily stray from the path of bhakti (Love of God).
Back around the mid-1980's I started to think in terms of writing a book concerning the Vedic Principles of marriage. Another devotee in LA, Rabindranath Prabhu, wrote one handbook which was a compilation of many quotes by Srila Prabhupad regarding devotee marriages. This handbook is very nice as it contains many of the wonderful and direct quotes by Srila Prabhupad. However, it seemed to need additional explaining. Srila Prabhupad's direct quotes are the basis, and for many of us, it is all that is needed. Yet, there was also need for more explanation. Having a book of only quotes was like a lot of puzzle pieces thrown together, but it was left to the reader to figure out how all the pieces go together. It would be like someone giving class and just giving a number of quotes by Srila Prabhupad, but not explaining how each quote relates to one another. Also, his book, although quite large, was written before the Vedabase came out. In the late 1980's I was able to get a preliminary copy of the Vedabase (as the bulk of the work was being completed) (The Vedabase contains Srila Prabhupad's books, transcription of virtually all of his lecture tapes, letters, etc. in a searchable computerized text format). I started to do a lot more research on the topic and started to compile quotes on marriage, etc.
As I did my research I realized something that was quite obvious, but that I had never really thought about before. Most other attempts to write about marriage in Iskcon (such as Rabrindranath's marriage handbook) was centered on marriage of adult devotees who joined iskcon as adults. That was natural because that was the position all of SP's disciples were in when they joined and when ISKCON was formed. When we became interested in his teachings regarding marriage, those were the instructions that interested us because they pertained to us. Missing from Rabindranath's book were a vast number of quotes that pertained directly to the marriage of the daughter.
It became obvious that the instructions concerning the marriage of the daughter were the most important. They were the actual real standard for a (vaishnav) society. Marriage is for the unwed daughter. And, in Vedic society, and the society Srila Prabhupad was teaching us to establish, it is the father, the parents, whose concern and religious duty it is to get their young daughter married. Vedic marriage almost exclusively means that a young virgin girl, one's daughter, is given in marriage to a young man. It is therefore natural and obvious that the scriptural instructions and injunctions regarding marriage were virtually exclusively focused and directed to the marriage of the young virgin daughter. I found that many of Srila Prabhupad's instructions were also specifically directed toward the father, how to get his young chaste daughter married. Many instructions are there, even, directing us to get the daughter married before or just after puberty, etc.
Many of these sort of instructions were not directly applicable to most devotees who joined as young adults and who later sought to be married. Nor did many of those instructions apply to or concern the temple authorities even though they were arranging the marriages of the devotees, they were not going to be arranging marriages of girls before they reach puberty. Quite often instructions directly pretainng to the marriage of the daughter by the father/parents were glossed over as they didn't apply to our direct immediate needs. Thus, as we married and had children and it came time for the children to marry, we often continued to apply only the standards and instructions that we followed in our own marriages, ignoring the specific instructions regarding marriage of our children.
As I studied the topic of marriage planning to write my own marriage handbook, I realized that a marriage book written specially for the marriage of the daughter was most essential. Vedic culture and Srila Prabhupad teaches that a father has the obligatory duty to find a suitable husband for his daughter and get her duly married at a young age. This is an inseparable aspect of Vedic dharma, Vedic teachings, and Srila Prabhupad's teachings as well. Generally in India the term Kanya-Dan is used. Kanya means the young girl, and dan means to give in charity. Giving the young daughter in charity to a suitable man - so that he can continue to give her proper protection and become responsible for her as her husband. Yet, I found that Srila Prabhupad only used this term a few times, he used another term more often, and that was Kanya-Daya. Daya, he said, means obligatory LAW. You cannot escape it, it means something that HAS to be done. He gave the example that if one has a financial debt he can go to a magistrate and plea for clemency and be excused of his debt (bankruptcy), but "Daya" means a duty or debt that cannot be forgiven, it is absolutely obligatory, there is no escape. Thus, he referred to the system of a father arranging for the marriage of his young daughter as Kanya-Daya, it is an absolute - unescapable - duty, the father cannot escape this duty, he must do it. And so, I named the first book I wrote "Kanya-Daya".
In 1995, after speaking with several mataji's, I realized that although the Kanya-Daya book was good for fathers and parents and the young unwed girls, it did not address the specific needs of the unwed brahmcarinis, the girls who joined latter in life who had no devotee parents. I saw that a training manual was needed for them that should be similar to the Kanya-Daya book, but directed specifically for them. Not a book that one should read 'after' one gets married, or a few days before so one can see what married life is about, but a book that can be given to the unwed girls just after they join iskcon, so that they have ample time to train and prepare themselves for a successful and productive Krsna Conscious marriage. In 1995 I compiled the brahmacarini training book specifically for that purpose.
The 2 books are very similar in content. Many of the chapters are the same or similar. One should choose to read one or the other of these 2 books depending on one's needs and situation as they contain very similar information and so it would be redundant to read both.
Now, why a 3rd book on Polygamy? Many devotees have an unfavorable attitude toward polygamy. Many see it as only a means of increasing some lusty man's sex life. Some see it as immoral and think that Srila Prabhupad banned it for that reason. No, Srila Prabhupada wrote in Caitanya Caritamrta (AL 14.58) that WE are in favor of polygamy. Why, for what reason is a sannyasi, the Founder-Acharya of ISKCON in favor of polygamy?
When I originally wrote the Kanya-Daya book - the original edition back in 1993 - I included a chapter on polygamy. Many devotees questioned the logic or reasoning for this. Why, in a book dealing with the topic of getting our daughters married did I include a whole chapter on polygamy (there were only 5 chapters total - so it was a major part of the book)? Many devotees questioned this. In fact, many devotees referred to the Kanya-Daya book as a book on polygamy and thus rejected it. But I had very good reason for doing it.
As I wrote the Kanya-Daya book I had found so many instances that while Srila Prabhupad gave instruction about getting the daughter married he would also mention polygamy as an option, as a means for finding enough qualified men to marry all our unwed daughters. Even if he had only mentioned this just once or twice it should be at least also 'mentioned' in a book which is based on his teachings on the topic of marriage of the daughter. But, as I did my research in writing the book I found not just one or two or even a few, but I found numerous references to polygamy in connection with marraige of the daughter. I found so many that I went through the Vedabase and made a 2 column list of all the instructions i could find where Srila Prabhupad specifically mentions marriage of the daughter. In one column were the instructions of marriage of the daughter were he did not mention polygamy, and the other were the instructions where he did mention polygamy. I was surprised to find that nearly 50% of the time - 50% - of Srila Prabhupad's instructions regarding marriage of the daughter, he also mentioned polygamy. Often mentioned directly as either a viable option to marriage of the daughter, or even explicit instructions that unless we accept (and practice) polygamy that it will not be possible to protect all our daughters properly. As I did my research and compilations for the Kanya-Daya book, this was quite a revelation for me as well. I was writing a book based on Srila Prabhupad's instructions on marriage of our daughters and I had discovered so many related referrences to polygamy. There was no other choice. I was obliged to give this topic of polygamy proper attention. Not because of any personal desire, but simply because Srila Prabhupad himself mentioned it so many times.
At the same time I was well aware that there was strong negative bias in our society against this topic coupled with much misunderstanding of what Srila Prabhupad actually taught on the subject coupled with simple ignorance of just not really knowing what he did actually teach on the topic. Obviously, I also saw that no one in our society was promoting "polygamy" as a religious means or bona-fied option to get their daughters married. Yet, here I was reading one quote after another where Srila Prabhupad himself, in the form of his eternal teachings, was presenting polygamy as a wanted option in referrence to the marriage of our daughters. He instructed that unless we accept this in our society, it will not be possible to get all our daughters properly married. I saw that those instructions by Srila Prabhupad were not being preached. Rather, the sentiment by devotees in general was strongly opposed to such an idea. Already I had seen that there was no way for me to write a book based on his teachings on the topic of marriage of the daughter without giving some attention to the topic of polygamy. But, then I also realized that due to the strong opposition and misunderstanding of what Srila Prabhupad taught, I also concluded that this warranted additional explanation and attention on the topic so as to combat the negative biases and plain and simple ignorance about the topic.
When i first released my Kanya Daya book the polygamy aspect was greeted with a lot of opposition, questioning and doubt from many devotees. In order to address the topic in even more depth I decided to write a separate text on polygamy giving explanation why it is needed in order to successfully establish varnashram-dharma.
Why the text on marriage and polygamy written for non-devotees? When I was setting up my web site, back in 1996, there weren't so many devotees on the internet then. I wanted to include some pages on Dharma of marriage. I want to promote these concepts to the general public. Yet, the books I had written were specifically for devotees, disciples and followers of HDG AC Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupad. They were based on the assumption that the reader already accepts Srila Prabhupad's teachings as their guide in spiritual life. That the reader already respects Srila Prabhupad as their master, teacher, or authority in all matters of life. So many Sanskrit terms were used with no explanation, and quotes given with little explanation as to why we should just accept it, simply because Srila Prabhupad said it. The non-devotee public would not relate so well to that. So, i wrote a text to try and explain, in lay terms, why Vedic culture promotes arranged marriages, that the father must arrange for the marriage of his daughter, why girls should be married at young age - no later then 16 a girl should be married, and why polygamy is to be allowed and why it is religiously good and beneficial to society. So, my first article on the web on the topic of marriage was directed as an explanation on these topics to the non-devotee public in general. Later, because more devotees had access to the internet, i went ahead and posted my books which were specifically written for devotees. And, so, that is why there are so many overlapping articles here on the same topic.
The Kanya-Daya book never got posted, however, as of yet. I wanted to re-write parts of it, so i started this, but then had hard disk crashes and lost back up tapes and wound up loosing most of the book - at least on computer - and lost all the parts i had re-written. Since then i just have never had the time to complete another re-write yet and lost the computer copy, so i can't publish the original version either. When time permits, i will complete this and post it, but it has been many years now and it hasn't happened yet. Sorry.
However, in the interm I wound up writing another article that does not give all the full quotes, but basically covers much of the same basic information regarding marriage of the daughter. That article is Dharma: Marriage of the Daughter.
So, which articles should you read? Well, that depends on who you are.
If you are a non-devotee or follower of Srila Prabhupad, obviously start with Dharma of Marriage written for non-devotees
If you are a brahmacarini (can also be read by unwed devotee daughters): Vedic
Training: How To Become A Krishna Conscious Wife, for ISKCON Brahmacarinis
If you are a father or parent or temple authority: Dharma: Marriage of the Daughter
If you are interested in more details on what Srila Prabhupad taught regarding polygmay, and why it is needed, then: Polygamy, Required In Order To Establish Varnashram-Dharma front page Content Bookmark