The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,582 pages of information about The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4.
is not the slightest doubt.  Some say that the virgin wife or widow,—­one, that is, whose marriage has not been consummated with her husband by actual sexual congress in consequence of his absence or death,—­may be allowed to unite herself with her husband’s younger brother or such other relation.  The husband dying before such consummation, the virgin-widow may either surrender herself to her husband’s younger brother or betake herself to the practice of penances.  In the opinion of some, the younger brother of the husband or such other relation may thus use the unused wife or widow, though others maintain that such practice, notwithstanding its prevalence, springs from desire instead of being a scriptural ordinance.  They that say so are clearly of opinion that the father of a maiden has the right to bestow her upon any eligible person, disregarding the dowry previously given by another and accepted by himself.  If after the hand of a maiden has been promised all the initial rites before marriage be performed, the maiden may still be bestowed upon a person other than the one unto whom she had been promised.  Only the giver incurs the sin of falsehood:  so far, however, as the status of wife is concerned, no injury can occur thereto.  The Mantras in respect of marriage accomplish their object of bringing about the indissoluble union of marriage at the seventh step.  The maiden becomes the wife of him unto whom the gift is actually made with water.[286] The gift of maidens should be made in the following way.  The wise know it for certain.  A superior Brahmana should wed a maiden that is not unwilling, that belongs to a family equal to his own in purity or status, and that is given away by her brother.  Such a girl should be wed in the presence of fire, with due rites, causing her, amongst other things, to circumambulate for the usual number of times.”


“Yudhishthira said, ’If a person, after having given dowry for a maiden, goes away, how should the maiden’s father or other kinsmen who are competent to bestow her, act?  Do tell me this, O grandsire!’

“Bhishma said, ’Such a maiden, if she happens to be the daughter of a sonless and rich father, should be maintained by the father (in view of the return of him who has given the dowry).  Indeed, if the father does not return the dowry unto the kinsmen of the giver, the maiden should be regarded as belonging to the giver of the dowry.  She may even raise offspring for the giver (during his absence) by any of those means that are laid down in the scriptures.  No person, however, can be competent to wed her according to due rites.  Commanded by her sire, the princess Savitri had in days of old chosen a husband and united herself with him.  This act of hers is applauded by some; but others conversant with the scriptures, condemn it.  Others that are righteous have not acted in this way.  Others hold that the conduct

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The Mahabharata of Krishna-Dwaipayana Vyasa, Volume 4 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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