Room Conversation — July 6, 1976, Washington, D.C.

Rūpānuga: …how you explained that our movement is eternal.

Prabhupāda: Hmm? [laughs] Yes.

Rūpānuga: Just so they don’t think it is only ten years old.

[devotees bring in a cake, which Prabhupāda distributes, eating, etc.]

Devotees: Jaya.

Prabhupāda: Very nice.

Rūpānuga: It is very heavy cake.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. Very nice. Ānandamayo ‘bhyāsāt [Vedānta-sūtra 1.1.12]. This is the movement of ānanda, pleasure only. Kṛṣṇa is ānandamaya, and if you remain with Kṛṣṇa you’ll become ānandamaya. A rich man, he’s enjoying, and if you remain in association with the rich man, you also enjoy. Where is the difficulty? A very rich man, and his associates, they are also rich men. Is it not? And if you remain with a poor man, you are also poor, remain poor.

Rūpānuga: You’ve explained that the servant in the house of the king, he is almost as good as the king.

Prabhupāda: No, he is better than king.

Rūpānuga: He has no worries.

Prabhupāda: King, he eats whatever is offered to him, but they can eat whatever they like. Is it not? Who is restricting them? [aside:] You can open that. Just stand towards there. Yes.

Hari-śauri: Is that, cutting the cake, is that a Vedic…, did they used to do that in Vedic times, or is that a Western invention? We were just wondering about it.

Prabhupāda: Prasāda distribution. Either you cut or take with hand, the same thing. It doesn’t make any difference.

Rūpānuga: On the cake it was marked on one side 1966, other side 1976. Like a coin. They make coins celebrating, commemorating.

Prabhupāda: And the cake is made very nicely. Who has made it?

Bṛṣākapi: This one girl, her name is Lalitā-sakhī. She stayed up all night.

Prabhupāda: Very good.

Rūpānuga: And then it was decorated by Ambujākṣa, who is an artist.

Prabhupāda: Woman should be expert in cooking. That is their natural tendency. They should be educated how to cook nicely, how to please the husband, how to take care of the children. This is Vedic civilization. In the beginning a woman, childhood, she’s trained up by the mother. Then as soon as she is married, formerly, child-marriage, so she’s transferred to the care of mother-in-law. There she is trained up. Then she becomes a very good housewife, takes care of household affairs, husband, children, and home becomes happy. What is this nonsense, divorce? There is no such thing in the Vedic civilization, divorce. You must accept whatever God has given you as husband or wife. You must. They had no thinking, even, idea of divorce. One may not agree with the husband. That is natural. Sometimes we do not agree. But there is no question of divorce. When this divorce system was introduced?

Rūpānuga: Comparatively recent. Because for many years the Catholic Church forbade it. When did it begin?

Pradyumna: Henry the Eighth, the King of England.

Prabhupāda: Oh, he’s the rascal.

Pradyumna: He had many wives. He wanted to divorce his wife, and he could not under Catholic Church, so he started his own church, Church of England.

Prabhupāda: Because many wives were not allowed?

Hari-śauri: No, they had a system, one wife, but when he got fed up with them, he chopped off the heads of two of them and then… He was considered a bit outrageous. So then he wanted to divorce and have another wife after the third or fourth one.

Prabhupāda: So he used to chop them, the head?

Hari-śauri: Yes, two of them he did. And then the Catholic Church excommunicated him.

Prabhupāda: Therefore in Vedic civilization, the king, they have more than one wife. So what is the use of killing? Why one should kill? We find from the history, Dhruva Mahārāja’s mother and stepmother, there were some critical words, and Dhruva Mahārāja became very, very angry. So the critical words and wives, different wives, that may be, but why one should be cut off the head? Dhruva Mahārāja’s mother said when Dhruva Mahārāja began to cry before the mother, mother said, “My dear child, what can I do? How can I help you? Your father does not care for me, even as maidservant, what to speak of I am queen, I am the senior queen. So this gentleman does not care of me even as maidservant. How can I help you? If God helps you, then…” That was her statement. So that does not mean because the king did not like, that she should be beheaded. What is this nonsense? If he is,[?] may be… After all, he is king. He may not like first wife. Actually, there was no scarcity of comfort, but liking may not be, but that does not mean that she shouldn’t be accepted as wife. Kings were allowed to marry more than one wife. Why to accept another wife means another wife should be killed? What is this? Everything nonsense. King can marry more than one wife. And at the time of marriage they were given so many women, because the woman population is greater than the man, always. So when the King is married, along with the queen, many other friends of the queen they would go with the king. They live in the same palace, same palace. Sometimes they had children, dāsī-putra. Just like Vidura. Vidura was not queen’s son; one of these women friends. So that was allowed.

Rūpānuga: They were raised with the real sons.

Prabhupāda: Oh, yes.

Rūpānuga: Treated nicely.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Not that because he is born of a dāsī no care should be taken. No. Equal. But he cannot inherit the throne, that’s all. There was no question. Even Muhammadans, they used to marry more than one wife. Two hundred years ago, one Muslim Nawab of Lucknow, Wazir Awad [indistinct], he had hundred and sixty wives. The palaces are still there, Lucknow, hundred and sixty palaces. Why the Nawab? Our Kṛṣṇa, not hundred and sixty but another zero, another, hundred sixty thousand, two zeros. Hundred and sixty plus two zeros. None of them were neglected. But He is God, He expanded Himself also, sixteen thousand forms, so that no wife may feel separation. So if one husband can maintain properly more than one wife, he’s allowed. But the wife must be taken care of properly. Not that because I have got more than one wife, one is neglected, one is… No. She must be taken care of.

Bṛṣākapi: We were talking the other day not in our Society, though.

Prabhupāda: Huh?

Bṛṣākapi: Not in the ISKCON Society, though.

Prabhupāda: In the Kali-yuga one cannot maintain even one wife, what to speak of more than one wife. They are afraid to marry one wife. I first heard this, one elderly lady in New York. At that time, I was newcomer. I asked her, “Why don’t you get your son married?” “Yes, he can be married, provided he can maintain wife,” she said. So these things were unknown to us. In India, whether he’ll be able to maintain… Just like I was married when I was third-year student. Where is the income? There is no income, but still I was married.

Hari-śauri: That was formerly the Western system, that the prospective son-in-law, he would be checked first to see whether he would be able to maintain the girl.

Prabhupāda: No, that is everywhere. But expectation, he is educated, he’ll be able. The first thing is in due time, either the girl or the boy must be married. That is Indian system. In due time. Boy not exceeding twenty years or twenty-five years, utmost, and girl not exceeding fifteen years, sixteen years, must be. Saṁskāra. This is one of the saṁskāras. Saṁskāras bhavet [indistinct]. Just like garbhādhāna-saṁskāra, this is also one saṁskāra, and marriage is also saṁskāra. Must be married. Daśa-vidha-saṁskāra, ten kinds of saṁskāras, out of which marriage is one of the saṁskāras. And kanyā-dāya. Kanyā-dāya means…, dāya means by law the father is bound to get his daughter married. By law. He cannot escape the responsibility. This is father’s duty.

Rūpānuga: You gave the example that if sometimes the man becomes bankrupt, he goes to court and the judge says, “You must take this money that you have left to your creditors and be satisfied,” and he can escape in that way. But the one duty that a father has is getting the daughter married; that he cannot escape.

Prabhupāda: No, therefore it is called dāya, dāya-bhāk. Legally it is bound. He may not get his son married, but the daughter must be married. This is father’s duty.

Rūpānuga: It is sinful, actually considered sinful, if he doesn’t do that.

Prabhupāda: Yes. Because without father the daughter cannot be properly married. Daughter or son, everyone, if the father, mother, by their supervision, the boys and girls get married, that is very good. They see how they will be happy. And without father, mother, simply by lusty desires, that selection may be wrong, and that becomes actually happened. Therefore there is divorce.

Rūpānuga: In this country the father and the mother, they tell the daughter that “You go out and bring a husband home. You go out and find a young boy and bring him home.” And they make them go out in the street to find a husband.

Prabhupāda: I know that. Sometimes they are advised to do business. I know that. When, in our Society, in the beginning, I started marriage, the father, mother, did not like it. Nowadays it has become custom, in India also, let the girl have many friends, but don’t marry unless you find out a suitable man. Society degrades. Actually the Indian system is that when the girl is utmost twelve years, not more than that, ten to twelve years, she must be married. And the father would see. Not necessarily in every case the boy is rich man or educated. If he’s healthy and if he can work, he’ll “Take charge.” Then fortune, faith.

Rūpānuga: That is responsible.

Bṛṣākapi: How should we do this in our ISKCON Society with these young girls?

Prabhupāda: Of course, we are not very much concerned with the social affairs, but still, if we can organize society, that will be very good. That will be peaceful.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Might be possible on the farms.

Prabhupāda: Yes.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: Away from the bad social environment of the cities.

Prabhupāda: Anyway, the system is the boys and girls should be married earlier, and they should work, and there should be no divorce. But whether your country law will allow, that is another difficulty. You may introduce something, but the state law may not approve of it.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: I don’t think there is any minimum age for marriage, simply the parents have to give their consent under a certain age. There’s no minimum age.

Hari-śauri: There is in England. In a lot of countries now there’s a minimum age. No, they cannot be married under that age. Women sixteen, men eighteen.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: No, but with parents’ consent.

Rūpānuga: ISKCON parents, if the girl is fifteen, like you said, fifteen, then the ISKCON parent may give permission. That is legal. Not only that, but our own men, as I have done in Virginia, I have registered as minister in the state, and I can perform marriages. So our own men can register to perform marriages.

Prabhupāda: Another difficulty is the boy and the girl, they also do not stick. That is another difficulty.

Rūpānuga: Yes. That is the biggest one.

Bṛṣākapi: Every father, he wants his son to stay brahmacārī and become sannyāsa. So who will be willing to give up their son for marriage at a young age?


Prabhupāda: Hmm. [laughter]

Hari-śauri: You were saying the other day, actually the only solution is if everybody chants.

Prabhupāda: That is the only solution.

Puṣṭa Kṛṣṇa: We were experiencing it just now. Everyone was so happy chanting.

Prabhupāda: If one can remain without marriage, that is the first class.

Rūpānuga: Women also?

Prabhupāda: Women also. What is the use of this material husband? Make Kṛṣṇa husband. Kṛṣṇa’s prepared to become everything—love Him as husband, love Him as son, love Him as friend.

Rūpānuga: I have see in our Society that if the preaching is strong amongst the leaders and there’s serious chanting—leaders see that everyone is chanting and happily engaged—that there is no disturbance. We have to preach to the men and women. If the preaching is weak, there is sexual disturbance.

Prabhupāda: Then the material desire becomes prominent.

Rūpānuga: Then everyone becomes lusty.

Prabhupāda: Hmm. [end]

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