The Prime Minister,
Government of India,
Rama Aprameya dasa
39, Guruprasad nagar,
Sub: Early marriage for girls- the other perspective
The age of marriage for girls being increased to 21 years by the government of India is in news recently. The government might have taken care to do research from the medical, psychological, social, and many other angles before arriving at this historic decision. I read the opinion of a doctor that a woman is not ready to give birth to children at a small age. Such opinions might have prompted the government to arrive at this decision.
I would, however, like to introduce you to the arguments on the other side which to my knowledge also seem logical and may need a due consideration.
- Marrying girls early has been a traditional practice. It was in place during the times when great sages like Vedavyasa, Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya, Madhvacharya existed. The speaker of the Bhagavad Gita, Supreme Lord Sri Krishna himself married Rukmini at a small age. Are we dismissing the age-old tradition of such high intellectuals? If that is the case the Vedic scriptures which are a gift of such saintly persons and for which your government stands in favor are all worthy of being dismissed?
- But the question may be how all these doctors and others who are so learned can be wrong? Vedic scriptures speak of four defects that every human has. They are bhrama, pramada, vipralipsa, karnapatava translated as (human being) is illusioned, commits mistakes, has the cheating propensity, and has imperfect senses. There are many kinds of research in human history that have demonstrated these four weaknesses in humans. Initially appendix was considered a vestigial organ that has to be removed. But over years it has been known that it has some use. It was a mistake of the scientists. Scientists discovery of the Piltdown man shows how scientists have done cheating. Mirage in a desert is an illusion for all. With such defects, if we present a theory that women below 21 are not ready for pregnancy, what is the guarantee that they will not call this discovery a mistake or an illusion or cheating? Why not accept the Vedic scriptures as an authority?
- On one hand, there is a law that girls below 21 can’t marry, and on the other hand, there is a law that anyone can live in with anyone? Although one may argue that they are two different laws, the combined effect is creating a dangerous situation. Naturally and traditionally women are protected in childhood by their father, in youth by their husband, and in old age by grown-up sons. Women are a gateway to the good population in human society. In absence of protection and dharma for women, the population that thereby takes birth will be irreligious, immoral, unethical, and be a burden to society. That is what Arjuna says in the first chapter of the Bhagavad Gita 1.41
अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रिय: |
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्कर: ||
(When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krsna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrsni, comes unwanted progeny.)
Is it good to have many single mothers who lived but didn’t get married? Western countries have tried this model and have failed to keep people happy. They have also increased their own burden by taking responsibility for these single women who if taught chastity would be looked after by their husbands and not by the government. Contraceptives are being distributed to children for free in schools in the west. Should we have that situation in India? If marriage is delayed and living in is allowed, the day is not far. A 15-year-old girl will say that she has a live in and not a marriage and no one can do anything about it. Has this also solved the problem of girls getting pregnant before their age of readiness for pregnancy?
- But the question may be that women in the past were healthy but women today are not. So is it good to create the above-mentioned dangerous situation or should we work on improving the health of the population? The root cause of poor health is the promotion of industrial enterprises. This topic alone needs a big section and so I will not include it here. I am also willing to be corrected on this.
All I want to say is that such an important decision, if not studied from the angle of the sages who since thousands of years are giving the Vedic scriptures, will be dangerous to society. The leaders of the past have done this mistake in case of laws like divorce, abortion etc without consulting the scriptures and sages who advocated them. Such decisions require a debate and along with doctors, scientists, psychologists, genuine proponents of Vedic tradition who have received this knowledge in parampara and are repeating the message as it is should also be consulted. I may not be wrong if I say that their thoughts should be given priority because they are presenting the message of God which is free from the above-mentioned 4 defects and are sincere and pure. Please consider this before having a final decision on this topic. With the blessings of my Gurudeva HH Bhakti Vikasa Swami and his guru HDG A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, i was capable of sharing some knowledge with you on the topic.
Thanks and Regards,
Rama Aprameya dasa