26-Widows in Ved
are witnessing more and more occurrences of inter-caste, inter-Jaati,
inter-Varn, inter-faith, inter-religion and inter-racial marriages. We
also witness widow remarriages. Some people consider it perfectly all
right while others not. While some, if not all, the rituals connected
with a Vaidik Vivaah be observed and hence they engage the services of
a Vaidik Purohit for conducting the marriage with a few rituals. On such
occasions Vaidik Mantra are being chanted. Our question is "Are we
not insulting the Ved which prohibit such Vivaah? Are not the Purohit
committing a sin when they officiate as priests in such marriages?"
Comment:-This is exactly the reason why it has been stressed that the
rules have to keep pace with the modern society otherwise, they would
lose their value. What was written thousands of years ago cannot simply
be followed today. They need to be updated keeping the present conditions
which were not foreseen by those who wrote those rules tens of centuries
before. If such a revision is opposed simply because we want to remain
stagnant, the basic principles would also be lost. If people are insulting
the Ved and Purohit are committing sins by officiating in such marriages,
is it advisable to stop all that are being followed and forget the traditions
totally? However, even the old texts have some indication of their open
mindedness. Let us see
what do the Dharm Shaaastra, the Ved, Upanishad and other texts on
Sanaatan Dharm say about this?
Rig Ved (10.40.5.) says,
kuhasviddoshA kuhavastOorashvinaa kuhaabhishittwam karatah kuhoshatuhu.
ko vaam shayutraa vidhaveda devar maryam na yoshA krnite saadastha Aa.
As per Sayana Bhaashya, a widow can take another husband after her
husband's death. The man who marries a widow is not considered inferior
to other men. Widow marriage is not forbidden.
Athar Vaed, 14.3.1
This Mantra lays down that a woman whose husband dies, should accept another
person who can provide food, clothes and shelter and can also give good
Manu Smriti also provides a few Shlok giving the same view.
yaa patyaavaa parityaktaa vidhavaa vaa svayEchchayaa,
utpaadayeta punarbhootvaa sa sounarbhava uchyate,
saa chedakshata yosaaha syaata gata pattyaagataapi vaa,
pounrbhavena bhartyaa saa punah sanskaaramarhati.
It means, if the lady is either rejected by her husband
or if he is dead, she should marry again.
Kaatyaayan Smriti says,
varayitaa tu yah kaschit pranashyet purushoyadaa.
rutvaagamaam streenateetya kanyaanyam varayedvaram.
That means the widow should marry three months after
her husband's death.
also provides for the remarriage of young widows or for those ladies who are
rejected by their husbands.
yadisaa baal vidhavaa balaat tyaktaa thavaa kwachit".
Mahaabhaarat, Van Parv, 70/24.
mentions that even when there is a doubt about the existence of the husband,
his wife can remarry.
"Aasthhaasy ati punarbhymee damayantee svayamvaram,
tatra gachchanti raajaano raajaputraasch sarvashaha."
More clearly Mahaabhaarat, Van Parv, 70/26
sooryodaye dwiteeyam saabhartaaram varayishyati,
na hi sa jnaanayitee veero nalo jeevati vaa na raa".
Damayanti is going to marry the next morning. The doubt about the
powerful Nal's existence is the reason for this decision.
One can find similar views in
Mahaaabhaarat, Bheeshm Parv, 90 and 91
A princess who is widowed 20 times marries 21 times as mentioned
in Padm Puraan.