Introduce Varnashram Gradually

Srimad Bhagavatam 10.01.29-32 - Introduce Varnashram Gradually (download mp3)
by Purna Prajna Prabhu at ISKCON Chowpatty

SB 10.1.29
tasyam tu karhicic chaurir
vasudevah krtodvahah
devakya suryaya sardham
prayane ratham aruhat

Some time ago, Vasudeva, who belonged to the demigod family [or to the Sura dynasty], married Devaki. After the marriage, he mounted his chariot to return home with his newly married wife.

SB 10.1.30
ugrasena-sutah kamsah
svasuh priya-cikirsaya
rasmin hayanam jagraha
raukmai ratha-satair vrtah

Kamsa, the son of King Ugrasena, in order to please his sister Devaki on the occasion of her marriage, took charge of the reins of the horses and became the chariot driver. He was surrounded by hundreds of golden chariots.

SB 10.1.31-32
catuh-satam paribarham
gajanam hema-malinam
asvanam ayutam sardham
rathanam ca tri-sat-satam
dasinam sukumarinam
dve sate samalankrte
duhitre devakah pradad
yane duhitr-vatsalah

Devaki's father, King Devaka, was very much affectionate to his daughter. Therefore, while she and her husband were leaving home, he gave her a dowry of four hundred elephants nicely decorated with golden garlands. He also gave ten thousand horses, eighteen hundred chariots, and two hundred very beautiful young maidservants, fully decorated with ornaments.

The system of giving a dowry to one's daughter has existed in Vedic civilization for a very long time. Even today, following the same system, a father who has money will give his daughter an opulent dowry. A daughter would never inherit the property of her father, and therefore an affectionate father, during the marriage of his daughter, would give her as much as possible. A dowry, therefore, is never illegal according to the Vedic system. Here, of course, the gift offered as a dowry by Devaka to Devaki was not ordinary. Because Devaka was a king, he gave a dowry quite suitable to his royal position. Even an ordinary man, especially a high-class brahmana, ksatriya or vaisya, is supposed to give his daughter a liberal dowry. Immediately after the marriage, the daughter goes to her husband's house, and it is also a custom for the brother of the bride to accompany his sister and brother-in-law to exhibit affection for her. This system was followed by Kamsa. These are all old customs in the society of varnasrama-dharma, which is now wrongly designated as Hindu. These long-standing customs are nicely described here.