Underage Marriage and Hinduism

Table of Contents:

1)      gods’ marriages with young girls:

2)     Girls can be married at age when she goes outside without clothes:.

3)     Prescribed age of marriage:

A girl can be given in marriage as low as 4 and the last limit is 10

4)      A girl must be married before proper age or age of puberty:

1)            gods’ marriages with young girls:

a)      Rama married 6 years old Sita:

In Skanda Purana, it is clearly mentioned that Sita was 6 years old when he married and consummated marriage with her.

Reference: Skanda Purana>> Book 3: Brahma Khanda>> Section 2: Dharmaranya Khanda>> Chapter 30: Rama’s life>> Verse 8-9(>> Page 156)

Download and Read: http://dspace.wbpublibnet.gov.in:8080/jspui/handle/10689/21994   (Download Chapter 2_81-160p)

Original Text: The bow of Isvara that was kept in the abode of Janaka, was broken. In his fifteenth year, O king, Rama married the six year old beautiful daughter of the king of Mithila, Sita who was not born of a womb. On getting Sita, Raghava became contented and happy

The Epic Valmiki Ramayana also says that Sita was 6 years old. According to Valmiki Ramayana, Sita was 18 years old when she went into exile with her husband and before the exile she had spent 12 years with her husband in the house of King Dashratha, so if we deduct the age of Sita at the time of exile (18 years of age) and number years she spent in the house of King Dasharath (i.e., 12 years) we get,18-12= 6 years old Sita after marrying at 6, lived in the palace of King Dashrath for 12 years. When she was sent to exile with her husband, she was 18 years old. The age difference between Rama and Sita was 7 years(copied from Suliman Rizvi)

Reference: Valmiki Ramayana>> Aranya Kanda 3>> Chapter 47>> Verse 3-5

Online Read: http://www.valmikiramayan.net/utf8/aranya/sarga47/aranya_47_frame.htm

Original Text: “3.I am the daughter of noble-souled Janaka, the king of Mithila, by name I am Seetha, and the dear wife and queen of Rama, let safety betide you.

4.”On residing in the residence of Ikshvaku-s in Ayodhya for twelve years, I was in sumptuosity of all cherishes while relishing all humanly prosperities.

5.”In the thirteenth year the lordly king Dasharatha deliberated together with his imperial ministers to anoint Rama as Crown Prince of Ayodhya.

  1. When Raghava’s anointment was being organised my venerable mother-in-law known as Kaikeyi begged her husband Dasharatha for a boon.

7,8a. Restraining my veracious father-in-law by a good deed once done by her in his respect, Kaikeyi besought two boons from him, namely expatriation of my husband, and anointment of her son Bharata.

8b,9,10a. ” ‘If Rama is anointed now, come what may I will not eat, sleep, or drink, and my life ends this way,’ thus Kaikeyi was adamantine, and the king and my father-in-law entreated her who is nagging with meaningful riches, but she did not make good on that entreaty.

10b,11.”My great-resplendent husband was of twenty-five years of age at that time, and to me eighteen years are reckoned up from my birth

b)     Krishna married 8 years old Rukmini:

Rukmini was 8 years old at the time of marriage and consummation of marriage.

Reference: Skanda Purana >>(Part 15>>) Book 5: Avanthya Khanda >> Section 3: Reva Khanda>> Chapter 142: The greatness of Rukmini Tirtha>> Verse 8-79

Download and Read: http://dspace.wbpublibnet.gov.in:8080/jspui/handle/10689/20778 (Download Chapter 1_333-412p)

Original Text: …The second child born was a daughter named Rukmini. At that time an unembodied ethereal voice told him, ‘O Bhismaka, this girl should be given to a Four-armed One (born) on this earth.’… As time passed on she became a girl of eight years. The king recollected the words of the embodied being and became worried. ‘To whom shall I give this daughter? Who will be the four-armed one?’… In the meantime Damaghosa, the chieftain of Cedi came there from the excellent mountain Raivata. He entered the royal palace where King Bhismaka was present. On seeing him arrived in the abode, the king duly adored him. He was taken to the Royal Court and given a proper seat. ‘This day has dawned meritoriously. I was eager to see you. O great king, my daughter has come to the age of eight years. The ethereal voice of an unembodied being has told that she should be given to a Four-armed one.’ On hearing the words of Bhismaka, Damaghosa said thus: ‘My son is well known in all the three worlds as Four-armed One (Caturbhuja). O Bhismaka, let this girl be given to Sisupala.’ On hearing the words of Damaghosa, O king, Rumini was betrothed to Sisupala by Bhismaka. The auspicious ceremonial beginning was made by Bhismaka, O Yudhisthira. All the kinsmen and members of the family who were staying far-off countries in every direction, were invited and they duly arrived…At the time of dusk, Rukmini, the bride of seductive charms, went out of the city accomplished by her female companions for the worship of Ambika. There she saw Hari, the Lord of Devas, in the guise of a cowherd. On seeing him, she was excited by the god of Love and became completely fascinated. On seeing her, Kesava said to Sankarsana, ‘On dear brother in my view the excellent jewel of a girl should be taken away.’ On hearing the words of Kesava, Sankarsana said: ‘Go ahead, O Krsna, O mighty one. Let the jewel of a girl be seized quickly. I shall follow you closely behind causing much havoc unto all these demons. On getting the consent of Sankarsana, Kesava, the slayer of Kesin, seized the girl, immediately put her on the chariot and went off…Rukma said: O Lord Kesava, unlucky and sinful that I am, I had hit your chest with arrows. It behoves you to forgive me. Formerly Janaki was given over to you by Janaka himself. Now, O lord of Devas, Rukmini is offered unto you by me. Marry her duly in accordance with the injunctions…When Rukma went back Krsna invited excellent Brahmanas. They were the seven mental sons of Brahma…In this manner the Slayer of Madhu honoured them duly and perfectly and then grasped the hand of Rukmini in marriage.

Rukmini used to play child like sports when Krishna married her

Reference: Brahma Vaivarta Purana>> Krishna Janma Khanda>> Chapter 105>> Verse 1-10

Online Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hindu2/2014/09/brahma-purana-pdf-downloads/

Original Text: …The monarch Bhismaka observed his beautiful daughter engaged in child-like sports and increasing in splendour day by day like a digit of the moon in the midst of clouds. Considering it advisable to marry his youthful and lovely daughter

Rukmini was not fully developed when Krishna married her.

Reference: Ibid>> Chapter 112>> Verse 1-10

Online Source: Ibid

Original Text: …Lord Krisna beheld the smiling Rukmini in the prime of her youth lying down with great pleasure on a bed adorned with gems. She was not yet fully developed and had just attained puberty. She had just ceased to be a newly married bride…Rukmini, the daughter of Bhismaka, as soon as she saw Krisna bowed before his feet. Later on, Lord Krisna committed sexual intercourse with her at an auspicious moment…

Rukmini didn’t attain puberty at the time of marriage.

Reference: The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam By Swami Venkatesananda >>Publisher SUNY Press, 1989 >> Book 10 >> Chapter 53>> Page 292

Online Source:https://books.google.com/books?id=Dfk2AAAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=The+Concise+Srimad+Bhagavatam,+By+Swami+Venkatesananda&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwi6-dmlqufOAhWDWBQKHSlCAWkQ6AEIGTAA#v=onepage&q=she%20had%20not%20yet%20attained%20puberty&f=false

Original Text: After the worship Rukmini took part of the offerings she had made to the goddess, as a token of the goddess’s blessings. She then left the temple and was walking towards the waiting chariot. Rukmini, who was of exquisite beauty though she had not yet attained puberty, looked for Krsna among the assembled princes.

c)      Ajmala the greatest sage married a 12 years old girl.

Reference: Brahma Vaivarta Purana>> Krishna Janma Khanda>> Chapter 46>> Verse 45-60

Online Source: http://www.patheos.com/blogs/hindu2/2014/09/brahma-purana-pdf-downloads/

Original Text:…In days of yore, Ajamila the greatest of saints having been united with a Vrisali, i.e. an unmarried girl 12 years old


  • Girls can be married at age when she goes outside without clothes:

It is recommended according to Hindu scriptures to give away a girl in marriage who doesn’t even know how to cover her body to anyone even a person lacking good character.

Reference: The Baudhayana Dharma Sutra Part 3>>Prasna IV, Adhyâya 1>> Verse 11

Online read: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/baudh3.asp#4.1

Let him give his daughter, while she still goes naked, to a man who has not broken the vow of chastity and who possesses good qualities, or even to one destitute of good qualities; let him not keep (the maiden) in (his house) after she has reached the age of puberty.


Reference: The Vashishta Dharmashastra, Part 3>> Chapter XVII>> 70

Online Read: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/vash3.asp#ch17

Original Text: ‘Out of fear of the appearance of the menses let the father marry his daughter while she still runs about naked. For if she stays (in the house) after the age of puberty, sin falls on the father.

Reference: Gautama Sutra>> Chapter XVIII>> Verse 21-23

Online Source: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/gautama2.asp#ch18

Original Text:

  1. A girl should be given in marriage before (she attains the age of) puberty.

  2. He who neglects it, commits sin.

  3. Some (declare, that a girl shall be given in marriage) before she wears clothes.


  • Prescribed age of marriage:

A girl can be given in marriage as low as 4 and the last limit is 10

Reference: Brahma Purana: Gautami Mahatmya >>Bhadratirtha 95>>Verse 7>>(page 1139)

Read Online: https://books.google.com.pk/books?id=6UoqAQAAMAAJ&dq=brahma+purana+google+books&focus=searchwithinvolume&q=After+the+fourth+year+and+before+the+completion

Original Text: After the fourth year and before the completion of the tenth year the marriage of his daughter must be performed scrupulously by the father.

One should marry a girl one third of his age. Per this rule, if a boy of 18 wants to marry, he should marry a girl of age 6.

Reference: The Mahabharata Book 13: Anusasana Parva>> Part 2>> Section 44>> (Page 18>> 2nd Paragraph>> Around footnote indicator 1)

Read Online: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m13/m13b009.htm

Original Text: A person of thirty years of age should wed a girl of ten years of age called a Nagnika. 1 Or, a person of one and twenty years of age should wed a girl of seven years of age.


18:1 Nagnika is said to be one who wears a single piece of cloth. A girl in whom the signs of puberty have not appeared does not require more than a single piece of cloth to cover her. The mention of Nagnika, the commentator thinks, is due to an interdiction about wedding a girl of even ten years in whom signs of puberty have appeared.

Reference: Manu Simriti>> Chapter IX>> Verses 94

Online Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/manu/manu09.htm

Original Text: A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner.

Reference: The Vishnu Purana>> Part 3>> Chapter X>> (page 298>> Last Paragraph>> before footnote indicator 7)

Online Read: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/vp/vp084.htm

Original Text: If he marry, he must select a maiden who is of a third of his age

4)            A girl must be married before proper age or age of puberty:

Reference: Manu Simriti>> Chapter IX>> Verses 88

Online Source: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/manu/manu09.htm

Original Text: To a distinguished, handsome suitor (of) equal (caste) should (a father) give his daughter in accordance with the prescribed rule, though she have not attained (the proper age).

Reference: Sri Parashara Smriti>> Chapter VII >> Verse 4-6>> (Page 60)

Online Source: http://www.indiadivine.org/content/files/file/17-sri-parashara-smriti-with-english-translation-pdf/

Original Text: 4. Gauri (fair) is the appellation of a female child, when she is only eight years old ; rohim (scarlet) is her name when she is nine ; she is a hanyd (virgin) when ten years old ; thereafter she becomes similar to a female who has her courses month by month.

  1. When the twelfth yearis reached by the female child,if the guardian does not give her away in marriage, her forefathers drink, without interruption, during each succeedingmonth, whatever blood is passed in her courses.

  2. The mother, and the father, and likewise the eldest brother, all these three relatives will go to hell, if before menstruation they neglect to marry the girl.


Reference: The Vashishta Dharmashastra>> Part 3>> Chapter XVII>> 70

Online Read: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/vash3.asp#ch17

Original Text: ‘Out of fear of the appearance of the menses let the father marry his daughter while she still runs about naked. For if she stays (in the house) after the age of puberty, sin falls on the father.

Reference: Gautama Sutra>> Chapter XVIII>> Verse 21-22

Online Read: http://www.hinduwebsite.com/sacredscripts/hinduism/dharma/gautama2.asp#ch18

Original Text: 21. A girl should be given in marriage before (she attains the age of) puberty.

22.He who neglects it, commits sin.

Reference: Padma Purana(>>Part 3)>> SECTION II : BHUMIKHANDA>> Chapter 85>> Verse 62-66a>> Page 1219(335 in the pdf file)

Online Source: https://mnjigw.dm2303.livefilestore.com/y3mxOx3LlgPQRdGc31scJCm8CCq91MqikZCMMdckCN1jAWMVVpCnpzgkvlt_dt_Fy-49DiKHaBgNfSfMkBvTu1Tf15G0-kc0-upK7hAcCHnUTv4kB55DIlZcdjXK0G7L5xhgJYHXwQAxwmknPQ8-tFjqw/Shree_Padma_Purana_Volume_03_ENGLISH_Motilal_Banasirdass_2004.pdf?download&psid=1

Original Text: O king, the marriage of an unmarried daughter is seen to be performed according to the sacred injunctions. Her husband may die; if not, he will have union with her; (but) being stricken with great malady or physical disease he may abandon her and go; or he may become a recluse. This is what is seen in the religious works. Wise men get married their unmarried daughter (s). As long as she does not menstruate (i.e. does not attain puberty), another groom is enjoined for her.


Further Read:




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