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Hindu Widow Marriage$
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Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231156332

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231156332.001.0001

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Book One

Book One

(p.57) Book One
Hindu Widow Marriage

Ishvarchandra Vidyasagar

Columbia University Press

This chapter determines whether or not widow marriage is a required sacred performance. Parashara Samhita, the authoritative treatise on duty for the Kali Yuga (current eon), provides three injunctions regarding widows during the Kali Yuga: marriage, celibacy, or immolation. Of these, the custom of immolation has been abolished by government order. Thus, widows now have two options, marriage and celibacy. They may either marry or adopt celibacy as they see fit. During the Kali Yuga, it is very difficult for widows to live a life of celibacy. This is precisely why Lord Parashara, out of concern for the welfare of the world, delivers his injunction regarding marriage for a woman who experiences one of five dire situations—such as having a husband who is missing. When such conditions apply, the remarriage of widows is determined to be a required sacred performance for the Kali Yuga in accordance with the authoritative treatises.

Keywords:   widow marriage, Parashara Samhita, Kali Yuga, marriage, celibacy

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