Skip navigation.
कृण्वन्तो विश्वमार्यम्

The difference of re-marriage and Niyoga - Read SATYARTH PRAKASH

Ref : http://www.aryasamajjamnagar.org/chapterfour.htm#16

Two kinds of separation of spouse

Separation between the husband and the wife is of two kinds:
Firstly, that caused by one of the parties going abroad on business and , secondly, that caused by the death of one of them. Separation of the first kind can be avoided if the husband takes his wife along with him whenever he goes abroad. The object of this injunction is that the husband and the wife should not live apart from each other for long.
Q. ~Should a man or a woman marry more than once?

A ~ Not when the other party is alive.

Q ~Can one party re-marry when the other is dead?

A. ~ Yes. Says the sage Manu on this subject. " A man or a woman, who ahs simply gone through the ceremony of joining hands* but whose marriage has not been consummated, is entitled to re-marry." MANU 9:179

But re-marriage is absolutely prohibited in the case of a twice born man or woman (i.e., one belonging to a Brahman, Kshatriya or Vaishya Class who has had sexual intercourse with his or her consort.

Q. ~What are the evils of re-marriage** (in the case of such persons)?

A. ~ The following are the principal evils:-

Diminution of love between the husband and the wife, since either of them can desert the other whenever he or she so desires, and marry another person.***

On the death of one party, the other will take away the property of his or her deceased consort when he or she marries again. This will give rise to family disputes.

If a widow re marries, many a noble family will be blotted out of existence, and its property destroyed (by constant alienation).

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Joining hands is the chief element in the Vedic ceremony of marriage.
** Re-marriage includes Polygamy and Polyandry.
***This arrangement seems to apply to marriage after divorce. ~ Tr.
PAGE 130

Re-marriage involves loss of true conjugal love and infraction of duty towards the departed husband or wife.
For these reasons, re-marriage, polygamy and polyandry are prohibited in the case of the twice born.

Q. ~ If one of the parties dies leaving no male issue, even then the family line will become extinct. Besides, if re-marriage be not allowed, the widows and widowers will resort to adultery and fornication, procure abortion, and will commit wicked deeds of a kindred nature. For these reasons re-marriage is desirable.

A. ~ No. If the widows and widowers desire to practice Brahmacharya, no such evil consequences will accrue. Again, if the widow or widower adopts a boy of her and his Class, the family line will be continued and there will be no danger of adultery being restored to. Those, however, who cannot control their passions may beget children by having recourse to Niyoga.

The difference of re-marriage and Niyoga
Back to contents

Q. ~ What are the differences between re-marriage and Niyoga?A. ~
After marriage the bride leaves her paternal roof, lives with her husband, and her relations with her relations with her father's family cease to be very close; on the contrary. The widow (in case she contracts Niyoga) continues to live in her deceased husband's house.
The children begotten of marriage inherit the property of their mother's husband, whereas, offspring begotten of Niyoga on a widow are not regarded as children of the begetter and consequently they don't take his surname, nor can they be claimed by him. They are spoken fo as the children of their mother's deceased husband, take his surname, inherit his property and live in his house.
Married people are required to serve and help each other, while those that contract Niyoga have to abandon all relations (after the stipulated period).
the relation of marriage is life-long, while the contract of Niyoga ceases to be operative after the desired object has been attained.
PAGE 131

The husband and the wife help each other in the performance of their house hold duties, while those that have that have contracted Niyoga discharge the duties of their respective households.
Q. ~ Do the same laws apply to Niyoga and marriage, or are they different in each case?

A. ~ They are little different. A few differences have already been enumerated, and here are some more:-

A married couple can produce children up to the limit of ten, while that connected by Niyoga cannot produce more than two or four.
Jus as marriage is allowed only in the case of a bachelor and a maid, likewise only a widow and a widower can enter into the relation of Niyoga, but never a bachelor and a maid.
A married couple always lives together but not that connected by Niyoga. Such persons should come together only when they intend to generate a new life. Whether Niyoga is contracted for the benefit of the widow or of the widower, the relation is dissolved after the second conception.
Let the widow rear the children for two or three years and hand them to her husband by Niyoga, in case it has been entered into for his behalf. In this way a widow can give birth to two children for herself and two for each of the four husbands by Niyoga. Similarly a widower can beget two children for himself and two for each of the four wives by Niyoga. Thus ten children in all can be produced by means of Niyoga.

This is what the Veda declares:-
"O thou who art fit to procreate and art strong, do thou raise upon the married wife or upon these widows, with whom thou hast contracted Niyoga, good children, and make them happy. Do thou beget with on thy married wife ten children, and consider her the eleventh (member

PAGE 132

of the family). O woman! Let ten children be raised on thee by the married husband or thy husbands by Niyoga and do thou consider thy husband as the eleventh (member of thy family)." Rig Veda 10: 85, 48.

The Vedic injunction requires that among Braahmannas, Kshatriyaas and Vaishyaas a couple should in no case produce more than ten children, other wise the offspring are sure to be weak, both physically and intellectually, and short-lived. Even such parents grow feeble, do not live long, are afflicted with disease and consequently endure untold sufferings.

Q. ~ But Niyoga looks like adultery.

A.~ Just as sexual connection between persons that are not married is called adultery, so is sexual congress between widows and widowers not connected by Niyoga is an adulterous relation. Form this it follows that just as marriage solemnized according to the law is not fornication, even so Niyoga contracted according to the law cannot be termed fornication.

If one's virgin daughter co-habits with a bachelor after the marriage ceremony, enjoined by the Shaastras, has been duly performed, this act is not regarded as adulterous or sinful, nor does it inspire shame, for the same reasons, Niyoga performed according to the Vedic injunction should not be regarded sinful, nor should it inspire a feeling of shame.

Q. ~ This is alright but it looks like prostitution.

A. ~ No. A prostitute sticks to no particular man, nor is she governed in her sexual relation by any specific laws, while Niyoga marriage is governed by definite laws.. Just as one does not feel any shame in giving away his daughter in marriage to another person, in like manner there ought to be no shame in contracting Niyoga. People who are given to illicit intercourse do not give up this wicked habit even after marriage.

Q. ~ To us it seems that Niyoga is a sinful practice.

A. ~ If you think that Niyoga is sinful, why don't you regard marriage also as sinful? The sin rather consists in preventing people from contracting Niyoga, for according to the Divine laws of Nature, natural appetites cannot be controlled unless one be self-abnegating, profoundly learned, and a Yogi of the highest order. Don't you consider it a sin to procure abortion, destroy the fetus and inflict great mental suffering on widows and widowers (by preventing them from contracting Niyoga). For, so long as they are

PAGE 133

young, desire for children and sexual enjoyment will drive people to the necessity of forming secret relations, if the laws of State or Society disallow lawful gratification. The only proper way of preventing adultery and illicit intimacies is to let those, who can control their passions, do without Niyoga or even marriage, but those who do not possess so much self-restraint must marry, and in case of emergency contract Niyoga, so that the chances of illicit intercourse may be greatly minimized, love between the husband and the wife enhanced, and consequently good children born, the human race improved, and the practice of feticide put a stop to.

Marriage and Niyoga will do away with such wicked practices as illicit intimacy between a low Class man and a High class woman, or between a High class man and a Low Class woman (such as a public woman), contamination of noble families, extinction of the family line, mental anguish of bachelors and maids, of widows and widowers, feticide and the like crimes. For these reasons, contraction of Niyoga is desirable.

Q. ~ What conditions should be observed in the performance of the Niyoga ceremony?

A. ~

Niyoga is solemnized publicly even as marriage is.
Just as in marriage, the consent of the bride and the bridegroom and approval of good men are essential, even so it is in Niyoga, in other words, when a man and a woman have agreed to contract Niyoga, they should declare before an assembly of their male and female relations that they ent4er into the relation of Niyoga for begetting children, they will have sexual congress for generating anew life once a month, in case conception takes place they will not co-habit for one year. If they should go against that declaration they should be considered sinners and should be liable to punishment by the State and the Society.
Q. ~Should the relation of Niyoga be entered into with a member of one's own Class or with that of a different Class as well?

A. ~ A woman should contract Niyoga with a member of one's own Class or with that of a higher Class, that is, a Vaishaya woman with a Braahman, a Kshatriya or aVaishaya; a Kshatriya woman with Kshatriya or a Braahman; a Brahman woman with a Braahman. The object of this is that the spermatic fluid should always be of a man of the same Class as the woman or of a higher Class, never

PAGE 134

of a lower one. The object (of God) in creating man and woman is that they should produce children in accordance with the dictates of true religion as enjoined by the Veda.

Q. ~ Why should a man contract Niyoga when he can marry again?

A. ~ We have already said that according to the injunctions of the Veda and the Shaastra among the twice-born a man or a woman may marry only once, never a second time. Justice demands that a bachelor, should be married to a virgin. It is unjust and therefore wrong for a widower to marry a virgin, and for a widow to marry a bachelor. Just as a bachelor does not like to marry a widow, so no virgin would like to marry a widower. If no virgin will marry a widower, and no bachelor will marry a widow, men and women will feel the necessity of contracting Niyoga. Moreover, dharma consists in mating likes alone.

Q. ~ are there any Vedic and Shaastric authorities in favor of Niyoga, as there are in support of the marriage institution?

A. ~ "O man and woman (connected by Niyoga), just as a widow, co-habits with her husband by Niyoga and produces children for him, and a wife co-habits with her husband by marriage and produces children for him, likewise (it may be asked) where both of you were during the day and during the night, and where you slept, who you are, and what your native place is." RIG VEDA 10: 40, 2.

This indicates that man and wife should always live together whether at home or abroad, and that a widow may also take unto herself a husband by Niyoga and obtain children, even as a virgin takes unto herself, a husband by marriage, who raises upon her.*

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Q. ~ Supposing the deceased husband of a widow had no younger brother, with whom should she contract Niyoga?
A. ~ With her devar, but the word devar does not mean what you think. For the Nirukta says "The second husband by Niyoga of a widow, be he the younger borther of her deceased husband or his elder brother, or of a man of her won Class or of a higher Class, is called Devar.

PAGE 135

"O widow! Dothou give up thinking of they deceased husband and choose another from among living men. But thou must understand and remember that if thou should contractest Niyoga for the benefit of thy second husband with whom thou are united by performing the ceremony of joining hands, the child resulting from this union shall belong to him; but if thou interest into relation of Niyoga for thy benefit, the child shall be thine. Do thou bear this in mind. Let thy husband by Niyoga also follow this law." RIG VEDA 18,8.

"Do thou O woman that givest no pain to thy husband or devar (husband by Niyoga), art kind to animals in this Order of householders, walk assiduously in the path of righteousness and justice, art well-versed in all the shaastraas, hast children and grandchildren, givest birth to valiant the brave boys, desirest a second husband (by Niyoga), and bestoweth happiness on all, accept a man of they choice as thy husband or devar , and always perform the Homa which is the duty of every householder." ATHARVA VEDA 14:, 2, 18.

The sage Manu also sanctions the marriage of virgin widows. Says he "A virgin widow may marry the younger or the elder brother of her deceased husband." MANU.

Q. ~ How many times can a man or woman enter into the relation of Niyoga? What are the husbands, by marriage or by Niyoga, of a woman, called?

PAGE 136

A. ~ "O woman! Thy first husband with whom thou art united by marriage is named Soma, called so because hw was a chaste bachelor (before marriage). Thy second husband with whom thou art connected by Niyoga is named Gaandharva, called so because he had already lived with another woman (to whom he had been united by marriage). Thy third husband, (by Niyoga) is named Agni (fire), called so because he so very passionate. All thy other husbands from the fourth to the eleventh are called men."

A man may also contract Niyoga with eleven women (one after the other), just as a woman may enter into the relation of Niyoga with eleven men (one after the other), as sanctioned by the Veda in the following text:-

"��.take unto thyself the eleventh husband by Niyoga." RIG VEDA 10: 85, 45.

Q. ~ Why should not the world eleven be taken to refer to ten sons and the husband as the eleventh (member of the family)?

A. ~ Such an interpretation will not even sanction a second husband and therefore go against such Shaatric injunctions as have been quoted above (We reproduce some of them here).

"Just as a widow takes into her self a devar, etc." "The second husband by Niyoga of a widow, etc." "So thou O woman that givest no pain to�..devar (husband by Niyoga)", etc. "Thy second husband�is named Gaandharva."

The sage Manu also declares:-

"on failure of issue (by her deceased husband), a widow may contract Niyoga with a widower (if bothe of them be desirous of getting children), who may be her deceased husband's younger or elder brother or his cousin within the sixth degree or a man of her Class or of a higher Class.

PAGE 137

An elder brother, who approaches the wife of the younger, and a younger brother, who approaches the wife of the elder, when the necessity of getting children has ceased to operate, even though united by Niyoga, shall be degraded (from their Class). In other words, Niyoga lasts only so long as two or four children are not born according as it has been contracted for the benefit of one of the parties, or of both. They should not approach each other after this. In this way ten children may be produced by successive Niyogas.

Sexual congress after this is regarded as proceeding from lust. Hence, those who resort to it are degraded (from their Class). Even if married people co-habit with each other after they have produced ten children, they are considered lustful and held in great contempt, because marriage and Niyoga are entered into for the object of getting children but not for the gratification of passions like animals.

Q. ~ Can a woman contract Niyoga only after the death of her husband or even when he is alive?

A. ~ This relation can be entered into even in the lifetime of the husband (or of the wife). Here is Vedic text n support of this view.

"When a man is incapable of producing children, let him address his wife as follows:- O thou that art desirous of getting children do not expect me to raise offspring upon thee. Do thou, therefore, seek another husband." RIG VEDA 10: 10, 10. The woman seeking to contract Niyoga, should, however, continue to serve her husband by marriage; similarly when a woman on account of some chronic disease is rendered incapable of bearing children, let her address the following words to her husband. "My lord! Do not expect me to bear any children. Do thou, therefore, contract Niyoga with a widow." Here are some historical proofs as well in support of this doctrine:-

Kunti and Maadri, wives of king Pandu had recourse to Niyoga. Vyas, on the death of his brothers, Chidraangad and Vichitravirya

PAGE 138

contracted Niyoga with their wives and begot Dhritraashtra on Ambikaa, Paandu on Ambaalika and Vidur on a Shoodra woman.

The sage Manu declares:-
"If a husband has gone abroad in furtherance of some righteous cause, let his wife wait for eight years; if for he acquisition of knowledge and glory, for six years; if for the pursuit of material ends, for three years. If after the expiry of the prescribed periods he does not turn up, she may contract Niyoga and obtain children." MANU 9: 76.

Should the husband (by marriage) return, the contract of Niyoga shall become null and void. Similarly it is enjoined in case of the husband that " if the wife be sterile, let the husband wait for eight years after marriage; if all of her children die, for then years, if she bears only daughters and no sons, for eleven years, if she be a termagant, let him forsake her immediately, and enter into Niyoga with another lady and beget children upon her." MANU 9: 81.

Likewise if the husband be very cruel, let his wife forsake him, and bear children by Niyoga who will succeed to the property of her husband by marriage.

All these authorities and arguments go to prove that it is the duty of each man to preserve and perpetuate his family line and thereby improve the race by emans of Swayamvar Vivah - marriage by choice - and Niyoga.

"Just as an Aurasa, a son born of marriage, is entitled to inherit the property of his father, so is a Kshestrajna - a son born of Niyoga." MANU.

Men and women should always bear in mind that the (male or female) reproductive element is invaluable. Whosoever wastes this invaluable fluid in illicit intercourse with other people's wives, prostitutes, or lewd men, is the greatest fool, because even a farmer or a gardener, ignorant though he be, does not sow the seed in a field or a garden that is not his own. When it is true in the case of an ordinary seed and of an ignorant peasant, why

PAGE 139

should not that wastes the human see - the best of all seeds - in an undesirable soil, be regarded as the greatest fool, since he does not reap the fruit thereof. It is written in the Braahman Granth, "A son is part of his father's self." The Saama Veda also declares:- "O son! Thou art sprung out of my spermatic fluid which is drawn from all the bodily organs and from the heart. Thou art, therefore, my own self. Mayest thou never die before me. Mayest thou live for a hundred years." SAAMA VEDA. It is a sin of the deepest dye to sow the seed, out of which great souls and distinguished men have sprung, in a bad soil (such as a prostitute) or to let a good soil be impregnated with a bad seed.

Q. ~ What is the good of the institution of marriage? This relation restricts the liberty of people and entails great suffering on them. Therefore it is desirable that a couple should continue to live as man and wife as long as they love each other, and separate when they are tired of each other.

A. ~ This is what beast and birds do. It does not become men to act like this. If the institution of marriage did not exist, all the amenities of domestic life would come to an end. None will serve another. Downright adultery and illicit connections will increase, all men and women will be afflicted with disease, physically and mentally, an will consequently die young, no one will fear another or be controlled by public opinion. Families upon families will be blotted out of existence in consequence of disease, physical and mental degeneration and premature death due to downright adultery and fornication.

No one will have a title to succeed to another's property, nor will any person be able to retain possession of anything for any great length of time. All these evils can be best avoided by marriage.

Q.~ Monogamy being the rule (i.e., if one man be allowed to have only one wife, and one woman only one husband) what will a person do, if the wife be encienti ir afflicted with some chronic disease, or if the husband be a valetudinarian and either of them cannot control himself or herself on account of extreme youth?

PAGE 140

A. ~ We have answered this objection while treating of Niyoga. If a man be not able to control his passions while his wife and she is pregnant, he may contract Niyoga with a (widow) and beget offspring on her, but let him never misconduct himself with a prostitute or commit adultery. Let a man, as far as possible, desire for what he has not got, preserve what he has got, try to increase what he has preserved, and spend it in doing good to his country.

Let every man perform the duties of his Class and Order, as set forth above, mot faithfully, assiduously and zealously, and apply himself heart and soul so the attainment of righteous ends, and expend his wealth in the pursuit thereof. Let him diligently serve his father, mother, father-in-law, and mother-in-law, and maintain loving relations with friends, neighbors, the king, learned and holy men.

Let him treat the unrighteous and the wicked with non-chalance, in other words, bear them no malice and endeavor to reform them. Let him ungrudgingly spend his wealth in securing for his children the benefits of wide culture and liberal education, and try his best to make them perfect scholars and men of culture. Let him do righteous deeds, and thereby try to attain salvation so that he may enjoy eternal (extreme) bliss.

Verses like the following should never be regarded as authoritative.
["Even a degraded twice-born man is superior to Shudra who has conquered his lower self, just as a cow that does not yield milk is worthy of worship, a she-donkey is not worshipped even though she yields milk. The following are prohibited in Kaliyuga (iron age) :-

Horse sacrifice.
Cow sacrifice.
Initiation into Sanyaas (the Order of Renunciation).
Offering flesh balls in a ceremony relating to the manes.
Raising of issue on a widow by her husband (by Niyoga)
PAGE 141

The scriptures enjoin that a widow may take unto herself a second husband in the following cases:-

If the husband has gone abroad and cannot be traced.
If he be dead.
If he has turned a Sanyasi
If he be impotent
If he be excommunicated."]
PARAASHAR SMRITI.
The above verses are from the apocryphal Parashar Smriti. It is downright prejudice, sheer injustice, and a great sin to regard a wicked twice-born man better than a virtuous Shudra. If a cow, whether it yield mil or not, is cared for by the milkman, the she-donkey is equally an object of care for the potter.* Even the illustration is defective, since the twice-born man and the Shudra belong to the human species -bovine and asinine. Should even an illustration from the animal kingdom be partly applicable to human beings, this verse cannot be regarded as true by learned men, it being oppose to the reason.

Horse-sacrifice and cow-sacrifice not being enjoined by the Vedaas, their condemnation in the Kaliyuga (iron age) alone must surely be regarded as opposed to the Vedaas. If it is thought necessary to condemn these wicked practices in the Kaliyuga, it follows that they are permissible in the other three Yugas (viz., Golden, Silver, Bronze ages); but is absolutely impossible that such wicked practices should prevail during ages** when righteousness reigned supreme.

Again initiation into the Order of Sanyaas finds sanction in the Vedas another Shaastras, therefore it is foolish to interdict it. If indulgence in flesh foods is interdicted (which it undoubtedly is), then the prohibition should apply equally to all ages. Why should the author of these verses be barking like a dog, i.e., indulging in puerile

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
*Donkeys are very often used by potters in India for carrying pottery from place to place. Tr.
** The period covered by Creation is called Brahmadina (God's day), while the period covered by Dissolution is called Braahmaratri (God's night): Brahmadina (God's day) is divided into 1,000 Chaturyugis, each of which is again divided into 4 Yugas or ages, these are:-
Sat Yuga or Golden age = 1,728,000 years.
Dwaapur Yuga or Silver age = 1,296,000 years
Treta Yuga or Bronze age = 864,000 years
Kaliyuga or Iron age = 432,000 years
The orthodox believe that these Yugas influence the conduct of the human race for good or for evil, hence they have given these Yugas the names of Golden, Silver, Bronze and Iron respectively. The author does not share this view. - Tr.
PAGE 142

Nonsense, when Niyoga is clearly allowed by the Veda. If the husband has gone abroad and during his absence the wife contracts Niyoga, whose wife will she be regarded if the husband (by marriage) returns? It may be replied that she would belong by right to him who married her. This is perfectly right, but this provision is not laid down in the Paraashar Smritti. Are there only five occasions of emergencies on which a woman may find it necessary to have recourse to Niyoga? These occasions are more than five in number. Here are some others:-

Prolonged illness of the husband
Serious differences with the husband, etc.
The verses like these are, unworthy of belief.
Q. ~ Well sir! Have you no faith even in what the Parashar says:

A. ~ Nothing that is opposed to the Vedas ought to be believed in, no matter who has taught it. Moreover, these are not the words of Parashar. People write books in the name of eminent men like Brahma, Vasishtha, Rama, Shiva, Vishnu and Devi so that these books, being stamped with the authority of universally esteemed great men and women, may be acceptable to the whole world, and the real authors and their successors) may be pecuniarily benefited to a great extent.

It is for this reason that they write books replete with foolish and mythical stories. Among the Smrities, the Manu Smriti alone is authentic, the interpolated verses being excepted. What has been said about the Smrities applies with equal force to all apocryphal books.

Q. ~ Is the Order of householders the highest or the lowest of Orders?

A. ~ Each of the orders is noble in its own place. Says Manu:-
"Just as all rivers and rivulets meander till they find a resting place in the ocean, so do men of all Orders find protection with householders. The men of no Order can properly discharge their duties without the help of householders." MANU 6: 90.

PAGE 143

"A all living creatures subsist by receiving support from air, even so do the men of all Orders subsist by receiving support from the householder. Because men of the three other Orders - Brahamcharya, Vaanaprasth and Sanyaas - are daily supported by the house holder with gifts of food, &c., the Orders of householders is the most excellent Order, In other words, it is the pivot upon which the entire A'shram (Order) system turns."

MANU 3: 78.

The duties of this Order, which cannot be practiced by men who are cowardly and possess a poor physique, must be faithfully discharged by those who desire uninterrupted happiness in this world and imperishable bliss hereafter." MANU 3: 79

All the concerns of life are, therefore, dependent on the Order of householders. If this Order did not exist, the human species would not be propagated, the consequently the Orders of Brahmacharya Vaanaprasth and Sanyaas could not be called into existence. Whosoever speaks ill of this Order is himself worthy of contempt, but whosoever speaks well of it deserves all praise.

But be it remembered that this Order can be fruitful of happiness only when both the husband and the wife are contented with each other, are learned and energetic, and fully know their duties. The chief causes which contribute to the happiness of householders are Brahmacharya and marriage by choice of which we have already treated.

We have thus briefly discoursed on Return Home, Marriage and Married Life in this Chapter. We shall treat of the orders of Vanaprasth and Sanyaas in the next.

THE END OF CHAPTER FOUR