Is polygamy unethical?

It is mentioned in our scriptures that a man can have many wives. Is this ethical?

Our reply: The current prevalence of hyper-promiscuous thought in society makes polygamy (one man having multiple wives) appear to be an authorization for licentious behavior. We should however consider that the scriptures that describe how a single man married multiple women also describe how such a man also took full responsibility of good care of those wives and provided for them in every respect.

In previous ages, if a man, especially a king, wished to have multiple wives, he was allowed to marry more than once only if he was capable of maintaining them all. It wasn’t easy for a man to marry many wives because that meant his love would get divided between these wives. We read about King Uttänapäda who could not maintain his affection for his wife Suniti after marrying Suruci. In one incident, Lord Caitanya was refused naivedya by some young girls and He jokingly wanted to curse them to be married to a man with four wives. Thus, polygamy was not a recommendation but rather a sanction for those who could not live without it and were willing to accept the accompanying responsibility.

Generally, kings would have sufficient money to maintain more than one wife. By making the husband responsible for every wife’s upkeep, the woman was offered protection, and chances of adultery by the man were reduced. In reality, based on natural laws a society generally has more number of women than men. Polygamy gives a natural solution for the problem of a large number of unmarried (and therefore unprotected) girls in society. While society today is against polygamy, it nevertheless promulgates promiscuity openly through movies, television, print media, internet etc. making it unsafe for cultured women to co-exist in the same society with many lecherous men always on a hunt. A proof of widespread contamination of sexual thought in current society is visible in the form of a tremendous increase in sexual crimes against women. The main disadvantage of such a society — much more than sociological disadvantages — is that there is no hope for advancing towards life’s higher spiritual goals in such contaminated environments.

In the current social setup, Srila Prabhupada strictly prohibited polygamy since men today are not capable of maintaining multiple wives. An endorsement for polygamy therefore will only attract unscrupulous, irresponsible men eager to abuse this facility for their personal pleasure. The aim of spiritual life is to get out of bodily conception of life, and polygamy only deepens it by providing more facility for sensual pleasure. Thus, polygamy cannot be practical today, but considering the principles involved, it is not unethical.


Are Himalayas living beings?

Are Himalayas a living being — does it have a spirit soul? Or is it jada, dead matter? What does it mean when we hear that Himalayan mountains is the father of mother Parvati? Is it that there is a personality present and he manifests as a mountain, or is that he controls the mountain?

Our reply: In the material world, spirit souls inhabit various moving (jaìgama) bodies like humans, birds and animals, and also non-moving (sthavara, or fixed) bodies like plants and trees. Mountains like the Himalayan ranges fall under the sthavara category of living beings. Just as jaìgama forms manifest more developed consciousness as compared to sthavara forms, within the sthavara category, the tree body manifests more developed consciousness as compared to the mountain body. The entire body of a mountain is dead matter but is controlled by a spirit soul just as our entire human body is also dead matter and is controlled by us — spirit souls within. What we see outside as the body is not the living entity but the covering only.

To sum it up, there is a living entity, a spirit soul, present within the mountain and his material body manifests as a mountain. This living entity also controls the mountain although such control is very less due to extremely covered consciousness.


Perfect Love

What is the perfect love for Krishna, and how can one generate it?
—Sachin Sharma

Our reply: You can read in Srila Prabhupada’s books about the activities of the residents of Vrindavana, where Krishna lives eternally with His most dear devotees. In the example of these devotees, you will see what is perfect love for Krishna.

The devotees in Vrindavana have no desire for their own enjoyment but want only to satisfy Krishna. They don’t forget Him for a moment, and when He is out of their sight, they feel intense separation from Him, which makes them think of Him even more. Their meditation on pleasing Krishna generates intense love in all their actions. They are always thinking what to cook for Him, how to decorate Him, how to tease Him, how to see Him, and so on.

Srila Prabhupada has given us the program by which we can gradually generate – or, rather, awaken – such love within ourselves. He has designed a program that promotes constant meditation on how to serve Krishna. That devotional service leads to attachment, and ultimately pure love.

Where’s the Soul?

I want to know where the soul of the human being is located in the body.
Via the Internet

Our reply: Srila Prabhupada said that the soul is located in the region of the heart. The soul is not attached to the heart, but merely resides there. Not only do we, the individual spirit soul, reside in the heart but the Lord resides there as well. Therefore, we should keep our heart pure, making it a temple where Krishna will be happy to reside.

The Svetasvatara Upanishad compares the Lord and the individual soul residing in the heart to two birds sitting in a tree. One bird is trying to enjoy the fruits of the tree, and the other is witnessing. The bird attempting to enjoy is the individual soul (the jiva) in the material world. The witnessing bird is the Supreme Soul, or Paramatma, who is waiting for the jiva to stop trying to enjoy the material body and senses and turn toward Him.

Replies to first two letters were given Nanda Dulal Dasa. Reply to last letter was written by Live Help volunteers.
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