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Why does the woman have to leave her home and go to her husband's home after marriage?

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Why does the woman have to leave her home and go to her husband's home after marriage?

[Reply to a question by Tinku K] Swami replied: The reason behind this age-old practice is that the property of the parents was only given to sons and not to daughters. As a result of this practice, daughters too, only served their in-laws and not their parents. Daughters even change their surnames and gotras to those of their husband. The reason behind all of this is basically money and property. The gotra is the family lineage tracing back to an ancient sage. The funny part is that no one thinks that when one is not supposed to marry a person belonging to the same gotra, how can the wife assume the husband’s gotra after marriage?

There is also a tradition in some places where the daughter-in-law addresses her in-laws as “Father” and “Mother”. The reason behind this is that she wants to take the place of the daughter of her in-laws. When she takes the place of their daughter, it minimizes the possibility of them giving their property to their daughter! Similarly, the son-in-law also addresses his in-laws as “Father” and “Mother”, in an attempt to take the place of their son and get some generous gifts from them, at least!

In fact, the Veda says that property should be given to both sons and daughters equally. The word ‘putra’ literally means a son. But, as per Sanskrit grammar (Ekaśeṣa sutra), in many contexts, it means both sons and daughters. This applies in the context of the division of property too. Of course, the division can be unequal based on the demands of the situation. This is known as āpaddharma, which is a modified rule to suit the demands of a special situation. For instance, if one of the issues (son or daughter) is poor, a greater share of the property can be given to that issue. But the unequal division should not be based on gender. The temptation for wealth is so powerful that due to its influence, men denied the sacred thread ceremony (upanayanam) to women. They did this because if women were also eligible for this ritual, they would also become eligible to carry out the death rituals. Men linked the inheritance of property to the death rituals. The traditional belief is that one would not be released from the earthly plane and reach heaven if the death rituals were not conducted for the departed person. But in order to conduct the rituals, one had to have undergone the sacred thread ceremony, which was only conducted for men. It meant that only sons could conduct the death rituals for the parents. Since the release of the parents from this world and reaching heaven depended on the sons carrying out the death rituals, parents developed a preference for sons. So, they wanted their property to go to their sons alone and not their daughters.

This entire world is only revolving around money and wealth (Dhana mūlamidaṃ jagat). Due to the topmost importance of money and wealth in the hearts of souls, God too only uses money to test devotees’ real devotion (love) for Him. The Veda says that the sacrifice of money and wealth alone decides the strength of devotion (Dhanena tyāgena ekena...). In the Gita, God has gone one step further by saying that the money sacrificed must be one’s hard-earned money and not one’s ancestral wealth. The term used in the Gita is karma phala tyāga, which means the sacrifice of the fruit of one’s hard work. The reason is that the bond with one’s hard-earned money is stronger than the bond with ancestral wealth. Only when one earns money through hard work does one recognize the importance of money. One always tends to save hard-earned money, as far as possible. On the other hand, there are many cases, where people have wasted and lost their inherited ancestral wealth. But the cases of people wasting their own hard-earned wealth are very rare. That is why commonly, God is said to be in money (Paise me paramātmā hai)!

 

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-By Shri Datta Swami
(Visit our website: www.universal-spirituality.org)
Universal Spirituality for World Peace

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