730109 - Letter to Karandhara written from Bombay
A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami
International Society for Krishna Consciousness
CENTER: c/o Mahadevia
B-11 Sea Face Park
50-B Desai Road
My dear Karandhar,
Please accept my blessings. Your letter dated December 28, 1972, is in hand and I have noted the contents carefully. According to our Vedic process, polygamy is allowed. For example, Krsna married 16,000 wives, Arjuna married 3 or 4 wives, Krsna's father Vasudeva, married 16 or 18 wives, like that. So according to the Vedic system polygamy is not prohibited. But it is not a farce also. Every wife must be provided for sufficiently. Krsna married 16,000 wives, but each wife was provided a palace and He was personally present at each palace. It does not mean to marry many wives and maintain none of them. If anyone is able to keep more than one wife and give them all comforts of life, there is no objection for having more than one wife. But if he creates trouble by marrying, he should not marry even one wife, this is my judgment. Now you can do the needful, taking into consideration the circumstances of the laws of your country, the customs of your people, the reputation of our society, the example which will be set for future devotees to follow, like that. For karmis, the Vedic system of marriage was given by Krsna so they may come gradually to the point of becoming devotees. But for devotees, it is advised to minimize sex life to the point of nil. So if that cannot be done, then there is regulation of sex life by marriage. Actually the system of polygamy is natural because the human entity is meant for transcending the animal forms of life and going back to home, back to Godhead. Therefore there should remain a class of men who do not marry in the society. But that will create an unfavorable situation of excessive population of unmarried women. Therefore it is advised that all women get themselves married, and if there is any man who is better able to maintain wife and family, he is advised to marry as many women as he can maintain and thereby free other men in the society to remain brahmacari. So I can understand that many men of our society have got themselves married only for some disastrous result. That means that not all of our men are meant for married life, but because there are so many women we may not leave them unprotected without husband, that will also not serve us well. Therefore it will be the best idea if those who are well-qualified as husbands to keep more than one wife very much satisfied in every respect, if such men can marry more than once. That will free the others to remain brahmacari. But you must consider very carefully the possibility of becoming scandalized in the public for breaking their laws in this way. And in future also the devotees who are neophyte may not understand our policy in this connection, and we gradually could wind up attracting only a class of men who are very eager for unlimited sex life only. These things must be avoided at all cost.
Enclosed please find also the letter-proposal from Shyamasundar as suggested by me to relieve me from these decisions regarding husband and wife. Kindly distribute this proposal to all the 12 GBC men in the world. They may write to me their views on the point and give their yes or no answer to the proposal.
A few days back Rsi Kumar has come to see me from South Africa and he has handed over to me the sum of $700 in cash. This amount was reserved to pay you for the book sales for December month for South Africa, and it was to be deposited in the BBF there with you. Instead I requested him to give to me here and I am depositing in my BBF here in India. So kindly credit this amount to Rsi Kumar and debit his bill for the amount of $700.
Enclosed find also the copy of one letter which I recently sent to Rsi Kumar, wherein I have approved his request to get 15% discount on books sent to South Africa. Because it is a new field and there is more than 15% of import duty and shipping cost, it will be difficult if he has to pay the full amount. Therefore you may credit his account the $700 plus 15% of the total amount which is due to you to date. Very soon Rsi Kumar and Yasodanandana and Gurukripa will return to South Africa to arrange the program for me to come there after leaving India some time in April. Meanwhile by 1st February I have received the tickets to go to Australia and other places from Madhudvisa. But I shall be returning by March 1st to Mayapur.
I have received your description of the books sold during three-day Christmas period, and I am very much pleased upon all of the nice boys and girls who have helped me in this way. I could never have thought it was possible to distribute so many of our literatures. Therefore I can understand it is simply Krsna's blessing us for your sincerely working on His behalf. Actually, that is the secret of my success, not that personally I have done anything wonderful, but that because those who are helping me are sincere, they have done the work, that is the reason for our success all over the world where others have failed. A little sincerity is very difficult thing in this age of hypocrisy and bluff, but I am so fortunate that Krsna has sent me all of you nice boys and girls who are sincerely working. Please convey to all of them my deepest appreciation.
Hoping this meets you in good health,
Karandhar, das Adhikary
ISKCON Los Angeles
N.B. So far the opinion of that lawyer is concerned, you may take the opinion of several others who are knowledgeable in these matters before making any decisions.