“The custom of giving one’s daughter in charity with a dowry is still current in India. The gifts are given according to the position of the father of the bride. Paribarhan maha-dhanan means the dowry which must be awarded to the bridegroom at the time of marriage. Here maha-dhanan means greatly valuable gifts befitting the dowry of an empress. The words bhusa-vasah paricchadan also appear here. Bhusa means “ornaments,” vasah means “clothing,” and paricchadan means “various household articles.” All things befitting the marriage ceremony of an emperor’s daughter were awarded to Kardama Muni, who was until now observing celibacy as a Brahmacari. The bride, Devahuti, was very richly dressed in ornaments and clothing.

In this way, Kardama Muni was married with full opulence to a qualified wife and was endowed with the necessary paraphernalia for household life. In the Vedic way of marriage such a dowry is still given to the bridegroom by the father of the bride; even in poverty-stricken India, there are marriages where hundreds and thousands of rupees are spent for a dowry. The dowry system is not illegal, as some have tried to prove. The dowry is a gift given to the daughter by the father to show good will, and it is compulsory. In rare cases where the father is completely unable to give a dowry, it is enjoined that he must at least give fruit and a flower. As stated in Bhagavad-gita, God can also be pleased even by fruit and a flower. When there are financial inability and no question of accumulating a dowry by another means, one can give fruit and flower for the satisfaction of the bridegroom.

Source: A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada (2014 edition), “Srimad Bhagavatam”, Third Canto, Chapter 22 – Text 23

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