Written by Sri Swami Chandrashekarendra
Young men who are contemplating marriage can also help in the matter.
Ordinarily, no son should go against the wishes of his parents. It would
not be proper for me to ask young men to defy their parents. In any
nowadays they do not obey their parents as they used to in the past. So
should not [normally] encourage children to go against the wishes of
parents. I am not unaware of all this. However, I find that immense
damage is being done to our ancient stridharma by the money factor
brought into the conduct of marriages.
In this context, I must ask young men to lend me their support. They
clearly tell their parents that they will agree to marry and settle down
only on condition that the usual dowry and other gifts are not taken
the bride's parents. I feel I should even ask them to offer satyagraha,
against the system of dowry. But if they are to be true to the spirit of
satyagraha, they must not marry on their own on the plea that their
parents did not listen to them. Satyagraha implies an element of
The young men offering it must tell their parents firmly: "You say that
will not celebrate my marriage without taking a dowry. All right, I will
marry and will remain a bachelor if you don't change your mind." If
men are so determined there will be a change of heart in any mother or
father. The biggest reform young men can help in bringing about is to
stand firm in their refusal to accept any dowry. To take pride in an
intercaste marriage or a "love marriage" is not right because that would
be going against the sastras. The duty of sons is to try and put an end
the dowry system. There can be no greater reform than this.
The Vedas equate mother, father and guru with Isvara. I must repeat
what I stated earlier that no son shall act against the wishes of his
parents. But as a guru I would ask him (I have the label of guru,
I?) to make an exception in the matter dowry. So, acting on my advice--
the advice of a guru--he must plead with his parents that they must not
take any dowry since it is against the sastras, if necessary he must
satyagraha to convince them of his determination and sincerity of
This oppressive system called dowry is a canker eating into our society.
excising it our young men will be doing a great service to society, at
same time giving an impetus for it to blossom again. They must work for
the eradication of this evil not only out of faith in our religion but
a duty towards fellow men.
Marriage is an ancient institution, a guarantee for the future of
and a dharmic protection for society. That being so, young men must
marry the girls chosen by their elders. But the dowry system is
undermining the very foundations of society and young people ought to
have nothing to do with it. If they have a duty to their parents, they
also a duty to society, haven't they? Thus it becomes obligatory on
part to refuse firmly to marry if their parents insist on taking a
Such refusal will be a service done not only to the family and society
also to womanhood and religion. Young men must take a vow to act in
the manner I have suggested and help in putting an end to the malignant
system called dowry.