• After the death of Vali, his wife Tara becomes the wife of Vali's brother Sugriv
  • After the death of Ravana, his wife Mandodari becomes the wife of Ravana's brother Vhivhisan

Interesting both Tara and Mandodari are among the five panchakanyas of Hindu myhtology who are venerated as ideal women and chaste wives in one view.

Question 1: Are there other such examples in Hindu mythology?

Question 2: Was marrying brother's wife an accepted in the society of the Ramayana or pre-Ramayana era?

  • 5
    1. Where does it say that Mandodari becomes wife of Ravana's brother? First I'm hearing of this. 2. Marriage to husband's brother upon the death of husband existed in atavistic tribes to which Vali , Tara and Sugriva belong. It did not exist in civilised cultures. A humble request to look up the meanings of civilised and atavistic and not immediately infer that they are derogatory. They merely refer to the ecosystem of the inhabitants. – user1195 Oct 22 '16 at 3:09
  • 1
    @moonstar2001 I don't understand why we count Tara in the list of 5 Ideal/chaste women, if she was from Uncivilized culture. – Yogi Oct 22 '16 at 8:31
  • @Yogi - Fair point. I don't agree that Vanar culture of the Ramayana era was uncivilized in general.. Imagine Shiva's rudra avatar being born as Hanuman in an uncivilized vanar culture !!!??? The vanars followed the same principles of dharma, studied the scriptures like Vedas and had kingdoms under Vali that even the mighty Ravan could not defeat. On what basis are you calling such a developed vanar society as uncivilized. – Swami Factanand Oct 22 '16 at 8:45
  • 1
    @moonstar2001 Yeah its incorrect to say that they were uncivilized without scriptural evdience or proving it with help of Dharma Shastras. Personally I think moonstar2001 is correct, they were uncivilized because they were not Aryans they were vanaras people who live in forest. As far as I know Hanuman, Valli and Sugraiva all of them were powerful because they were did a lot of Tapasya. Hanuman and Sugriva were directly devoted to Shriman Narayana, and I don't know anything about Valli. – Yogi Oct 22 '16 at 9:04
  • @Yogi - If the definition of civilized is that one must be aryans then automatically all no aryans will be uncivilized. I don't agree with this point of view. Both Hanuman and Ravan are considered to extremely learned persons. To consider them in the uncategory just because they were not aryans is incorrect. – Swami Factanand Oct 22 '16 at 10:09

Marrying deceased elder brother's wife is recommended as per Agni Purana: Chapter 154 too,

enter image description here enter image description here

English translation from an abridged version:

A woman can marry again provided that her husband has disappeared, is dead. has become a hermit or is such a sinner that he is expelled from his own varna. If her husband dies, a widow is permitted to marry her late husband's younger brother.


Manu Smriti ,at one place, states that re-marriages of widows are never prescribed by laws.

9.65. In the sacred texts which refer to marriage the appointment (of widows) is nowhere mentioned, nor is the re-marriage of widows prescribed in the rules concerning marriage.

enter image description here

However,begetting sons through the methods of Niyoga are prescribed and allowed for a widow and her brother in law.


9.120. If a younger brother begets a son on the wife of the elder, the division must then be made equally; this the law is settled

9.190. (If the widow) of (a man) who died without leaving issue, raises up to him a son by a member of the family (Sagotra), she shall deliver to that (son) the whole property which belonged to the (deceased)

9.59. On failure of issue (by her husband) a woman who has been authorised, may obtain, (in the) proper (manner prescribed), the desired offspring by (cohabitation with) a brother-in-law or (with some other) Sapinda (of the husband)

enter image description here

But,in these kinds of cohabitation,the objective is only Dharma,i.e begetting sons.Cohabitation on the basis of lust is condemned.

9.143. The son of a wife, not appointed (to have issue by another), and he whom (an appointed female, already) the mother of a son, bears to her brother-in-law, are both unworthy of a share, (one being) the son of an adulterer and (the other) produced through (mere) lust.

9.147. If a woman (duly) appointed bears a son to her brother-in-law or to another (Sapinda), that (son, if he is) begotten through desire, they declare (to be) incapable of inheriting and to be produced in vain.

Also,regarding the marriage of a widow & her brother in law,we find the following verse,which apparently contradicts the first verse given in my answer.

9.69. If the (future) husband of a maiden dies after troth verbally plighted, her brother-in-law shall wed her according to the following rule.

enter image description here

& one more,

9.146. He who takes care of his deceased brother’s estate and of his widow, shall, after raising up a son for his brother, give that property even to that (son).

Conclusion-The events mentioned in the question all occurred during the Treta Yuga.Now, the laws of Manu, while it apply with full force in Satya Yuga, may (or may not ) apply with equal authority in Treta.In anycase,while Manu do not approve the remarriage of widows generally, allows a widow marrying her brother in law under certain circumstances.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .