Can someone explain philosophical/spiritual/religious reason as to why it was okay for man to have several wives but sinful for woman to have more than one?

Is it written is some book that woman should not have more than one partner? if not, why is it frowned upon?

  • ..and where did you come upon this notion? Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 14:56
  • Look at all scriptures... kings have several wives but its not other way round Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 15:01
  • My question was about what makes you think that it was sinful of women to be in a polyandrous marriage? For one, Draupadi was in such a relationship. Commented Aug 14, 2014 at 16:27
  • I said sinful because women with many men are looked down while opposite is not true. Draupadi is the only exception in hindu mythology Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 15:55
  • I hope you get the difference between religious beliefs and cultural belief. One may not follow the other. Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 4:47

3 Answers 3


First of all the question is incorrect, actually its 'Not sinful' and 'Sinful too', and for both(there is no discrimination done here).Before I describe my answer I want to clarify that there's nothing written in any scripts about a women marrying (Vivah will be a more appropriate word) many men is a sinful act.

What marriage is? Its a bonding between two souls, that means the two souls will receive same type of pleasure, sorrow and rewards as they are married. Not only this their Karmas are equally divided. Meaning if wife does something sinful the husband has to be the part of it (either he was part of it physically or not), as they are considered 'Ardhang' of each other and after marriage treated as one.

How its 'Sinful' or 'not Sinful'? If someone has multiple husband/wives, its perfectly sure that their souls would be bonded.

For example, one man marries 2 women.

Case 1 : If one of his wife does a karma, the karma's action will have a result, this result would be divided into 2 parts, 1st to the husband and second to the wife, the left out wife will remain in the Akarmik state. Now if we look through husband's perspective, he is getting dual Karma Results, one from his first wife and other from his next.

Case 2 : If the husband does a karma, the karma's action as a result would be divided into 3 parts, one for himself and other two for two wives each.

Now in either cases we just need to replace the word Karma with Bad Karma or Good Karma, we will get different results, I will discuss one.

If the karma is bad:

Case 1 : The wife will not only suffer from the result but the husband will too, the left out wife will go through the physical aftereffect of the result but not spiritual one.

Case 2 : The husband and his two wives will suffer from results equally.

From above we can clarify that a multi marriage becomes Sinful or not Sinful, depending not only on the depth of multiplicity but also the nature of the nodes(people being married within)

Bottom Note : It's always strictly advised to follow monogamy, as that would lead to equal division in karmas. Not only this the control-ability of that type of marriage is simple, and most off multi marriages suffer from less-controls resulting in wrong Karmas.

There are very less chances of one being so supreme, to take care of others(in case of multiple opposite) all emotion.

It is always suggested to comply with the 'Arthang'(half part) to male/female. The system is always in stable state if equal and opposite charges are kept in the bounds.

  • 2
    You've a good answer... though for different question. Qs is not about what are the after effects of polygamy rather why in ancient times men used to have many wives while the opposite is not true except in case of Draupadi Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 15:54
  • @Learner, you asked about why its sinful for women, I wanted to clarify that. Second, there are very less such incidents, not many, its not a rule of thumb for ancient times.
    – Mr. K
    Commented Sep 4, 2014 at 13:22

It is not sinful both ways. It changes from time to time and place to place.

In the past, people had many wives but the majority of those were from Royal families. Common people were mostly following monogamy.

One more reason might be that the sex ratio was much higher than today. Even you can search for 1881 census. It has sex ratio larger than 1100.

Saying about Polyandry, it is still practiced in some tribes of South India like Todas and some parts of North East India.


I don't think that there is a religion issue about having more wive. Because in ancient back days almost all have one wife and if say some have more than one wife like someone say king, then there was Political issue.

Like Krishna have many wives, But if you see in deeper you will find that, there are many political reasons, so that krishna married to more than one.

There is no rule that man have several wives, i don't think MANU bhagvan(god) define the rule of many wives in MANUSRUTI.

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