I want to know the reason for allowing kings to take multiple wives. Is it Rajo guna or any other reason based on Shruti, Smriti, Puranas?

  • Even a normal citizen can marry many I think. But I don't recommend polygamy. May 22, 2018 at 5:22
  • Both these answers look equally good for me. What should I do in these scenarios.
    – Tej
    May 22, 2018 at 7:42
  • You can wait for sometime for acceptance. Upvote the answers which you have found helpful. Accept vote is transferable. It has been only 2 hours since you've posted. So, no need to hurry. May 22, 2018 at 7:47
  • @UdayKrishna, I think the case of Draupadi was rarest of rare and it was not "allowed" per se. Scriptures even in those times didn't recommend it to marry more than once, though mating was allowed in special cases. Hence, Panchali had to bear the insults of having 5 husbands, even in those times. Refer this How many husbands are permitted to a woman (polyandry) in ancient history?
    – iammilind
    May 22, 2018 at 9:58
  • @iammilind...your link is "taking me on a tangent"....the Panchali i was referring to is considered as one of the "Panch-Kanyas or Five Virgins"..i surely would not be clicking your suggested link. May 22, 2018 at 10:26

2 Answers 2


According to the Smritis, how many wives a person can have depends on his Varna.

´There are four classes: Brahmin, Kshatriya, Vaishya and Shudra. Of these, according to the order of the classes, a Brahmin may have four wives, a Kshatriya three, a Vaishya two, and a Shudra one.

Baudhayana Dharma Sutras 1.16.10

Now, there is some difference of opinion regarding this.

According to the order of the classes, a Brahmin may take three wives, a Kshatriya two, and a Vaishya and a Shudra one each. According to some, one may even marry a Shudra woman just as one marries others but without the recitations of ritual formulas.

Vashishta DharmaSutras 1.23.

But in any case, a Kshatriya is always allowed to have more than one wife. And, a king comes mostly from the Kshatriya clan.

Now, if you think Raja Guna is the real reason, then why do you think a Brahmin (whom you must be associating with Sattva Guna) is allowed to have the highest number of wives among the four classes?

But you're very right with the fact that a king (as also the Kshatriya) is a manifestation of the Raja Guna.

Manu Smriti 12.46. Kings and Kshatriyas, the domestic priests of kings, and those who delight in the warfare of disputations (constitute) the middling (rank of the) states caused by Activity.

12.47. The Gandharvas, the Guhyakas, and the servants of the gods, likewise the Apsarases, (belong all to) the highest (rank of) conditions produced by Activity.

12.48. Hermits, ascetics, Brahmanas, the crowds of the Vaimanika deities, the lunar mansions, and the Daityas (form) the first (and lowest rank of the) existences caused by Goodness.

Here, "Goodness" refers to Sattva and "Activity" refers to Rajas or Raja Guna. So, the Brahmins come from the Sattva. But yet they are allowed to have more number of wives than the Kshatriyas are.

  • 1
    "Four wives" for Brahmana means "four" choices among four classes. Brahmana can have all the 4 choices among the classes, because they are highest in order. Kshatriya can have 3 choices, Vaishya can have 2 choices and Shudra can have 1 choice. Number of choices are scripture defined, but number of wives is individual choice. A Brahman can very well have one wife (usual case), even though he can have more. And Shudra can have any number of shudra wives. For example, lord Krishna had 8 wives.
    – iammilind
    May 22, 2018 at 5:48
  • No it's about the number of wives.. A Brahmin can have one wife but he is allowed to have more @iammilind
    – Rickross
    May 22, 2018 at 5:51
  • @Rickross I am interested to know if there is mention of any gunas while proposing the number of wives taken. Another question from me is why Kshatriyas took more than 100 wives in puranas? Is it possible for you to answer that as well as part of this answer?
    – Tej
    May 22, 2018 at 6:15
  • @Rickross I think my wrong understanding of rajo guna as something that is associated with intense activities like hunt, war and movement mad me ask this question. I thought as kings will have lot of these responsibilities they are allowed to take multiple wives. Now I understand it.
    – Tej
    May 22, 2018 at 7:41
  • @Tej Your understanding is not wrong.. Raja Guna and kings are clearly related.. see the Manu Smriti verse given in the answer..
    – Rickross
    May 22, 2018 at 13:23

NO; the mode of Rajas has nothing to do with number of wives. It has obviously nothing to do with Kshatriya-s.

Rajas is associated with "desires". All entities have mode of Rajas in them in some amount. It's cause of various sins, as discussed in this answer.

BG 14.7 - Rajas is the nature of passion, which is produced from lust & attachment; That binds the embodied [soul] through attachment to action.

Besides, Kshatriya-s having multiple wives is justifiable because, they are responsible for the protection and maintenance of the kingdom. Kshatriya-s are more likely to get martyred during war time. Due to which the king & his associates tend to procreate more copies of them.

As per scriptures, for anyone there is no limitation in the number of wives. e.g. Krishna had 8 wives as discussed here.

A Kshatriya can choose wife from any classes, except Brahmana. For example, Dhritarashtra had 2 wives, Gandhari and another from the class Vaishya, who was the mother of Yuyutsu. Usually it's not recommended to choose a wife from the Shudra division for the other divisions, as discussed in this answer.

Certain Kshatriya-s like Rama had only 1 wife, while Bhishma didn't have any wife. But they can be considered as special case.

  • 1
    I think my wrong understanding of rajo guna as something that is associated with intense activities like hunt, war and movement mad me ask this question. I thought as kings will have lot of these responsibilities they are allowed to take multiple wives. Now I understand it.
    – Tej
    May 22, 2018 at 7:40
  • @UdayKrishna, the sentence means that, there are no scriptures (at least IMK), which defines limit of number of women a man can marry. Now that doesn't mean a man would marry so many women. Of course women have to agree to marry him & man also should be ready enough for marriage.
    – iammilind
    May 22, 2018 at 12:51
  • Well in my view, there has to be a limit and a scripture....otherwise society would have faced problems as mentioned earlier.People go by rules of society.Ofcourse...there is self- restraint/self-discipline etc.But, no king would take chances....proper ordinances are always promulgated in writing.We can stop now.Thank you for sharing your viewpoint. May 22, 2018 at 13:29

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