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This question is NOT a duplicate of the above. My question "Why did Yudhishthira give 2,640,000 female slaves to Brahmanas?" is different from "Was slavery allowed in Mahabarata times?"


In the Mahabharata, Yudhishthira gave 30 female slaves to each of 88,000 Brahmanas. 30 multiplied by 88,000 yields 2,640,000. Such a huge number is not unusual, since India has always had a very large population.

Yudhishthira supporteth eighty-eight thousand Snataka Brahmanas leading domestic lives, giving unto each of them thirty slave-girls.

A "Snataka" is a bachelor who has graduated from Vedic studies, but is not married yet. He is not a Brahmachari.

So, by the mention of "Snataka" and "domestic (householder) lives," the conclusion is that these slave girls were given for sexual intercourse. In other words, they could be sex slaves.

On the other hand, it might be prohibited for a Snataka to have sex before marriage. Also, since these were slave-girls, they must be from very low castes, and it is prohibited for a Brahmana to have sex with women of very low castes.

So in that case, these women were just maids and servants.

Is there a commentary that explains this verse?

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    Possible duplicate of Was slavery allowed in Mahabarata times? – CR241 Jan 25 at 22:59
  • @CR241 No it is NOT a duplicate. I'm asking WHY Yudhishtira gave those slaves to Brahmanas and not "Why was slavery allowed in Mahabharata times?" – Ikshvaku Jan 26 at 0:37

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