In various scriptures it is mentioned that we should not marry a woman who has no brother.

Manusmriti 3:11.

yasyāstu na bhaved bhrātā na vijñāyeta vā pitā | naupayaccheta tāṃ prājñaḥ putrikā'dharmaśaṅkayā || 11 ||

But a prudent man should not marry(a maiden) who has no brother, nor one whose father isnot known, through fear lest (in the former case she be made) an appointed daughter (and in the latter) lest (heshould commit) sin.

Not only Manusmriti, Vedas also prohibit to marry a brotherless girl.

Atharvaved 1:17:1:-Those maidens there, the veins, who run their course in robes of ruddy hue, must now stand quiet, reft of power, like sisters who are brotherless.

Yaska commented on the verse:-

Nirukta 3:4:-They stand like women who have no brother, and whose path is obstructed with regard to procreation and the offering of the sacrificial cake. With these words the simile implies the prohibition of marrying a brotherless maiden.

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    Maa Sita also didn't had brother (as per my knowledge) but still Raama did marry her under the guidance of Sage Vishwamitra.
    – Vishvam
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 4:40
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    because there is an implicit desire of the father of the bride to treat the son of his daughter as his son.. in which case the son-in-law might lose his rights over his son.
    – ram
    Commented Dec 18, 2019 at 11:11
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    @Vishvam Sita devi had at least one brother. It's just that Valmiki Ramayana doesn't go deep into Janaka's sons. Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 2:00
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    I think it might have something to do with the fact that in case one only has daughters and no son, it is the daughter's responsibility to conduct the last rites (antim sanskar) for her parents, some people may object for this, Or it could be just that the daughter should be able to take care of her elderly parents, which would not be possible if shemarried and went away.
    – V.Aggarwal
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 4:21
  • @sarvabhouma Just below of your linked answer, another answer is present by another user who says Vishnu Purana and Valmiki Ramayana mentioned Kushadvaja as brother of Janaka, not as son :)
    – Vishvam
    Commented Dec 19, 2019 at 4:52

2 Answers 2


The reason is given your question itself:

Manusmriti 3:11.But a prudent man should not marry(a maiden) who has no brother, nor one whose father is not known, through fear lest (in the former case she be made) an appointed daughter (and in the latter) lest (heshould commit) sin.

So, the reason is that she might be an ‘appointed daughter’/Putrika.

There is no strict restriction that one should not marry someone's ‘appointed daughter’/Putrika as that is sectioned practice in Manu Smriti itself and the practice was started by Dakṣa Prajāpati himself. But the groom should be aware of the extra responsibilities of his would be son and if he is okay with that he can marry such girls. The related verses are mentioned below:

अपुत्रोऽनेन विधिना सुतां कुर्वीत पुत्रिकाम् ।

यदपत्यं भवेदस्यां तन् मम स्यात् स्वधाकरम् ॥ १२७

He who has no son may make his daughter an ‘appointed daughter’ in the following manner: [He shall mark the declaration]—‘The child that may be born of her shall be the performer of my funeral rites’.—(127)

अनेन तु विधानेन पुरा चक्रेऽथ पुत्रिकाः ।

विवृद्ध्यर्थं स्ववंशस्य स्वयं दक्षः प्रजापतिः ॥ १२८

In ancient times Dakṣa Prajāpati himself made ‘appointed daughters’ in this same manner, for the purpose of multiplying his race.—(128)

ददौ स दश धर्माय कश्यपाय त्रयोदश ।

सोमाय राज्ञे सत्कृत्य प्रीतात्मा सप्तविंशतिम् ॥ १२९

He gave ten to Dharma, thirteen to Kaśyapa, and twenty-seven to King Soma,—having honoured them with an affectionate heart.—(129)

  • What is meant by appointed daughters? @YDS Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 14:32
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    "appointed daughter" is the daughter whose son will inherit the property and would perform funeral rites or shrad..
    – YDS
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 14:41

Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

She who has no brother,—such a girl one should not marry,—‘for fear of her having, the character of the appointed daughter;’ i.e., by reason of her being an ‘appointed daughter;’ i.e., by reason of there being the doubt that the girl’s father might have performed those rites that would have made her an ‘appointed daughter.’

“Why should such a doubt arise at all?”

Such a doubt would arise if the girl’s father is not known, having died or having gone away to a foreign country. Under such circumstances, the girl is given away in marriage either by her mother or by other members of her father’s family. Since it is laid down that when the girl has reached the marriageable age, if her father happen to be absent, she shall be given away in marriage by the said relations.’ The exact rule on this point we shall quote later on. If the father is known, however, there is no fear of the girl being an ‘appointed daughter as he will himself declare whether or not she has been ‘appointed.’

‘Or’ in the text should be taken in the sense of ‘if;’ the sense being that ‘if the father is not known, the girl should not be married.’

Others have taken the two clauses as formulating two independent prohibitions: (a) ‘If the father is not known’—i.e., if it is not known from whom she is born; this being a prohibition of marrying the girl of unknown parentage;—and (b) the next prohibition is to be construed as ‘one should not marry the girl who has no brother, for fear of her being an appointed daughter.’ They further point out that the latter phrase, ‘for fear of her being an appointed daughter,’ cannot be construed with the clause, ‘if her father is not known.’

In the whole of this section on Marriage, wherever the prohibition is not based upon grounds that are not perceptible—e.g., ‘one should marry a maiden who is not his father’s sapiṇḍa,’ etc., (when the grounds of interdiction are trascendental, not perceptible, as in the case of the prohibition of marriage with a diseased girl, etc.),—if the prohibition is disobeyed, the ‘marriage’ itself remains unaccomplished. Hence, if one happens to marry a girl belonging to the same gotra as himself, the marriage, even though performed, would be as good as not performed; and this for the simple reason that the character of ‘marriage’ is determined by scriptural injunction,—just like the character of the ‘Fire-laying’ rite; and, hence, a transgression of the injunction means the non-accomplishment of -the Rite. In the case of Fire-laying, it is found that if there is omission of any subsidiary detail, the Āhavanīya’ and other ‘Fires’ are not accomplished; similarly, a girl that belongs to the same ‘gotra’ as a man can never become the ‘wife’ of that man. Hence it has been ordained that such a girl, even though she may have gone through the sacramental rites, shall be given up. Further, in connection with such marriages, Vaśiṣṭha and other revered writers have prescribed specie lexpiratory rites. Even though, in reality, what each a marriage involves is only a discrepancy in the Rite caused by the transgression of one of the interdictions relating to a subsidiary detail,—and it does not involve any sin on the part of the man,—yet the Expiratory Rite has to be performed, in view of its being directly enjoined by the scriptures. Or, we may take it thus that what is prohibited is ‘intercourse’ with a girl of the same ‘gotra,’ and the Expiatory Rite relates to the series of acts perpetrated by the man (in the form of the marriage-ceremonies.)

As regards the prohibition of marriage with girls belonging to families that may have dropped the sacred rites and so forth,—it is based upon perceptible grounds; and, hence, when such girls are married, the ‘marriage’ is duly accomplished, the girl actually becomes the man’s ‘wife,’ and she shall not be given up. It is in view of this fact that in verse 6, we have the laudatory epithet ‘even though they be great,’ which draws a line of distinction between the two sets of prohibitions. Such also is the custom among all cultured people: they do occasionally marry girls ‘with tawny hair,’ etc., but never one that belongs to the same gotra.—(11)

Having posted the above, I would like to add the following:

According to Rig Veda, Manu lived much earlier to Sage Viswamitra, who composed Mandala III. So he was as old as the Rig Veda, which period cannot be established with certainty.

Edit 22-12-19

Rig Veda III.31.1 speaks about a sonless person, who takes care of his grandson, a son of his daughter. As Manu existed before Sage Viswamitra, who composed this mantra, this rule 3.11 from Manu Smriti must be an interpolation.

WISE, teaching, following the thought of Order, the sonless gained a grandson from his daughter. Fain, as a sire, to see his child prolific, he sped to meet her with an eager spirit.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Pandya
    Commented Dec 24, 2019 at 2:56
  • First block quote is huge, can you add a summary of your own at the beginning? At least mark the relevant quote bold. Commented Dec 28, 2019 at 18:10

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