In this section of Mahabharata, the wife of Brahmana in Ekachakranagara is getting to convince her husband that she should be sacrificed. She says:

O revered sir, abandoning me thou mayest obtain another wife. By her thou mayest again acquire religious merit.

Does this (highlighted text) mean one loses religious merit (to perform religious activities, like say Homa, Yagna) after death of wife?

  • Wife is necessary to perform Yajnas etc. Apastamba declares that husband and wife are united in religious merit. In case a wife is deficient in these qualities, he may take another, Apst. Though your case hear is death. Can’t find a death related remarriage thing. – Archit Jan 4 at 3:47

Yes, because Vedic rites are to be performed while being accompanied by the wife. Even for establishing the sacred fire, a twice-born must have a wife.

The rite of placing the Sacred Fire should not be performed by the twice-born, if they have not even one wife ; all the rites, that are done [in that state], know, as being not done at all

Katyayana Smriti, Chapter 8; Verse 5


Updating the answer with more verses from the same text's Chapter 20. It says that Sri Rama performed many Vedic rituals in the absence of his wife with the help of a golden image of her that substituted her physical presence.

A twice-born person, who is conversant with religious laws, should cremate a good-charactered wife of the same caste, who dies before, with the sacrificial vessel according to the Agnihotra- method. (6)

One who, having his first wife living, cremates the second wife with the Vaitanika-fire is equal to the destroyer of a Brahmana. (7)

Know him to be a Brahmojjham (abandoning the dignity of a Brahmana) who renounces the Agnihotra (adoration of the Sacred Fire; on the death of his second wife. (8)

One must not abandon the Vedic Fire on the death of one's wife, but should perform all the rites therewith as long as one lives. 9)

Having made a golden image of his illustrious wife Sita, the eternal Rama celebrated many sacrifices along with his brothers. (10)

  • thank you. How did Rama start Ashwamedha when his wife, Sita, was not around? – SHebbar Jan 4 at 20:08
  • I'm not sure how he did it. My knowledge about Ramayana is also not that good @SHebbar – Rickross Jan 5 at 6:24
  • @SHebbar If you're satisfied with this answer, you can accept it by clicking on the tick mark (✓) below the voting buttons. if you like it you may press the up arrow for voting. That’s how the site knows whether the answer is satisfactory and answers the question askers questions – Archit Jan 5 at 9:42
  • @SHebbar You can check the updated answer. – Rickross Jan 22 at 12:41
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    It means Modi's rites for Ram Mandir are not in accordance with scriptures. – Mr. Sigma. Jan 22 at 13:01

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