Manusmriti Chapter 9 Verse 94

A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner.

I found this everywhere where I searched the translation of this verse. But, I saw only this translation. I want clarification. Is it truly written like the translation says?


2 Answers 2


Yes. The translation is correct.

Let's see the original sanskrit, along with two different translators texts.

Verse 9.94

त्रिंशद्वर्षो वहेत् कन्यां हृद्यां द्वादशवार्षिकीम् । त्र्यष्टवर्षोऽष्टवर्षां वा धर्मे सीदति सत्वरः ॥ ९४ ॥

  1. A man thirty years old shall marry a charming maiden twelve years old; or one twenty four years old, a damsel eight years old; in the event of his duties suffering, he may do it sooner.

(English Translation by Ganganath Jha)

  1. A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of twelve who pleases him, or a man of twenty-four a girl eight years of age; if (the performance of) his duties would (otherwise) be impeded, (he must marry) sooner

(English Translation by George Bühler)

However, it might be helpful to read this with the Medhātithi’s commentary (manubhāṣya):

What the injunction means is that the maiden married should be so much younger than the man;—and not that marriage must be done only at. the age stated. Nor is any stress meant to be laid upon the exact number of years mentioned; all that is meant is that one should many a girl very much younger than himself.

This injunction does not occur in the section dealing with Marriage; hence, what is stated here cannot he regarded as a qualification of the persons undergoing that sacrament, and consequently, as an essential factor in the rite itself; for this same reason, it cannot be taken as precluding the age of ‘ten’ or ‘twenty-five’ or such others.

“But it is often found that even though laid down in a distinct passage, a detail does form an essential factor of an act”

True; but the very fact that the teacher has thought it fit to place the present text apart from the section on marriage is clearly indicative of the fact that he had some special purpose in this.

The practice of cultured men is also as we have stated.

Further, the age here stated can never be observed in the case of one’s son marrying a second time; so that, if the injunction were meant to be taken literally, it would mean that there should be no second marriage; and this would be absurd.—(94)

  • So according to Medhātithi’s interpretation of the above verse, it states the girl must be sufficiently younger compared to the male, the rule is not hard and fast, in regards to having the same age numbers as mentioned in the translation.

Similar verses are found in the other texts too, as added by Ganganath Jha in his comparative notes -

Comparative notes by various authors:-

Mahābhārata (13.41.14).—‘One who is thirty or twenty-one years old shall take a wife sixteen years old, but before she has attained puberty.’

Viṣṇupurāṇa (Vīramitrodaya-Saṃskāra, p. 766).—‘A man shall select a wife whose age is one-third of his own.’

Āpastamba (Do., p. 767).—‘A man thirty-years old shall take a wife ten years old, before she has attained puberty; and one twenty-one years old, a girl seven years old.’

Āśvalāyana (Do.).—‘A maiden seven years old is called Śaiśavī; a man eighteen years of age shall marry her; a maiden eight years old is called Gaurī, conducive to richness of sons and grandsons; and she shall be married by a man twenty-five years old; a girl nine years old is called Rohiṇī conducive to richness of wealth; a wise man shall wed her for the accomplishment of all his desires; a girl over ten years age, until she has her courses, is called Gāndhārī; and she shall be married by a man desirous of living long.’

So, as per scriptures, it is valid to marry as prescribed, for that is the dharma. Usually, the couple will have conjugal rights after the girl menarches and not before that.

  • Right age of Sexual intercourse ?
    – Luffy
    May 4, 2022 at 13:27
  • As per shastras and what I have heard, sexual congress may be done, after the girl completes her menarche. That is, she starts having a regular menstrual cycle.
    – Vivikta
    May 4, 2022 at 13:33
  • Can you conclude is it right or wrong as per modern society? Because, child marriage is banned and sex before 18 is pedofile. A girl of age 13 is child.
    – Luffy
    May 4, 2022 at 13:46
  • Answer upvoted. " But also, about sexual intercourse, teenagers these days are consensually amply indulging in it. " it's true but " in some cases, the age difference is huge between them too " it's serious crime like child molestation.
    – Luffy
    May 4, 2022 at 14:38
  • 1
    Yes. A father who marries her daughter after her menarche incurs a sin of multiple Brahmahatyas. Constitution is National text, not religious, so conflicts are bound to happen @LeviAckerman. If anything, maybe this verse will help you bring some balance in perspectives - Manusmriti 4.176 says Let him avoid (the acquisition of) wealth and (the gratification of his) desires, if they are opposed to the sacred law, and even lawful acts which may cause pain in the future or are offensive to men.
    – Vivikta
    May 4, 2022 at 15:05

The commentaries in English are mostly and quite frightfully wrong.

Here is the right interpretation:

From 18 to 30 years old, the girl will be happy and in perfect spiritual balance. Beyond 32 years, there is no spiritual merit in keeping the girl in her father’s home, as they will sink into despondency, pine and waste away very rapidly. Therefore, the period of 12 years (between 18 and 30) on attaining majority is the best time for a girl to marry to be happy and well-adjusted in grihastha.

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