purā pitā no bhagavān
kaṁ vṛṇīta varaṁ vatsā
ity apṛcchata naḥ pṛthak
purā—in days long ago; pitā—father; naḥ—our; bhagavān—the most opulent; dakṣaḥ—Dakṣa; duhitṛ-vatsalaḥ—affectionate to his daughters; kam—unto whom; vṛṇīta—you want to accept; varam—your husband; vatsāḥ—O my children; iti—thus; apṛcchata—inquired; naḥ—us; pṛthak—separately.
In days long ago, our father, the most opulent Dakṣa, who was affectionate to his daughters, asked each of us separately whom we would prefer to select as our husband.
It appears from this verse that free selection of a husband was allowed by the father, but not by free association. The daughters were asked separately to submit their selection of a husband who was famous for his acts and personality. The ultimate selection depended on the choice of the father.
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