TEXT 16
apṛthag-dharma-śīlānāṁ
sarveṣāṁ vaḥ sumadhyamā
apṛthag-dharma-śīleyaṁ
bhūyāt patny arpitāśayā
SYNONYMS
apṛthak—without differences; dharma—occupation; śīlānām—whose character; sarveṣām—all; vaḥ—of you; su-madhyamā—a girl whose waist is slender; apṛthak—without differences; dharma—occupation; śīlā—well-behaved; iyam—this; bhūyāt—may she become; patnī—wife; arpita-āśayā—fully surrendered.
TRANSLATION
You brothers are all of the same nature, being devotees and obedient sons of your father. Similarly, that girl is also of the same type and is dedicated to all of you. Thus both the girl and you, the sons of Prācīnabarhiṣat, are on the same platform, being united on a common principle.
PURPORT
According to Vedic principles, a woman cannot have many husbands, although a husband can have many wives. In special instances, however, it is found that a woman has more than one husband. Draupadī, for instance, was married to all of the five Pāṇḍava brothers. Similarly, the Supreme Personality of Godhead ordered all the sons of Prācīnabarhiṣat to marry the one girl born of the great sage Kaṇḍu and Pramlocā. In special cases, a girl is allowed to marry more than one man, provided she is able to treat her husbands equally. This is not possible for an ordinary woman. Only one who is especially qualified can be allowed to marry more than one husband. In this age of Kali, to find such an equipoised woman is very difficult. Thus according to scripture, kalau pañca vivarjayet. In this age a woman is forbidden to marry her husband’s brother. This system is still practiced in some of the hilly tracts of India. The Lord says: apṛthag-dharma-śīleyaṁ bhūyāt patny arpitāśayā. With the blessings of the Lord, all things are possible. The Lord especially blessed the girl to surrender equally to all brothers. Apṛthag-dharma, meaning “occupational duty without difference of purpose,” is taught in Bhagavad-gītā. Bhagavad-gītā is divided into three primary divisions—karma-yoga, jñāna-yoga and bhakti-yoga. The word yoga means “acting on behalf of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.” As confirmed by Bhagavad-gītā (3.9):
yajñārthāt karmaṇo ’nyatra
loko ’yaṁ karma-bandhanaḥ
tad-arthaṁ karma kaunteya
mukta-saṅgaḥ samācara
“Work done as a sacrifice for Viṣṇu has to be performed, otherwise work binds one to this material world. Therefore, O son of Kuntī, perform your prescribed duties for His satisfaction, and in that way you will always remain unattached and free from bondage.”
One may act according to his own occupational duty just to satisfy the yajña-puruṣa, the Supreme Personality of Godhead. That is called apṛthag-dharma. Different limbs of the body may act in different ways, but the ultimate objective is to maintain the entire body. Similarly, if we work for the satisfaction of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, we will find that we satisfy everything. We should follow in the footsteps of the Pracetās, whose only aim was to satisfy the Supreme Lord. This is called apṛthag-dharma. According to Bhagavad-gītā (18.66), sarva-dharmān parityajya mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja: “Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me.” This is the advice of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Our only aim should be to act in Kṛṣṇa consciousness for the satisfaction of the Lord. This is oneness, or apṛthag-dharma.

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