Why were Families Huge in Vedic Times?

Family of Kardama and Devahuti

At the beginning of creation, Swayambhuva Manu was the chief of the Prajapatis. He was at the helm of populating the universe and hence, they had a huge family.

Family of Kardama and Devahuti

So, Swayambhuva Manu first had 5 children. His children were (3 daughters), Akuti, Prasuti and Devahuti and sons were Uttanapada and Priyabrata.

Devahuti was the chief of Manu’s daughters.

Thus, Devahuti married Sri Kardama Rishi who was also designated the prestigious post of a Prajapati by Sri Brahma.

It was by the arrangement of Lord Narayana Himself that Swayambhuva Manu approached Kardama and gave his daughter in marriage to him.

Devahuti and Kardama had 9 daughters. Finally the partial incarnation of Sriman Narayana Himself appeared in the womb of Devahuti.

This incarnation was Maharishi Kapila, the chief preceptor of the philosophy of Samkhya.

Sri Brahma had 9 mind-born sons other than Sri Narada and the 4 Kumara brothers who remained unmarried.

These 9 sons of Sri Brahma married the 9 daughters of Kardama and Devahuti.

The names of the wedded couples are as follows.

1) Kala married Marichi.
2) Anasuya married Atreya.
3) Shraddha wedded Angiras.
3) Havidbhuhu married Pulastya.
4) Gati had Pulaha as her husband.
5) Kriya married Kratu.
6) Bhrigu got Khyati.
7) Vashishtha and Arundhati were a couple.
8) Kshanti became the wife of Atharva.
9) Shanti wedded Atharvan.

How to instill non-enviousness in children?

When one has many sons or daughters, one gets an opportunity to distribute his expectations and responsibilities among his many children.

On the other hand, if a couple has only one child, there is too much stress on the child to stand fair on the expectations of its parents.

In the olden days, parents used to offer one child for the protection of Vedic values and Dharma. One of the children stayed back to take care of the family.

Thus, children remained relatively stress-free as everything that was well-planned in the olden days as compared to current turbulent times where no amount of planning helps.

The greatest thing that parents should vie for is that siblings should not be envious of one another.

If you achieve this, you achieve everything else.

The greatest objective of the Shrimad Bhagavatham is to inculcate the quality of non-enviousness.

One needs to give thought to the fact that we are born with our siblings in the same space of the mother’s womb.

They belong to the same father and they are born with very similar physical features and same environment.

Then how is it that one becomes envious of one’s own siblings?

This is an important question to ponder upon.

Only if one attaches to the Lord, with Him as the only goal, shall all shortcomings of the material world cease to proliferate in our hearts.

If one who takes shelter of Srirangam (the house of the Lord), shall never take shelter in Garbharangam (Womb of the Mother).

2 Advantages for Children in a Huge Family

With the modernization of society, the trends are more inclined towards nuclear families.

Huge families were extremely common in the Vedic and olden days.

There were valid reasons for such expansion, but might not possibly be relevant today.

Let us discuss some of the reasons for a huge family and their advantages.

1) Opportunity to Increase one’s experience:

In a joint family, we live with our grandparents.

They represent the older generation and the ideologies of their era, to which the newer generations might not well resonate.

However, in my personal experience, I have found that children living along with their grandparents are more experienced in handling and interacting with people of different mindsets.

They have out-of-the-box thinking, which only comes with enough exposure.

Grandparents, educate their grandchildren with the older ways of life, with which they gain insight as to how they can live a better life.

Only when we know sadness can we experience joy.

Similarly, both old and new ways of life can make a more refined life. Hence, children must be aware of old traditions to refine their lives.

In the olden days, value systems were of prime importance.

Children need to incorporate them even today.

However, modern amenities, gadgets, and lifestyles have made a considerable difference between the older and newer generations.

So, it is here where children can choose to be different.

2) Makes one more Responsible and Well-Behaved

There are many members in a joint family.

More the members, the greater the responsibility.

There are many members in a joint family.

More the members, the greater the responsibility.

Children get to learn a lot from other people.

Perhaps, the schooling system intended to inculcate the habit of learning from one another.

One child looks at the other and learns.

They look at each other and get additional knowledge.

In fact, this is one of the learning methods which children adopt innately, without much conscious effort.

The flipside, however, is that children may learn many unwanted habits. But, in a joint family, there are elders who can keep these in mind and train children accordingly.

In schools, teachers take the role of parents. But, none other than the parent can take better care of the child.

What you teach, is what the child learns. If parents fulfil their responsibility, children too shall recognize their responsibility towards the family.

Disadvantages of Huge Families

1) Frequent Fights

Nuclear families are not an exception to this. Every family has this problem.

Either sibling’s fight with each other or parents fights with one another.

But, in a joint family, there are additional members.

Cousins are usually of the same age group.

There are different behavioral deficiencies that crop up during interacting with each other or while playing.

There is a group and it can strain relationships forever.

Based on the parents’ employment, salaries, status, and recognition, children are gauged. To be honest, these are toxic parameters to gauge children.

Parents’ should not expect children to carry forwards their name in society.

Children should grow in a free environment, where no malice or stress exists.

Most often, the ladies of the house engage in gossip while the males engage in dominating or taking ownership of the family.

These are not good signs.

Unless we bring forth spiritual values, a family shall always remain fragmented.

Uprooting rifts and quarrels in a family is easy if at all each member of the family looks towards self-development rather than intruding into others’ space.

Rather than taking ownership of people and property, we must focus on enhancing ourselves.

This is crucial.

2) Increased Competition

Children face many issues in a toxic family environment.

Qualities like Jealousy, anger, hatred, etc. should not overpower family members as these traits directly seep into children.

Children should be taught to stay united in every circumstance.

Each child is blessed with a special quality.

Every person is different and good in his/her space.

Hence, there is no scope for comparison, at the very beginning itself. If this healthy mind-set is adopted, children will never compete.

The tendency to compete is due to one’s insecurity.

Additionally, it increases if the child is burdened with the expectations of his/her parents.

Parents should always encourage children to be what they are rather than asking them to compete and become somebody else.

Thanks for reading!

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