Pedophilia in Hinduism (Updated)
Written by Sulaiman Razvi
Hinduism considers it a sin if the girl is not married before her puberty, it even says that forefathers of the girl shall drink blood of her monthly courses if she isn’t married before puberty. Hinduism also says that marriage of a girl before puberty sanctifies 21 generations. Marriage of a Brahmin man with a Shudra girl is censured and Brahmin man marrying a Shudra is considered Vrisalapati and it is considered on par with marrying a girl whose menses has started, a man marrying a girl whose menstruation has started is also considered Vrisalapati. A girl who lives in her father’s house even after her menses begins to appear is considered a degraded girl. Smritis and Puranas says that a 30 years old man shall marry a girl of 12. Swami Prabhupada said, “Even an eighty-years-old man can marry a sixteen-years-old girl.” This is how Hinduism encourages paedophilia. There is also evidence from Puranas to show that it was practised at the time it was composed. Child marriage and paedophilia was more prevalent in India before the Hindu law were codified. Despite making it illegal, child marriage is still practised,
84% Of 12 mn married children under 10 are Hindus (Special to IANS)
33 per cent of the world’s child brides are in India: Report based on last Census
India has second highest number of child marriages as per UNICEF’s 2014 report.
As per 2016 report, 30% of women were married under the age of 18 years due to cultural impact.
71% of those married in Uttar Pradesh are minor girls
Sexual assault on children is on the rise in India, According to the National Crime Records Bureau a total of 12,363 cases of child rape were reported in the country during 2013 as compared to 8,541 in 2012 accounting for an increase of 44.7%. The maximum child rape cases were reported in Madhya Pradesh (2,112 cases) followed by Maharashtra (1,546 cases) and Uttar Pradesh (1,381 cases). These three states together accounted for 40.8% of the total child rape cases reported in the country.
But as usual Hindus won’t admit evils which exists in their society or religion and rather puts the blame on Muslims. Hindus says that child marriage were introduced in India by the Muslim invaders. But this claim is refuted by their own scholar Swami Vivekananda who acknowledged that Hinduism permits paedophilia,
“…A girl of eight is married to a man of thirty, and the parents are jubilant over it…. And if anyone protests against it, the plea is put forward, “Our religion is being overturned.” What sort of religion have they who want to see their girls becoming mothers before they attain puberty even and offer scientific explanations for it? Many, again, lay the blame at the door of the Mohammedans. They are to blame, indeed! Just read the Grihya-Sutras through and see what is given as the marriageable age of a girl. … There it is expressly stated that a girl must be married before attaining puberty. The entire Grihya-Sutras enjoin this…” The Complete Works of Swami Vivekananda, Volume 6/Epistles – Second Series/LXXI Rakhal [ https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/The_Complete_Works_of_Swami_Vivekananda/Volume_6/Epistles_-_Second_Series/LXXI_Rakhal ]
So now Hindus can’t deny that paedophilia is sanctioned by Hinduism and started because of Hinduism. Swami Prabhupada the founder of ISKCON wrote,
Swami Prabhupada writes,
”…As soon as a woman attains the age of puberty, she immediately becomes very much agitated by sexual desire. It is therefore the duty of the father to get his daughter married before she attains puberty…” A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada on Srimad Bhagavatam 4.25.42 [ http://vanisource.org/wiki/SB_4.25.42 ]
Another Hindu scholar Sadhguru hints at child marriage,
“It’s a tragic situation. We should realise that we are a society in transition. There was a time when girls would be married at 15. Now they are not married till 25 and 30. So this is the peak of their hormones. In our mindset we are in the past, but in our physical situation, we are in the present. What is causing these rapes? Humans have their needs. If you keep them suppressed, they will do something violent. We need to address this on a much larger scale – hanging rapists or putting them behind bars, that is not the solution. Yes, it needs to be done when it happens. But more importantly as a society, we need to understand why.” http://www.newindianexpress.com/education/edex/Seven-minutes-with-the-Sadhguru/2016/06/13/article3475994.ece
Brahma Purana states that a girl should be given in marriage when she is only four years old,
Brahma Purana: Gautami Mahatmya 95.7 ”After the fourth year and before the completion of the tenth year the marriage of his daughter must be performed scrupulously by the father.” Tr. Board of Scholars, Edited by J.L. Shastri
Rama married six years old Sita
As per Valmiki Ramayana, Rama is said to have married Sita when she was 6 years old,
Valmiki Ramayana, Aranya Kanda 3, Sarga 47, Verses 3-5 “I am the daughter of noble-souled Janaka, the king of Mithila, by name I am Seetha, and the dear wife and queen of Rama, let safety betide you. On residing in the residence of Ikshvaku-s in Ayodhya for twelve years, I was in sumptuosity of all cherishes while relishing all humanly prosperities. In the thirteenth year the lordly king Dasharatha deliberated together with his imperial ministers to anoint Rama as Crown Prince of Ayodhya. When Raghava’s anointment was being organised my venerable mother-in-law known as Kaikeyi begged her husband Dasharatha for a boon. Restraining my veracious father-in-law by a good deed once done by her in his respect, Kaikeyi besought two boons from him, namely expatriation of my husband, and anointment of her son Bharata. ‘If Rama is anointed now, come what may I will not eat, sleep, or drink, and my life ends this way,’ thus Kaikeyi was adamantine, and the king and my father-in-law entreated her who is nagging with meaningful riches, but she did not make good on that entreaty. My great-resplendent husband was of twenty-five years of age at that time, and to me eighteen years are reckoned up from my birth.” Tr. Sri Desiraju Hanumantha Rao
If we do little maths here we understand that Sita was 18 years old when she went into exile with her husband and before the exile she had spent 12 years with her husband in the house of King Dashratha, so if we deduct the age of Sita at the time of exile (18 years of age) and number years she spent in the house of King Dasharath (i.e., 12 years) we get,
18-12= 6 years old
Sita after marrying at 6, lived in the palace of King Dashrath for 12 years. When she was sent to exile with her husband, she was 18 years old. The age difference between Rama and Sita was 7 years. Skanda Purana clearly states that Sita was married when she was only six years old,
Skanda Purana Book, III, Section 2, Chapter 30, Verses 8-9 “The bow of Isvara that was kept in the abode of Janaka, was broken. In his fifteenth year, O king, Rama married the six year old beautiful daughter of the king of Mithila, Sita who was not born of a womb. On getting Sita, Raghava became contented and happy.” Tr. Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare
Hindu scholars Ramswaroop Acharya Maharaj and Pandit Mahendra Pal Arya says Sita was married to Ram when she was 6 years old.
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Krishna married eight years old Rukmini and many prepubescent girls
As per Puranas, Krishna is said to have married prepubescent Rukmini when she was only eight years old. Although Hindu text doesn’t mention the age of Krishna at the time of his marriage with Rukmini but the way Hindu text describes him shows that he was an adult at the time of his marriage with prepubescent Rukmini. And other Puranas also shows his sexual intercourse after marriage which is enough to prove that he was a fully grown man.
As per Skanda Purana when Rukmini was born an ethereal voice told her father Bhishmaka that she should be given in marriage to four-armed one born on earth. When Rukmini reached the age of eight her father became worried about her marriage and about the ethereal voice that commanded him to give his daughter in marriage to four-armed one. Then in the meantime Damaghosa visited him and told him that his son Shishupala is considered four-armed one, then the marriage was fixed but Krishna carried away Rukmini and Rukmini had also fell in love with Krishna on first sight, But while Krishna was carrying Rukmini in chariot, Rukmini’s brother Rukmi stopped Krishna and they both fought each other resulting in Rukmi’s defeat. Krishna was about to kill Rukmi but Rukmini begged to forgive her brother and Krishna forgave him, Krishna tonsured Rukmi as per Bhagvad Purana. Then Krishna called all Brahmins born to sages and marriage ceremony took place. This is the summary of the Skanda Purana story, it’s little bit different than the story mentioned in Srimad Bhagavatam where Swayamvar was arranged and it was attended by many kings, But Srimad Bhagavatm doesn’t mention the age of either Rukmini or Krishna but it does say that Rukmini had not attained puberty at the time of her marriage with Krishna. It’s mentioned in Skanda Purana,
Skanda Purana Book V, Section iii, Chapter 142, Verses 8-79 “…The second child born was a daughter named Rukmini. At that time an unembodied ethereal voice told him, ‘O Bhismaka, this girl should be given to a Four-armed One (born) on this earth.’… As time passed on she became a girl of eight years. The king recollected the words of the embodied being and became worried. ‘To whom shall I give this daughter? Who will be the four-armed one?’… In the meantime Damaghosa, the chieftain of Cedi came there from the excellent mountain Raivata. He entered the royal palace where King Bhismaka was present. On seeing him arrived in the abode, the king duly adored him. He was taken to the Royal Court and given a proper seat. ‘This day has dawned meritoriously. I was eager to see you. O great king, my daughter has come to the age of eight years. The ethereal voice of an unembodied being has told that she should be given to a Four-armed one.’ On hearing the words of Bhismaka, Damaghosa said thus: ‘My son is well known in all the three worlds as Four-armed One (Caturbhuja). O Bhismaka, let this girl be given to Sisupala.’ On hearing the words of Damaghosa, O king, Rumini was betrothed to Sisupala by Bhismaka. The auspicious ceremonial beginning was made by Bhismaka, O Yudhisthira. All the kinsmen and members of the family who were staying far-off countries in every direction, were invited and they duly arrived…At the time of dusk, Rukmini, the bride of seductive charms, went out of the city accomplished by her female companions for the worship of Ambika. There she saw Hari, the Lord of Devas, in the guise of a cowherd. On seeing him, she was excited by the god of Love and became completely fascinated. On seeing her, Kesava said to Sankarsana, ‘On dear brother in my view the excellent jewel of a girl should be taken away.’ On hearing the words of Kesava, Sankarsana said: ‘Go ahead, O Krsna, O mighty one. Let the jewel of a girl be seized quickly. I shall follow you closely behind causing much havoc unto all these demons. On getting the consent of Sankarsana, Kesava, the slayer of Kesin, seized the girl, immediately put her on the chariot and went off…Rukma said: O Lord Kesava, unlucky and sinful that I am, I had hit your chest with arrows. It behoves you to forgive me. Formerly Janaki was given over to you by Janaka himself. Now, O lord of Devas, Rukmini is offered unto you by me. Marry her duly in accordance with the injunctions…When Rukma went back Krsna invited excellent Brahmanas. They were the seven mental sons of Brahma…In this manner the Slayer of Madhu honoured them duly and perfectly and then grasped the hand of Rukmini in marriage.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
So this proves that Krishna married Rukmini when she was only eight years old. Srimad Bhagavatam the most authentic Purana of Krishna devotees explicitly states that she had not attained puberty,
Srimad Bhagavatam Canto 10, Chapter 53, Verse 51 “Beholding that charming princess Rukmini gifted with a beautiful waist, a countenance adorned with Kundalas, not attaining the age of puberty, with a golden mekhala beautifying her waist, with rising signs of womanhood, with moving eyes as if in fear…” Tr. J.M. Sanyal
Srimad Bhagavatam 10.53.51 “Smitten with love kindled (in their breast) by her, the illustrious warriors assembled (there) felt bewildered to behold the princess, who was possessed of a shapely (slender) waist and had not yet attained puberty, and who had a girdle of jewels thrown about her hips and in whom signs of womanhood were (just) manifesting themselves…” Tr. Gita press Publications
A Hindu scholar named Swami Venkatesananda wrote,
“After the wordhip Rukmini took part of the offerings she had made to the goddess, as a token of the goddess’s blessings. She then left the temple and was talking towards the waiting chariot. Rukmini, who was of exquisite beauty though she had not yet attained puberty, looked for Krsna among the assembled princes. These princes, who had been robbed of their senses by her great charm, had for the moment been paralysed, and stood gaping. As she was about to mount her chariot, Krsna sprang forward, grasped her hand and helped her to his own vehicle, while the princes still stood looking on helplessly. However, as Krsna’s vehicle moved towards Dvaraka, the princes, headed by Jarasandha, began to say to one another: ‘What a disgrace: while we great warriors were watching, the cowherds snatched away a princess!” The Concise Srimad Bhagavatam, By Swami Venkatesananda, page 292, Publisher SUNY Press, 1989
Other Puranic verses shows that she was engaged in child like sports,
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda 105.1-10 “…The monarch Bhismaka observed his beautiful daughter engaged in child-like sports and increasing in splendour day by day like a digit of the moon in the midst of clouds. Considering it advisable to marry his youthful and lovely daughter…” Rajendra Nath Sen
So all these references proves that Rukmini was a prepubescent girl of eight years old. If anyone wants to refute this claim of mine then they should furnish reference clearly showing the age of Rukmini, other tricks of twisting facts will not be accepted.
Another thing is that, Krishna is said to have married 16100 princesses after liberating them from a demon named Narakasur. Hindu scriptures says that Krishna died in old age.
Vishnu Purana 5.37.15-20 states that Krishna lived over a hundred years, some Hindu scholars says that he lived up to 120 or 125. Now please read it carefully, Devi Bhagavatam 2.28.1-23; Padma Purana 1.23.91-121 and Padma Purana 1.23.74b-87a states that Krishna’s 16100 wives were abducted by bandits or fishermen and they were made prostitutes after the death of Krishna, refer my article How Krishna Died & What Happened To His Wives?
Now the question is, why would anyone abduct old women for carnal purpose? There must have been many really young and beautiful girls in the city Dvaraka so why they were not abducted and instead Krishna’s wives were abducted? Obviously only young women would be abducted by perverts so Krishna’s 16100 must have been quite young when they were abducted or let’s assume that they were 30 years old when 100+ years old Krishna died. So let’s assume that Krishna had married them some 10 or 20 years before his death then that means those girls were 10 or 20 years old or perhaps less than 10 when 90+ year old Krishna married them, now such coincidence is impossible that all of 16100 princesses were of the same age there must have been a huge age gap between those princesses, some may have been under 10 when Krishna in his old age married them. So does that mean Krishna in old age married extremely youthful girls?
Shiva’s marriage with Parvati
Unlike the case of Ram and Krishna where age of brides is clearly mentioned, the case of Shiva’s is little complicated. Hindu texts does say that gods and sages fixed the marriage of Parvati with Shiva when Parvati was only eight years old. But doesn’t state her age at the time of her marriage. As per Puranas, When Sati the first wife of Shiva immolated herself, Shiva promised that he would not wed any other lady. But Sati reincarnated on earth as Parvati the daughter of king Himavat. The story has different versions in Skanda Purana, Shiva Purana and Vamana Purana. I shall mention them all. Stories in Shiva and Skanda Puranas are quite same. First I shall discuss the story mentioned in Shiva and Skanda Purana, I will try to make it as short as possible. Himavat along with Parvati went to Shiva and paid obeisance, while Shiva was meditating. Himavat asked Shiva that his daughter along with maids would serve him but Shiva refused. Sages had told Himavat that Parvati’s husband would be Shiva so Parvati started performing penance to gain Shiva as her husband. The duration of her penance is not mentioned, it could last for few months, a year or say for four years. But that doesn’t make any difference to a eight years old girl. Following verses are about when Parvati had not yet started her penance,
Shiva Purana, Rudra Samhita, ParvatiKhanda, section III.8.51- “On hearing the story from Narada, Parvati bent down her head in bashfulness but her smile heightened the beauty of her face. On hearing the story, the lord of mountains stroked her fondly, kissed her on the head and placed her on his seat.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Placing a girl on seat is possible only if she is a child although previous verses clearly says that she was eight years old, it’s not possible to place on seat a full grown girl. Verses of Skanda and Shiva Purana shows that Parvati was only eight before she went to Shiva abode and later started performing her penance,
Skanda Purana I.i.20.1 “Lomasa said: The chaste girl grew up day by day and shone very much. Living in the house of Himalaya, she reached the age of eight years.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Shiva Purana, Rudrasamhita, Parvatikhanda, section III.11.1-2 “Brahma said:- O Narada, the daughter of the mountain, honoured in the three worlds, was brought up in the palace of Himacala. When she was eight years old, Siva distressed by Sati’s separation came to know of her birth. Keeping her wonderful memory within his heart He rejoiced much.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
Shiva Purana, Rudrasamhita, Parvatikhanda, section III.8.4-13 “Himavat said:- O sage Narada…Please read the horoscope of my daughter and tell me about her good and bad fortune. Whose beloved wife will my fortunate daughter be? Narada said: ‘O Mena, O king of mountains, this daughter of yours has all auspicious signs…There is an abnormal line also. Listen to the indication thereof. Her husband will be a naked Yogin, without any qualities. He will be free from lust. He will have neither mother nor father. He will be indifferent to honours. His dress and manners will be inauspicious…O sage, on hearing your words, and inferring that indications reffered to Siva, Parvati’s joy knew no bounds.” Tr. J.L. Shastri
When Shiva was pleased with Parvati’s penance he sent seven sages to Himavat to ask Parvati’s hand in marriage,
Skanda Purana I.i.23.3-9 “Why have all of you come? Tell me the reason for your visit. Then the Seven Sages said: ‘We have been sent by Mahesa. We have come to you in order to see the girl. O Mountain, understand us. Show us your daughter immediately.’ Saying ‘So be it’ to the group of Sages, Parvati was brought there. Himavan, the lord of Mountains, who loved his children, placed Parvati in his lap and said laughingly. ‘This is my daughter indeed. But listen to my words again. Siva is the most excellent one among ascetics. The destroyer of Madana is devoid of attachment. How does he by whom Smara (Madana) has been made Ananga (bodiless), seek a marriage alliance? Offering the daughter in marriage to the following persons is not recommended: one who is very near (i.e. closely related), one who is very far off, one who is extremely rich one, one who is devoid of wealth, one who is unemployed and a foolish fellow. One shall not offer one’s daughter in marriage to a stupid person, to a person who is devoid of attachment, to a self-esteeming person, to a sick man and to a madcap. Hence, O excellent…” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Ganesh Vasudeo Tagare writes on verse 5: “Evidence of child-marriage at the time of our text. Parvati who performed penance for a long time, must have been too old to sit in the lap of her father.”
This is a very important point. Parvati along with her father went to Shiva’s abode when she was eight years old, the duration of her penance is not mentioned so let’s assume that she performed penance for a year or let’s say for four years. Considering that her father placed her in his lap even after the penance so she must be very young girl at the time. Another point is that, When Narada and gods approached him and told him that his daughter would marry Shiva he was somehow convinced to give his eight years old daughter to Shiva without thinking about the age difference.
Now let’s have a look at Vamana Purana version about the marriage of Shiva and Parvati.
Vamana Purana 25.1 “Pulastya said Three daughters endowed with beauty and merit were born to Mena and a son named Sunabha was born as the fourth. [5-7] O sage, six years after their birth, the three daughters born to her, went out to perform penance, Gods saw those handsome girls. The austere Kutila who was as beautiful as the rays of the Moon was then taken to the heaven of Brahman by the Adityas and the Vasus. Then the gods said, ‘O Brahman, please tell us whether she will give birth to a son who will slay Mahisa.” Tr. Anand Swarup Gupta
Vamana Purana 25.8-27 “The great god Brahman said, ‘This austere girl is not capable of holding the semen of Sankara. Leave this poor girl.’ But then O Narada, the enraged Kutila said to Brahmana, ‘O Lord, I shall so endeavour that I hold the semen of Sankara which is very difficult to be born…She too who was called Ragavati, was brought to heaven by the gods. Offering her to Brahman, Prajapati spoke to her in the same manner. Losing her temper, she too said, ‘Truly I shall undergo penance in such a manner that the slayer of Mahisa will become associated with my name. ‘Then the austere Mena knowing, as she did, that the two daughters had already left her, prevented her third daughter from taking to penance. And she exclaimed ‘Uma (O do not practice penance).’ Her mother the brillaint daughter of the Pitrs gave her daughter the name Uma. She then went to the forest…Then Brahman said, ‘She is undoubtedly the consort of Sankara, by whose lustre indeed you have been distracted and have become lustreless…” Tr. Anand Swarup Gupta
So the gods tried to marry 6 years old girl to Shiva. Swami Parmeshwaranand explains it as,
“Three daughters named Kutila, Ragini and Parvati and a son named Sunabha were born to Himavan by his wife Mena. The three daughters went to the Himalayas for penance, to get Siva as husband. They were not even six years old then. The Devas saw them. The Adityas and the Vasus took Kutila who was doing penance, to the world of the gods. All the gods gathered together and asked Brahma. “Oh Lord, be pleased to tell us if this girl will be able to hear a son who could kill Mahisasura”. Brahma replied. “This poor girl will not be capable of bearing the radiance of Siva. So let her go away.” Kutila got angry at Brahma and said “Lord, I will try to become fit to bear the unbearable radiance of Siva. Harken, I will do penance properly and please Visnu and make Siva bow his head. I take a vow to that effect.” Brahma became angry and told Kutila, “You, wicked Kutila, you did not succumb to my words. So by my curse you will be turned to water.” Kutila having been cursed by Brahma became water and began to flood the world of Brahma. Seeing the flow of water, Brahma made cause-ways on four sides with the Vedas of Rg, Yajus, Sama and Atharva. Thus being tied up she stays in the world of Brahma. The Devas took Ragini also before Brahma and put the same question. The reply of Brahma was the same as before. She also got angry and said to Brahma. “I will do great penance so as to enable to give birth to one in my family to be the killer of Mahisasura.” Brahma cursed her also. “You are deliberately disobeying my words which even Devas won’t gainsay. So you will become the colours of the twilight.” Thus, she became the fast colours of the twilight, and her body was divided among the Pleiades. (Vamana Purana, Chapter 51).” Encyclopaedic Dictionary of Puranas, Volume 1, p.237, by Swami Parmeshwaranand, Published by Sarup & Sons, 01-Jan-2001
Hindu scriptures promoting paedophilia
Manu Smriti 9.94 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.
Manu Smriti 9.88 To a distinguished, handsome suitor (of) equal (caste) should (a father) give his daughter in accordance with the prescribed rule, though she have not attained (the proper age).
Parasara Smriti 7.5-6 When the twelfth year is reached by the female child, if the guardian does not give her away in marriage, her fore-fathers drink, without interruption, during each succeeding month, whatever blood is passed in her courses. The mother, and the father, and likewise the eldest brother, all these three relatives will go to hell, if before menstruation they neglect to marry the girl.
Swami Prabhupada said, “All my sisters were married within twelve years. My second sister, she became twelve years, and I heard my mother become so disturbed: “Oh, this girl is not being married. I shall commit suicide…And she was given to a boy, my brother-in-law, for the second marriage. Means that my brother-in-law lost his first wife, and still, he was twenty-one years old. My sister was twelve years old and brother-in-law was twenty-one. In the sastra… I do not know exactly what is that sastra, but they say that if the girl before marriage has menstruation, then the father has to eat that menstrual liquid. Means it is, mean, very strict. And if the father is not living, then the elder brother has to eat. (break) …ty of getting the girl married rests on the father. In the absence of the father, the eldest brother. The girl must be married. That is it. It is called daya, kanya-daya.”
Yama Samhita verse 22 “The father, who does give away [in marriage] his maiden-daughter after she has attained the twelfth year, drinks her menstrual blood, month after month.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Padma Prana VI.118.2-15 “…A man should marry his daughter as long as she has not attained puberty. Wise men recommend a girl’s marriage when she is eight years old…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Krishna Janma Khanda 76.43-52 “…Whoever having decorated his virgin daughter aged eight years with apparel reverentially makes a gift of her to a good Brahmin, reaps the benefits of the gift of Durga.” Tr. Rajendra Nath Sen
Samvarta Samhita verses 66-68 “[A maiden] eight years [old] becomes Gouri; one of nine years a Rohini; and of ten years, a Kanya (maiden); and after that, a Rajasvala (a woman in menses). By seeing a maiden in menses, her mother, father and eldest brother these three go to hell. Therefore one should espouse a maiden before she has menstruated; the marriage of an eight years old maiden is most preferrable.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Vishnu Smriti 24.41. A damsel whose menses begin to appear (while she is living) at her father’s house, before she has been betrothed to a man, has to be considered as a degraded woman: by taking her (without the consent of her kinsmen) a man commits no wrong.
Gautama Dharmashastra 18.21 A girl should be given in marriage before (she attains the age of) puberty.
Baudhayana Dharmashastra, Prasna 4, Adhyaya 1.11 Let him give his daughter, while she still goes naked, to a man who has not broken the vow of chastity and who possesses good qualities, or even to one destitute of good qualities; let him not keep (the maiden) in (his house) after she has reached the age of puberty”
Vasishtha Dharmashastra 17.70 ‘Out of fear of the appearance of the menses let the father marry his daughter while she still runs about naked. For if she stays (in the house) after the age of puberty, sin falls on the father”
Mahabharata13.44.13 “A person of thirty years of age should wed a girl of ten years of age called a Nagnika. Or, a person of one and twenty years of age should wed a girl of seven years of age.” Tr. K.M. Ganguli
Vishnu Purana 3.10.16 “If he marry, he must select a maiden who is of a third of his age.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
Padma Purana II.85.62-66a ”…Wise men get married their unmarried daughter(s). As long as she does not menstruate (i.e. does not attain puberty)…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Padma Purana II.47.47-65 “…The father should keep his daughter in his house till she becomes eight years old. He should not keep a strong (i.e. grown up) one. Both the parents get the (fruit of the) sin which a daughter, living in her father’s house, commits…” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
Garuda Purana chapter 95 “…”The relations of a girl incur the sin of wilfully creating a miscarriage, or of killing a foetus in the even of their failing to give her away in marriage before she has commenced to menstruate. A girl is liberty to make her own choice, and to be united with a husband, in the absence of any such relation to give her away in marriage…” Tr. M.N. Dutt
Brahmanda Purana 184.108.40.206 “Many sons should be sought so that at least one would go to Gaya, one shall marry a girl of the Gauri type (i.e. of eight years or one who is a virgin) or one shall discharge a Nala (? lean like a red) bull.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Vayu Purana 21.12 “…It is better to wish for many sons. At least one of them will go to Gaya or marry a girl eight years old or discharge a blue ox (free to wander).’  Brhaspati said: A son begot after marrying after marrying a girl of eight years sanctifies twentyone generations. Moreover, he sanctifies six generations in the family of his maternal uncle. This is remembered as the benefit (of such marriage).” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Kisari Mohan Ganguli writes,
“Vrishalipati literally means the husband of a Sudra woman. By actually marrying a woman of the lowest order, by marrying before the elder brother, by marrying a girl that has attained to puberty, and by certain other acts, a Brahmana comes to be regarded as a Vrishalipati.” On Mahabharata 13.126 www.sacred-texts.com/hin/m13/m13b091.htm
Vyasa Samhita 2.2-4 “…of auspicious signs, clad in silken garments, and not above eight years of age, and whose paternal ancestors to the tenth degree in the ascending line were all men of renown, should be solemnly wedded by a (twice-born) according to religious rites, if preferred in marriage.  The sin incidental to (an act of) procuring abortion (lie: destruction of the foetus) is committed, if through the negligence of her giver a girl menstruates before her marriage. He, who does not give away a daughter in marriage before she attains puberty, becomes degraded.” Tr. Manmatha Nath Dutt
Skanda Purana VII.I.205.80-86 “If a girl, before being consecrated by marriage rites, has her menses in the house of her father, her Pitrs become fallen and that girl is called Vrsali. If a Brahmana knowingly marries that girl, they say, he is not fit for a Sraddha. He cannot be in the same row as others. He is a Vrsalipati. Gauri virgin is the best and most important. Rohini is considered as Madhyama (middling). Rajasvala should be known as the bases though equal to her (Rohini) image. When there is no menstrual flow, she is Gauri. When there is the flow she is Rohini. If the girlhood has not fully developed she is Kanya. One without breasts is Nagnika. A seven year old girl is Gauri; nine year old is Nagnika. Ten year old shall be Kanya; above that she is Rajasvala. Through breasts she spoils the family of her father and through menstrual flow, she spoils the desirable goal (salvation) and pleasures of the other worlds of her father. He who marries one with menstrual flow should be known as Vrsalipati.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Devi Bhagavatam 9.41.26-47 “The World-Mother never stays even for a moment in his house who eats at the house of one who marries an unmarried girl twelve years old in whom menstruation has commenced…” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Above two verses considers the man sinful who marries a girl who started her menstruation in her father’s house which means a person should marry a girl who has not yet started her menstrual period.
Proof that girls as young as 10 were married off
Devi Bhagavatam 3.27.40 “My daughter has come to a marriageable age; I have no money. Her age has exceeded ten years; the marriageable age limit has been exceeded. Alas! What am I to do?” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Radha the concubine and aunt of Krishna was married to Rayana at the age of 12,
Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Prakriti Khanda, Chapter 49, Verses 36-40 “In the Varaha-kalpa, Radhika was born in the village of Gokula in the family of a Vaisya cowherd. She was born without any human contact…After the expiry of twelve years, finding her becoming youthful, she was married to a trader named Rayana…” Tr. Shanti Lal Nagar, edited by Acharya Ramesh Chaturvedi
Devi Bhagavatam 5.17.3-26 “The King Chandrasena, the father, was very pleased to have this beautiful daughter and gladly called her by the name of Mandodarî. This daughter began to grow daily like the phases of the Moon. When she grew ten years old, she became very handsome. The King now became anxious to have a suitable bridegroom and used to think of it everyday. The Brâhmins then told the king that there was a prince named Kambugrîva, the intelligent son of the powerful king Sudhanvâ of Madra” Tr. Swami Vijnananda
Skanda Purana III.iii.18.4-6 “When she was aged twelve years, the girl had beauty of form and all good features. A Brahmana named Padmanabha whose wife had passed away, requested for the haand of the girl. The Brahmana had plenty of wealth. He was calm and qui. He was a permanent companion of the king. So the father of the girl did not dare to refuse. He gave the daughter to him. The marriage was celebrated at midday…” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Skanda Purana VII.I.166.17-20 “…You are to behave in a manner that will give no cause to the Devas to despise me. My dear daughter, I have heard this cited in sacred scriptures. ‘If without being consecrated (in marriage) a girl discharges her menses in her father’s house the father earns the sin of Brahmana-slaying and the girl is known as a Vrsali (Sudra). Therefore, I am sending you off in the company of aged ministers. Hurry up. Choose your own husband and decide.” Tr. G.V. Tagare
Some Hindus have attempted to refute the above points with futile arguments, so here’s a response to those apologists. I have quoted dozens of verses, several apologists have attempted to refute only 20-30% of the article which means a large part of the article is irrefutable.
Apologists’ explanation: According to Rig Veda 10.85.40-41 and Padma Purana V.118.2-15 a girl should be given in marriage only after she attains puberty.
Response: The verse actually states the stages of development of a girl, it doesn’t talk about marrying off daughter only after she attains puberty, in the Atharved it’s a prayer made by a man thanking gods for bestowing riches and sons. A girl can conceive a child only after she attains puberty and that’s what it’s stating here. The apologist has quoted Padma Purana verse out of context (to buttress his RigVed claim) otherwise the verse itself would have refuted the explanation of the apologist, here are the next lines of the verse,
Padma Purana V.118.2-15 “When small hair appears (on the private parts), Soma enjoys a daughter. When she attains puberty, gandharvas (enjoy her); and when breasts appear (prominent), Fire (enjoys her). A man should marry his daughter as long as she has not attained puberty. Wise men recommend a girl’s marriage when she is eight years old. She should be duly given to a brahmana who is well-versed in sacred learning, possesses moral virtue, has actually studied Vedas, and has observed celibacy. This is said to be the rule regarding a daughter to be given (in marriage).” Tr. N.A. Deshpande
What is alluded here is that a girl should be given in marriage before she is enjoyed by gods i.e. before she attains puberty, these are Hindu god Shiva’s words. Rigved verses 36-38 indicates that the bride was already married and then she started becoming mature.
Apologists’ explanation: The translation of Valmiki Ramayana about the age of Sita is wrong, here’s the correct translation, “She had been in Ikshwaku dynasty of King Dashratha for two years and got all the materialistic pleasure available for human kind. Thereafter, in the third year, the king and lord Dasaratha consulted other kings and ministers to consecrate Rama.” The word Dash here doesn’t mean 10 but mentions Dasharath, so Sita’s age at the time of her marriage was 18-2=16 not 6.
Response: The Sanskrit words mentioned in these verses are so simple that even those fluent in Hindi language can define those words. I am quoting the Sanskrit verses,
उषित्वा द्वा दश समाः इक्ष्वाकूणाम् निवेशने |
भुंजाना मानुषान् भोगान् सर्व काम समृद्धिनी ||
तत्र त्रयो दशे वर्षे राज अमंत्र्यत प्रभुः |
अभिषेचयितुम् रामम् समेतो राज मन्त्रिभिः || ३.४७.४-५
The apologist instead of explaining the verses has mischievously mistranslated his scripture. If the word Dasha here doesn’t mean Ten but rather mentions the name of Dasharath then I am eager to know how would the apologist write twelve and thirteen in Sanskrit language? The word Dva means two, Dasha means ten, Varsha means years, which is quite same for the next verse wherein the word Trayo means three. These words are so simple that I don’t find the necessity to quote any lexicon here. In Shiva Purana, Section 1 Vidyesvara Samhita, Chapter 15, verses 42-45 the same word Dva-Dash is mentioned which is translated by all scholars as Twelve. Apologists are conveniently ignoring Skanda Purana Book III, Section 2, Chapter 30, Verses 8-9 which leaves no doubt regarding the age of Sita at the time of her marriage, it explicitly mentions that Sita was 6 years old at the time of her marriage. To convince the apologist, let me quote another verse from Valmiki Ramayana about the age of Sita at the time she was wedded to Rama,
Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kanda 5, Chapter 33, Verses 13-14 “I stayed in Rama’s house there for twelve years, enjoying the worldly pleasures belonging to human kind and fulfilling all my desires. Thereafter, in the thirteenth year, King Dasaratha along with his preceptors started to perform anointment of the kingdom to Rama, a celebrity of Ikshvaku dynasty.” Tr. Desiraju Hanumantha Rao
After calculating the years mentioned here we get the same number that Sita was 6 years old.
Apologists’ Claim: Srimad Bhagavatam 10.53.51 is a mistranslation, the verse nowhere states that Rukmini had not attained puberty at the time of her marriage with Krishna. There’s no word for puberty here.
Response: The Sanskrit words mentioned in this verse are Stanim (breasts) and Vyanjat (budding) which means her breasts had started budding, these words are used as idioms to state that Rukmini had not yet attained puberty, because the breasts of a girl doesn’t start budding when she is a sixteen years old girl (as apologists claim), by the time a girl reaches the age of 16 she becomes an adult. Almost all translators have translated the same.
Apologists’ Claim: Skanda Purana Book V, Section iii, Chapter 142, Verses 8-79 cannot be used to show that Rukmini was 8 years old because the Sanskrit words mentioned here are Adashta Varsha in which the word Ada is ambiguous so it may mean anything like she has become twice the age.
Response: Even the apologist himself is confused, or maybe he is deliberately twisting words in order to cause confusion in the minds of readers. The apologist instead of buttressing his claim with lexicons or texts is rather making assumptions. The Sanskrit words mentioned here are quite clear, words Ashta Varsha means 8 years. This claim of mine about 8 years old Rukmini been wedded to Krishna as per Skanda Purana remains uncontested. Here too I don’t find the necessity to quote lexicons to refute the pathetic claim of the apologist.
Apologists’ explanation: As per Harivamsa Purana Visnuparva 2.59.37 Rukmini was sixteen years old when she was married to Krishna.
Response: To my knowledge, there are no Sanskrit words in this verse that can be translated as ‘sixteen years old’, though the text describes Rukmini as an adult. Apologist can quote the Sanskrit words which translates as 16 years old.
Apologists also quotes a verse from Brahmavaivarta Purana where Rukmini is described as of having attained puberty. But does that negate Skanda Purana and Bhagavad Purana verses? Does that nullify or refute verses from Skanda and Bhagavad Purana? No, rather they are to be taken as different versions.
Apologists’ explanation: The gods and sages didn’t attempt to marry off 6 years old Parvati to Shiva, the reference of Vamana Purana given is wrong.
Response: This story is mentioned in Vamana Purana, Saromahatmya chapter 25, verses 1-27, following is the screenshot from the scripture,
My emphasis was not on when Parvati was married to Shiva as Hindu scriptures don’t mention the age of Parvati at the time of her marriage. The Hindu gods had already made up that 6 year old Parvati would be able to hold Shiva’s semen i.e., she would be able to conceive the child of Shiva.
Apologists’ explanation: Manu Smriti 9.94; Mahabharata 13.44.13 A man, aged thirty years, shall marry a maiden of ten or twelve. These verses merely tells the man to simply marry a girl younger than him, these shouldn’t be taken literally.
Response: Apologists are playing with words to distort their Hindu texts. It’s not a commandment that a man should marry only when he is 30 years old or that a girl should be given in marriage only when she is 10 or 12 years old, and this is what Acharya Medhatithi is also alluding to. A man can marry at the age of 25 given that the girl is very much younger than him, this is already mentioned in Vishnu Purana,
Vishnu Purana 3.10.16 “If he marry, he must select a maiden who is of a third of his age.” Tr. H.H. Wilson
So a 40 year old man should wed a girl who is around 13 years old, if a man is 20 years old then he must marry a girl who is one third of his age that is he must marry a 6 or 7 years old girl and this is exactly what Mahabharata and Manu Smriti states. The apologists are deliberately ignoring the age gap mentioned in Mahabharata and Manu Smriti that a 30 years old adult man should wed a prepubescent girl of 10-12 years who is one third of his age.
Apologists’ explanation: Vishnu Smriti 24.41 makes it clear that only those girls are considered degraded who haven’t given in marriage before they started menstruating, it doesn’t say keeping a married daughter who started menstruating in father’s home is degraded. It is because a girl has to stay in father’s home after her marriage till she completes her third year after she started menstruating, as we seen earlier.
Response: The author himself seems to be confused, he has acknowledged that “only those girls are considered degraded who haven’t given in marriage before they started menstruating”. As the apologist has admitted it, I don’t find the reason to explain it.