Dowry

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Srimad-Bhagavatam

SB Canto 1

SB 1.11.16-17, Purport:

Akrūra: The commander in chief of the Vṛṣṇi dynasty and a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa. Akrūra attained success in devotional service to the Lord by the one single process of offering prayers. He was the husband of Sūtanī, daughter of Ahūka. He supported Arjuna when Arjuna took Subhadrā forcibly away by the will of Kṛṣṇa. Both Kṛṣṇa and Akrūra went to see Arjuna after his successful kidnapping of Subhadrā. Both of them presented dowries to Arjuna after this incidence. Akrūra was present also when Abhimanyu, the son of Subhadrā, was married with Uttarā, mother of Mahārāja Parīkṣit. Ahūka, the father-in-law of Akrūra, was not on good terms with Akrūra. But both of them were devotees of the Lord.

SB 1.13.3-4, Purport:

Draupadī: The most chaste daughter of Mahārāja Drupada and partly an incarnation of goddess Śacī, the wife of Indra. Mahārāja Drupada performed a great sacrifice under the superintendence of the sage Yaja. By his first offering, Dhṛṣṭadyumna was born, and by the second offering, Draupadī was born. She is therefore the sister of Dhṛṣṭadyumna, and she is also named Pāñcālī. The five Pāṇḍavas married her as a common wife, and each of them begot a son in her. Mahārāja Yudhiṣṭhira begot a son named Pratibhit, Bhīmasena begot a son named Sutasoma, Arjuna begot Śrutakīrti, Nakula begot Śatānīka, and Sahadeva begot Śrutakarmā. She is described as a most beautiful lady, equal to her mother-in-law, Kuntī. During her birth there was an aeromessage that she should be called Kṛṣṇā. The same message also declared that she was born to kill many a kṣatriya. By dint of her blessings from Śaṅkara, she was awarded five husbands, equally qualified. When she preferred to select her own husband, princes and kings were invited from all the countries of the world. She was married with the Pāṇḍavas during their exile in the forest, but when they went back home Mahārāja Drupada gave them immense wealth as a dowry. She was well received by all the daughters-in-law of Dhṛtarāṣṭra. When she was lost in a gambling game, she was forcibly dragged into the assembly hall, and an attempt was made by Duḥśāsana to see her naked beauty, even though there were elderly persons like Bhīṣma and Droṇa present. She was a great devotee of Lord Kṛṣṇa, and by her praying, the Lord Himself became an unlimited garment to save her from the insult.

SB Canto 3

SB 3.22.15, Purport:

There were many considerations by Kardama Muni before accepting the daughter of Svāyambhuva Manu. Most important is that Devahūti had first of all fixed her mind on marrying him. She did not choose to have any other man as her husband. That is a great consideration because female psychology dictates that when a woman offers her heart to a man for the first time, it is very difficult for her to take it back. Also, she had not married before; she was a virgin girl. All these considerations convinced Kardama Muni to accept her. Therefore he said, "Yes, I shall accept your daughter under religious regulations of marriage." There are different kinds of marriages, of which the first-class marriage is held by inviting a suitable bridegroom for the daughter and giving her in charity, well dressed and well decorated with ornaments, along with a dowry according to the means of the father. There are other kinds of marriage, such as gāndharva marriage and marriage by love, which are also accepted as marriage.

SB 3.22.16, Purport:

Kardama Muni wanted to marry Devahūti in the recognized manner of marriage prescribed in the scriptures. As stated in the Vedic scriptures, the first-class process is to call the bridegroom to the home of the bride and hand her to him in charity with a dowry of necessary ornaments, gold, furniture and other household paraphernalia. This form of marriage is prevalent among higher-class Hindus even today and is declared in the śāstras to confer great religious merit on the bride's father. To give a daughter in charity to a suitable son-in-law is considered to be one of the pious activities of a householder. There are eight forms of marriage mentioned in the scripture Manu-smṛti, but only one process of marriage, brāhma or rājasika marriage, is now current.

SB 3.22.23, Translation:

Empress Śatarūpā lovingly gave most valuable presents, suitable for the occasion, such as jewelry, clothes and household articles, in dowry to the bride and bridegroom.

SB 3.22.23, Purport:

The custom of giving one's daughter in charity with a dowry is still current in India. The gifts are given according to the position of the father of the bride. Pāribarhān mahā-dhanān means the dowry which must be awarded to the bridegroom at the time of marriage. Here mahā-dhanān means greatly valuable gifts befitting the dowry of an empress. The words bhūṣā-vāsaḥ paricchadān also appear here. Bhūṣā means "ornaments," vāsaḥ means "clothing," and paricchadān means "various household articles." All things befitting the marriage ceremony of an emperor's daughter were awarded to Kardama Muni, who was until now observing celibacy as a brahmacārī. The bride, Devahūti, was very richly dressed with ornaments and clothing.

SB 3.22.23, Purport:

In this way Kardama Muni was married with full opulence to a qualified wife and was endowed with the necessary paraphernalia for household life. In the Vedic way of marriage such a dowry is still given to the bridegroom by the father of the bride; even in poverty-stricken India there are marriages where hundreds and thousands of rupees are spent for a dowry. The dowry system is not illegal, as some have tried to prove. The dowry is a gift given to the daughter by the father to show good will, and it is compulsory. In rare cases where the father is completely unable to give a dowry, it is enjoined that he must at least give a fruit and a flower. As stated in Bhagavad-gītā, God can also be pleased even by a fruit and a flower. When there is financial inability and no question of accumulating a dowry by another means, one can give a fruit and flower for the satisfaction of the bridegroom.

SB Canto 4

SB 4.3.9, Purport:

Lord Śiva, however, is different; therefore his name is Śiva. He is not at all attracted by material enjoyment, although his wife, Satī, was the daughter of a very great leader and was given to him by the request of Brahmā. Lord Śiva was reluctant, but Satī, as a woman, the daughter of a king, wanted enjoyment. She wanted to go to her father's house, just as her other sisters might have done, and meet them and enjoy social life. Here, she specifically indicated that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her father. She did not say that she would decorate herself with the ornaments given by her husband because her husband was callous about all such matters. He did not know how to decorate his wife and take part in social life because he was always in ecstasy with thoughts of the Supreme Personality of Godhead. According to the Vedic system, a daughter is given a sufficient dowry at the time of her marriage, and therefore Sati was also given a dowry by her father, and ornaments were included. It is also the custom that the husband gives some ornaments, but here it is particularly mentioned that her husband, being materially almost nothing, could not do so; therefore she wanted to decorate herself with the ornaments given by her father.

SB Canto 9

SB 9.15 Summary:

From the womb of Urvaśī came six sons, named Āyu, Śrutāyu, Satyāyu, Raya, Jaya and Vijaya. The son of Śrutāyu was Vasumān, the son of Satyāyu was Śrutañjaya, the son of Raya was Eka, the son of Jaya was Amita, and the son of Vijaya was Bhīma. Bhīma's son was named Kāñcana, the son of Kāñcana was Hotraka, and the son of Hotraka was Jahnu, who was celebrated for having drunk all the water of the Ganges in one sip. The descendants of Jahnu, one after another, were Puru, Balāka, Ajaka and Kuśa. The sons of Kuśa were Kuśāmbu, Tanaya, Vasu and Kuśanābha. From Kuśāmbu came Gādhi, who had a daughter named Satyavatī. Satyavatī married Ṛcīka Muni after the muni contributed a substantial dowry, and from the womb of Satyavatī by Ṛcīka Muni, Jamadagni was born. The son of Jamadagni was Rāma, or Paraśurāma. When a king named Kārtavīryārjuna stole Jamadagni's desire cow, Paraśurāma, who is ascertained by learned experts to be a saktyāveśa incarnation of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, killed Kārtavīryārjuna.

SB 9.15.5-6, Translation:

King Gādhi had a daughter named Satyavatī, whom a brāhmaṇa sage named Ṛcīka requested from the King to be his wife. King Gādhi, however, regarded Ṛcīka as an unfit husband for his daughter, and therefore he told the brāhmaṇa, "My dear sir, I belong to the dynasty of Kuśa. Because we are aristocratic kṣatriyas, you have to give some dowry for my daughter. Therefore, bring at least one thousand horses, each as brilliant as moonshine and each having one black ear, whether right or left."

SB Canto 10.1 to 10.13

SB 10.1 Summary:

Chapter Fifty-six contains forty-five verses. As described in this chapter, King Satrājit, by the mercy of the sun-god, received a jewel called Syamantaka. Later, when this jewel was stolen, Satrājit unnecessarily became doubtful of Kṛṣṇa, but Kṛṣṇa, to vindicate His position, retrieved the jewel, along with the daughter of Jāmbavān. Kṛṣṇa later married Satrājit's daughter and received a full dowry. As described in Chapter Fifty-seven, which contains forty-two verses, both Balarāma and Kṛṣṇa went to Hastināpura, having heard about the fire in the shellac house of the Pāṇḍavas.

SB 10.1.31-32, Translation:

Devakī's father, King Devaka, was very much affectionate to his daughter. Therefore, while she and her husband were leaving home, he gave her a dowry of four hundred elephants nicely decorated with golden garlands. He also gave ten thousand horses, eighteen hundred chariots, and two hundred very beautiful young maidservants, fully decorated with ornaments.

SB 10.1.31-32, Purport:

The system of giving a dowry to one's daughter has existed in Vedic civilization for a very long time. Even today, following the same system, a father who has money will give his daughter an opulent dowry. A daughter would never inherit the property of her father, and therefore an affectionate father, during the marriage of his daughter, would give her as much as possible. A dowry, therefore, is never illegal according to the Vedic system. Here, of course, the gift offered as a dowry by Devaka to Devakī was not ordinary. Because Devaka was a king, he gave a dowry quite suitable to his royal position. Even an ordinary man, especially a high-class brāhmaṇa, kṣatriya or vaiśya, is supposed to give his daughter a liberal dowry. Immediately after the marriage, the daughter goes to her husband's house, and it is also a custom for the brother of the bride to accompany his sister and brother-in-law to exhibit affection for her. This system was followed by Kaṁsa.

SB Cantos 10.14 to 12 (Translations Only)

SB 10.58.50-51, Translation:

As the dowry, powerful King Nagnajit gave ten thousand cows, three thousand young maidservants wearing golden ornaments on their necks and bedecked in fine clothing, nine thousand elephants, a hundred times as many chariots as elephants, a hundred times as many horses as chariots, and a hundred times as many manservants as horses.

SB 10.58.55, Translation:

Lord Devakī-suta, the chief of the Yadus, then took His dowry and Satyā to Dvārakā and continued to live there happily.

SB 10.68.50-51, Translation:

Duryodhana, being very affectionate to his daughter, gave as her dowry 1,200 sixty-year-old elephants, 120,000 horses, 6,000 golden chariots shining like the sun, and 1,000 maidservants with jeweled lockets on their necks.

Sri Caitanya-caritamrta

CC Adi-lila

CC Adi 10.119, Purport:

Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Ṭhākura writes in his Anubhāṣya, “Śrī Mādhavācārya was the husband of Lord Nityānanda's daughter, Gaṅgādevī. He took initiation from Puruṣottama, a branch of Nityānanda Prabhu. It is said that when Nityānanda Prabhu's daughter married Mādhavācārya, the Lord gave him the village named Pāṅjinagara as a dowry. Mādhavācārya's temple is situated near the Jīrāṭ railway station on the Eastern Railway. According to the Gaura-gaṇoddeśa-dīpikā (169), Śrī Mādhavācārya was formerly the gopī named Mādhavī. Kamalākānta belonged to the branch of Śrī Advaita Prabhu. His full name was Kamalākānta Viśvāsa.”

Other Books by Srila Prabhupada

Krsna, The Supreme Personality of Godhead

Krsna Book 1:

Once upon a time, Vasudeva, the son of Śūrasena, just after marrying Devakī, was going home on his chariot with his newly wedded wife. The father of Devakī, known as Devaka, had contributed a sufficient dowry because he was very affectionate toward his daughter. He had contributed hundreds of chariots completely decorated with gold equipment. At that time, Kaṁsa, the son of Ugrasena, in order to please his sister, Devakī, had voluntarily taken the reins of the horses of Vasudeva's chariot and was driving.

Krsna Book 1:

Because the newly married girl may feel too much separation from her father's family, the brother goes with her until she reaches her father-in-law's house. The full dowry contributed by Devaka was as follows: 400 elephants fully decorated with golden garlands, 15,000 decorated horses, and 1,800 chariots. He also arranged for 200 beautiful girls to follow his daughter. The kṣatriya system of marriage, still current in India, dictates that when a kṣatriya is married, a few dozen of the bride's young girlfriends (in addition to the bride) go to the house of the king.

Krsna Book 58:

The queens of King Nagnajit were also very much pleased because their daughter Satyā got Kṛṣṇa as her husband. Since the King and queens were very much pleased on this auspicious occasion, there was a celebration all over the city in honor of the marriage. Everywhere were heard the sounds of the conchshell and kettledrum and various other vibrations of music and song. The learned brāhmaṇas showered their blessings upon the newly married couple. In jubilation, all the inhabitants of the city dressed themselves with colorful garments and ornaments. King Nagnajit was so much pleased that he gave a dowry to his daughter and son-in-law, as follows.

Krsna Book 58:

First of all he gave them 10,000 cows and 3,000 well-dressed young maidservants, ornamented up to their necks. This system of dowry is still current in India, especially for kṣatriya princes. When a kṣatriya prince is married, at least a dozen maidservants of similar age are given along with the bride. After giving the cows and maidservants, the King enriched the dowry by giving 9,000 elephants and a hundred times more chariots than elephants. This means that he gave 900,000 chariots. And he gave a hundred times more horses than chariots, or 90,000,000 horses, and a hundred times more menservants than horses. Royal princes maintained such menservants and maidservants with all provisions, as if they were their own children or family members. After giving this dowry, the king of Kośala Province bade his daughter and great son-in-law be seated on a chariot and allowed them to go to their home, guarded by a division of well-equipped soldiers. As they traveled fast to their new home, the King's heart was enlivened with affection for them.

Krsna Book 58:

While Kṛṣṇa was traveling to Dvārakā, all the frustrated and defeated princes encircled Him and began to shower their arrows on the bridal party. When they attacked Kṛṣṇa's party and shot arrows like incessant torrents of rain, Arjuna, the best friend of Kṛṣṇa, took charge of the challenge, and he alone very easily drove them off to please his great friend Kṛṣṇa on the occasion of His marriage. Arjuna immediately took up his bow, Gāṇḍīva, and chased away all the princes; exactly as a lion drives away all small animals simply by chasing them, Arjuna drove away all the princes, without killing even one of them. After this, the chief of the Yadu dynasty, Lord Kṛṣṇa, along with His newly married wife and the huge dowry, entered the city of Dvārakā with great pomp. Kṛṣṇa then lived there with His wife very peacefully.

Krsna Book 68:

When the Yadu dynasty decided to release Sāmba from the confinement of the Kurus, Lord Balarāma came personally to settle the matter, and, as a powerful kṣatriya, He ordered them to free Sāmba immediately. The Kauravas were superficially insulted by this order, so they challenged Lord Balarāma's power. They simply wanted to see Him exhibit His inconceivable strength. Thus with great pleasure they handed over their daughter to Sāmba, and the whole matter was settled. Duryodhana, being affectionate toward his daughter Lakṣmaṇā, had her married to Sāmba in great pomp. For her dowry, he first gave 1,200 elephants, each at least 60 years old; then he gave 10,000 nice horses, 6,000 chariots, dazzling just like the sunshine, and 1,000 maidservants decorated with golden ornaments. Lord Balarāma, the most prominent member of the Yadu dynasty, acted as guardian of the bridegroom, Sāmba, and very pleasingly accepted the dowry. Balarāma was very satisfied after His great reception from the side of the Kurus, and accompanied by the newly married couple, He started toward His capital city of Dvārakā.

Krsna Book 83:

When Lord Śrī Kṛṣṇa came and fought with the bulls, they were just like playthings for Him. He captured the bulls and roped each one of them by the nostrils. Thus they came under His control, just as a goat's small kids come very easily under the control of children. My father was very much pleased and married me to Lord Kṛṣṇa with great pomp, giving as my dowry many divisions of soldiers, horses, chariots and elephants, along with hundreds of maidservants. Thus Lord Kṛṣṇa brought me to His capital city, Dvārakā. On the way back, He was assaulted by many princes, but Lord Kṛṣṇa defeated all of them, and thus I have the privilege of serving His lotus feet as a maidservant.

Krsna Book 83:

After this, Bhadrā began to speak. She said, "My dear Draupadī, Lord Kṛṣṇa is the son of my maternal uncle. Fortunately, I became attracted to His lotus feet. When my father understood these feelings of mine, he personally arranged for my marriage, inviting Lord Kṛṣṇa to marry me and giving Him in dowry one akṣauhiṇī, or division of armed forces, along with many maidservants and other royal paraphernalia. I do not know whether I shall be able to have the shelter of Lord Kṛṣṇa life after life, but still I pray to the Lord that wherever I may take my birth I may not forget my relationship with His lotus feet."

Krsna Book 83:

Lord Kṛṣṇa is always self-sufficient, yet my father, out of his own accord, offered my husband a dowry consisting of riches, soldiers, elephants, chariots, horses and many rare and valuable weapons. He presented all these to the Lord with great enthusiasm. My dear Queen, at that time I could guess that in my previous life I must have performed some wonderfully pious activity, and as a result I can in this life be one of the maidservants in the house of the Supreme Personality of Godhead.

Krsna Book 86:

Lord Kṛṣṇa was in favor of Arjuna; therefore, along with other members of the family, He tried to pacify Balarāma by falling at His feet and begging Him to pardon Arjuna. Kṛṣṇa convinced Lord Balarāma that Subhadrā was attached to Arjuna, and thus Balarāma became pleased to know that she wanted Arjuna as her husband. The matter was settled, and to please the newly married couple Lord Balarāma arranged to send a dowry consisting of an abundance of riches, including elephants, chariots, horses, menservants and maidservants.

Conversations and Morning Walks

1970 Conversations and Morning Walks

Room Conversation -- December 12, 1970, Indore:
Prabhupāda: Rāja-kanyā King's daughters are very beautiful. That is fabulous in India, king's daughter, rāja-kanyā. In India if anybody gets a good dowry and a beautiful wife it is said, arddhe rajatva eka rāja-kanyā(?) Actually we have seen in..., when Devaki was married to Vasudeva, how much dowry. Can anyone imagine now? So many thousands of horses, chariots, elephants, maidservants, all decorated with gold ornaments. One cannot imagine even at the present moment. Therefore they talk of "legends." But actually such dowries were given when a king's daughter was married. Not only royal family, even in ordinary family still, those who are rich, they spend lots of money to be married, either son's marriage or daughter's. When one spends lots of money during the marriage of one's daughter and son he is considered to be really rich man. That is the proof that he is rich man. So we can begin. He cannot rise, this, what is called, Muktananada? That's all right. Where he is?

Devotee: Muktananda, Prabhupāda? Prabhupāda: Yes. You come here. Girls may sit here. You can sit comfortably on this. (Devotees come in and sit down.) What is that? Kauśalyā: Her baby. Her child. Her son.

Room Conversation -- December 12, 1970, Indore:

Prabhupāda: Oh. So we were talking of Ajamila, a brāhmaṇa resident of Kānyakubja, presently known as Kanauj. So, kānyakubje dvijaḥ kaścid asit patir..., asit kaścid dāsī-patir ajāmilaḥ, nāmnā naṣṭa-sadācāro dāsyaḥ saṁsarga-dūṣitaḥ. That, what is known as, at the present, prostitute, they were know as dāsya, dāsī. (aside:) Don't make sound, "cut, cut." Silent. Dāsī... The kṣatriya kings also, when they married, with dowry many maidservants would follow the queen. That was the kṣatriya system. So Ajamila was the illegal husband of a prostitute, dāsī, dāsī-pati. Actually one should be husband of dharma-pati, religiously married, not a friend or a husband of illegal marriage. That is not allowed. Dāsī-patir ajāmilaḥ nāmnā... Ajāmila nāmnā. His name was Ajāmila. Why the sound is in...? It is not possible to charge? "Cut, cut cut, cut." Naṣṭa-sadācāraḥ. Sadācāra means good behavior. Why good behavior was lost? Dāsyaḥ saṁsarga-dūṣitaḥ. Because he was associating with a prostitute, illegal sex. Therefore, anyone who wants to make progress in spiritual life, he must be sadācāra. His behavior must be very regulated. Asadācārī, unclean, nonregulated, cannot make any progress.

1972 Conversations and Morning Walks

Room Conversation with Maharishi Impersonalists -- April 7, 1972, Melbourne:
Prabhupāda: According to Vedic system, marriage is a long program. The father of the girl and the boy first of all select. Then their horoscope should be consulted, how they will mix together, and then the family, then personal qualification, so many things... Then dowry... After all this consideration, when everything is satisfactory, then the father and mother of both sides will agree, and they will be married. That is marriage. Now, at the present moment in Kali-yuga, it is said, svīkāram eva hy udvahe. Boys and girls will loiter in the street and two of them, as they agree, "Yes, we will live together." That's all. Bas. This is stated. And that is happening. So this is called śāstra. Five thousand years ago, what was predicted, that is now happening. Therefore we give so much stress on the śāstra that it is perfect. There is no mistake. If you write one book, I write one book, because we are imperfect, it is all imperfect.

1973 Conversations and Morning Walks

Morning Walk -- April 30, 1973, Los Angeles:

Prabhupāda: Oh, five thousand dollars. She has got some assets. That is called strī-dhana. Strī-dhana means "woman's property." Nobody can touch it. Only, according to Manu-saṁhitā law, strī-dhana... Now they are changing. Strī-dhana, the son cannot touch, the husband cannot touch. Nobody can touch. But, after her death, the daughters will share that money. Because formerly, the daughters could not get share of the father's estate. Only the dowry which is given by the father at the time of her marriage. That much. But she could not claim any estate share. Therefore at the time of marriage, the dowry by ornaments, saris. Hundred pieces of sari. If one is rich man. All Benarsee sari, costly. And woman's nature is that if she gets good ornaments, saris, good food, she's satisfied. She doesn't want anything. She'll never become faithless to her husband. So these things are disappearing. Now rich man, rich man's wife, no ornament. (indistinct). Only the widows, they were without ornaments. Any woman who has got husband must have ornaments. Otherwise, insult. So individual liberty, individual prosperity, everything is disappearing. By the scientific improvement. That's all. This is the net result.

1974 Conversations and Morning Walks

Morning Walk -- April 7, 1974, Bombay:

Prabhupāda: No. But they cannot use that law. They cannot float any other thing in the air by this law. Still they say, "There is law of gravitation."

Girirāja: "They were also informed of the external..." (break)

Prabhupāda: He have to accept so much dowry, how many thousands horses?

Girirāja: Fifteen thousand.

Prabhupāda: So who will take dowry like this? (laughing) And how many? Four hundred elephants. Who can maintain four hundred elephants? Nowadays horses and elephants are not selling because nobody can maintain. Yes.

1977 Conversations and Morning Walks

Morning Walk -- January 24, 1977, Bhuvanesvara:

Prabhupāda: That means they want permanent husband. That is their heart's desire, but no husband. Is that civilization? And here the father's duty is that "Before she attains puberty, let me find out husband, suitable." This is civilization. "And she was under my care, I give in charity to a suitable boy: 'My dear boy, you take charge of this girl. I give you some dowry and decorate that girl. Be happy.' "

Correspondence

1968 Correspondence

Letter to Muralidhara -- Seattle 21 October, 1968:

The marriage is performed generally by priest. Sacrificial fire you have seen in our ceremonies, it is in the same way, but there are some decorations, just like a canopy is made with 4 pillars and it is decorated with green foliage and flowers, and water pot, under each stand, and in this way, it is decorated. And just outside the canopy, the relatives and other Brahmins they sit down to see the marriage ceremony going on. The omen was heard while Kamsa was carrying his sister and brother-in-law in the chariot. There were hundreds of other chariots also, given in dowry. The omen was heard that it was addressed to Kamsa that My dear Kamsa, you are so joyfully carrying your sister but you do not know that a son, the 8th son of your sister will kill you. The 8th son of Devaki was Krishna Himself, and before Krishna, all the sons of Devaki were taken by Kamsa and killed.

Facts about "Dowry"
Compiled byRishab + and Serene +
Completed sectionsALL +
Date of first entryFebruary 17, 0011 JL +
Date of last entryMay 25, 0011 JL +
Total quotes34 +
Total quotes by sectionBG: 0 +, SB: 16 +, CC: 1 +, OB: 10 +, Lec: 0 +, Conv: 6 + and Let: 1 +