गान्धर्वविधिना राजा देशकालविधानवित् ॥ १६ ॥
om iti ukte — by reciting the Vedic praṇava, invoking the Supreme Personality of Godhead to witness the marriage; yathā-dharmam — exactly according to the principles of religion (because Nārāyaṇa becomes the witness in an ordinary religious marriage also); upayeme — he married; śakuntalām — the girl Śakuntalā; gāndharva-vidhinā — by the regulative principle of the Gandharvas, without deviation from religious principles; rājā — Mahārāja Duṣmanta; deśa-kāla-vidhāna-vit — completely aware of duties according to time, position and objective.
When Śakuntalā responded to Mahārāja Duṣmanta’s proposal with silence, the agreement was complete. Then the King, who knew the laws of marriage, immediately married her by chanting the Vedic praṇava [oṁkāra], in accordance with the marriage ceremony as performed among the Gandharvas.
The oṁkāra, praṇava, is the Supreme Personality of Godhead represented by letters. Bhagavad-gītā says that the letters a-u-m, combined together as om, represent the Supreme Lord. Religious principles are meant to invoke the blessings and mercy of the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Kṛṣṇa, who says in Bhagavad-gītā that He is personally present in sexual desires that are not contrary to religious principles. The word vidhinā means, “according to religious principles.” The association of men and women according to religious principles is allowed in the Vedic culture. In our Kṛṣṇa consciousness movement we allow marriage on the basis of religious principles, but the sexual combination of men and women as friends is irreligious and is not allowed.