Which of the vivaha is the purest form of marriage?
Hinduism recognizes eight distinct types of marriages, according to dharma texts such as Manu-Smriti and the Vedas. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1956, which establishes Hindu marriage laws, does not define any of the various forms of marriage. Nonetheless, these marriages are still in force and defined by law as “customs,” which have been given legal status under Section 3(a) of The Hindu Marriage Act.
In Hinduism, marriage is a sacred and holy bond between two people. Various customs, according to different castes, are required for a marriage to be properly formalized (legal). Some of these rituals and traditions have now been formalized into Indian law as customs.
If a ceremony, practice or form of marriage is legally recognized as a custom, it must have been universally and perpetually observed for an extended time, and it cannot go against public policy.
In this post, the author covers the various recognized and unapproved marriage types and their present legal standing. Several Indian courts’ ideas on various marriages have also been presented.
Marriages and difficulties
The normal texts, dharma texts, and certain Gṛhyasūtras distinguish eight distinct types of marriage: Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa, Paishacha. The hierarchy of marriage forms is in this order.
Even the Supreme Court of India acknowledged the existence of eight different types of marriage laid out by Aryan Hindus in Koppisetti Subbharao vs. the State Of A.P.
There are two kinds of approved and unapproved marriage documents in China.
Forms that have been approved
The approved forms of marriage are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha and Prajapati. These marriages involve the exchange of gifts—a practice known as kanyādāna or “the gift of a maiden.” As dharma texts state, Brahmins must accept gifts. Consequently, the first four types of marriage are typically considered this product legal for Brahmins to use.
S. Authikesavulu Chetty vs. S. Ramanujam Chetty and Anr was a case in which famous cases were decided:
- If there is no evidence to the contrary, it must be presumed that the marriage is in one of the approved forms.
- Following this, another problem emerged: who would inherit the property of a mother with no children? It was decided that when a woman dies without having married in one of four approved ceremonies, her husband becomes the owner of her property.
Brahma marriage is one of, if not the most, practiced form of marital commitment in India and ranked supremely compared to all other eight forms of marriage. Manu-Smriti also highly values this type of wedlock.
The gift of a daughter, after being adorned with ornaments and revered with gems to a guy chosen by the father himself and who is educated in Vedas, is known as the “Brahma marriage” in dharma texts.
The “Brahma” marriages are the ceremonies that Brahmins perform to ensure positive social status and fulfill their duty of gift-giving.
In the case of Reema Aggarwal vs. Anupam, the Supreme Court of India held that… And Ors, 2004 discussed the possibility that Brahma marriage was the source of dowry provisions in India but did not reach a conclusion. According to the writer, “Brahma” marriages do not lead to dowry problems because the bride’s father gives presents to the groom himself. According to Manu-Smriti, there is no external pressure from the groom. However, in practice, the groom may utilize the custom of “exchanging presents” to harass and pressure the bride and her parents to provide a dowry. Also, according to Manu, if a son is married under Brahma customs, he frees ten ancestors and descendants from their liabilities.
The basic meaning of Dravida-vivaha is ‘marriage connected with the rites. The father, Indra, and this version of marriage are distinct. Unlike Brahma, the godfather in this form of matchmaking is the father. His daughter is a Dakshina (sacrificial fee) for officiating in the sacrifice conducted by her father.
In marriages of this type, the groom’s parents don’t look for a bride for their son. Instead, it is the bride’s parents who seek out appropriate husbands for their daughters.
Because the father benefits from her daughter’s sacrifice in Daiva. Because it is considered demeaning for women to seek a partner, this form of marriage is viewed as beneath the Brahma marriage.
According to Manu, the son of a Daiva-rite bride releases seven ancestors and descendants from their shackles.
Arsha Marriage is the third sort of valid marriage, which entails marriage with a Rishi or sage. This differs from the Brahma and Daiva forms of marriage because, in Arsha, the bride’s father does not have to contribute anything to the groom. The father of the bridegroom gave two cows or bulls to the father of the bride in Arsha.
Parents who cannot afford their daughter’s wedding expenses at the appropriate time, according to the Brahma rite, often marry their daughters off to old rishis or sages in exchange for 2 cows.
Sir Gurudas Banerjee, a Bengali Indian Judge, believed that this form of marriage indicated the pastoral state of Hindu society. He observed that cattle were often used as currency for these arrangements.
The ancient Hindu marriage ritual, however, was not considered to be honorable since the bride was regarded as a commodity and exchanged for cattle.
Son of a wife married under the arsha rite liberates three ancestors and their future descendants, Manu said.
The Prajapati form of marriage shares similarities with the Brahma form, except in a Prajapatya, there is no trade nor gifting of the daughter. Because of these differences, some consider Prajapatya to be inferior to Brahma.
In this marriage, the father stipulates that the bride and groom perform their dharma together as a couple when he gives away his daughter.
The bride’s father requests that the groom treat his daughter as an equal partner and help her with religious and everyday duties.
According to Manu, the son of a Prajapati wife liberates six ancestors and descendants.
Any forms which have not yet been approved
The unapproved types of marriage include Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa, and Paisacha. Marriages between these species are considered unlawful. In a 2008 court case, Rajbir Singh Dalal argued against Chaudhari Devi Lal University. When a woman is childless but marries one of the unapproved forms of marriage, her property goes to her family rather than her spouse.
This form of marriage, in which the father gives away his daughter after the bridegroom has provided all the wealth he can to the bride’s father and the bride herself, is one of the most condemned. The Ramayana mentions that an extravagant amount was given to Kaikeyi’s guardian for her marriage to King Dasaratha. This is a commercial transaction in which the bride is bought.
According to Manusmriti, the child’s father is obligated to pay for 5 cows. Reject any offer, no matter how low the price.
The 1931 case of Kailasanatha Mudaliar v. Parasakthi Vadivanni established the test for determining whether a marriage is “asura” or not. An asura marriage occurs when the bridegroom gives money, wheat, cows, or anything else with monetary value to the bride’s father in exchange for marrying his daughter.
This is a one-of-a-kind form of marriage that differs from other types. The girl and boy agree to get married, which is made possible by pure lust. Parent’s approval is not required.
The ancient Hindu system believed in mutual consent for marriage. However, very few marriages resulted from this agreement. The main reason is:
- This has caused Hindu culture to shift towards child marriage.
- The issue of inter-caste relationships became a possibility.
- This type of marriage breached Hindu cultural customs because there was no parental permission.
In the 1965 case of Bhaurao Shankar Lokhande & Anr vs. State Of Maharashtra & Anr, the Supreme Court discussed essential ceremonies required for performing a The Gandharva marriage is a ceremony that includes the father of a girl placing his hands on her forehead. There is a tradition that the father of a female should touch her head. Both the female and male were involved in signifying the completion of the Gandharva ceremony. Another custom, which was requested not to be necessary for a Gandharva wedding, was that of the Brahmin priest and the barber being required. However, it was determined that a Gandharva marriage could not be solemnized u/s 17 of the Hindu Marriage Act or u/s 494 of the Indian Penal Code without these essential rituals.
This type of marriage was common among Kshatriyas or those in the military. “Rakshasa” marriages were seen as a right of the victor over those captured during the war.
According to Section 366 of the Indian Penal Code, enticing a woman to compel her into marriage is punishable by imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine.
This is the last type of marriage because it is the most terrible of the eight types. In this, a man lures women and has sex with them when they are sleeping, intoxicated, or psychologically disturbed. The girl and her parents, embarrassed by such conduct, must consent to the union. Paishacha refers to goblins that are supposed to operate in secret at night.
The modern institution of marriage
In the present day, as stated in A. L. V. R. S. T., Veerappa Chettiar vs. S. Michael Etc., 1962, there are only two sorts of marriage: Brahma and Asura.
The custom of giving a gift at a Brahma wedding has been regarded as the source of India’s dowry system.
The Asura marriage registration, as defined in Asura Marriage Act, 1955, is also a type of marriage that has evolved from being a real sale agreement to one where the consciousness of the parties or the community involved in marriage indicates that the relationship is “Asura” in nature.
The other kinds have been largely supplanted by the contemporary types because they are now criminal acts under IPC, as well as being against societal norms and ethics. They are not entirely obsolete, though, since some of the lower castes continue to observe them.
According to ancient texts like Manu-smriti, the eight kinds of marriage were established for various castes of humans. Brahmins were the most common among the approved forms of marriage. Kshatriya, Vaisyas, and Shudras largely preferred unofficial marital options.
While some of these customs have been accepted under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956, others have become punishable offenses under various Penal laws in India.