Different Types of Marriages in India

Published: 09th April 2009
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Marriages have always been considered as a divine union in India. Indians regard the institution of marriage as a sacrament. For Hindus, it`s a commitment that lasts forever and is the strongest social bond between a man and a woman. In the Vedas too it has been mentioned that a person after the completion of his student life should enter the second stage of life that is the life of a householder.

These days, Hindu matrimony are celebrated very lavishly by family and friends. Not only this, parents very meticulously search for the most prospective match for their children who are in a marriageable age. The contemporary way of marriages and weddings in India is very different from what it was years ago. But the trend was entirely different and conservative in ancient times.

Here is a brief description of the kinds of marriages that used to take place in earlier times in India:-

Brahma Marriage
During the ancient times prevailed gurukul system, where the boy used to go to live with his guru to attain worldly knowledge and expertise. This stage is called Brahmacharya or student hood. The boy would be eligible to get married only once he completes his studies i.e. his student. This form of marriage is called as Brahma Marriage.

Daiva Marriage
In Daiva marriage, the girl is married to a priest during a sacrifice. The parents of the daughter wait for a suitable man till sometime and when they do not find anyone, they start looking for a groom in a place where the sacrifice is being conducted. At this place, the girl is groomed with ornaments and is married to a priest. As per the shastras, Daiva marriage is inferior to Brahma marriage because it is degrading for the woman to look for a groom like that.

Arsha Marriage
Arsha means Rishi (sage) in Sanskrit and Arsha means marriages with the sages or Arshas. In this kind of marriage, the parents give away the bride in exchange for two cows, which they receive from the groom's side. This type of marriage used to take place because it was difficult for the parents of the bride to afford the expense of their daughter's marriage at the right time as per the Brahma rites. If that didn't happen, the girl was made to marry an old sage

Prajapatya Marriage
Prajapatya marriage is the one in which the sacred duties are performed jointly by both the bride and the groom. For this type of marriage, Swami Dayanand Saraswati, the founder of Arya Samaj, said that the father gives his daughter to the bridegroom, by addressing the couple with the mantras, 'May both of you perform together your dharma'. This kind of marriage is quite similar to Brahma vivah, which can be described as the origin of Prajapatya vivah.

Gandharva Marriage
The Gandharva Vivaha or the marriage of the celestials is a type of marriage that simply involves exchange of garlands after which the marriage is confirmed. One can find references of this type of wedding in Hindu mythological stories and epics. Gandharva marriage is equivalent to eloping in the contemporary world. It is considered that couples whose union is not blessed by families seek refuge in this kind of custom.

Asura Marriage
This kind of marriage is very unique. In Asura Marriage, an unsuitable bridegroom approaches the family of the bride and offers a high price to get married to the girl. It could be considered as a bribe for marrying the girl whom the boy desires even if he does not deserve her at all.

Rakshasa marriage
In this type of marriage, the groom fights battles with the bride`s family, overcomes them and takes her away from her family and then forces her to marry. Rakshasa marriage is not considered as the right kind of marriage as this is only a forced marriage.

Paishacha marriage
The last type of marriage is Paishacha marriage. It is usually considered as the most inferior type of marriage. In this marriage, no one considers the girl`s wishes, whether she wants to marry or not instead. She is just forced to marry.

These are the eight kinds of marriages in India.

Sukhpreet Kaur writes on behalf of Jeevansathi.com, which is India's fastest growing matrimonial website, provides online Indian matrimonial classified services. Jeevansathi.com enables users to create a online matrimony profile on the website and allow prospective grooms and brides to contact each other. Users can search for profiles through advanced search options on the website. Users can avail free registration and make initial contact with each other through services available on Jeevansathi.com via Chat, SMS, and e-mail.

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