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8 Types of Marriages

1. Brahma marriage - The Brahma marriage is the marriage of one's daughter, after decking her with costly garments and with presents of jewels, to a man of good conduct learned in the Vedas, and invited by oneself.A Brahma marriage is where a boy is able to get married once he has completed his student hood, or Brahmacharya. Brahma marriage has the most supreme position of the eight types of Hindu matrimony. When the parents of the boy seek for a female, they would consider her family background, but the girl’s father would make sure that the boy that wishes to wed his daughter had the knowledge of Vedas. It is these things that make the basis for Brahma marriage, not a system of dowry.

2. Daiva marriage - The type of marriage that is considered inferior because it is degrading to womanhood. This is where the woman’s family will wait for a specific time to get her wed. If she doesn’t get a suitable groom, then she would be married off to places where family choose by matchmaking through priest who duly officiates at a religious ceremony, during the course of its performance. This used to be the practice followed by many Royals in ancient times to forge diplomatic ties with allies and enemies alike.

3. Arsha marriage - An Arsha marriage is where the girl is given in marriage to a sage. The bride used to be given in exchange for some cows. Agasthya married Lopamudra accordingly. Kings often could not refuse the sages who had such power and standing in society and hence the numerous stories in Mahabharata that portray this practice.

4. Prajapatya marriage - Prajapatya is when a girl's father gives her in marriage to the bridegroom, treating him with respect, and addresses them: 'May both of you perform together your duties'. Unlike in Brahma marriage, Prajapatya matrimony is where the bride’s father goes in search of a groom, although this isn’t considered as good as the grooms parents searching for the perfect bride. Also, unlike Arsha marriage, monetary transactions are not a part of the Prajapatya marriage.

5. Gandharva marriage - The voluntary union of a maiden and her lover on own is called Gandharva marriage. When it comes to ‘love’ marriage, it is Gandharva marriage that is the most similar. This is where a groom and his bride could wed without their parents knowledge or sanction. However, this is sanctioned only when the man and the woman belong to the kshatriya caste ie. Royalty. This is how Dushyanta married Shakuntala. Note that this is not same as Dating. Here the bride and the groom exchange vows in the presence of some person, creature, tree, plant or deity before any further action.

6. Asura marriage - Asura marriage is when the bridegroom receives a maiden, after having given of his own free will as much wealth as he can afford, to the bride and her kinsmen. It is Asura marriage that sets itself apart from the other types of marriage. This is a matrimony where the groom may not often be compatible with the bride and may even possess some abnormality but either greed or compulsion on the part of the bride’s father coupled with the groom's desire and wealth may render it. At all times this type of marriage was considered lowly. In modern times this is unacceptable because it is much like buying a product off the shelf and against common Indian law.

7. Rakshasa marriage - Rakshasa marriage is the marriage of a maiden involving her forcible abduction from her home after her kinsmen have been slain or wounded much like its practice in khazakh and uzbek cultures where it is still practised as a ritual. The groom will forge battles with the bride’s family, overcome them and carry the bride away to convince her to marry him. Because of its use of force this marriage is essentially rape in modern parlance, and it was never considered right - hence the pejorative name rakshasa attached to it. This is condemned in the Manusmriti as a base and sinful act. In modern times it is a crime. Arjuna's marriage to Subhadra was MADE TO LOOK like this but in reality it was a Gandharva Marriage because both of them were in love a priori and they had the consent of Subhadra's brother Sri Krishna who actually suggested this subterfuge to preempt Balarama from dissent.

8. Paishacha marriage - When a man by stealth seduces a girl who is sleeping, intoxicated, or mentally challenged, it is called Paishacha marriage. This is condemned in the Manusmriti as a base and sinful act. In modern times this is called Date Rape and is a crime in most civilized lands.[2][3]


*The information is taken from reference web sites and material, this website doesn't take responsibility for any individual to use this info. The individual needs to verify the authenticity of information before using.

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