One of the oldest institutions of Hindus is marriage. Marriage occupies a very important place in the social life of Hindus. The religious rites and ceremonies to be performed by a Hindu are to be done in companionship with his wife; else they will not bear any fruit. Therefore, marriage is very much essential.
Marriage creates an inseparable relationship between the husband and the wife and this relationship cannot be broken by any means. However, the two seers of later period, namely Narada and Parasar have stated five conditions wherein the wife can abandon her husband and remarry. These five conditions are-
- Where the husband is lost
- Where the husband has dies
- Where the husband has renounced the world
- Where the husband has become impotent
- Where the husband has been ousted from his caste.
Forms of Marriage (Before 1955)
As per the old textual laws, marriage is divided into 8 forms which are as follows-
It is a form of marriage in which the father of the girl invites the bridegroom respectfully at his residence and then worships him and offers his daughter as his wife and also a pair of fine clothes and ornaments, etc. Under this form of marriage a widow cannot be remarried.
It is a form of marriage in which the bride is offered to the priest who performs religious acts and rituals for the spiritual benefit of the father of the bride.
It is a form of marriage in which the bride is offered to the person from whom the father of the bride has taken a pair of cow or bull for religious rituals only.
In this form of marriage the bridegroom is not necessary to be a bachelor as in case of Brahma marriage. In this marriage form, the bride is decorated by her father in colourful attires and after worshipping is offered to the bridegroom by making a recitation to the effect that the bride and the groom together must act religiously and prosper and flourish in life.
It is a form of marriage in which the groom himself takes the bride with the consent of her father, after giving wealth which he can afford, to the father and paternal kinsman or the damsel herself. Often it is said that in this type of marriage the girl is sold. This type of marriage is widely practised amongst the Sudras of Southern India.
It is a form in marriage in which the bride and the groom establish a bodily union without performing any of the religious rituals and ceremonies. In this form of marriage there is a union of bride and groom with mutual consent which is motivated by their mutual love and sexual instincts. This type of marriage was quiet prevalent among the Kshatriyas, but is now uncommon.
In this form of marriage the bride is forcefully kidnapped by a person who intends to marry her, but the father does not approve of the marriage. Generally the bride’s parents or guardians are killed or wounded and the bride is taken away. This type of marriage is still prevalent in the Gonda casts of Barrar and Betul.
This form of marriage is considered to be the most condemnable form of marriage. In this form of marriage sexual intercourse is done with the girl while she is asleep or is brought in a state of drunk or if given drugs or is of immature understanding. The girl is later married to the person who is guilty of such crime.
Of the above eight form of marriage, the first four forms of marriage are known as approved form of marriage, while the later four forms are known as the unapproved forms of marriage.
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