Methods Of Marriage And Rituals

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Methods of marriage and Rituals / Sanskar

Mppsc Mains Gs Paper 2 Part B Unit 4

Methods of marriage

Marriage is an institution to satisfy social, cultural, psychological, physical and economic needs of men and women, the primary aim of marriage is the regulation of sexual activity through a stable relationship. Moreover, it admits men and women into family life and is a way to legitimate offspring and establish other rights to each other.

The marriages are of different types,on the basis of number it is primarily of two category(Types):- Polygamy & Monogamy

1.Polygamy (more than one man or woman at a time – common in some tribes and muslims).

 Subtypes :– a. Polygyny – [One man with multiple women]

  1. Polyandry [One woman with multiple men. (further two subtypes – Fraternal polyandry { Husbands will be two or more Brothers – wife single woman} & Non fraternal polyandry{Husbands are not brothers – wife single woman}.


  1. Monogamy (One man or woman at a time – presently most common type of marriage).

The manusmriti has given 8 forms of Hindu marriages{Ashta Vivah},these marriages are different in their pattern.These are Brahma,Daiva,Arsa,Prajapatya,Asura,Gandharv,Rakshasa,Paisacha.

The first four type of marriages were approved in society before the enactment of Hindu Marriage Act 1955 and the last four marriages are considered unapproved by the society.


  1. Brahma Vivah :-  it is said to be the best and most practiced form of marriage in our country,Mannu described so much importance on this form of marriage and placed it even above divine origin. It is presently sort of an arranged marriage. In this marriage the father voluntarily invites(mean father will search for the groom of his status) an individual who has deep knowledge of Vedas and gifted her daughter to him in single cloth by performing Nuptial Rite.Moreover it is free from any physical force, imposition of conditions and money.Mean no dowry involved in it.
  1. Daiva Vivah :- The Daiv form of marriage was slightly different from the Brahma form of marriage in the sense that the boy was an official priest.Moreover the father gifted her daughter to the priest as a sacrificial present after taking services from the priest.Thus this form of marriage rated lower than Brahma as Brahma was free from taking any services or money from the bride’s side.(mean here girl married to priest)
  2. Arsha Vivah :- (Rishi Vivah) In this marriage the bride groom gifted a pair or two pairs of cow and Bull to the bride’s father and the father gifted his daughter to the groom(Mean GODAN is done in this marriage).However such present it is only for religious purpose and the marriage is termed as Arsha marriage.
  3. Prajapatya :- In this form of marriage the father gives away his daughter with due honour and placed condition that both of you perform religious and civil duties together. It is inferior to the first three types of marriages because it imposed such conditions which should not have been placed according to the religious concept of a gift.(Swayamvar kind of marriage)

The above four types of marriages are accepted.

  1. Asura Vivah :- In this form of marriage the bride was given to the husband in payment of a consideration called Shulka or bridal price.(means marriage by purchase – auction of bride).
  2. Gandharva Vivah :- It is a form of marriage which is the union of a man and women by mutual consent. It is the voluntary connection of men and women that arises from lust and sensual inclination. In this form of marriage both men and women consider themselves as husband and wife in the name of god.It is close to the concept of love marriage.Ex Marriage of Shakuntala & Dushyant.
  3. Rakshasa Vivah :- In this form of marriage the individual kidnaps a girl and forcefully marries her without her consent (Marriage by abduction). Ex – Krishna and Rukmani vivah – Mahabharat.
  4. Paisacha Vivah :- It is the worst form of marriage among the Hindus. it is a sort of rape committed by man upon Damsel either when sleep or when made drunk by providing in toxicating drugs.

The above four types of marriages are not acceptable (5,6,7,8).

Rituals / Sanskara

The Sanskar is a series of Sacraments, sacrifices and rituals that serve as rites of passage and mark various stages of human life and to make entry to a particular ashrama.

These Sanskar are considered a turning point of life and need to be celebrated.

In Hindus there are 16 Sanskar which cover the entire human life and take him to the door of truth.

Purpose of Sanskar :-

  • To develop ethical characteristics in human beings.
  • To attain Nirvana / Moksha.
  • To increase spiritualism among humans.
  • To preserve the values and Customs of society.

Sixteen Sanskar

  1. Garbhadhan Sanskar :-  Garbhadhan is the first Sanskar of everyone’s life.This is the enthusiast prayer for a child,moreover it is done to continue the family.
  2. Pumsavana Sanskar :- This is the 2nd Sanskar ceremony,it is performed during the third or fourth month of pregnancy,when the first signs of conception are there. The purpose of this Sanskar is to ensure a healthy and powerful fetus and when someone desires male child.
  3. Simantonnayana Sanskar :- This Sanskar is performed during 7th month of pregnancy and prayers are offered for the physical & mental health and growth of child and the mother.
  4. Jatakarma Sanskar :- This Sanskar is performed immediately after the birth of a child (on 6th day usually) for the purification of the house so the new child gets a clean atmosphere to live followed by Griha Puja and Homa (yajna).
  5. Namkaran Sanskar :- This Sanskar is performed on 10th or 12th day of birth with recitation of mantras. In this Sanskar the baby child gets a name.
  6. Nishkramana Sanskar :- This Sanskar is performed on or after 40 days and in this the child is taken out of home for the first time and to show him five elements i.e. sun,moon, fire,wind etc,to enhance his physical and mental development.
  7. Annaprashana Sanskar :- In this the child is given solid food Anna for the first time and mantras recited and prayers are offered to various deities.
  8. Chudakarma Sanskar :- Hindi Sanskar the child’s head is shaved for the first time (mundan). It is usually performed between 1 to 3 years.
  9. Karvendhan Sanskar :- This Sanskar is performed in the third or fifth year. In this the father addresses the right ear of the child and then that ear is pierced so that he may listen to good things only.
  10. Upanayana Sanskar :- It is the ceremony of wearing sacred thread called Yagnopaveetham.It is done when a child attains minimum 5 years of age and is considered as the second birth of a child – A Spiritual birth. It is followed by Puja,Havan Shiksha,Diksha and at last we taught Gayatri Mantra to the boy and now he is ready to study Vedas. After this the boy starts wearing Janeu.This Sanskar accepts the class division and varna vyavastha.
  11. Vedarambh Sanskar :- This Sanskar is done along with the Upanayana Sanskar, it is the learning of Vedas and Upanishad in Gurukul.Brahmachary is started by this Sanskar.
  12. Samavartana Sanskar :- It is the ceremony associated with the end of formal education of Vedas in Gurukul and he returns to his home from teachers ashram.It is assumed that now he has completed his Brahmacharya and ready to take household responsibilities.
  13. Vivah Sanskar :- This Sanskar is entry to the second ashram – Grihastha, in this marriage takes place in the presence of family & relatives, and the bride and groom walk around Agni hand-in-hand.
  14. Vanprastha Sanskar :- The Sanskar is performed at the age of 50,It is assumed that if the man has fulfilled his entire responsibility of households then he retires and goes to forest to live.
  15. Sanyas Sanskar :- In this Sanskar man is free from all bondages,attachments of his worldly life and leads a life of study and meditation.
  16. Antyeshti Sanskar :- It means last rites,It is associated with funerals.The body is laid on the ground with head towards north and the eldest son generally performs the last rites.

This article is written by Ritik Sahu.

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