8 Important Forms of Marriage that were Found in the Ancient Hindu Law

(ii) Daiva:

In this form of marriage, a young girl was given to a person who officiated as a priest at a sacrifice performed by the girl’s father in lieu of the dakshina (or fee) payable to the priest. The daiva form of marriage was considered to be inferior to the brahma form, because in the former, the father gave away his girl for the purpose of deriving a spiritual benefit.

(iii) Arsha:

This form of marriage required the bridegroom to deliver one or two pairs of cows to the bride’s father. At the time of marriage, the cows were given back to the bridegroom along with the bride.

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(iv) Prajapatya:

This ancient form of Hindu marriage was similar to the Brahma form, except that it was not necessary for the bridegroom to be a bachelor.

(v) Asura:

In this form of marriage, the father (or guardian) of the bride was given some kind of monetary consideration for the marriage. As per the ancient texts, “where a man marries a girl for gladdening her father or guardian by money, it is called asura marriage”. Thus, this form of marriage was almost a marriage by sale, because it amounted to a sale of the daughter by the father.

(vi) Gandharva:

This ancient form of marriage was very similar to what may be called “a love marriage” in modern times. This was a form of marriage where the union was brought about by amorous desires or by a wish for domestic comfort, and mutual consent of the parties was present.

(vii) Hakshasha:

This form of marriage was preceded by rape or the abduction of a virgin in times of war. This kind of marriage was affected by a forcible capture of the girl after her relatives had been killed or wounded in the war.

(viii) Paishacha:

This was the most reprehensible form of Hindu marriage. Paishacha was a form of marriage between a girl and a man who had committed the crime of ravishing a girl while she was asleep or intoxicated. The canons of Hindu Law provided that, in such a case, the man was obliged to marry that girl.

Out of the above eight forms of marriage, the first four are the approved forms, whereas the last four are considered to be the unapproved forms of marriage.

It may be noted that the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, has not specifically prescribed or recognised any one of the above eight ancient forms of Hindu marriage. Rather, the Act had laid down certain conditions which are essential for a valid Hindu marriage.