Forms of marriage in Hindu law

Forms of marriage:
Under old Hindu law, there were eight forms of marriages of which, four are approved and four are unapproved. Brahma, Daiva, Arsha, and Prajapatya falls under the former category, and Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa, and Paisacha are under the latter
The Hindu marriage is based upon the extinction of the dominion of the father over his daughter and the
creation of the relationship of husband and wife by a religious function. The religious ceremony is essential for all forms of marriage. The mode of extinction of the dominion of the father differs in the various forms of marriage.
Approved Forms:
i) Brahma form:
The gift of a daughter, after decking her with ornaments and honoring her with jewels to a man learned in the Vedas, whom the father of the girl himself invites, is called the “Brahma marriage”2. In this form, the father invites the bridegroom and makes a gift of his daughter, thereby putting an end to his dominion over his daughter.
The important feature of this form is that the parents of the bride do not receive any consideration for giving the girl in marriage.
ii) Daiva form:
In this form of marriage, the damsel is given to a person who operates as a priest in a sacrifice performed by the father, in lieu of the fee due to the priest. It is inferior to the Brahma because the father derives a benefit, which is not deemed reprehensible.
iii) Arsha form:
In the Arsha form of marriage, the bridegroom makes a present of a cow and a bull or two cows and two bulls to the bride’s father which is accepted for a religious purposes only.
iv) Prajapatya form:
The last kind of approved marriage is called “prajapatya” which does not materially differ from the Brahma, but in this, the gift is made with condition that “you two be partners for performing secular and religious duties.
Unapproved forms:
i) Asura form:
In the Asura form of marriage, the dominion of the father over the daughter ceases by his sale of the girl to the bridegroom. The acceptance of some consideration by the father for giving his daughter in marriage is the factor that stamps this marriage as one in the unapproved form.
ii) Gandharva form:
The Gandharva marriage was the union of a man and a woman by mutual consent. In this form, the bride with her own consent gives herself away to the bridegroom. She is old enough to function without a guardian for the marriage.
iii) Rakshasa form:
The forcible abduction of the bride from her paternal home is the essence of the Rakshasa form. This form of marriage is still practiced among certain classes of Gond tribals of Berar and Betul. This kind of marriage was affected by forcible capture and was allowed only to the Kshatriyas or military classes.
iv) Paisacha form:
This form of marriage was the most reprehensible as being married of a girl by a man who had committed the crime of ravishing her either when asleep or when made drink by administering the intoxicating drug or when in the state of mental disorder. In both Rakshasa and Paisacha, there is a subsequent marriage with sacred texts and it is the original mode of securing the maiden that stamps these marriages as ‘unapproved’.
The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 has not prescribed any particular form of marriage. It simply lays down the conditions for a valid marriage. The Act calls marriages solemnized under the Act as Hindu marriages which may be performed in accordance with the customary ceremonies prevalent in the community to which, the bride belongs.

Under old Hindu law, three conditions were required for a valid marriage. These were:
i. Identity of caste between parties. i.e., the parties should belong to the same caste, unless sanctioned by custom.
ii. Parties to be beyond the prohibited degrees of relationship. i.e., were not of the same gotra or pravara and were not the sapinda of each other;
iii. Proper performance of ceremonies of marriage.
Yagnavalkya in the chapter dealing with marriage stated the conditions necessary for a valid Hindu marriage. The commentators have treated some of the conditions mentioned in this text as mandatory and some as recommendatory

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