Who does not know the historical and romantic Gandharva marriage of Hindu King Dushyanta and Shakuntala? First, let me tell you what exactly Gandharva marriage is? This is one of the eight classical kinds of Hindu marriages, which was celebrated with a lot of pomp and show in the ancient times in India. Based on free will and passionate love Gandharva marriage was one of earliest and most common form of marriage during Rig Vedic times.
Even in ancient times, a lot of freedom was given to the girl to choose her consort. Generally, the boy and girl were acquainted with each other during their adolescent period as they lived in the same village. They interacted freely in places such as regional festivals or fairs and thus started to enjoy each other’s company. They mutually decided to live together even if their parents did not agree.
Freedom to Choose their Partner:
In Gandharva marriage, the woman selected her own husband. Their relationship is out of pure passion and love. It is also believed that parents knowingly allow their daughter to choose her lover without any hassle. In fact, they encourage their girls to pursue a relationship with the man of her choice. There are no restrictions imposed by the parents. The couple has the opportunity to be in touch with each other consistently, they eventually decide to live together. In this type of marriage, even the consent of the parents is not required. They start living together as a couple only out of love and mutual consent.
As per the Vedic texts, this system was one of earliest and one of the most common forms of marriage in the Rig Vedic era. Gandharva marriage was generally celebrated with full zeal and lot of enthusiasm. It was an elaborate affair, which often extended over many days. In Gandharva marriage, no conventional rituals were observed and the bride and the groom get married without a formal ceremony. It was a comfortable and happy affair with no scandals or controversies associated with it. However, as time passed, this marriage lost its flavour. It was argued by scholars that such a marriage may or may not be long lasting since there were no ceremonies or rituals to bind them for the rest of the life.
Features of Gandharva marriage
- The bride selects her own husband.
- This form of marriage does not require the consent of parents or anyone else in the family.
- The bride and the groom get married without a formal ceremony.
Customs of Gandharva marriage :
- There are no conventional rituals or customs observed in this type of marriage.
- Some couples do conduct a small ritual in temples involving a pandit.
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