Types of Marriages


There are eight types of marriage described in Manusmriti (Laws of Manu) or “Manava Dharma Shastra”: 

• Rite of Brahmana (Brahma) – where the father of the bride invites a man learned in the Vedas and a good conduct, and gives his daughter in marriage to him after decking her with jewels and costly garments. 

• Rite of the Gods (Daiva) – where the daughter is groomed with ornaments and given to a priest who duly officiates at a sacrifice during the course of its performance of this rite. 

• Rite of the Rishis (Arsha) – when the father gives away his daughter after receiving a cow and a bull from the brightgroom. 

• Rite of the Prajapati - (Prajapatya) where the father gives away his daugher after blessing the couple with the text “May both of you perform together your duties” 

• Rite of the Asuras (Demons) – when the bridegroom receives a maiden after bestowing wealth to the kinsmen and to the bride according to his own will. 

• Rite of the Gandharva - the voluntary union of a maiden and her lover, which arises from desire and sexual intercourse for its purpose. 

• Rite of the Rakshasa - forcible abduction of a maiden from her home after her kinsmen have been slain or wounded and their houses broken open. 

• Rite of the Pisaka - when a man by stealth seduces a girl who is sleeping or intoxicated or is mentally disbalanced or handicapped. 



Among the eight types not all had religious sanction. The last four were not religiously defined and were condemned. These are: Brahma marriage, Daiva marriage, Arsha marriage, Prajapatya marriage, Gandharva Marriage, Asura marriage, Rakshasa marriage and Paishacha marriage.


The Purana narrates that a Brahman may take four wives, a Kshatriya may have three wives, a Vaisya may take two and a Shudra on the other hand can have only one wife. A woman can be given away only once in marriage. And a man who robs or carries away a married woman is considered a thief.




When a Brahmana falls in love with a sudra girl then the Brahman should first marry a Brahmana Girl followed by marrying a Kshatriya Girl then a Vaisya girl after these three marriages only is the Brahman eligible for marrying a sudra girl of his choice. Therefore it is said that a brahmana may take four wives.


In the case of a Kshatriya falling in love with a sudra girl then he is to first marry a kshatrya girl followed by a vaisya girl to marry a sudra girl. Therefore it is said that a kshatriya may have three wives.


In the case of a Vaisya the same rule applies that a vaisya if in love with a sudra girl needs to first marry a vaisya girl to marry a sudra girl therefore it is said that a vaisya may have two wives.


The sudra has no option he should marry only a sudra girl.


(Shastras say in Kali yuga everybody is a sudra in general and therefore only one marriage.


One is a Brahmana kshatriya vaisya or sudra is not by birth but by qualities.)


Now if a kshatriya falls in love with a Brahmana girl then such a marriage is not approved according to sastric injuction.


According to the Vedic system, marriages between katriyas and katriyas or between brāhmaas and brāhmaas are the general custom. If marriages sometimes take place between different classes, these marriages are of two types, namely anuloma and pratiloma. Anuloma, marriage between a brahmana and the daughter of a ksatriya, is permissible, but pratiloma, marriage between a ksatriya and the daughter of a brahmana, is not generally allowed. Therefore Maharaja Pariksit was curious about how Śukrācārya, a powerful brahmana, could accept the principle of pratilomaMaharaja Pariksit  was eager to know the cause for this uncommon marriage.

It is understood that yayati had an unquenchable desire for associating with wrong womans. Lifes goal is to progress spiritually and yayati’s association with such women only degraded him from the right path that is the spiritual progress.


The marriage institution as such is designed for gradual upliftment to spiritual life following the rules laid for it. Transgressing the rules is only going to be a hindrance and obstacle for ones spiritual progress and takes us much lower than our position we were in,for being disobedient to the laws.


 However Ignorance to the laws is also no excuse for our degradation.


It should be note that sukracharya was the Guru of Rakshasa Clan

Anuloma marriage: It is a marriage under which a man can marry from his own caste or from those below, but a woman can marry only in her caste or above.

Pratiloma marriage: It is a marriage of a woman to a man from a lower caste which is not permitted.

The Purana mentions that only under certain conditions can a woman marry for a second time. The conditions are namely moral degradation of her husband, his death, renunciation by him of all worldly pursuits, his resorting to a monastery. It has also been said that a widowed woman may marry the brother of his husband or as an alternative she may marry anyone of her choice.

The Deity of Fire in his description of the various rites involved in marriage says that a man should not marry a woman belonging to his own Gotra (family linage) or from a family acknowledging the leadership of the same Rishi as his own. At the same it has been mentioned that marriage with a woman is not forbidden where the bridegroom is not related to her within seven degrees in the father’s line or five degrees on the side of the mother.

Besides the several regulations involved in various forms of marriage, the Agni Purana has also explained the different forms of marriage. The Brahma Marriage is characterized by the giving away of the bride to man of good and noble parentage and possessed of excellent virtues and who has been specially invited and requested by her father for that purpose. This sort of marriage is in fact considered as the best form of uniting a man and a woman in holy wedlock, as it is supposed to carry the bride’s forefathers to heaven.

In the Arsha Marriage the bride is given away with the presents of a couple of bullocks to bridegroom, while in the virtue giving Prajapatya Marriage, the bridegroom or his relatives on his behalf ask for the hands of the bride. The other forms of marriage which have been mentioned in the Purana are the Asura Marriage, the Gandharva Marriage, the Rakshasa or the Paishacha form.


Eight types of marriage rites


From Manusmrti (Laws of Manu) Chapter III

20. Now listen to the brief description of the following eight marriage-rites used by the four castes (varna) which partly secure benefits and partly produce evil both in this life and after death.


21. They are the rite of Brahmana (Brahma), that of the gods (Daiva), that of the Rishis (Arsha), that of Prajapati (Prajapatya), that of the Asuras (Asura), that of the Gandharvas (Gandharva), that of the Rakshasas (Rakshasa), and that of the Pisakas (Paisaka).


22. Which is lawful for each caste (varna) and which are the virtues or faults of each (rite), all this I will declare to you, as well as their good and evil results with respect to the offspring.


23.One may know that the first six according to the order (followed above) are lawful for a Brahmana, the four last for a Kshatriya, and the same four, excepting the Rakshasa rite, for a Vaisya and a Sudra.


24. The sages state that the first four are approved (in the case) of a Brahmana, one, the Rakshasa rite in the case of a Kshatriya, and the Asura (marriage in that) of a Vaisya and of a Sudra.


25. But in these institutes of the sacred law, three of the five (last) are declared to be lawful and two unlawful; the Paisaka and the Asura rites must never be used.


26. For Kshatriyas those before mentioned two rites, the Gandharva and the Rakshasa, whether separate or mixed, are permitted by the sacred tradition.


27. The gift of a daughter, after decking her (with costly garments) and honouring her (by presents of jewels), to a man learned in the Veda and of good conduct, whom (the father) himself invites, is called the Brahma rite.


28. The gift of a daughter who has been decked with ornaments, to a priest who duly officiates at a sacrifice, during the course of its performance, they call the Daiva rite.


29. When the father gives away his daughter according to the rule, after receiving from the bridegroom, for (the fulfillment of) the sacred law, a cow and a bull or two pairs, that is named the Arsha rite.


30. The gift of a daughter by her father after he has addressed the couple with the text, ‘May both of you perform together your duties,’ and has shown honour to the bridegroom, is called in the Smrti the Prajapatya rite.


31. When the bridegroom receives a maiden, after having given as much wealth as he can afford, to the kinsmen and to the bride herself, according to his own will, that is called the Asura rite.


32. The voluntary union of a maiden and her lover, one must know to be the Gandharva rite, which springs from desire and has sexual intercourse for its purpose.


33. The forcible abduction of a maiden from her home, while she cries out and weeps, after (her kinsmen) have been slain or wounded and (their houses) broken open, is called the Rakshasa rite.


34. When a man by stealth seduces a girl who is sleeping, intoxicated, or disordered in intellect, that is the eighth, the most base and sinful rite of the Pisakas.


35. The gift of daughters among Brahmanas is most approved (if it is preceded) by a libation of water; but in the case of the other castes (it may be performed) by the expression of mutual consent.


If you didn’t understand the above then here it is in a gist once again…


According to the holy texts there are eight different types of Hindu marriages. According to many of these eight types of marriages prevailed in ancientIndia. Among these eight types all have religious procedures. The last four are not religiously defined and most of the times were condemned.


Brahma Marriage:

According to the Brahma marriage if the boy completes his Brahmacharya (student hood), he is eligible to be married. This marriage is done when the father of the boy approaches the girl’s parents and asks for her hand. And then the Brahma marriage is arranged. In this there is no system of dowry. One of the most important ritual of this marriage is Kanyadaan (where the father gifts his daughter to the groom.) Among the eight types the highest type of marriage is the Dharmasastras.


Daiva Marriage:

In the case of Daiva marriage the girl is married to a priest. In this kind of a marriage the girl’s family look for a suitable man for their daughter and if nobody turns up they go looking for a groom in such places where a sacrifice is being conducted. According to the religious texts Daiva marriage is inferior to Brahma marriage. It is considered degrading for the woman to look for groom by herself or by her family.

Arsha Marriage:

The third type of marriage is called Arsha marriage that is marriage with the sages. In Arsha the bride is given in exchange for two cows, which is received, from the groom. Marriages of this type are said to have happened when the parents of the bride couldn’t afford the expense of their daughter’s marriage at the right time. Without choice the girl is married to an old sage. This is not considered as a noble marriage at it involves monetary or business transaction.


Prajapatya Marriage:

This kind of marriage is almost similar to the Brahma marriage. There are only two major differences, one is that there is no monetary transaction and Kanyadaan is not a part of Prajapatya marriage. In this marriage the bride’s father goes in search for a groom for his daughter.


Gandharva Marriage:

Next is Gandharva marriage, is like the modern day love marriage. Here the bride and the bridegroom marry secretly without the knowledge of their parents. It is not believed to be a right kind of marriage as it is against the will of the parents so it is inferior kind of marriage.


Asura Marriage:

 In the Asura kind of marriage the groom is not considered suitable for the bride. He is in no way a match for the girl. The bridegroom gives as much wealth as he can afford to the bride’s parents. So this system of marriage is more like business.


Rakshasa Marriage:

The Rakshasa marriage is done, when the groom fights battles with the bride’s family, defeats them and then carries her away and then persuades her to marry him. This is not at all considered as the right kind of marriage as it includes force.


Paishacha Marriage:

Paishacha marriage is the last kind of marriage. It is considered as the most inferior type of marriage. In this the girl is married against her wishes. This kind of marriage is prohibited.


Please dont allow ego gratification to take the place of sanctity and purity in creation of God. Rose is Rose, Jasmine is Jasmine, Apple is Apple, Grapes are Grapes. Every where there is a different genetic framework made by God.

Anuloma means in the natural order (union between a elevated caste man and a subordinate class woman) and pratiloma is its reverse… varna sankara was forbidden in the early times…

Father + Mother Progeny = known as (Anuloma or Pratiloma –crossbreeding type)
Brahman + Kshatriya =  Ambasthas
Brahman + Vaishya = Ambashta (Anuloma)
Brahman + Shudra = Nishad (Parasava) (Anuloma)
Kshatriya + Brahman = Suta (Pratiloma)
Kshatriya + Vaishya =  Karana
Kshatriya + Shudra = Ugra (Anuloma)
Vaishya + Brahman = Vaidehaka (Pratiloma)
Vaishyav Kshatriya = Magadha (Pratiloma)
Vaishya + Shudra = Karana (Anuloma)
Shudrav Brahman = Chandala (Pratiloma)
Shudra + Kshatriya = Ksattri (Pratiloma)
Shudra + Vaishya = Ayogava (Pratiloma)


Father + Mother = Progeny Known As
1. Brahman + Ugra = Avrita
2. Brahman + Ambashta = Dhigvana
3. Brahman + Nishada = Kukutaka
4. Shudra + Abhira = Abhira

Father + Mother = Progeny known as
1. Vaideha + Ayogava = Maitreyaka
2. Nishada + Ayogava = Margava (Das)/Kaivarta
3. Nishada + Vaideha = Karavara
4. Vaidehaka + Ambashta = Vena
5. Vaidehakav Karavara = Andhra
6. Vaidehaka + Nishada = Meda
7. Chandala + Vaideha = Pandusopaka
8. Nishada + Vaideha = Ahindaka
9. Chandala + Pukkassa = Sopaka
10. Chandala + Nishada = Antyavasin
11. Kshattari + Ugra = Swapaka


We enjoy and suffer our choices


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  • Manu Smriti is one of the foremost documents on Hindu dharma.

    The white Christian invader injected poison into this noble and graceful document, for immoral purposes of “divide and rule” and conversions of disgruntled Hindu low castes into Christianity.

    They injected falsehoods that Manu wrote that Shudras ( low caste dalits ) are made from the feet of god, while brahmins ( upper caste ) have been made from the head, the Kshatriyas ( warriors ) from the arms and vaishyas ( skilled labour and traders ) from the thighs.

    Absolutely ridiculous things were injected by the vulgar white man with the help of stooges like BR Ambedkar and EVR Periyar-- like’” If a shudra listens to the Vedas molten lead should be poured into his ears “ .

    Ajyesthaaso Akanisthaasa Yete
    Sam Bhraataro Vaavrudhuh Soubhagaya
    - RigVeda, Mandala-5, Sukta-60, Mantra-5- (5000 BC)

    ‘No one is superior or inferior; all are brothers; all should strive for the interest of all and progress collectively’.

    Manusmriti written by the ancient sage Manu, prescribes 10 essential rules for the observance of dharma: Patience (dhriti), forgiveness (kshama), piety or self control (dama), honesty (asteya), sanctity (shauch), control of senses (indraiya-nigrah), reason (dhi), knowledge or learning (vidya), truthfulness (satya) and absence of anger (krodha).

    Manu further writes, "Non-violence, truth, non-coveting, purity of body and mind, control of senses are the essence of dharma". Therefore dharmic laws govern not only the individual but all in society.

    Manu further writes, "Nonviolence, truth, non-coveting, purity of body and mind, control of senses are the essence of Dharma". Dharma thus is a code of conduct that is intended to secure both worldly joys and supreme happiness.

    To act dharmically is, in essence, to act appropriately; what is appropriate is determined by the context in which the action is to be performed and who is performing it. A Shudra is NOT expected to sacrifice his life when the country is in danger. He is NOT exptec to do skilled labour or brainwork he is incapable of.

    Nobody is a Shudra by birth.

    If on my ship, my steward who could NOT pass his school exams want the same salary as I the Captain, he wants family carrying facility, he wants same comforts and space in his cabin –it is just wishful thinking. Mayawati cannot hope to snatch away the beauty contest crown from Aishwarya Rai, no matter how hard she tries.

    Manu cautions everyone to have self -control, so that his mind does not act as the instigator for committing any sinful mental action which would inevitably lead to one or the other type of evil verbal actions or wicked bodily actions.

    A verse from Manusmriti:-

    “Satyam BruyatPriyamBruyat”
    Ma Bruyat Satyam Apriyam;

    Translation: Speak truth in such a way that it should be pleasing to others. Never speak truth which is unpleasant to others. Never speak truth which might be pleasant. This is the path of eternal morality, Sanatana Dharma.

    Meaning: The main point is speaking truth which in one’s dharma. Speaking such truth tactfully which benefits others and is pleasant to listen.

    MANU XII 10-11 :- That man is called 'Tridandin' who has established three controls, on his mind viz., (i) Manodanda -control over his thoughts, (ii) Vakdanda -control over his speech and (iii) Kayadanda- control over his body.

    He who exercises these three controls with respect to all created beings and wholly subdues desire and wrath, assuredly gains complete success in his life.

    Manu calls upon man to use his conscience . His verseneeds every individual to establish an internal check, which alone is the guarantee for good conduct or to eschew bad conduct and not the fear of state police, which only makes a man to be more careful and secretive in committing offence. This internal check is what is meant by "God Fearing" as Atma (Soul) is God within the man. If man listens to his conscience he will not commit the sin.

    Manu has gone into terrific detail. Few examples only – or it will run into hundreds of pages.

    MANU X-163 :-
    Asteya is the unterior motive or desire to secure wealth by illegitimate methods which makes a man corrupt, a cheat, a smuggler, a black marketeer, an exploiter, and makes even men in noble professions exploit the miseries of others to make more and more money in utter disregard to professional ethics. Therefore, it is very essential to ingrain in the heart and mind of every individual the desire not to indulge in 'asteya' i.e., acquiring wealth by illegitimate and immoral methods.

    Shoucham : Manu commands every individual to maintain purity of thought, word and deed (Trikarana shuddi i.e., Kaya, Vacha, Manasa), which is also called Antaranga Shuddi (internal/mental purity) and Bahiranga Shuddi (external purity or purity in action).

    This rule means absolute honesty in that there should be harmony in thought, word and deed of an individual. One should not think something in the mind, speak something else, and do entirely another thing. Hypocrisy is addressed here , which is so abundant in the west.

    Indriyanigraha: Manu wants every individual to have of control over his senses. Failing which the man will indulge in all types of illegal and immoral actions, being instigated by the one or more of the six inherent enemies (Arishadvargas). This lands himself as well as others in misery and loss of happiness.

    The mere knowledge of the rules of Dharma, however does not make a man 'Dharmishta' i.e., a man acting always in conformity with Dharma. Therefore, Dharma has to be ingrained in the mind of every individual from child hood. It is a slow but a sure process. This process was called 'Samskara'.

    MANUVI11-15:- Dharma protects those who protect it. Those who destroy Dharma get destroyed. Therefore, Dharma should not be destroyed so that we may not be destroyed as a consequence thereof.

    MANU-IX-3 :-The father protects the girl in her childhood, the husband protects her after marriage and her sons protect her in old age.

    MANU II-145 :- The acharya is more venerable than a Upadhyaya (teacher). Father is more venerable than an acharya. But the mother is more venerable than the father.

    MANU III-51-52 :-No father who knows (the law) must take even the smallest gratuity for his daughter; for a man who, through avarice, takes a gratuity, is a seller of his offspring.

    MANU Ch.IV-176: Discard wealth (artha) or desire (kama) if it is contrary to Dharma as also any custom or rules regarded as source of Dharma if at any time they were to lead to unhappiness or arouse people's indignation.

    Manu’s concept of gratitude (Kritajnata) included custom of worshipping animals, and plants as also Ayudha Pooja, i.e., worshipping one day in year all the implements or instruments through which we earn our lively hood.

    MANU SMRITHI -IX -101 and III-60 : -
    Mutual friendship and fidelity is the highest Dharma to be observed by husband and wife, throughout their life. The family in which husband and wife have mutual affection and respect always secures happiness and prosperity.
    (The West has 63% divorce rate. The balance 37% have had multiple sexual partners. Only the gays /dykes and the repulsively fat and ugly do NOT include in this 37% )

    MANU 4-239 -242 :-When one departs from this world to the other World, neither father nor mother, neither son nor wife will accompany him. Only the "Dharma" practiced by an individual follows him even after death. A person takes birth alone and dies alone, he alone enjoys or suffers the consequences of his evil deeds.

    Manusmriti says that ahimsa is the foremost among the dharmas that are common to all. It is included in the yoga of mind control. Ahimsa means much more than non-injury or nn-violence ; it implies not doing harm to others even by thought or word.

    From ahimsa Hinduism imparted to the world the practice of vegetarianism: Yajurveda dictates -"Do not injure the beings living on the earth, in the air and in the water."

    Manu Smriti says - Yatra Naryastu Pujyante Ramante Tatra Devatah – “Where women are worshipped there the angels tread”.

    This great law-giver of Hinduism and first lawgiver on this planet defined the status of a wife and her equal rights thus:
    1. If a wife dies, her husband may marry another wife. (Manu, Chapter V, Verse 168). If a husband dies, a wife may marry another husband. (Manu,
    2. If a wife becomes fallen by drunkenness or immorality her husband may marry another. (Manu, Chapter IX, Verse 80). If a husband becomes fallen, a wife may re-marry another husband.
    4. If a husband deserts his wife, she may marry another. (Manu, Chapter IX, Verse 76 )

    Untouchability and caste-based discrimination were unknown during the Varnashrama days. No one was born high and no one low. You became what you are with your karma.

    A dimwit who cannot pass a single exam in school has no reason to write the IIT entrance exam and hope to get Computer Science stream.

    It is easy to secure a job on quota but very difficult to hold on to it, unless you work for the useless and corrupt Indian government offices or town municipality office.

    Janmanaa Jaayate Shudrah Sanskaraat Dwija Ucchate
    Vedapaathi Bhavet Viprah Brahma janaati Brahmanah

    “By birth all are Shudras only. By actions men become Dwija (twice-born). By reading the Vedas one becomes Vipra and becomes Brahman by gaining the knowledge of God.”

    “He in whom the qualities of truth, munificence, forgiveness, gentleness, abstinence from cruel deeds, contemplation, and benevolence are observed, is called a Brahmin in the Smriti. A man is not a Sudra (low Caste) by being a Sudra nor a Brahmin by being a Brahmin”.-- Vanparva Mahabharata

    Na Visheshosti Varnanaam Sarvam Braahmyamidam Jagat
    Brahmanaa poorva Sristhim hi Karmabhih Varnataam Gatam

    “There are no distinctions of castes. Divine consciousness is omnipresent in the world. It was Brahmanic entirely at first. The Varnas have emerged in consequence of men’s actions.” -Shantiparva Mahabharata



    You can read in Aiteriya Brahmana (ii.3.19), that Kavasha Ailusha, who was a Sudra and son of a low woman, was greatly respected for his literary attainments, and admitted into the class of Rishis – the pre-eminent Hindu sages.

    He as a shudra became a Maharishi and wrote some of the hymns of Rig-Veda (Rig., X. 30-40).
    In the Chandogyopanishad we can read that Jabala, also known as Satya Kama, had no gotra, or family name whatever (Chan. Upa., IV. 4). Though born of low parents, Jabala founded a School of the Yajur Veda.

    In the Apasthambha Sutra (II. 5-10) and Manu Smriti (x. 65) we can read that a Sudra can become a Brahman and a Brahman can become a Sudra.”.

    From Vyasa, Valmiki, and Vishva Karma , till the white man invaded India , we find hundreds of eminent Rishis who are Sudras by Varna.

    Megasthenes, the great Greek historian has recorded two milleniums ago that there were four castes in Hindus and a Hindu of any caste may become a Sophist (Brahmin).

    Caste hierarchy and privileges based on caste had no sanction in Hinduism. They are the direct result of the immoral white Christian invader and their vested historians.

    The very expression Dharma in Manusmriti is opposed to and inconsistent with any social inequality by birth . The relevant provisions of the Shruti (Vedas) leave no room for doubt that discrimination on the ground of birth or otherwise had no Vedic sanction; on the other hand such discrimination was plainly opposed to vedic injunction.

    Discrimination of any kind is, therefore, contrary to Dharma. It is really Adharma. All discrimination in Hindu society was introduced by the white Christian invader to divide and rule.

    Sanatana Dharma respects the planet along with its flora and fauna. It is the only religion which advocates vegetarianism.

    Manu wrote that polluting the environment was a punishable offence. In Manu’s laws a person could be ex-communicated from society for mindless felling of tress or killing of animals, the way the English speaking white man shot the buffalo and exterminated the Indian American , or how the Australian Aborigine race was exterminated..

    The whole idea of Vaastu was to construct something without disturbing the flow of nature and interrupting natural flow of energy. It is about peaceful co-existence and comfort. Vaastu is about living in harmony with nature , grateful for her natural bounties.

    It tells us not dominate and harass other living beings, have inherent grace and know your “duties”.. That human beings are just but a link in this symbiotic chain of life and consciousness

    SANATANA means " that which holds eternal Vedic knowledge"-- encompassing everything from microcosm to macrocosm. Dharma leads to eternal bliss, both in this world and the next. It is your sole and soul companion after death.
  • Great Knowledge..

    ~Siya Ram Sarvada Jaya~

  • Volunteer

    Very nice information, thank You Mataji. In His lectures HH Bhakti Vidya Purna Swami Maharaja used to tell about these types and about progeny of mixed marriages, but here You gave in a concrete form. Hare Krishna.

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