Daiva marriage

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Daiva marriage (Hindi: दैव विवाह) has been defined in Manu Smriti in section IV - Eight types of marriage (Verse 3.28)[1]

yajñe tu vitate samyag ṛtvije karma kurvate |

alaṅkṛtya sutādānaṃ daivaṃ dharmaṃ pracakṣate ||


यज्ञे तु वितते सम्यग् ऋत्विजे कर्म कुर्वते ।

अलङ्कृत्य सुतादानं दैवं धर्मं प्रचक्षते ॥

The parents of the girl start looking for a suitable match for their daughter immediately after she attains puberty. Their priority is to get her married off at the earliest. But in case they fail to find and fix her marriage within a reasonable time to a suitable groom of their choice, they decide to offer the girl as Dakshina to a priest, which is called Daiva marriage. No qualities of groom like good character, conduct, etc. are emphasized in this form of marriage. Typically, this type of marriage literally amounts to giving away the bride to the priest, at times due to inability of her family to organise her, being poor.

Among eight types of marriages defined in Hinduism, as specifically mentioned in Manu Smriti (Verse 3.21)), namely (1) Brahma (Hindi: ब्रह्म), (2) Daiva (Hindi: दैव), (3) Arsha (Hindi: अर्श), (4) Prajapatya (Hindi: प्राजापत्य), (5) Asura (Hindi: असुर), (6) Gandharva (Hindi: गन्धर्व), (7) Rakshasa (Hindi: राक्षस), and (8) Paishacha (Hindi: पैशाच), this type of marriage that is considered inferior because it is degrading to womanhood. This form of marriage is generally recommended only for the Brahmans among four varnas of the Hindu social order in Hinduism, because the Brahmans can only officiate in the sacrifices as priest.[2]

The practice was followed by many royals in ancient times to forge diplomatic ties with allies and enemies (after getting defeated) alike by giving away their daughters can also be considered as this type of marriage. Giving away of Jodhabai by her father, Raja Bharmal of Amber to Akbar and giving away of Uttara by her father, the king Virata of Matsya to Arjuna as his daughter-in-law are few of many such examples.


  1. ^ Manusmriti with the Commentary of Medhatithi by Ganganatha Jha | 1920 | 1,381,940 words | ISBN 8120811550 (https://www.wisdomlib.org/hinduism/book/manusmriti-with-the-commentary-of-medhatithi/d/doc199802.html)
  2. ^ Traditional Forms of Hindu Marriage in India (http://www.yourarticlelibrary.com/hindu/traditional-forms-of-hindu-marriage-in-india/4377)