vivAha saMyuktam – Civil code realted to Marriage

In three chapters (2, 3 and 4th) of dharmasthIyam, vivAha saMyuktam – code related to marriage as per artha SAstra is dealt with.

vivAha pUrvA sarva vyavahArAH” starts cANakya. The importance of marriage in forming a civil society is stressed by this single statement. All transactions starts with marriage or marriage precedes all the transactions in the civil society.

A civil society is not just a group of people living together. A set of families living together under the protection of a King is the society. The basis of family is the institution of marriage.

Attaining majority age is at 12 years for women and 16 for a man. After this age individuals are “prApta vyavahAra” or having the ability of performing transactions for themselves. After this age they should take care of civil / societal duties. King to impose fine for refusing to carryout one’s own societal duties.

There are total 8 types of marriages of which first 4 are purely dharmic. They are brahma, prajApatya, ARSa and daiva. In all these types the bride’s father happily gives away the bride with no dowry involved. Both the families of bride and groom are in agreement in these types of marriages and generally there is nothing called divorce or split of marriage in these types of marriages.

Rest of 4 types of marriages are: gAndharva, Asura, rAkshasa and piSAca are all involving dowry or lack of acceptance from the bride or groom or their parents. Generally a marital split is allowed only in these four types of marriages.

All the marriages should have an agreement from bride’s father and / or mother. What constitutes the money / property of the bride and in what circumstances the bride’s money need to be returned, how long a woman should wait for a husband who has gone away for various reasons before remarriage. How long a man should wait before getting remarried, need for mutual consent for divorce, issues related to misconduct and prohibitions, women leaving home and its consequences are the different topics discussed in these three chapters.

In my opinion, a close and detailed study of these chapters gives a basis of common civil code with reference to marriage irrespective of religious affiliation. It carefully considers the impacts of an individual family as well as much larger society of all that dealings arising from the topic called marriage.

This post takes us to the end of 4th chapter of dharmasthIyam.


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