Today you see a lot of love marriages being held. Do you think that love marriage is a new phenomenon of modern societies? If you, think so, you are wrong than right. You will find many love marriages held in Hindu literature, these were known as Gandharva marriage.
Hindu culture depicts eight types of marriages. The Gandharva marriage is one of them. Following are the main characteristics and rituals of a Hindu marriage:
Consent of Partners in Mate Selection
In a Gandharva marriage the consent of both the partners (boy and girl) is required. They are free to select their own mates. It is based on their mutual attraction. The parents and guardian are not required and their consent is not sought by the man or women who are willing to get married.
In ancient times the boy and girl could meet in village fair, temples etc. and they liked each other. They enjoyed the company and decided to live the whole life together. This free choice and mutual attraction was approved by their family members too.
Exchange of Garlands by Couple
In Gandharva marriage, the main ritual is the exchange of garlands between the groom and the bride under a tree and they entered into a happy marriage. The other rituals of Hindu religion were not necessarily to be followed in case of Gandharva marriage. The famous marriage of king Dushyanta and Shakuntala was such type of marriage.
In Vaishnav community of some parts in India, this type of marriage is held and the exchange of garland takes place in front of idol of Lord Shri Krishna.
Flower of Garlands
The garlands used for exchange between the bride and the groom in case of a Gandharva marriage were purely made of roses. No other kind of flower is used.
Time of Marriage
The Gandharva mariages are held in during day time and in no case it can be solemnized during night.
Requirement of Priest
Though there is pronunciation of various mantras is done in a Gandharva marriage, but these are done chanted by the priest. Rather, these are chanted by the groom and bride. So, the presence of priest is not at all required. But the couple entering into the relationship of marriage must have the knowledge of mantras and promises of happy married life.
It is believed that if the couple did not recite the marital promises, the Gandharva marriage will be incomplete.
Gandharva Marriage in Modern Times
The Gandharva marriages in recent times are known as love marriages. You will find that many young men and women come in contact during course of their higher education or job. They find their likes and dislikes similar and they wish to get themselves tied in wedding knot. Sometimes their parents don’t agree to alliance due to difference of ethnic culture or any other reasons. Then the couple gets married against the wishes of their parents. They vows each other to live happily an spend whole life together. They may get married legally (in court of law) or ritually too.