Arya Samaj Marriage: What is So Different About it?
Jul 11, 2019 11:58
Arya Samaj Marriages present an essential alternative to the traditional Hindu customary marriage, for people belonging to the Hindu religion. This is especially because unlike conventional Hindu beliefs, the Arya Samaj marriage customs permit inter-caste and inter-religious marriages, thus making the sect more inclusive. Also, unlike traditional Hindu belief systems of grandeur and magnificence, the Arya Samaj is one community which holds simplicity as dear to its heart. Thus, it makes the event of marriage more cost-effective and peaceful.
This article aims to briefly summarize all the ways in which an authentic Arya Samaj marriage is different from a traditional Hindu marriage and also the possible reasons for why the former might be a better and more viable alternative than the other.
The Arya Samaj is a community in which marriage is considered as a transition of the boy from the student phase of his life to that phase in which he would have to discharge the responsibilities of a householder. Thus, the ceremony carries immense significance in the eye of people belonging to the Arya Samaj community.
Similarities between Hindu Marriage and Arya Samaj Marriage
First and foremost, it is important to enumerate certain basic similarities between the Hindu customary marriage and a marriage as per Arya Samaj Marriage laws. The Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 is one legislation which is applicable to both, Hindu traditional marriages as well as Arya Samaj Marriages. This is because the Arya Samaj community is a sub-sect of the Hindu religion. Any person who is not a Christian, Muslim, Jew or Parsi can claim to be an Arya Samaji. Also, people who follow Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Jainism can be accommodated within the Arya Samaj community. The marriage can also be conducted by a person who has converted to Hinduism by way of the process of ‘Shuddhikaran’. Therefore, the community can be concluded to be a considerably broad and inclusive community.
However, apart from the Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, the Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act, 1937 also governs marriages of the Arya Samajis.
The Arya Samaj also reflects the ideology of the Hindu religion, when it comes to the eligibility criteria for marriage. Both, under the Hindu law as well the Arya Samaj Marriage Validation Act of 1937, the marriageable age for a girl is 18 years and that for a boy is 21 years.
Additionally, the grounds for divorce under both, Hindu Marriage Act, 1955 and Muslim Marriage validation Act 1937, are the same. Some of them are as follows:
1.Cruelty- If one of the spouse is being cruel to the other spouse, whether physically, mentally, emotionally or psychologically, the aggrieved spouse is entitled to file for divorce under this ground.
2.Desertion- If one of the spouses has deserted the other spouse for two or more years immediately before the filing of the divorce, the deserted spouse has a right to get divorce on that ground.
3.Adultery- If after solemnization of the marriage, one of the spouses has sexual intercourse with a third spouse, the non-defaulting spouse can file for divorce.
4.Conversion- If one of the spouses to the marriage, voluntarily decides to convert his or her religion, the other spouse is entitled to file for divorce on this ground.
5.Unsound Mind- If one of the spouse is of unsound mind, the sound spouse can file for divorce.
6.Unheard of for 7 years- Under the Indian Evidence Act, 1872, if a person is unheard of for the past seven years or more, there is presumption of death of that person. In such cases, the other spouse can file for a divorce decree.
7.Medical reasons- If one of the spouse suffers from incurable form of leprosy or other communicable and venereal diseases, the other spouse is entitled to divorce.
Apart from these grounds, in both Hindu marriage as well as Arya Samaj marriage, the parties can file for mutual consent divorce.
Differences between Arya Samaj Marriage and Hindu Marriage
Notwithstanding the above similarities, there are a lot of factors in which an Arya Samaj Marriage ceremony differs from a traditional Hindu ceremony. The following differences are quite evident between the two kinds of marriage:
1.A traditional Hindu marriage is a larger than life event. Extravagance and grandeur is the highlight of any Hindu wedding ceremony. On the contrary an Arya Samaj Marriage ceremony is the epitome of simplicity. The Arya Samajis do not believe in Idol worship and therefore, the marriage ceremony happens in the witness of the holy fire.
2.For a Hindu wedding, the couple or the family members would have to book a fancy venue for the wedding to be conducted. On the other hand, for an Arya Samaj Marriage, all that the couple needs to do is inform the Arya Samaj Mandir in the locality in which they are residing and reserve a day and time slot for their wedding. The Arya Samaj Mandir takes care of the rest of the arrangements for the wedding ceremony of the couple. The couple will only have to submit to the Arya Samaj Mandir the required documents pertaining to their age, identity, address along with photographs.
3.The Hindu wedding is an exquisite affair which can for several days or in some cases, even weeks. However, an Arya Samaj Marriage takes only a couple of hours.
4.Unlike in a Hindu marriage, where the priest recites all the mantras and does all the rituals, in an Arya Samaj Marriage, it is the couple which themselves recite the marriage. The priest educates the couple of the meaning of the hymns and then the hymns are recited, after both the spouses have understood the meaning of those hymns.
5.In a conventional Hindu wedding ceremony, the couple takes seven rounds around the holy firs, but, in an Arya Samaj marriage, they only take four rounds.
6.In an Arya Samaj marriage, there are various other rituals which are uncommon for a Hindu wedding ceremony. These include the Kesh Mochan (in which the groom gently undoes the hair of the bride), dhruv Darshan (in which the couple stares at the pole star, thus asking it to guide them through the journey of their married life), madhupark (in which the bride welcomes her groom by touching his feet and feeding him honey, curd and ghee and hridaya sparsha (in which both the parties to the marriage touch each other’s hearts and promise to love each other till eternity.
Thus, there are several aspects in which an Arya Samaj marriage is different from a traditional Hindu wedding ceremony. Although it is true that a lot of people wait for nearly their entire lives to have a grand wedding affair, nonetheless there are people who prefer privacy and simplicity over pompousness. For such people, an Arya Samaj is a viable option, since presence only of two witnesses from each side of the marriage is required. The marriage takes less time and is less expensive. Lastly, the ceremony is more accommodative of a marriage between people belonging to two different castes or religions.
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