In a traditional Hindu marriage, the bride is 'gifted' to the groom by her father Like Godaan (gifting of cow) bhudaan (gifting of land) etc women are treated as objects that can be gifted away !
Infact in many places, the this act of 'gifting' of the girl to the groom is what a marriage is? Even the invitation in south india is printed stating that "kanyaadaan of so and so girl to so and so boy is to take place" etc.
Has it got vedic sanction?
As far as my knowledge goes, there is no mention of ‘kanyaadaan’ in the Vedas. But the dharma sastras and grihya sutras do mention about ‘giving’ a kanya in marriage. But how this became ‘daana’ or gift only god knows. It is said that the bridegroom who is the receiver, is treated as mahavishnu. Naturally the bride has to be mahalakshmi then. But who is competent to give ‘mahalakshmi’ as a gift ?
A gift is a gift in what ever sense you use the term. Further, when gifting a kanya, no vedic hymn is chanted. However, the following verse is chanted by the father (in south India)
Kanyaam, kanaka sampannaam, kanakaabharana bhushithaam,
Daasyami Vishnave Thubhyam Brahmaloka jigeeshaya
Viswarambara:, sarvabootha: Saakshina: sarvadevathaa:
Imam Kanyaam pradaasyami pitrunam tharanaya cha.
Meaning: with a desire to attain brahmaloka and for the salvation of forefathers, I give this kanya along with gold and jewellery to you, oh Vishnu…. Here the kanya is gifted in return for brahmaloka and the salvation of her forefathers ! verily, it is a gift in the real sense.
And let us see what the groom has to say when receiving this gift:
The Taittiriya Aranyaka has certain mantras called "pratigrahana mantras". (3rd prasna 10th anuvaka). These mantras are recited to remove the sin incurred when ever a gift is received. The bride groom chants these mantras to remove the so called sin he incurs by receiving the bride as gift !
The hymns are as follows:
devasya tvaa savitu: prasave | ashvinorbaahubhyaam | pushno hastaabhyaam pratigrhnaami |
raajaa tvaa varuno nayatu devi dakshine agnaye hiranyam | tenaamrtatvamasyaam | vayo daatre | mayo mahyamastu pratigraheetre |
ka idam kasmaa adaat Kaamah kaamaayaadaat Kaamo daataa, kaamah pratigrheetaa Kaamah samudramaavishat kaamena tvaa pratigrhnaami | kaamaitatte | esha te kaama dakshinaa |
uttaanastvaangirasah pratigrhnaatu | prajaapataye kanyaam
With the permission of the Divine Savitr, I take hold of (accept) (this gift) with the arms of the ashwins, and the hands of Pusan.
The king varuna brings this gift of gold meant for agni, Oh devi dakshine ! By this May I become immortal. Let the giver get nourishment and may I the receiver get happiness as a result of this act.
Who gives what to whom? Kama is the giver and kama is the receiver. KAma is the giver, kAma is the receiver, the gift enters into the ocean of desire. It is through kAma that I receive you as gift. Oh kAma, this gift is yours, this dakshina is yours
May the rishi uttaanah aangeerasa receive this kanya for prajapati.
Here, by chanting the above hymns the groom is disassociating himself from receiving the gift and therefore incurs no sin !
My questions therefore are
1. If kanyadan is not a gift but just ‘giving’ the daughter in marriage as is sought to be conveyed, then why the groom should chant the pratigrahana mantra?
2. Even if it be a gift, then why receiving such an invaluable gift be treated as sin?
P.S : If kanyadaan is indeed vedic then please provide direct reference from the Vedas or grihya sutras and also the corresponding riks to be chanted while doing the process.