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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:

  1. devasya tvaa savitu: prasave | ashvinorbaahubhyaam | pushno hastaabhyaam pratigrhnaami |

  2. raajaa tvaa varuno nayatu devi dakshine agnaye hiranyam | tenaamrtatvamasyaam | vayo daatre | mayo mahyamastu pratigraheetre |

  3. ka idam kasmaa adaat Kaamah kaamaayaadaat Kaamo daataa, kaamah pratigrheetaa Kaamah samudramaavishat kaamena tvaa pratigrhnaami | kaamaitatte | esha te kaama dakshinaa |

  4. uttaanastvaangirasah pratigrhnaatu | prajaapataye kanyaam

Meaning:

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  4. 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.

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    since you are casting doubt on one of the most fundamental vedic rites, could you remove the opinionated parts of the question, like your shock in the first couple of sentences. also it seems like semantics differentiating between giving and dana.. if I give you something you want but don't take anything in return, what would you call that in sanskrit ? – ram Nov 20 '18 at 4:05
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    "Naturally the bride has to be mahalakshmi then." - is there a vedic mantra which refers to the bride as mahalakshmi ? for the groom, there is 'vishnurupaaya varaya', is there 'lakshmi rupaya vadhu' ? Vishnu is pati for entire world, for every jiva-atma, whether man or woman, not only for mahalakshmi. yes, the vadhu is invited as mahalakshmi by the in-laws, but since you're asking for 'VEDA sanction', pls provide 'VEDA sanction' for your assumptions also. – ram Nov 20 '18 at 4:13
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    @ram you must be having comprehension issues. I already told that i haven't seen any Vedic mantra corresponding to this. But i have quoted the Puranic mantras which are chanted. Hence i am asking for Vedic references – Rakesh Joshi Nov 20 '18 at 12:07
  • @RakeshJoshi relax please. You asked a good question. No need to muddy it in the comments. Hare Krishna. – Tiger Shroff Nov 20 '18 at 12:18
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    @RakeshJoshi, you must be having assumption issues. you used Puranic reference for the statement "groom is like vishnu" and then made an assumption using that reference. Can you give Puranic reference for your assumption - "Naturally the bride has to be mahalakshmi then" ? – ram Nov 20 '18 at 16:19
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Ramayana was composed in the post-Vedic period, which predates Puranic period.

The wedding of Sita and Sri Rama was mentioned in Bala Kanda.

इयं सीता मम सुता सहधर्मचरी तव || १-७३-२६ प्रतीच्छ चैनां भद्रं ते पाणिं गृह्णीष्व पाणिना |

"This is Seetha, my daughter, she acquits herself in whatever duty you undertake. Take her wishfully, let safeness betide you, take her palm into your palm..."

पतिव्रता महभागा छायेवानुगता सदा || १-७३-२७ इत्युक्त्वा प्राक्षिपद्राजा मंत्रपूतं जलं तदा |

"She who is prosperous and husband-devout, will always be abiding you like your own shadow..." So saying that king Janaka then poured forth water into the palms of Rama, which is sanctified with hymns."


We can observe from the above slokas that it was no where mentioned about kanyAdAn. King Janaka said that Sita will follow Sri Rama in all aspects - सहधर्मचरी(sahadhaRmacharI).


We have to read the statement of King Janaka carefully. - "Take her wishfully, let safeness betide you, take her palm into your palm..". It was about pAnigrahan only but not about kanyAdan .

Further, no mention about Vishnu or Mahalakshmi here. These customs may not be traced to Vedas, as they were not mentioned in Ramayana, a post-Vedic epic.

  • What's the logic behind saying Ramayana is post vedic but predated Puranas...Vyasa organised both Vedas and Puranas in Dwapara.. otherwise Puranas are ancient, few are that ancient that they r from prev Kalpa..bdw Ramayana has word Kanyadhana, may be kanyadaana loosely related to that.. – YDS Sep 5 at 12:03
  • Kanyadana was never part of Vedic time. That is why we couldn't find something in Ramayana. Good Answer. – TheLittleNaruto Sep 5 at 12:28
  • @YDS: In Kishkinda Kanda of Ramayana, it was mentioned that Sri Hanuman was well versed with 3 vedas. This indicates that vedas were divided by the time Ramayana was composed. Coming to the aspect of Sage vyasa dividing Vedas, it is a controversial topic and hence I will enter into it. In Mahabharata, Ramayana was mentioned , but in Ramayana, Mahabharata was not mentioned. Hence, Ramayana predates Mahabharata. In Bhagavad Gita, there was no mention about Ganapati, Shakti. They were mentioned only in Puranas. So Mahabharata predates Puranas. – srimannarayana k v Sep 5 at 14:37
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    Read the statement of King Janaka carefully. - "Take her wishfully, let safeness betide you, take her palm into your palm..". It was about pAnigrahan only but not kanyAdan . @YDS – srimannarayana k v Sep 5 at 23:20

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