Anuloma is marriage between a sudra woman and higher caste man. Pratiloma is marriage between a sudra man and higher caste women.

We know that there are several examples of Anuloma marriages from scriptures. E.g., the case of Ravana and Vyasa.

But is there any example of Pratiloma marriage, especially between Brahmin women and Sudra man? And was it prohibited in the shastras?


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    i think lower Varna man is not allowed to marry a higher Varna woman.
    – The Destroyer
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 16:40
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    The article you referred, contains the answer , it(pratiloma marrige) is not done because manu has clearly stated that the children born from these marriges become chandaals (the people who burn dead and live in cremation grounds)
    – Yogi
    Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 18:10
  • The question is not about whether it is allowed or not, but whether there are any examples in the Itihasas, Puranas, etc about Pratiloma marriages. The sources may say that the progeny of Pratiloma marriage will become Chandaals, but that does not mean the marriage is forbidden, it is?
    – Naveen
    Commented Mar 19, 2016 at 2:42
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    @Naveen, that's like asking 'if you steal, you will go to jail, but that does not mean stealing is forbidden, is it?'.. the definition of forbidden is that you should not do it, not that you cannot do it, and for every action, there is a consequence attached.
    – ram
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 22:14

1 Answer 1


A Pratiloma marriage is between a lower caste man and a higher caste woman, hence have provided a story of a marriage between a kshatriya male and a brahmin female, i.e., Yayati and Devayani. There is an expanded discussion about how that marriage would be deemed bad and would lead to half-breeds.

The Mahabharata recounts (K.M. Ganguly translation, Sambhava Parva, Section 81):

Devayani answered, 'With my two thousand damsels and my waiting-maid Sarmishtha, I wait but your commands. Prosperity to thee. Be thou my friend and lord.'

"Yayati, thereupon, replied, 'Beautiful one, I do not deserve thee. Thou art the daughter of Sukra far superior to me. Thy father cannot bestow thee even on a great king.'

To this Devayani replied, 'Brahmanas had before this been united with the Kshatriyas, and Kshatriyas with Brahmanas. Thou art the son of a Rishi and thyself a Rishi. Therefore, O son of Nahusha,marry me.'

Yayati, however, replied, 'O thou of the handsomest features, the four orders have, indeed, sprung from one body. But their duties and purity are not the same, the Brahmana being truly superior to all.'

After some amount of back and forth conversation , Yayati says:

I cannot hence wed thee, O amiable one, unless thy father bestoweth thee on me.

Later Sukra, the father of Devayani agrees to the marriage. Then Yayati says:

Yayati then said, 'I solicit the boon, O Brahmana, that by so doing, the sin of begetting a half-breed might not touch me.' Sukra, however, assured him by saying, 'I shall absolve thee from the sin. Ask thou the boon that thou desirest. Fear not to wed her. I grant thee absolution.'

Then Yayati marries her. So there is a documented Pratiloma marriage which was feared by the groom as sinful, but the divine preceptor of the Asuras absolves the groom of sin in advance, and hence he agrees.

Note that he does not absolve the half-breed children (who were Yadu, the start of the Yadava race and Turvasu). It is not clear if there was any sin attached to them being a half-breed. However Yadu was cursed later and that is another story.

  • So basically if All people including the father of maiden , maiden herself agrees one can marry a higher caste girl?
    – Yogi
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 16:03
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    The sin was also mystically forgiven by Sukracharya, a very powerful sage. These were very unusual circumstances. What is notable is that though these were great people (Yayati was Nahusha's son who was Indra for a while), they still thought about following Dharma. Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 17:17
  • And @Yogi, as is commonly known, there is nothing which one 'cannot do' in Hinduism. There are only actions and repercussions based on following different paths. Commented Jul 30, 2017 at 19:06
  • @Yogi- in all matters pertaining to practice of Sanatana Dharma, examples are not the license, to do or not do a certain action. Dharma shastras are the sole guide and even there, sanctions in decreasing order are- Shruti, Smriti, Itihasas, Puranas..Shruti includes Upanishads...all else is convenient justification or whataboutry. Lives of Dashavataras, conduct of Devas and other celestials are not applicable to human lives. We have to live by our codes. Commented Dec 29, 2020 at 23:54

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