The Agni Purana

by N. Gangadharan | 1954 | 360,691 words | ISBN-10: 8120803590 | ISBN-13: 9788120803596

This page describes Rules of Marriage (vivaha) which is chapter 154 of the English translation of the Agni Purana, one of the eighteen major puranas dealing with all topics concerning ancient Indian culture, tradition and sciences. Containing roughly 15,000 Sanskrit metrical verses, subjects contained in the Agni-Purana include cosmology, philosophy, architecture, iconography, economics, diplomacy, pilgrimage guides, ancient geography, gemology, ayurveda, etc.

Chapter 154 - Rules of Marriage (vivāha)

[Sanskrit text for this chapter is available]

Puṣkara said:

1. The brahmin should marry four wives, the warrior class three wives, the tradesmen two wives as they desire. The last class should marry only one wife.

2-3. All the righteous acts should not be done in the company of women not belonging to one’s own community. One should marry only from his own community. (At the time of marriagevivāha) the warrior class should hold the arrow, the tradesmen should bear the toad and then the last community the fringe of a garment. A girl should be given (in marriage) only once. One who abducts such a girl deserves the same punishment as for a thief.

4-7. No atonement is laid down for one who sells his children. Marriage [i.e., vivāha] is said to consist of four kinds of acts such as kanyādāna (giving the girl as a gift), śacīyāga (rite relating to the wife of Indra), marriage and caturthikā (the fourth one). Women are allowed to have another husband in the following five adversities—if (the first husband is) lost, dead, has become an ascetic, impotent or fallen morally. If (the husband) is dead, (she) should be given to the brother (of the deceased). In the absence (of a brother) (she should be given) as one wished. The three pūrvas (pūrvā, pūrvāṣāḍhā, pūrvaproṣṭapadī), āgneya (kṛttikā), vāyavya (svāti), the three uttarās (uttarā, uttarāṣāḍhā, uttarūproṣṭapadi) and rohiṇī are the asterisms always commended for copulation.

8-11. O Bhārgava (Paraśurāma)! One should not choose (the bride) from the same gotra or born in the line of same sage. (One may choose) from (descendants of) more than seven (generations) on the paternal side and more than five (generations) on the maternal side. Having invited a person endowed with good conduct and belonging to a good family and giving a girl as a gift is known as brāhma (type of marriage). The lustre due to the offering of a girl as a gift always elevates men. Then the marriage [i.e., vivāha] accompanied by the offer of the gift of a pair of cows is spoken to be the ārṣa (variety of marriage). The offer made to one after solicitation (is known to be) prājāpatya (variety of marriage) for the purpose of righteousness. It is āsura (type of marriage in which the girl is offered) along with the purchase money. (It is considered as) the lowest. The marriage by mutual consent (is known as) gāndharva. (Marriage) by abduction after a battle (is known as) rākṣasa (variety of marriage). (It is known as) the paiśāca (variety) if the girl is married after deceiving her.

12. An image of Indrāṇī (wife of Indra) should be made with potter’s earth on the marriage day. She (that image) should be worshipped at a pond and (then) the bride should be taken inside the house accompanied by music.

13-14. The marriage should not be done when lord Kesśva (Viṣṇu) sleeps[1] and also in (the months of) Pauṣa (December-January) and Caitra (April-May), on Tuesday and on the days of riktā[2] and viṣṭi.[3] (The marriage should also) never (be done) when Venus and Jupiter are not to be visible and the Moon has been eclipsed. (So also it should not be done) in asterisms ruled by (the planets Sun, Saturn and Mars and days afflicted by vyatīpāta.[4]

15. The asterisms (suitable) for (the performance of) a marriage [i.e., vivāha] (are) Mṛgaśīrṣa, Maghā, Svāti, Hasta, Rohiṇī, the three Uttaras (Uttara, Uttarāṣāḍhā and Uttaraproṣṭapadi), Mūla, Ānurādhā and Revatī.

16-19. The ascendant and the aṃśa (subdivision of the stellar house) relating to a mortal are auspicious. (The planets) Sun, Saturn and Mercury in the third, sixth, tenth, eleventh and eighth (houses) are commendable. Mars in the eighth (is) not (commendable). All the other planets are commendable in the seventh, twelfth and eighth (houses). Even among them, Venus in the sixth from the sixth house is not commendable. (Just as the worship of Indrāṇi is done) in the asterism on the marriage day, the caturthikā (the rite on the fourth day of the marriage) should also be done in the asterism of the marriage [i.e., vivāha]. The marriage should not be performed if four planets are in the same house. One should cohabit his wife only on days other than the parva (days) (the eighth and fourteenth days as well as the full-moon and new-moon days). When a truthful (girl) is given in marriage (there would be) pleasure always.

Footnotes and references:


The four month period commencing with the eleventh day of the bright half of the month of Āṣāḍha (June-July).


The fourth, ninth and fourteenth days of a lunar fortnight.


An adverse period.


The day of the new Moon occurring on a Sunday and when the Moon is in a particular asterism.

Let's grow together!

I humbly request your help to keep doing what I do best: provide the world with unbiased sources, definitions and images. Your donation direclty influences the quality and quantity of knowledge, wisdom and spiritual insight the world is exposed to.

Let's make the world a better place together!

Like what you read? Consider supporting this website: