The Markandeya Purana (Study)

by Chandamita Bhattacharya | 2021 | 67,501 words

This page relates ‘Svayamvara system of marriage’ of the study on the Markandeya Purana, one of the oldest of the eigtheen Mahapuranas preserving the history, civilisation, culture and traditions of ancient India. The Markandeyapurana commences with the questions raised by Rishi Jaimini (a pupil of Vyasa), who approaches the sage Markandeya with doubts related to the Mahabharata. This study examines various social topics such as the status of women, modes of worship, yoga, etc.

Svayaṃvara system of marriage

In this marriage, the princesses chose their soul-mates by their own selection.[1] This type of marriage system is popular among the Kṣatryas. In the Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇ, there are some rules which are followed in the Svayaṃvara system of marriage. For example, as stated in this Purāṇa, the Svayaṃvara marriage system is considered to be among the duties of righteousness.[2] The date and time of the Svayaṃvara is fixed by the astrologers.[3] The bride chose her life partner among the princes and kings present in the s vayaṃvara. She chose her life partner not only being attracted to his beauty but she also notices his power, heroism, prowess, fortitude etc. For example, princess Vaiśālinī chose king Avīkṣit on account of his prowess.[4]

The Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa gives enough examples of svayaṃvara marriage system. For example, Vīrā, chooses king Karandhama,[5] Parā, Gaurī, Subhadrā, Nibhā, Līlāvatī, Mānyavatī and Kumudvatī all choose Avīkṣit,[6] and, Sumanā chooses king Dama at her svayaṃvara.[7] It is also seen that after svayaṃvara, many gifts are offered to the selected bridegroom. It is found in the case of Dama who is awarded many gifts by his wife’s father after marriage.[8]

Footnotes and references:


Vettam Mani, Purāṇic Encyclopaedia, p.779


Mārkaṇḍeyapurāṇa, 130.19


Ibid., 120.23-24


na cāpi rūpamātre’haṃ lobham asya gatā pitaḥ /
śauryavikramadhairyāṇi harantyasya mano mama // Ibid., 121.37


Ibid., 119.1


Ibid., 119.16-17


Ibid., 130.8-9


Ibid., 130.61-63

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