5 Main Aims of a Hindu Marriage
The aims of Hindu marriage are as follows: 1. Dharma, 2. Praja or Progeny, 3. Kama, 4. Rina, 5. Socio-Cultural Continuity.
The religious texts of many communities in India have outlined the purpose, rights and duties involved in marriage. Among the Hindus for instance, marriage is regarded as a socio-religious duty.
Ancient Hindu texts point out three main aims of marriage. These are dharma (duty), praja (progeny) and rati (sexual pleasure). Besides these, there are also other aims. of Hindu marriage.
The aims of Hindu marriage may be described in the following manner.
The highest aim of marriage, according to the Hindu thinkers was ‘dharma’. For a Hindu, marriage is meant for the fulfillment of his dharma or religious duties. As K.M. Kapadia says, “Marriage is desired not so much for sex or for progeny as for obtaining a partner for the fulfillment of one’s religious duties”. It is the duty of the householder to offer ‘Pancha Maha Jajnas in the company of his wife. If the wife dies the householder must take a second wife for performing his obligations. As such a wife is a religious necessity for a Hindu.
2. Praja or Progeny:
The second aim of Hindu marriage is the procreation of children, particularly a male child. It is believed that putra or son saves the father from going to hell. Therefore, the birth of a male child has been so elevated among the Hindus that procreation has become a religious duty. Thus, the Hindu thinkers regarded procreation as duty in the interests of both the family and community as well as for one’s own salvation.
Procreation is regarded as the second most important aim of Hindu marriage. Kapadia has remarked, “When the Hindu thinkers regarded Dharma as the first and the highest aim of marriage and procreation as the second best, Dharma dominated marriage”.
3. Kama or Sex Gratification:
Sex is one of the aims of marriage, but it is the least desirable aim of marriage and that is why it is given third place by the Hindu thinkers. According to Kapadia, “Though-sex is one of the functions of marriage; it is given third place, concluding thereby that it is the least desirable aim of marriage.
Hence, it is found that sex has been given a secondary role in Hindu marriage .Although sex is important for the healthy development of personality of an individual , Hindu thinkers did not consider it to be the sole aim of marriage.
4. Rina or Debts:
There are supposed to be three debts which a man has to repay in his life time. These debts are (i) Deva Rina, (ii) Rishi Rina and (iii) Pitri Rina. The first rina is towards the God who created the universe and gave us life. The second rina is towards the teachers who enabled us to fulfill our obligations. The third one is towards our ancestors who gave us birth.
5. Socio-Cultural Continuity:
Hindu marriage has two dimensional approaches. First, for the continuity of society, it is obligatory for an individual to establish a household and procreate and to provide new members to society. Second, it is the duty of every householder to pass on the cultural traditions of his Kula to the next generation.