This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series Ashta Vivaha

marriage-dowry

असुर (asura)
an evil spirit, demon, ghost, opponent of the gods (RV. viii.96.9). These Asuras are often regarded as the children of Diti by Kashyapa and referred to as daitya. As such they are demons of the first order in perpetual hostility with the devas, and must not be confused with the Rakshasas or imps who animate dead bodies and disturb sacrifices

Manu1jñātibhyo draviṇaṁ dattvā kanyāyai caiva śaktitaḥ |
kanyāpradānaṁ svācchandyādāsuro dharma ucyate || MS iii.31
describes this marriage in which the groom gives wealth to the relatives, friends or kinsmen of the bride and/or pays a bride price to obtain the consent of the bride for marriage. It is not rape or physical molestation in any manner but the purchase of a bride by paying the requisite bride price in cash or kind or both.

This is considered a lowly marriage as either of the following situations brings about this marriage

  • The groom is very inferior to the girl and she is made to live with him in exchange of money
  • The groom has purchased a slave wife
  • Boss marries his subordinate or another such worker-supervisor relationship where the consideration is money and work benefits
  • Temporary marriage which is done like sexual favours in exchange of money or any similar kind of consideration

All these forms of marriage, whether temporary or permanent, cause complete disrespect for womanhood in one sense and degradation of the moral character of the native. The soul incurs karma that causes it to fall further.

Prostitution is a form of Āsura vivāha as in this the groom (male) is paying a bride price to the lady. This is prohibited for all castes except the vaiśya (trading class) where the men were required to travel long distances for making money and took such wives at different ports in lieu of money. Hence the vanija karaṇa in jyotiṣa indicates high sexuality and frequenting prostitution in addition to business abilities.

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References   [ + ]

1. jñātibhyo draviṇaṁ dattvā kanyāyai caiva śaktitaḥ |
kanyāpradānaṁ svācchandyādāsuro dharma ucyate || MS iii.31