This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series Ashta Vivaha

The word Rākṣasa is derived from rakṣa or protection and indicates a very insecure, fearful or dangerous situation for the bride. In this marriage1hatvā chittvā ca bhittvā ca krośantīṁ rudatīṁ gṛhāth |
prasahya kanyāharaṇaṁ rākśaso vidhirucyate || MS iii.33
the groom kidnaps or forcibly captures and takes away the bride either with or without her consent, but definitely without the consent of the brides family and can kill, maim or destroy the brides family in a battle or any other violent method which results in the bride yelling or crying in fear, shock and sorrow as her kinsmen are killed and their homes destroyed. Rape is included in this kind of Rākṣasa marriage and it can take various forms. This type of marriage is considered extremely base and heinous. All castes except the kṣatriya (warriors) are prohibited from resorting to this type of marriage.

Taking a bride away with her consent while against the wishes of the in-laws, is fine in kali yuga. However, it causes hardship to the in-laws and can embitter the overall marriage experience. It is imperative that the consent of the bride and her desire to be taken away by the groom, be explicitly expressed2A fine example is the letter of Rukmini to Shri Krishna mentioned in the Bhagavatam. This letter was sent to Krishna by Rukmini. It is a beautiful eulogy in which love for the divine is evident. The letter was carried by a Brahman, who was a trustee of Rukmini. The eulogy appears in tenth-book and fifty-second chapter of the Bhagavat Purana.
Krishna_and_Rukmini_ride_away_in_a_chariotO the infallible and the most handsome One! Having heard Your qualities, which enter through the path of ears and absolve away the pains of life, and having heard about Your handsome appearance, which is the only asset of the eyes of living beings with eyes, my heart is accepting You as a consort leaving behind shyness.||1||
O Mukunda, the lion (best) among men! Given a chance, which composed girl from a good lineage will not wish for You as a consort; You, Who is the happiness of the minds of people, Who is the happiness of the world, and Who is incomparable from any viewpoint — be it lineage, nature, beauty, knowledge, energy, wealth, or abode.||2||
Therefore, O Lord! I have indeed accepted You as a consort and I have submitted myself to You. O lotus-eyed Krishna! Please arrive here [and accept me]; so that the prince of Cedi (Sisupala) does not takes away the property of brave You — just like a jackal should not take away the prey of a lion.||3||
If I have revered the all pervading Paramatman by social welfares (digging wells), oblations, obeying rules, penance, and serving demi-gods, saints, and preceptor, then O Gadagraja (Krishna)! You accept me after holding my hand — instead of anyone else like the son of Damaghosa (Sisupala).||4||
O Lord, Who is unconquered! Arrive secretly in Vidarbha one day before my marriage. Then after defeating all the army-commanders from the regions of Cedi and Magadha (Sisupala and Jarasandha), marry me with the ways of demons by showing Your valor and conquering power.||5||
If You are wondering that how will you conquer me without killing the women and relatives inside my palace, then I am telling You a way out. As per an old tradition, there is a grand fair before the marriage, during which the bride goes out to the temple of Girija for prayers.||6||
O lotus-eyed Krishna! If I don’t achieve the dust of Your feet, which is sought after by incomparable Ones like Umapati (Siva), then I will destroy my life. If the service of Your feet is not achieved in this life, then I will take hundreds of birth and do penance; I am sure I will achieve Your lotus feet some day.||7||
in the face of family opposition. Then alone can this marriage be termed a ‘vivāha’ in the proper sense, else it becomes a criminal offence.

ravana-jatayuRamayana has the perfect example where Sītā is kidnapped by Rāvaṇa, the rākṣasa king. It is in the nature of the rākṣasa to prefer this type of vivāha as it gives them more thrill, ego satisfaction or whatever to make them look heroic among their demoniacal kinsmen. Śrī Rama was experiencing the effects of Saturn daśā (as mentioned in Ramayana, and this can be calculated using the mūla-daśā) and Saturn was the lord of the 7th bhāva in his chart.

In jyotiṣa, a strong effect of Saturn in the seventh bhāva can bring forth this experience in marriage.

Series Navigation<< Gāndharva Vivāha: VenusPaiśāca Vivāha: Rāhu (or Ketu) >>

References   [ + ]

1. hatvā chittvā ca bhittvā ca krośantīṁ rudatīṁ gṛhāth |
prasahya kanyāharaṇaṁ rākśaso vidhirucyate || MS iii.33
2. A fine example is the letter of Rukmini to Shri Krishna mentioned in the Bhagavatam. This letter was sent to Krishna by Rukmini. It is a beautiful eulogy in which love for the divine is evident. The letter was carried by a Brahman, who was a trustee of Rukmini. The eulogy appears in tenth-book and fifty-second chapter of the Bhagavat Purana.
Krishna_and_Rukmini_ride_away_in_a_chariotO the infallible and the most handsome One! Having heard Your qualities, which enter through the path of ears and absolve away the pains of life, and having heard about Your handsome appearance, which is the only asset of the eyes of living beings with eyes, my heart is accepting You as a consort leaving behind shyness.||1||
O Mukunda, the lion (best) among men! Given a chance, which composed girl from a good lineage will not wish for You as a consort; You, Who is the happiness of the minds of people, Who is the happiness of the world, and Who is incomparable from any viewpoint — be it lineage, nature, beauty, knowledge, energy, wealth, or abode.||2||
Therefore, O Lord! I have indeed accepted You as a consort and I have submitted myself to You. O lotus-eyed Krishna! Please arrive here [and accept me]; so that the prince of Cedi (Sisupala) does not takes away the property of brave You — just like a jackal should not take away the prey of a lion.||3||
If I have revered the all pervading Paramatman by social welfares (digging wells), oblations, obeying rules, penance, and serving demi-gods, saints, and preceptor, then O Gadagraja (Krishna)! You accept me after holding my hand — instead of anyone else like the son of Damaghosa (Sisupala).||4||
O Lord, Who is unconquered! Arrive secretly in Vidarbha one day before my marriage. Then after defeating all the army-commanders from the regions of Cedi and Magadha (Sisupala and Jarasandha), marry me with the ways of demons by showing Your valor and conquering power.||5||
If You are wondering that how will you conquer me without killing the women and relatives inside my palace, then I am telling You a way out. As per an old tradition, there is a grand fair before the marriage, during which the bride goes out to the temple of Girija for prayers.||6||
O lotus-eyed Krishna! If I don’t achieve the dust of Your feet, which is sought after by incomparable Ones like Umapati (Siva), then I will destroy my life. If the service of Your feet is not achieved in this life, then I will take hundreds of birth and do penance; I am sure I will achieve Your lotus feet some day.||7||