[Advaita-l] Sa-gotra marriages

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Mon Oct 24 11:41:31 CDT 2016

>Is there provision in the śāstra-s for sa-gotra marriages? Some people say
>that in rare cases where a sa-gotra marriage is arranged, it is possible to
>overcome the 'defect' by having the girl formally 'given' in marriage by a
>person of a different gotra instead of the girl's father doing the 'giving
>away' ritual (dhāra).  Is this arrangement in agreement with the śiṣṭācāra?

I am not aware this being sanctioned by the dharmashAstra works like
nirNayasindhu and dharmasindhu; this could be a recent development. The
general rule, according to the dharmashAstra texts is that sAmya (same
Rishi) is to be avoided in Gotra and in two or more pravaras, in the case
of three-pravara Gotras, or in three or more pravaras, in the case of
five-pravara Gotras. The courts of India, however, have held sagotra
marriages to be legally valid, since 1955. When it comes to customs and
shiShTAcAra, it is a different matter. I have heard that the prohibition of
sagotra marriages is strictly enforced among several communities- the Jats
of Haryana, for example. Those who support acceptance of sagotra marriages
argue that a man and woman who come from geographically distant places and
families who do not have common relatives will have no kind of blood
relationship and should be allowed to marry, and sagotra marriage
prohibition makes sense only in closely knit communities. Perhaps, based on
this argument there may have been certain improvisations to circumvent the
sagotra marriage ban. Of course, when the two people in question are in
love, gotra restrictions may not matter much to them, and the elders may
look for "loopholes" to avoid being viewed as acting against dharma.

As per dharma shAstras, a sagotra or sapravara marriage cannot be a valid
one. The man who commits this mistake without knowledge or out of
carelessness has to undergo three ChAndrayaNas as prAyashcitta, and further
treat the woman as his mother, ie. he is prevented from having the
usual spousal relationship with her. However, he is not to abandon her but
maintain her under his care. A man who commits this mistake knowingly has
to do prAyashcitta as a man who has committed gurutalpagamana (violator of
Guru's bed). And, he is to treat the woman as his mother and maintain her.
The child, if any, born out of such a marriage is a equal to a chANDAla.
But I must add that I have heard of sagotra marriages happening in recent
times, perhaps with the improvisations mentioned above.


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