Divorce – references from ancient texts.

My life in the past years has taken a diversion from the path which I followed before my marital discord.during these last 5 years my time was spent in studying astrology,religion and law apart from meditating and attending courts.

I  across both kind of people during this time; people who helped me and people who created obstacles- openly or discreetly.I would like to thank all those who helped me because it kept me going and also all those who tried to block me openly as well as discreetly because it prompted to put in more effort while keeping my faith in God.

Normally people are of view that for a hindu going in for a divorce is bad, most of the people have grown up thinking that divorce is not a part of hindu culture and marriage is a part of dharma so saving marriage is being true to religion or being akin to a good hindu.

I am putting forward my understanding of this matter in this writeup please feel free to give feedback as it will help me improve.

The most important thing for a divorce to happen is marriage.

Marriage has been told to be of eight(8) types as per manu smriti.

ब्रह्म विवाह (brahma Vivaha),दैव विवाह(Daiva vivaha) ,आर्ष विवाह (aarsha vivaha),प्रजापत्य विवाह(prajapatya vivaha), आसुर विवाह( aasura vivaha),गन्धर्व विवाह (gandharva vivaha),राक्षश विवाह (rakshasha vivaha) and पिशाच विवाह(Pishacha vivaha).

The first 4 kinds have been defined as righteous marriages and the last 4 as अधम( non righteous)

Manu has further elaborated that son born out of first 4 kinds of marriages absolve sins of previous and coming generations,the details can be read from standard texts available in print as well on net.

Even out of the last 4 kinds of marriages leaving out the last one,other 3 have been allowed as per the caste  of the person.Rakshasha Vivaha has been allowed for Kshatriya and Aasura ( giving money to the girl herself or her family in lieu of marriage) in case of Shudra. Gandharva vivaha arises out of mutual liking and needs of the couple.

What about the eight kind:  Pishacha Vivaha (पिशाच  विवाह) ?

It has been explained as follows in Manu smriti:

सुप्त मुत्ता प्रमत्ता वा रहो यत्रोपगछति |

स पापिष्ठो विवाहाना पिशाच अश्ताश्त्मो अधमः |

appraoching a person when he/she  is sleeping(supta),intoxicated (mutta) or thoughtless,careless,excited (pramatta) state resulting in marriage gives rise to eighth kind of marriage which is non righteous.

I have taken help for translating the meaning of Pramatta from the following link:


the other focal word in this stanza is yatropagachati which means : if approaches

so when a person approaches another for marriage when he/she is is either intoxicated ,asleep or careless/thoughtless and taking benefit of it solemnises the marriage, the marriage is called pishacha vivava and it is forbidden in all castes.

what has been said here can be summed up as ” marriage by decepetion is not recommended for anyone.

So the manner of approach is important and not the ritual as such in all the above mentioned types of marriages.

Divorce may be defined as annulment of marriage so that the parties can get remarried and the new marriage of either or both be accepted socially,legally and on religious grounds.

Modern law permits divorce on 2 main grounds- divorce by mutual consent and divorce by fault.

most of us have read Mahabharata which includes the episode of marriage of sage Parashara and Satyavati. though Satyavati was married to sage Parashara, they seperated and Parashara knowing that Satyavati has a rajayoga released her from marital bonds.Satyavati later married Shantanu and became stepmother of Bhisma.

This may be taken under the category of divorce by consent- knowing that husband and wife have different life paths they seperate by consent and each goes on own path.,

second type is divorce by fault, do our scriptures say anything regarding this?

In chapter 9, shloka 72-73 of manu smriti Manu further states:

मनु स्मृति अध्याय 9 , श्लोक 72

विधिवात्प्रतिग्रिह्यापी त्यजेत्कन्या विगर्हिताम व्याधितां विप्रदुष्टां वा छद्मना चोपपादिताम :

अर्थात जो कन्या निन्दित,रोगिणी,कलंकित अथवा छल से अच्छी बताई गयी हो ऐसी कन्या विधि से ग्रहण करके भी त्यागी जा सकती है .

विधि के बाद ग्रहण की गयी कन्या तो विवाह विधि संपूर्ण होने के बाद ही मानी जायेगी ? a girl who has been married by deception,is non worthy can be discarded even after marriage rituals. – isnt it divorce ?

shloka 73- chapter 9 manusmriti:

यस्तु दोषवती कन्या मनाख्यायोपपाद्येत |

यस्य तद्वितथं  कुर्यात्कन्यादातुरदुरात्मनः |

If a girl is married without telling her defects,one may annul this act of the wicked girl betrother by cancelling the kanyadaan. : annulment /divorce without alimony.

if the marriage is performed without telling the defects of the girl,can be annuled by cancelling the kanyadaan.

So if taking the advantage of carelessness,innocence or any other way while hiding the faults of girl an approach is made for marriage negotiation resulting in marriage the said marriage can be annulled without any alimony.

In simpler words divorce without alimony.

kanyaadaan is the ritualistic shifting of the responsibility of girl from her father/brother to the bridegroom/husband and normally results in provision of alimony in case the husband abandons the wife.

So a provison for not only divorce but also a without alimony divorce has been provided in scriptures only if we care to read.

I have been told that there is a refernce to divorce due to domestic violence in Artha shastra by kautilya where both husband and wife have been taken to be capable of inflicting domestic violence – a gender neutral approach in ancient India.

I am reading this text at present and will insert the relavent material in this article at a later stage.

Marriage is no doubt a part of religion- dharma and it must be protected because marriage has been termed as fruits of dharma as well as a means of procreation- our children are supposed to liberate us through performance of funeral rites and shraadha, tarpana.

but what is not a part of dharma can not be protected.

In Gita it has been said:

अधर्माभिभवात्कृष्ण प्रदुष्यन्ति कुलस्त्रियः।
स्त्रीषु दुष्टासु वार्ष्णेय जायते वर्णसङ्करः॥
adharmābhibhavātkṛṣṇa praduṣyanti kulastriyaḥ |
strīṣu duṣṭāsu vārṣṇeya jāyate varṇasaṅkaraḥ || Bhagavat Gita||

Translation: When irreligion is prominent in the family, O Krisna, the women of the family become polluted, and from the degradation of womanhood, O descendant of Vrisni, comes unwanted progeny. (BG:1.40)

अधर्म धर्ममिति या मन्यते तम्सावृत्ता |

सर्वार्थान्विपरीतान्श्च बुद्धि सा  पार्थ  तामसी |

Some times we make mistakes under influence of tamas( darkness,negativity) and act against intelligence by thinking ( non righteousness) adharma to be (righteousness)  dharma.

I have came accross people who say; in matters of marriage one has to tell lies- let the marriage be solemnised,if something arises laterwe will  handle the situation. here lies the crux in increase of divorce: marriages by decpetion seem to increasing and being againt dharma are leading to unstability resulting in increase in divorces.

Now the question arises how do we know who is the deceiver and who has been deceived ?

Normally an intelligent person can judge the reality of allegations if he knows either of the party since a long time or by interacting with the person and particularly noticing the behavior of the accused or the accuser.

Those who  know a bit of astrology must read  about the implications of blameworthy marriages being reflected in the horoscopes of children born out of such marriages as well as also a way to guess the wrongdoer.

Lets be truthful in marriage negotiations and not try to fool someone because despite everything,it will breakdown and saving it may result in bad karma who try to save it .

Once again I would like to say that I am not promoting divorce culture- I am against it because out of all this the children suffer.

All I am trying to do is to prevent divorces by requesting other to be on right path.

May God guide us all to the right path.

note : please do not copy/translate this article for posting on your blog claiming yourself to be author . if you find it worth posting on your blog kindly give a reference or link to this page, at least pass the rightful credit so that I can do the same if find something worth sharing from your blog.


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