Hinduism Views on Marriage and Divorce
In Hinduism, marriage is viewed as a sacred and lasting bond that brings together two individuals for a lifetime. Hindus believe that it is through marriage that spouses are able to pursue dharma (duty), artha (possessions), kama (physical desires) and moksa (ultimate spiritual release). When a man and a woman come together in marriage, the two are joined into one entity to secure the above highlighted aims as one. Hindus are joined together through a ceremony called Vivar Samkar that marks the start of a new stage in life known as Grihistha Ashrama. The ceremony marks the commitment of man and wife to start up a new family.
According to Hinduism teachings, marriage is an important duty or both men and women to fulfill. The choice to stay alone or lead a celibate life is not encouraged in Hinduism. In most occasions, arranged marriages, have been very common with parents sourcing for brides and grooms for their children since marriage also brings together two extended families. Weddings in Hinduism are scheduled according to the horoscopes of the two partners.
For a man and woman to be marriage in Hindu tradition, the ceremony has to be presided over by a priest. To show that the two are joined in holy matrimony, the priest lights a fire in honor of the god Agni and recites mantras in Sanskirt (a holy language of the Hindu scriptures). The groom then presents offers to the fire and asks for blessings to descend upon the marriage in the form of children. Besides, the two also perform other rituals while offering prayers asking for blessings of food, strength, wealth, good health, friendship, wisdom and happiness.
One thing that should be noted about marriage in Hinduism is that there are strict guidelines over status and class regarding who can marry whom. Only members of the same caste system are allowed to get married. However, women of a lower caste system can marry men in the upper castes.
Based on the seriousness with which marriage is taken in Hinduism, divorce is not considered to be an ideal option in the event that the couple has issues. According to Hindu traditions, there is no concept of divorce. Hindus consider marriage not as a choice but destiny. The two are regarded to have deep a deep connection, in this life as well as the past and future, hence divorce is almost viewed as a taboo. Divorce in Hinduism comes with stigma that can be very difficult to escape. However, democratic principles of religion allow a man and a woman who are married to pursue divorce in the event that they can never live as one.
Just like it is in other religious communities, Hinduism encourages spouses that are considering divorce to first sit down and find a way of solving their issues to avoid breaking the holy matrimony, marriage. If the two are unable to reach a consensus, divorce should be the last option. However, just like at the time of marriage, both parties must formalize the separation in writing.
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