Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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In olden times it was very common to have Swayamvar for an unmarried girl. Swayam means "by self", and Var means "husband", means to select a husband by herself. There were three kinds of Swayamvar:
By Will- It was normal Swayamvar. The girl's father used to invite only those boys who were suitable for his daughter. They used to gather in the royal court. The girl was brought there in her best attire and jewelry carrying Var Maalaa in her hands, was given the round of the court, was introduced to all boys and whoever she liked, she used to put her garland, which she carried throughout her round, in his neck. The couple was considered to be married. Formal ceremonies were performed later. Seetaa's Swayamvar, Kuntee's Swayamvar were held like this only
By Condition- Sometimes kings used to put some condition to marry their daughters, for example, Raajaa Janak put the condition "Whoever will pull the string of a bow he will marry Seetaa to him only"; Raajaa Drupad also put a condition to marry his daughter Draupadee (see Draupadee's Marriage to Five Paadav) to him only who will pierce the eye of a revolving fish looking in the pond of oil at the bottom of that fish. Although such conditions were put for some special person in mind but an unexpected could also happen. Many other Swayamvar are known with such conditions - Krishn married Satyaa (Naagnjitee) by controlling seven wild bulls with sharp horns in just a playful mood and put the rope in all the bulls' nose together. [Bhaagvat Puraan, 10/u20]. Raam married Seetaa by breaking the Shiv Dhanush in Her Swayamvar - read Seetaa's Marriage to Raam.
By Abduction- If the girl wanted to marry some other boy who was not on the list of her father, the boy used to avail this opportunity to abduct the girl without the permission of the parents of the girl. There are four such examples available in Indian history: (1)
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 12/05/12