Definition of Marriage in Hindu Law

Explore the definition of marriage in Hindu law, its types, legal aspects, case studies, and challenges faced in contemporary society. Understand the sanctity of marriage in Hindu culture.


Marriage holds a special place in Hindu society, considered not just a union of two individuals but a sacred bond that extends beyond this lifetime. In Hindu law, marriage is governed by various scriptures and acts that define the roles and responsibilities of the spouses. Let’s delve deeper into the definition of marriage in Hindu law.

Types of Marriages

In Hindu law, there are eight types of marriages recognized, with the most common being ‘Brahma,’ where a girl is given in marriage by her father to a man of good character and learning. Other types include Gandharva, Arsha, Prajapatya, Asura, Rakshasa, Paishacha, and mutual consent.

Legal Aspects

According to Hindu Marriage Act, 1955, marriage is a sacrament, a voluntary union of a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others. It defines the conditions for a valid Hindu marriage, including age of marriage, mental capacity, consent, and prohibited degrees of relationships.

Case Studies

In a landmark case, Sarla Mudgal v. Union of India, the Supreme Court held that a Hindu husband embracing Islam to solemnize a second marriage without divorcing his first wife is void and punishable under the Hindu Marriage Act. This case highlighted the sanctity of Hindu marriage laws.

Challenges Faced

Despite the legal framework, issues such as child marriages, dowry system, and marital disputes continue to plague Hindu marriages. The need for awareness, enforcement of laws, and societal change is essential to address these challenges.


Marriage in Hindu law is not just a social contract but a divine union that carries moral, ethical, and legal obligations. Understanding the definition of marriage in Hindu law helps in upholding the sanctity of this institution and ensuring the well-being of the spouses.

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