Thursday, 23 May 2013

Marriages between Vedic and Non-Vedic tribes

I have already discussed some Exotic Tribes of India like Rakshas , Gandharva and Apsara , Yaksha, etc. We see that these tribes exactly cannot be termed non-Vedic since their origins can also be traced to Vedic rishis but their way of living, their culture and rituals are quite different from the actual Vedic people.
We see that Rakshas are non-Vedic people but in case of Ravana, he is a devotee of Shiva. Daityas are non-Vedic but in case of Bali, he is said to have performed 99 Yagyas with his Purohit Shukracharya.  The Yakshas are non-Vedic but in case of Kubera, he is worshipped as a lord of wealth.The Gandharvas and Apsaras are also seen to be in close relation with the Vedic people. The Kirata, Kimpurusha, Kinnara lived adjacent to Vedic kingdoms and in the Himalayas but not much is mentioned about them.
The Danavas and Daityas ,although belonging to the Asura group, we find that martial relations were established signifying intermixing to some extent.

The style of marriages also seem to be influenced by different communities. Let's see the 8 types of marriages in Hindu customs-

  • Brahma Vivaha - Where the parents of the bride and groom decide the marriage and with the consent of all.
  • Prajapatya Vivaha - Where the bride and the groom are married off at a young age. The responsibility of the bride lies on the groom's father and not on the groom himself till both of them attain the right age. Prajapati directly means one who takes care, Possibly that's why this type is called Prajapatya since the father takes are of the bride.
  • Daiva Vivaha - Where the bride is poor and her marriage is performed as a charity by rich people.
  • Arsha Vivaha - This type is applicable for those communities where the groom has to pay an oblation to the bride to get her. 
  • Asura Vivaha - Where the bride is not suitable for the groom but still they marry. Asura communities seem to have such type of marriages. 
  • Gandharva Vivaha - This is proper love marriage where the consent of parents is not necessary. Gandharvas and Apsaras used to marry the person of their choice. 
  • Rakshas Vivaha -  This type involves abduction of the bride if she is ready for marriage. The Rakshas tribes used to marry in this way. 
  • Paishacha Vivaha - The bride is intoxicated and is not in her senses while marrying. That's why it was called Paishacha vivaha on the name of Pishacha. 
( The tribe names are given to marriage styles but they being given due to peculiar behaviour of those tribe is just my view. )

As I mentioned earlier, the intermixing of these tribes with Vedic people has happened. The Puranas provide valuable information about the kings and rishis who married brides from other tribes. Most of the marriages are from Apsaras and Naga. This seems credible when it comes to geography. The Nagas have lived in the Indian subcontinent but others have lived either far in Himalayas ( Yakshas, Kinnara, Kimpurusha,etc) or far south ( Rakshas) or far east ( Kirata). Less information is available about the martial relations of other exotic tribes like Vidyadhara, Charana, Siddha, Pishacha, Vanara, Pannaga, etc. So a natural interaction would be between people who live next to the Vedic people. Let's view them - 

Apsara 
  • Pururavas Aila and Urvashi - Pururavas was a Chandravanshi king. Urvashi bore 6 sons from him.
  • Prachetas and Pramlocha - Soma was the son of Atri. His adoptive daughter was Pramlocha who was married to Prachetas, a descendant of Dhruva.
  • Trinavindu and Alambusha - Trinavindu was the king of Vaishali kingdom and a Chakravarti Samrat
  • Agnidhra and Purvachitti - Agnidhra was the grandson of Swayambhuva Manu.
  • Raudrashva and Ghrutachi - Raudrashva was a king in the Puru dynasty of Hastinapur.
  • Vishwamitra and Menaka - Although they didn't marry, they bore a daughter Shakuntala who married Dushyanta. Their marriage took place by Gandharva Vivaha.
  • Ruru and Pramadvara - He was a rishi. Pramadvara was daughter of Vishvavasu Gandharva and was brought up by Sthulakesha rishi.
  • Vatsaka and Mishrakeshi - Vatsaka was a Yadava prince.
Naga
  • Rucheyu and Jwala - Rucheyu was the son of Raudrashva, the Puru king. Jwala belonged to the Takshaka tribe of Nagas.
  • Arjuna and Ulupi - This couple is quite well known from Mahabharata.
  • Shantanu and Satyavati - Shantanu was the great grandfather of Pandavas and Satyavati was Vyasa's mother.
  • Yadu and Dhumavarna's daughters - Yadu was the son of Yayati and Dhumavarna was one of the Nagas who married his 5 daughters to Yadu.
  • Purukutsa and Narmada - Purukutsa was an Ikshavku king. Son of Mandhata.
  • Kusha and Kumudvati - Kusha was Rama's son. 
  • Somashrava - He was a disciple of rishi Yajnavalkya. His mother was Naga princess and father was Shrutashrava rishi. 
Daityas 
  • Yayati and Sharmishtha - Sharmishtha was the daughter of Vrishaparva Daitya. 
  • Yayati and Devayani- Devayani was the daughter of Shukracharya, the priest of Danavas and Daityas
Rakshas
  • Vishrava and Kaikesi - Vishrava was a descendant of Pulastya and father of Ravana. Kaikesi was daughter of Sumali Rakshas.
  • Bhima and Hidimba - Hidimba was a Rakshasi who met the Pandavas after they fled the Lakshagriha in Varnavati. Ghatotkacha was their son.
Apart from this, there were many inter- marriages between the non-Vedic tribes too. For example, Ravana's maternal grandfather Sunali married an Apsara, Daitya Hiranyakashapu married an Asura princess, daughter of Hiranyakashapu called Sinhika was married to a Danava, Shachi, Indra's wife was the daughter of Danava Puloman., etc.
But strangely, we don't find any Vedic princess being married to a non-Vedic groom.

From this, we can conclude that the ancient people were not that averse in marrying with non-Vedic tribes. Although the names given above are less, at least we can establish that Vedic kingdoms had alliances with these non-Vedic tribes and kingdoms which had the capacity of influencing the politics of the land. In the case of Arjuna and Ulupi, the Naga kingdom to which she belonged supported the Pandavas during the Mahabharata war. Similar was the case with the Rakshas tribes who supported the Pandavas because of Hidimba and Ghatotkacha. 

2 comments:

  1. During the Rigvedic period human distinction was that of Sur and Asur. However Rigveda respected both the Sur and Asur alike. There after the term Devta & Daitya was coined to make distinction between the two cousins. Still later the term Arya and Anarya were coined to mark the supremacy of one section of people over the other.
    Now a new term seems to have been coined in the name of Veda, i.e. Vedic Tribes and Non-Vedic Tribes. No body earlier had been able to define the term Sur and Asur, same was the fate of Devta & Daitya, still the theory of Arya and Anarya has fallen to the ground.
    My dear friend will you kindly take pains to define the term Vedic Tribes and Non-Vedic Tribes?
    As long as you are not clear about the concept of Vedic Tribes and Non-Vedic Tribes you have got no right to conclude that no Vedic princess was ever married to the person of non-Vedic Tribe.
    As per the Puranic History this human race is the off-spring of Seven Parjapaties, Ten Parjapaties or according to some sources of 21 Parjapaties. But popular belief is that of Seven Parjapaties (Sri Hari Vansh Puran), to which some people have interpreted as seven races, as seven bloods, as seven tribes and as the progenies of the earliest seven kings called Seven Parjapaties and the seven castes. Science has declared that the definition of the Jati (Caste) is; that the Species which can produce off-spring and continues to produce further off-springs are of One Caste. For example by mating an Ass with a mare a baby can take birth. But that baby is not further able to produce another baby horse or baby mare or a baby Ass. So, horse and Ass are of different two Castes (Jatis).
    But a human of any Country, Caste, Creed, Color or feature if enters into sexual intercourse with the other, can produce children and then further progenies. Because they are the expansion of the human race which first took its birth in South Africa and then scattered in the whole of the world.
    Your view regarding, marrying any Vedic Princess with non-vedic person is also not correct. In spite of the fact that your concept about the Vedic Tribes and Non-Vedic Tribes is not mentioned, one can understand what you mean. Will you call the forefathers of Parsu Ram as Vedic Tribe or non-vedic Tribe? Will you call the forefathers of Trinbindoo or Trishna Bindu or Rishi Bhardwaj as Vedic Tribe or non-Vedic Tribe? If they are from vedic tribe; you will find that the one princess of Trinbindoo or Trishna Bindu was married to the grand father of Ravna, named Pulsatya.
    The founder of the kingdom of Parsu Ram was ‘Pulha’. One of the grand daughters of Pulha named Havirbhu or Havishbhu, who was the daughter of Kardam was also married to Pulsatya, the grand father of Ravna. Still one daughter of Daksha Parjapati who was also the father-in-law of Shiva was married to Pulsatya; name of this princess was Prithi. Daksha Parjapati was the grandson of Kardam and great grand son of Pulha, the founder of Parsu Ram’s Dynasty. Still going further a princess named Idvida, who was the daughter of Rishi Bhardwaj was married to Visharwas or Visharva father of Ravna.
    One should not call such marriages as inter caste or inter-tribe marriages etc. etc. These were the marriages between the men and women of different families of the same human race.
    We are a global race of human beings tending to unite the people of the world in the name of One God and as long as we do not shun off the belief of distinctions between the men and men, our goal of attaining the global brotherhood will remain underachieved.

    ReplyDelete
  2. "But strangely, we don't find any Vedic princess being married to a non-Vedic groom"
    That is bullshit. I can give an example if you want

    ReplyDelete