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Thread: Some Personal Thoughts

  1. #41
    Join Date
    July 2010
    The Holy Land - India
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    The Giver and the Mendicant


    In the ancient times, Hindus placed a very high value on their daughters. This is illustrated by the interaction between Raja Dashrath and Raja Janak. For Ram's marriage, Raja Dashrath arrived at the Raja Janak's palace with all his relatives and friends. As Raja Janak welcomed him, Raja Dashrath proceeded to bow and touch Raja Janak's feet. Raja Janak stopped him and said, "Being groom's father you have a higher standing; why are you embarrassing me by trying to reach for my feet"? At this, Raja Dashrath replied, "At this point you are the दाता (donor) and I am a याचक (mendicant). You are going to do kanyadaan (charitable act of giving away one's daughter) and I have come to receive that daan (charity). So, you are higher than me and it is only befitting that I show my humility towards to you." Raja Janak was very moved by this gesture.

    It is said that every daughter has a father but not every father has a daughter; only the blessed ones do. Unfortunately the social norms of today put a heavy burden on a girl's parents at the time of marriage and because of that daughters are not accorded the respect and adoration that they deserve. Perhaps every groom should take the initiative to change the social norms and that would reverse the tide and would elevate women to the level that they deserve and belong to.

    Last edited by Believer; 18 July 2016 at 12:13 PM.

  2. #42
    Join Date
    October 2012
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    Re: The Giver and the Mendicant

    Namaste Believer ji

    Very nice. Why don't you write something on the so called modern girls of the modern era. Modern Men are the receiving end, may be KARMA

  3. #43
    Join Date
    July 2010
    The Holy Land - India
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    Swayamvar - स्वयंवर


    India and Hindu culture are famous for arranged marriages in which primarily the male (and/or his family) decides who he would marry. But things were not always that way.

    Swayamvar is a complex word consisting of Swayam meaning self and Var meaning husband in this context. So swayamvar means choosing a husband yourself. This tradition was practiced by females in ancient times. The prime example that comes to mind is that of Sita Devi's marriage. When she became of marriageable age, her father fixed a date for her swayamvar at his palace and let all the kingdoms of the area know about it. Many a princes showed up for Sita Devi's hand. The stipulated condition was that the prospective groom should be able to lift the Shiva Dhanush (Shiv bhagwan's bow) and string it. One after the other many princes tried but failed as the bow was very heavy. Only Bhagwan Ram was able to meet the challenge. As per the norm, Sita Devi put a garland around his neck, signifying her acceptance of Bhagwan Ram as her future husband. This was followed by the marriage ceremony and another eligible bachelor went off the 'available' list. This divine marriage is celebrated as 'vivah panchami' in many parts of India and Nepal - Sita Devi being from Janakpur, Nepal.

    Another example from the not too distant past is that of princess Samyogita and King Prithviraj Chauhan from around 1190 CE. Prithviraj was a very successful ruler in Northwest India and had a rival in Jaichand who was the ruler of an estate to the east. Jaichand's daughter was very impressed with Prithviraj's exploits and declared that she would marry only him. Jaichand arranged for his daughter Samyogita's swayamvar but did not invite Prithviraj, who neverthless showed up in disguise along with some of his soldiers. To show his disdain for Prithviraj, Jaichand had a statue made of Prithviraj and put it at the entrance to the palace to show as if he had the status of a common guardsman. When it came time for Samyogita to choose a husband, she went around all the assembled princes and nobles and much to the embarassement of her father, put the garland around the neck of the Prithviraj's statue. On seeing this, Prithviraj along with his soldiers abducted her, brought her to his capital of Ajmer and made her his queen.

    Following the examples of the divinity and the kings, the commoners too perhaps invited offers from the prospective grooms in their communities/social circles, and let their daughters select suitable matches for themselves. An affluent member of the society might have arranged for a real, but not that elaborate, swayamvar at his house for his daughter to select or to just declare a pre-selected person as her would be husband by garlanding him.

    The advent of muslim rule in India probably put an end to this noble tradition of swayamvar in which women decided who they would marry.

    Last edited by Believer; 18 February 2018 at 03:32 PM.

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