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Thread: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

  1. #1

    Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Okay, I do not know if this topic has been done before, but what does Hinduism say about intercaste, interracial, and interfaith marriage?

    Are you personally in one or do you know someone in one? Are there any challenges in the marriage? If not, would you ever consider one? (when I say "one", I mean all three intercaste, interracial, and interfaith)

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Vannakkam bp789:

    Although there is a trend where these types of marriages are becoming more commonplace, it is not necessarily wise. Each individual marriage is unique, but stats indicate the divorce rate is three times as high, although personally, I think it may have more to do with the lack of shared interests.

    I went to one yesterday, and have been to several, and know several. The one yesterday was between a Sri Lankan Hindu boy, and a Malayalee Christian girl. They are having two weddings: yesterday was the Hindu wedding, and Saturday is the Christian wedding. There is meat at one, but not the other. A thali at one, and a ring at the other. Etc. Quite different in all respects. I'm guessing each family considers one of the weddings to be the 'real' wedding, and that would differ.

    Of course there are differences to be worked out. When a child comes along, so we do the namakarana, or baptism? Do we attend church, or temple, or both? So it can get very complicated.

    From my observation, the more liberal minded people within their faiths are more likely to succeed. (If the definition of success is staying together harmoniously) The problems occur when an individual is or gets very religious, and then quite adamant about it.

    Some of the others I have seen are: Sri Lankan Hindu male married to Swedish Christian female ending in divorce.

    Sri Lankan Hindu male married to Korean liberal Christian ... working out wonderfully so far

    White non-practising Hindu leaning to agnostic (my son) married to a tolerant liberal Anglican ... working out wonderfully so far.

    Two Sri Lankans ... one getting very involved in a Guru, and the religion ... ending in divorce.

    So each situation is incredibly different. I think that part of the solution is give up on any infatuation for a minute before marriage, and REALLY talk it out beforehand, especially before children.

    Aum Namasivaya

  3. #3

    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Namaste,

    Here is an article about the growing number of interfaith marriages and how they are failing: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...d=opinionsbox1

    I would definitely see more problems arising out of interfaith marriages rather than interracial marriages. But of course a lot of the time the two are intertwined. I have never really thought about marrying a non-Hindu. I can see how non-practicing or semi-practicing Hindus wouldn't mind, but for me personally Hinduism is such a big part of my life and I would prefer to have a Hindu wife and also to raise my children in Sanatana Dharma.

    I would be open to marrying someone of another race, provided they are Hindu. Especially with a growing number of white and non-Indian Hindus, that could be a real possibility for me. But of course I don't plan on getting married anytime in the next several, years, so I'll see what happens.

    Jai Sri Krishna

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Vannakkam: I found a long and often personal discussion about it on another forum here. This one is particularly about Hindu-Christian marriages.

    http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/forum/...ead.php?t=3179

    Pretty interesting comments all around.

    Aum Namasivaya

  5. #5

    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Eastern Mind View Post
    Vannakkam: I found a long and often personal discussion about it on another forum here. This one is particularly about Hindu-Christian marriages.

    http://www.bignewsnetwork.com/forum/...ead.php?t=3179

    Pretty interesting comments all around.

    Aum Namasivaya
    Namaste Eastern Mindji,

    I took a look at the thread and it does have interesting comments. I think the main factor with how successful interfaith marriages will be is how religious the spouses are. If they are both non-practicing or semi-practicing, then the marriage could end up being successful with not that many problems. However, if both spouses are devout and deeply immersed in their respective religions, then most likely problems will arise. Like the OP said that her boyfriend has a deep faith in Christianity and she has a deep faith in Hinduism and they already saw problems arising.

    You could always say that you won't raise the children in any religion and let them choose for themselves, but I don't think that is very practical. What will the spouses do when the child is very young and not yet able to choose their own religion? Will the child have a Hindu name or a Christian name? Will the child be baptized or go through the Hindu sacraments such as niskramana, annaprashana, and chudakarma? Also, as somebody in the thread said, depending on where you live, it can be a difficult thing just to not raise your children Christian.

    A non-practicing or semi-practicing Hindu probably won't care much about having their child go through the sacraments and a semi-practicing Christian probably won't care much about doing specific things to raise their child Christian. That's why I think those marriages have a better chance of succeeding. But if both spouses are devout and deeply rooted in their own religion, then problems will more likely arise.

    Jai Sri Krishna

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Quote Originally Posted by Ramakrishna View Post
    Namaste Eastern Mindji,

    ---- However, if both spouses are devout and deeply immersed in their respective religions, then most likely problems will arise. Like the OP said that her boyfriend has a deep faith in Christianity and she has a deep faith in Hinduism and they already saw problems arising.

    Jai Sri Krishna
    Namaste Ramakrishna

    I will rather opine the opposite (within a limited scope however). You are correct in case of conventional faith where devoutness is equated to externalities. But where the knowledge of spirit is deep, the alliances are never broken, even if partners kill each other (one may of course counter opine that in case of christians or muslims the knowledge of spirit can never be deep enough).

    Bhisma and Krishna fought the terminal battle but were they separated?

    Om Namah Shivaya
    That which is without letters (parts) is the Fourth, beyond apprehension through ordinary means, the cessation of the phenomenal world, the auspicious and the non-dual. Thus Om is certainly the Self. He who knows thus enters the Self by the Self.

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Vannakkam:

    Sometimes the disagreement is right there from the start, and people can't see it. I know of marriages where parents refused to go, because the one side (Christian or Moslem) could not get themselves to enter the Hindu temple. So it basically then becomes eloping. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Easier in the west, where we have more of a nuclear family social structure rather than an extended family social structure.

    In my own marriage, my wife's parents refused to go, but that wasn't religious. More a case of nobody being good enough for our daughter. But it all changed back over time, when the kids started arriving. Each set of parents blamed the other side for 'leading my poor child into some strange cult', when in reality it was total mutual consent. Nobody led anyone.

    This topic varies greatly between east and west. One of the main reasons is that in the east, nearly everyone has a religion, and there is a stronger sense of caste. Here in the west, about half the people have no religious affiliation, but rather the philosophy of secular humanism, or agnosticism. There is still a class (mostly education, and money related) barrier though. Pygmalion was all about that, was it not? You don't see doctors marrying below their 'class' much.

    Aum Namasivaya

  8. #8

    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Here's a post on a South Asian American blog that I found which is about mixed Indians.

    http://www.sepiamutiny.com/sepia/archives/003744.html

    Well, I guess my actual question is does Hinduism forbid intercaste marriage?

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    Vannakkam bp789:

    Forbid is an awfully strong word. I suppose that there are some people who would say it is forbidden. Some say it is forbidden to cross water as a Brahmin, and you lose your caste if you do. Yes, there is the orthodox or traditional element, but I believe they would be in the minority. But when humans have free will, there isn't much one can do. A lot of people wouldn't like it, but then they'd tolerate it after the act. Now as we are moving more into a global awareness and lots of intermixing, it is becoming more prevalent, and more tolerable. It probably also depends a lot on the degree of gap between castes.

    Aum Namasivaya

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    Re: Intercaste, Interracial, and Interfaith Marriage

    A non-practicing or semi-practicing Hindu probably won't care much about having their child go through the sacraments and a semi-practicing Christian probably won't care much about doing specific things to raise their child Christian. That's why I think those marriages have a better chance of succeeding. But if both spouses are devout and deeply rooted in their own religion, then problems will more likely arise.
    There would be less problems with a Hindu having their kids raised Christian than vice versa. Hinduism is tolerant and accepting of all religions, while Christianity teaches that Jesus Christ is the only way to God. A Hindu would have far less problem with their child going to church to sing hymns and hear about Jesus than a Christian would have with their children going to a Hindu temple and praying to images, which is strictly forbidden in Christianity. However, as EM said, if you have a liberal Christian (who believes there is more than one way to heaven) and a liberal Hindu then it could work.

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