Dear Manu Francis, George Thompson, Nagaraj Paturi, and others interested in this topic … 

To give you a spec of the Tamil perspective … 

In the Old Tamil anthology called the Akananuru (akanāṉūṟu; அகநானூறு) there’s some reference to what the bride was “told” during the wedding. 

Loosely translated: 

“Without erring from being ‘chaste,’ assist him and be a loving partner to him who has taken you (as his bride)” (Akananuru 86:13-14)

Here, I’ve translated the word “kaRpu” as “chaste” for easy reference. 


Is there something similar found in non-Tamil texts?

Thanks and regards,

On Apr 16, 2015, at 11:53 AM, rajam <> wrote:

Many thanks to all the members for sending me useful information about the “eight types of marriages” in non-Tamil texts. 

I think I need to read and search further. 

I’m looking for what exactly is “taught” to the bride at the wedding. 

The Tamil word “kaRpu; kaṟpu; கற்பு” is normally understood to mean “chastity; marital fidelity” and is invariably associated with women. 

Unfortunately (?) / Truthfully (!), this word (“kaRpu; kaṟpu; கற்பு”) is NOT restricted to women as we know from ancient Tamil literature. The semantics of the word “kaRpu; kaṟpu; கற்பு)” is “learning/maturing.” kaRpu < kal “to mature, learn."

So, naturally I want to know what the bride was “told” to “learn” during the wedding ceremony. Was the bridegroom “told/taught” to be “chaste?” 

[I wish I had the opportunity to learn Sanskrit when I was growing up in South India and had the capability to understand what was chanted during my wedding ceremony. I don’t think even my husband understood what was recited by the “prohit/priest” and he was asked to repeat!]

When I gather relevant information for my quest and manage to write an article comparing the Tamil and non-Tamil perspectives, I’d like to send it to interested scholars for feedback.

Thanks and regards,

On Apr 9, 2015, at 10:23 AM, rajam <> wrote:

Dear List Members,

I’m re-searching/re-studying the Tamil text iRaiyanAr kaLaviyal (iṟaiyaṉār kaḷaviyal; இறையனார் களவியல்).

In this text, a comparison is made between the “gandharva” type of marriage among the “eight types of marriages” (of the Vedic tradition?) to kaLavu (kaḷavu; களவு) of the Tamil type.

I would appreciate to have access to the earliest reference (and relevant interpretations) of the “eight types of marriages (ashTavivAha)” as mentioned in the Vedic (?) tradition.

I have several questions, but for now here are my specific questions:

1. In which type of marriage(s) did a woman have the right to choose her partner/husband?
2. What was the basic criterion for giving away a bride in marriage to someone OR taking a bride?

3. What is told/informed to a bride and groom during the wedding ceremony about “marital fidelity?” 

4. What is the precise Vedic (?) term for “marital fidelity?”

Thanks and regards,

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