SOME ANCIENT HINDU INTERMARRIAGES


A correspondent writing in the Searchlight of Patna in support of Mr. Patel's bill to validate intermarriages among Hindus of all castes, gives a few striking instances of such marriages in ancient times when, he maintains, such unions were held valid and their issue regarded as legitimate. Rishi Vashishtha married one Akshamala, a woman of low caste. Roshi Mandapala married Shrangi, also a low caste woman. Rishi Jamadagni married Renuka, a Kshatriya princess and begot the illustrious Parasurama upon her. Rishi Vaishravana married one Kaikasi, the daughter of a Rakshasa name Sumali and begot upon her the celebrate Ravana, the King of Lanka, Kumbhakarana and Vibhishana. Rishi Goutama married the beautiful Ahalya who was a daughter of a Kshatriya king name Mudgala. Shatnanda, the family priest of King Janak was born out or this wedlock. King Dushyanta married Shakuntala, only a half Kshatriya girl begotten by the sage Vishvamitra upon Menaka, a nymph. King Bharata after whom India has been named Bharatvarsha, was the issue of this marriage. Lord Rama Chandra, married Sita, "a founding of unknown parentage, whom King Janaka had adopted as his daughter." The fact that she was the daughter of Earth or that she was born of a pitcher filled with the blood of Rishis, the correspondent holds, justifies him in holding that she had no caste at all. King Yayati, the famous King of the Lunar Dynasty, had two wives, namely, Devayani and Sharmistha, both of different castes from himself and as well as from each other. Devayani was a Brahmin and Sharmishtha was a Daitya by caste. Lord Shri Krishna was a descendant of this King Yayati through his Brahmin wife Devayani. King Shantanu, the common ancestor of the famous Kauravas and Pandavas, married Satyavati, the daughter of a fisherman and the progeny of this matrimony were held lawful successors to the throne of Hastinapur. The correspondent goes on to say:" Many will be amazed to hear that the foremost of the Hindu Rishis, namely, Vashista, Narada, Parasar, Vyasa and Baradvaja, whose work in Literature, Science, Art and Philosophy are still the object of wonder to foreigners, were born to parents as widely apart from each other in the scale of the Hindu Society as the two poles asunder. Vajra Such Upanishad (Vajrasuchyupanishad), attached to the Sama Veda, says that Vashishtha was the son of a woman of very low social position; Parasara, of a Chaandali; Narada, of a maidservant; Vyasa, the famous author of the Mahabharat, of a fisher-woman and Bhardwaja, a Shudri. As according to the Scriptures, the true criterion of a man's caste is his action and not his birth it matters very little to whatever castes his parents belong. But if we take birth as the criterion of a man's respectability, the most revered Rishis of the Hindus would be huried down to the lowest depth."


Courtesy : Indian Social Reformer - December 22, 1918 page 218

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