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A Note on the Rākṣasa Form of Marriage

Minoru Hara
Journal of the American Oriental Society
Vol. 94, No. 3 (Jul. - Sep., 1974), pp. 296-306
DOI: 10.2307/600064
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/600064
Page Count: 11
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
A Note on the Rākṣasa Form of Marriage
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Abstract

The Rākṣasa form of marriage, which is approved in ancient Indian judicial literature exclusively for the Kṣatriya caste, is here investigated in the light of Epic kṣatra-dharma, the guiding principle to be followed by the Kṣatriya caste. Kṣatriyas are of the caste whose primary duty (svadharma) consists in the disinterested pursuit of the manly exercise of arms regardless of who is involved, and they are entitled even to take possession of others' property including wives, as long as they follow the kṣatra-dharma. Violence (śastra, bāhuvīrya, etc.), which Rākṣasa marriage commends, is thus approved and even praised for the Kṣatriyas, whereas acceptance of what is given (dāna), which is implied in the ordinary forms of marriage (kanyā-dāna), is condemned for them in the name of kṣatra-dharma. Rākṣasa marriage, then, holds a position distinct not only from Āsura marriage, which makes use of bribery, but also from Paiśāca marriage, which involves the use of trickery.

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