[Advaita-l] Marrying a maternal uncle's daughter (mAtulakanyA vivAha)

Anand Hudli anandhudli at hotmail.com
Tue Jun 21 11:39:02 CDT 2011

Regarding marriage matters, the dharma sindhu says,
"स्वकुलदेशाचाराविरुद्धस्यैव शास्त्रस्य विवाहेऽनुसर्तव्यत्वात्", one must
follow the shAstra that does not conflict with the tradition of one's own
family and of one's geographical location.   एवं मातुलकन्यापरिणयनेऽपि, this
has to be also followed in the matter of marrying one's maternal uncle's (or
paternal aunt's) daughter. A shruti mantra in support of marrying a maternal
uncle's daughter is stated: " तृप्तां जहुर्मातुलस्येव योषा भागस्ते
पैतृष्वसेयी वपामिव ", इति मन्त्रलिंगैः| O Indra! Accept as your share this
animal fat offering (vapA used in the animal sacrifice) just as the daughter
of a maternal uncle or paternal aunt is accepted (as wife).  This occurs in
the sarpa sUkta of the R^ig Veda.

Also, in practice, a daughter can marry her maternal uncle.  Note that in
the shruti above, there is no mention of daughters of the maternal aunt or
paternal uncle. So these girls are treated as one's sisters.

But there are smR^itis that prohibit such marriages between cousins. In
support of this view, a smR^iti statement is quoted:

मातुलस्य सुतामूढ्वा मातृगोत्रां तथैव च। समानप्रवरां चैव त्यक्त्वा
चान्द्रायणं चरेत्॥

If one marries the daughter of his maternal uncle or a girl claiming the
gotra of her maternal grandfather or a girl with the same pravara, he should
abandon her and observe the chandrAyaNa penance. It is later clarified that
such abandonment of the girl, should she belong to the brAhmaNa varNa, means
the abandonment of sexual relations with her and doing dhArmic activities
without her. She is still to be cared for and provided food, shelter, and
clothing, and must be looked after by the "husband" as his own mother.
mAtR^ivat paripAlayet.

However, reconciling the opposing views, the dharmasindhukAra  opines:

 इत्यादि स्मृतीनां बाधाद् येषां कुले मातुलकन्यापरिणयः परंपराप्राप्तस्तैः स
कार्यः  "गोत्रान्मातुः सपिंडाच्च विवाहो गोवधस्तथा" इति मातुलकन्याविवाहस्य
कलिवर्ज्यत्ववचनमपि येषां कुले देशे मातुलकन्याविवाहो नास्ति तत्परम् ।

Those, in whose family there is a tradition of marrying a maternal uncle's
daughter, may do so. Marrying a girl from the same gotra or a girl in
mAtrusapiNDa relation, killing a cow for the madhuparka are prohibited in
the Kali Yuga. Marrying the daughter of a maternal uncle is also included in
the list. (But this) prohibition of marrying the daughter of the maternal
uncle applies only to those whose family and locality do not have the
tradition of marrying the maternal uncle's daughter.

मातुलकन्यापरिणयनस्यानेकश्रुतिस्मृतिसिद्धत्वात्| There are many statements
from the shruti and smriti that support marriage with a maternal uncle's


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