By Swami Harshananda
Ārsa-vivāha literally means ‘marriage derived from the ṛṣis’.
Generally eight forms of marriage are described, out of which the ‘ārṣa’ (derived from the ṛṣis or sanctioned by the Vedas) is the third. In this form of marriage, the father of the bride gifts her away to a suitable man after accepting one or two pairs of cattle (cow, bull) as a gift, to fulfill the law and not as a sale of the girl. The kanyādāna (gifting of the maiden) is done in a ceremonial way.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore