By Swami Harshananda
Brāhma-vivāha literally means ‘marriage of the brāhma type’.
Out of the ṣodaśa-sanskāras or sixteen sacraments recommended in the dharmaśāstras for the dvijas (the ‘twice- born’), vivāha or marriage is considered not only very important but also the basic since all the other sacraments depend on it.
Out of the eight forms of marriage listed in the works, the brāhma is the best. It is called ‘brāhma’ since it is sanctioned by the Vedas (Brahma = the Veda) or is in accordance with dharma (Brahma = dharma), the moral law sanctioned by the holy books and sacred traditions.
In Brāhma-vivāha form of marriage, the father of the girl bedecks her with the best of clothes and ornaments and gifts her to a worthy young man, learned in the Vedas and of good character. Before doing so, the bridegroom is invited and honored properly.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore