Page:History of India Vol 1.djvu/85

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55
MARRIAGE IN EARLY INDIA

of gentle nature and of graceful form selects, among many, her own loved one as her husband." There can be no doubt, however, that fathers always exercised a wise control in the selection of husbands for their daughters, and, as at the present day, fathers gave the maidens away adorned and decked with golden ornaments.


NAUTCH GIRL.

The ceremony of marriage was an appropriate one, and the promises which the bridegroom and the bride made to each other were suitable to the occasion. It is happily described in a hymn in the later portion of the Rig-Veda, which proves that the custom of child-marriage was then unknown, and that girls were married after they had attained their youth. The following verses from it show the Vedic marriage ritual:—

"O Visvavasu (god of marriage)! arise from this place, for the marriage of this girl is over. We extol Visvavasu with hymns and prostrations.

"O Visvavasu! arise from this place. We worship thee, bending in adoration. Go to an unmarried maiden whose person is well developed; make her a wife and unite her to a husband.