From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Vivāha or marriage has been considered as sanskāra[1] It is one of the three most important sixteen sanskāras, normally called ‘ṣoḍaśasanskāras’.

The dharmaśāstras have considered vivāha as sacred and inviolable. Hence divorce or remarriage of widows has not received much attention. Divorce has been permitted in cases of mutual hatred, having the possibilities of danger to life. In such cases, only bare alimony is provided to the abandoned party. The husband or the wife can abandon their partners only in extreme certain circumstances such as:

  • Long-standing incurable disease
  • Becoming ‘patita’ or an out caste due to heinous sins

After the passage of ‘The Hindu Marriage Act’ in India in 1955, many changes have been brought in the system of marriage, which also include provision for divorce.


  1. Sanskāra is a purificatory rite or sacrament.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore