Shri Datta Swami

Posted on: 06 Jan 2021


What is the significance of the 'Kaashi Yaatra' ritual done during Tamil Brahmins marriages?

[An online spiritual discussion was conducted on December 12, 2020, in which several devotees participated. Some of the questions of devotees answered by Swāmi are given below.]

[Śrī Ganesh asked: There is a ritual known as ‘Kāśī Yātrā’ done in every marriage of Tamil Brāhmins. In this ritual, the bridegroom acts as if he has suddenly developed interest in spiritual knowledge. He pretends to leave on a journey to Kāśī, since Kaśi is among the holiest cities and a place for learning spiritual knowledge. On seeing this, the father or brother of the bride stops him and explains to him the benefits of married life and convinces him to marry the bride. Then the marriage takes place. Is this ritual genuine? If yes, why is there no ritual where a bride tries to leave the marriage upon developing interest in spiritual knowledge? What is the significance of this ritual?]

Swāmi replied: This ritual is not mentioned by Āpastamba or any other sage. There are also no Vedic mantras associated with this ritual. This proves that this ritual is not a Vedic ritual, but has been introduced later by some priests. In fact, it is against the tradition of brahmacarya āśrama, which is the stage of a celibate student. In the Vedic tradition, the young celibate student (brahmacārī) completes his education from his preacher. Upon completing his education, the student is ordered by the preacher to get married and have children. This is stated in the Veda as “Evaṃ vedamanūcya…prajātantuṃ mā vyavacchetsīḥ...”. In that statement, the preacher (Guru) is ordering the student to get married and have children to extend the human race. Extending the human race is the service of God so that whenever God descends on earth as a Human Incarnation, there will be human beings available in every generation. When the Veda has already ordered the graduating student to marry and produce children, how can he violate that order? How can he avoid getting married and go to Kāśī? The Veda is the commandment of God. When such strong commandment has already been given, where is the need for the brother of the bride to request the brahmacārī to marry his sister? It is just a foolish drama! It was only created for the fun and entertainment of the spectators at the wedding. This petty ritual has neither the authority of any Vedic hymn nor the authority of any sage like Āpastamba, which form the basis for any Vedic ritual.