Marriage In Hinduism And Catholicism Essay

2153 words - 9 pages

The ritual of marriage is significant in the Hindu and Catholic religions. Hinduism is based on achieving liberation from rebirth as an ongoing struggle by fulfilling one's dharma according to the class in the caste system which one belongs to. In contrast, Catholicism is based on the interpretation of the Word of God in the form of tradition. Through shared elements in weddings such as the importance of marriage, the involvement of the witness, the significance of the groom clasping the bride's hand, the exchange of vows and the underlying meaning of the symbol of marriage, one can argue that the theology of Hinduism and Catholicism are revealed.In the Hindu and Catholic traditions there are different perspectives concerning the importance of marriage. Hindu marriages are greatly rooted in the nature of man. Vasudha Narayanan states, "A man has an obligation in life to marry, raise children [especially sons], and fulfill his debts to his community" (90). Thus, marriage becomes a responsibility, as producing sons in order to preserve the family line and culture, is highly regarded in Hinduism. In order for a male to fulfill his dharma and escape suffering from rebirth, he should attain the three major religious paths which are karma-marga, jnana-marga, and bhakti-marga (Bhogal: Hinduism II). Through performing rituals, priestly teachings, gaining knowledge from the Upanishads and expressing devotion to a god, the aim is moksha, liberation from suffering. Through marriage a man can achieve his dharma and fully perform his religious obligations (Narayanan 90). Hence, a man without a wife is unable to perform his duties and thus a man is simply a half, who must be completed by a woman. According to Vasudha Narayanan, marrying women in one's own class is important, thus acceptable if the male partner is a higher class (48). The emphasis on the male partner being of higher class is a reflection of a woman's unequal role and status. A woman, however, is obliged to get married and be faithful to her husband. Vasudha Narayanan explains, "A Hindu wife's dharma involves sexual fidelity as well as total obedience" (Narayanan 98). Women's status is exemplified in the caste. Furthermore, fidelity on the part of a woman is a concrete characteristic of marriage and not her own free will. Marriage in the Hindu tradition is seen as a duty in order to fulfill one's dharma, as opposed to the Catholic tradition that views marriage as a holy sacrament.The majority of Christians view sacraments such as marriage, as rituals that are performed by Christians as symbols of their loyalty and faith in Christ. Baptism and Eucharist are vital sacraments that are performed early in life and are present during the sacrament of marriage. "For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ" (Gal. 3:27). Hence, the sacrament of baptism is an initiation into the church and the sacrament of the Eucharist is a "re-enactment of Jesus' last meal with his...

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