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(lit. ‘round lump’)

A group of blood relatives, perhaps so-called because they are thought to share particles from the same body, or because they are linked through the offering of piṇḍa to the ancestors (pitṛ). Classical Dharmaśāstra sources generally regard the sapiṇḍa relationship as extending to six generations either side of the father, and five either side of the mother; but the extent and duration of the relationship remains a matter of controversy, since the tracing of sapiṇḍa relationships and their extension over time have considerable and complex implications for the eligibility of potential marriage partners. The Hindu Marriage Act of 1955 declares that ‘“sapinda relationship” with reference to any person extends as far as the third generation (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the mother, and the fifth (inclusive) in the line of ascent through the father, the line being traced upwards in each case from the person concerned, who is to be counted as the first generation’. It goes on to record what degrees of relationship on this scale would cause a marriage to be prohibited.

Subjects: Hinduism.

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