Ārṣavivāha(Arshavivaha) is one of the eight types of marriages. In this type of marriage, the bride’s party accepts as dowry two cows from the groom and give the daughter away. In Mahābhārata (Mahabharata), however, the exact definition of Ārṣavivāha has not been mentioned. Nīlakaṇṭha (Nilakantha), citing the opinion of Āśvalāyana (Aswalayana), says — if two cows are accepted as dowry for the bride, from the groom, that kind of marriage is called Ārṣavivāha (Arshavivaha) —
gomithunaṁ dattvopayaccheta sa āṛṣaḥ
In Manusaṁhitā (Manusamhita), the opinion of Āśvalāyana has been supported. However, Mahābhārata (Mahabharata) has said that accepting two cows from the groom is a matter of accepting dowry, which is similar to give the daughter away in terms of ‘selling’, whether by small or big amounts of money. This is not supported in Mahābhārata –
āṛṣe gomithunaṁ śulkaṁ kedidāhurmṛṣaiva tat
alpo vā vahu vā rājan vikrayastāvadeva saḥ.
If someone seeks to gain money by this way of getting a daughter married, that is not the eternal dharma. However, in Matsyapurāṇa (Matsyapurana) it is said that, one who gives the daughter away according to this Ārṣa (Arsha) rite, in between the rivers Gaṇgā(Ganga) and Yamunā (Yamuna), is a virtuous person.
[See Vivāha (Vivaha)]