* 1 Institution of marriage * 2 Type of marriage * 3 Sumskara ( Vivaah as a ritual)
* 4 Steps
* 4.1 Vaak Daanam * 4.2 Kanyaa Daanam * 4.3 Vara Prekshanam
* 4.4 Ardhāsana ceremony
* 4.4.1 Madhuparka ceremony * 4.4.2 Presentation of a ceremonial cow
* 4.5 Mangala Snaanam and the wearing of the wedding clothes by the bride * 4.6 Maangalya Dhaaranam * 4.7 Paani Grahanam * 4.8 Sapta Padi * 4.9 Pradhaana Homam or Jayadi Homamam * 4.10 Ashmarohanam (stepping on the grinding stone) * 4.11 Laaja Homam * 4.12 Griha Pravesam * 4.13 Praavisya Homam * 4.14 Nishekam
* 5 Kanya Daan (giving away of the bride) * 6 Vivaah Homa (sacred fire ritual) * 7 Pani Grahanam (acceptance of the hand) * 8 Pratigna Karanam (solemn vows) * 9 Ashmarohanam or Shilarohanam (stepping on the stone) * 10 Laja Homah (fried-rice offerings) * 11 Parikrama, Pradakshina, or Mangal Phera (circumambulation of the sacred fire) * 12 Saptapadi (seven steps) * 13 Abhishek (sprinkling of water) * 14 Surya Darshanam Dhyaanam Va (meditating on the sun) * 15 Hriday sparsh (touching the heart) * 16 Dhruva Dhyaanam Darshanam Va (meditating on the Pole star and the Arundhati star) * 17 Anna Praashanam (partaking of food) * 18 Aashirvadah (blessing) * 19 See also * 20 References * 21 Further reading
INSTITUTION OF MARRIAGE
According to the Veda, and hence people who are now called Hindus,
marriage is a union between a masculine and feminine entity with
commitments to pursue
TYPE OF MARRIAGE
Eight different types of Vivaah have been documented in the ancient Indian scripture Manu Smrti III.20-34. In all these types of marriage, an eligible groom is one who has completed his Brahmacharya Ashram (student hood) and an eligible bride is a never-married virgin who has recently attained puberty. The eight types of marriage are:
* BRAHMA VIVAAH:
SUMSKARA (VIVAAH AS A RITUAL)
Cosmic rituals constitute an important part of Vedic practices/the
There are many rituals and ceremonies in a Vivaah Sumskara. Many rituals overlap between Indian cultures and communities, though this is not always the case. Well known rituals are described below.
This step is a part of Kanya Varanam, where the groom-to-be (brahmachari) sends two elders on his behalf to the father of a girl whom he wishes to marry. The elders convey the message of the brahmachari and ask for the daughter's hand. The two mantras in the form of brahmachari's appeal to intercede on his behalf come from Rg 10.32.1 ("pra sugmantha...") and 10.85.23. The first mantra begs the elders to proceed and return quickly with success back from their mission on his behalf. The second mantram ("anruksharaa Rjava:...") asks for the gods' blessings for the elders' safe journey to the house of the father of the would-be-bride. The mantra prays to Aryama and Bhaga for a marriage full of harmony. The father accedes to the request of the elders and the resulting agreement for betrothal is known as vaak daanam.
Here, the brahmachari meets his prospective father-in-law. As soon as the bridegroom’s party arrives, they are warmly welcomed by the bride's parents, relatives and friends. At the entrance of the hall, the threshold ceremony is performed. The officiating priest chants a few mantras of blessings and welcome. The threshold ceremony requires the bride’s mother to receive and bless the groom with rice, red turmeric powder (kumkum) etc., by applying tilak (red dot and uncooked rice) on the groom’s forehead. She sprinkles rice and red turmeric powder on the groom, and then blesses him with the palms of both hands - stretching them close to the groom’s head. Now the priest and the bride’s parents lead the bridegroom and his parents to the stage where they are given appropriate seats. All the other guests take their seats in the hall to witness the marriage ceremony.
To the accompaniment of ceremonial mantras by the officiating priest the bride’s parents welcome the groom by invoking the God’s blessings and then offering the bridegroom a nutritious drink called Madhuparka. This is called the Madhuparka Ceremony, the origin of which dates back thousands of years when Rishis and sages of India used it as a way of welcoming guests.
In this ritual, the bridegroom and the bride look at each other
formally for the first time. The bridegroom worries about any doshas
(defects) that the bride might have and prays to the gods Varuna,
The bride: AUM, The noble one may accept and take the seat. The bridegroom: AUM, I am taking my seat. (ॐ प्रातिग्रहनामी)
The bride shall take her seat to the right of the bridegroom. The bridegroom performs the Achamana and Angasparsha with water.
This ritual originates from
Holding with his left hand a cup of Madhuparka (composed of honey, curd and ghee or clarified butter ), after removing the cover and looking at the Madhuparka,
The bridegroom says:
May the breeze be sweet as honey; may the streams flow full of honey and may the herbs and plants be laden with honey for us!
May the nights be honey-sweet for us; may the mornings be honey-sweet for us and may the heavens be honey-sweet for us!
May the plants be honey-sweet for us; may the sun be all honey for us and may the cows yield us honey-sweet milk!
"Honey-sweet", in this case, means pleasant, advantageous, and conducive to happiness. The bridegroom shall pour out the Madhuparka into three cups and then partake a little of it from each of the cups reciting the following Mantra:
The bridegroom: The honey is the sweetest and the best. May I have food as sweet and health-giving as this honey and may I be able to relish it!
Presentation Of A Ceremonial Cow
The bride's father symbolically offers to the bridegroom a cow as a present. In olden times sons-in-law received real cows as gifts, since that was the most precious asset with which a newly wedded couple could start life. This part of the tradition has been preserved by a symbolical presentation. At the conclusion of the first part of the wedding ceremony, it is customary to present gifts to the bride. The bridegroom presents the bride with gifts of clothing and jewellery thereby acknowledging his lifelong duty to provide her with the necessities of life.
The father of the bride, offering to the bridegroom the present of a cow, a finger-ring or some other suitable article says:
The father of the bride: AUM, (Please) accept these presents. The bridegroom: AUM, I accept (these presents).
MANGALA SNAANAM AND THE WEARING OF THE WEDDING CLOTHES BY THE BRIDE
Five Veda mantras are recited to sanctify the bride in preparation
for the subsequent stages of the marriage. This aspect of the marriage
is known as mangala snanam. The sun god (Surya), water god (Varuna),
and other gods are invoked to purify the bride in preparation for a
harmonious married life. Next, the bride wears the marriage clothes to
the accompaniment of additional Veda mantras. The bridegroom then ties
a darbha rope around the waist of the bride and leads her to the
place, where the sacred fire is located for conducting the rest of the
marriage ceremony. The bride and the groom sit on a new mat in front
of the fire. The groom recites three mantras which invoke Soma,
There is no Veda Mantram for tying the mangala sutram (auspicious thread) around the neck of the bride by the groom. The latter takes the mangala sutram in his hands and recites the following verse:
Maangalyam tantunaanena mama jeevana hetunaa: kanThe bandhaami subhage twam jeeva saradaam satam This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck, O maiden having many auspicious attributes! May you live happily for a hundred years (with me).
After maangalya dhaaranam, the groom lowers his right palm and
encloses it over the right hand of the bride. He covers all the five
fingers of the right hand of the bride with his right palm through
this act of paani grahanam. He recites mantras in praise of Bhaga,
Aryama, Savita, Indra, Agni, Suryan,
Main article: Saptapadi
During this ritual, the groom walks with the bride to the right side of the sacred fire. All along, he holds his wife's right hand in his right hand in the way in which he held her hand during the paani graham ceremony. He stops, bends down and holds the right toe of his wife with his right hand and helps her take seven steps around the fire.
At the beginning of each step, he recites a Veda mantra to invoke the
blessings of Maha Vishnu. Through these seven mantras, he asks Maha
Dear Wife! By taking these seven steps, you have become my dearest friend. I pledge my unfailing loyalty to you. Let us stay together for the rest of our lives. Let us not separate from each other ever. Let us be of one mind in carrying out our responsibilities as householders (grihasthas). Let us love and cherish each other and enjoy nourishing food and good health. Let us discharge our prescribed Vedic duties to our elders, ancestors, rishis, creatures, and gods. Let our aspirations be united. I will be the Saaman and may you be the Rk. Let me be the Etheric world and let you be the Bhoomi or Mother Earth. I will be the Shukla or life force and may you be the bearer of that Shukla. Let me be the mind and let you be the speech. May you follow me to conceive children and gain worldly as well as cosmic awareness. May all auspiciousness come your way.
This series of Veda mantras starting with "sakhaa saptapadhaa bhava ..." and ending with "pumse putraaya ..." are rich with cosmic meaning and sacred imagery.
PRADHAANA HOMAM OR JAYADI HOMAMAM
After sapta padi, the couple take their seat on the western side of
the sacred fire and conduct pradhaana homam. During the conductance of
this homam, the bride must place her right hand on her husband's body
so that she gets the full benefit of the homam through symbolic
participation. Sixteen mantras are recited to the accompaniment of
pouring a spoon of clarified butter into the sacred fire at the end of
recitation of each of the mantras. These mantras salute Soma,
Gandharva, Agni, Indra, Vayu, the Aswini Devas, Savita, Brihaspati,
Viswa Devas and
ASHMAROHANAM (STEPPING ON THE GRINDING STONE)
After pradhaana homam, the husband holds the right toe of his wife
and lifts her leg and places it on a flat granite grinding stone known
as "ammi" in Thamizh. The ammi stands at the right side of the sacred
fire. The husband recites a Veda mantra when he places the right foot
of his wife on the ammi: May you stand on this firm stone. May you be
rock-firm during your stay on this grinding stone. May you stand up to
those who oppose you while you carry out your time-honored
responsibilities as a wife sanctioned by the
After ammi stepping, a ceremony of doing homam with parched rice
(laja) is conducted. Here, the wife cups her hands and the brothers of
the bride fill the cupped hands with parched rice. The husband adds a
drop of ghee to the parched rice and recites five Veda mantras. At the
end of each of the recitation, the parched rice is thrown into the
sacred fire as haves (offering) to Agni. Through these mantras, the
wife prays for long life for her husband and for a marriage filled
with peace and harmony. At the end of the laaja homam, the husband
unties the darbha belt around the waist of his wife with another
mantra. The husband states through this mantra that he unites his wife
and ties her now with the bonds of
This ceremony relates to the journey of the wife to her husband's home. The husband carries the sacred fire (home agni) in an earthenware vessel during this journey home. There are many Veda mantras associated with this journey. These mantras pray to the appropriate Vedic gods to remove all obstacles that one can experience in a journey. The bride is requested to become the mistress of the house and is reminded of her important role among the relatives of her husband. After reaching her new home, she puts her right foot first in the house and recites the following Veda mantra:
I enter this house with a happy heart. May I give birth to children, who observe the path of righteousness (dharma)! May this house that I enter today be prosperous forever and never be deficient in food. May this house be populated by people of virtue and pious thoughts.
After griha pravesam, a fire ritual known as praavisya homam is performed by the couple to the accompaniment of thirteen Veda mantras from the Rg Veda. Jayaadi homam is also part of the praavisya homam. This homam offers the salutation of the newly married couple to Agni Deva and asks for strength and nourishment to discharge the duties of a grihasthas for the next one hundred years. After that, the bride shifts her position from the right side of her husband to his left side. At that time, once again, she recites a Veda mantra invoking the gods for blessings of children and wealth to perform the duties of a householder.
At the end of the above homam, a child is placed on the lap of the bride and she offers a fruit to the child, while reciting a prescribed Veda mantra. Yet another mantram asks the assembled guests to bless the bride and then retire to their own individual homes peacefully. During the first evening of the stay in her new home, the couple see the stars known as Dhruva (pole star) and Arundhati. The husband points out the pole star and prays for the strength and stability of the household through a Veda mantra. Next, the husband points out the Arundhati star to his wife and describes to her the story of Arundhati and her legendary chastity.
The rich and meaningful ceremony of the
lokA: samastA: sukhino bhavantu
sarva mangaLaani santu
It is the samskara which is done before the couple enter to their
Nishekam means first conjugal bliss by the couple. In South
India they do
Nishekam on a suitable date according to jyotisha.
KANYA DAAN (GIVING AWAY OF THE BRIDE)
Main article: Kanyadan
Kanya means daughter or girl. Daan means giving away. This is an important part of the marriage ceremony in which the bride’s parents give her away to the Gods and then, with Gods as the witnesses to the groom by entrusting her to the bridegroom. The officiating priest chants appropriate verses in Sanskrit. The people in the audience (the public) are now notified that the parents have willingly expressed their wish and consent by requesting the groom to accept their daughter as his bride. As soon as the groom indicates his acceptance the bride’s parents place their daughter’s right hand into the bridegroom’s right hand. The parents now bestow their blessings on both the bride and the groom and pray to the Lord to shower His choicest blessings on them.
The father of the bride, placing her right hand on the right hand of the bridegroom, says:
The father of the bride: Be pleased to accept hand of my daughter (name of the bride) of the Gotra (here the surname of the family).
The bridegroom: AUM, I do accept.
The bridegroom makes an Offering of the garment and the scarf to the bride to wear. The bridegroom wears the garments and the scarf offered by the parents of the bride. Then facing each other The bride and the bridegroom speak as follows:
Ye learned people assembled at this sacred ceremony know it for certain that we two hereby accept each other as companions for life and agree to live together most cordially as husband and wife . May the hearts of us both be blended and beat in unison. May we love each other like the very breath of our lives. As the all-pervading God sustains the universe, so may we sustain each other. As a preceptor loves his disciple, so may we love each other steadfastly and faithfully. - RigVeda X.85.47
Addressing the bride, the bridegroom says:
Distant though we were, one from the other, we stand now united. May we be of one mind and spirit! Through the grace of God, may the eyes radiate benevolence. Be thou my shield. May thou have a cheerful heart and a smiling face. May thou be a true devotee of God and mother of heroes. May thou have at heart the welfare of all living beings! - Rig Veda X.85.44
I pray that henceforth I may follow thy path. May my body be free from disease and defect and may I ever enjoy the bliss of your companionship!
The bride and groom may or may not recite all the text listed. Or they may speak in their local language or Hindi, repeating after the priest.
VIVAAH HOMA (SACRED FIRE RITUAL)
A yagya during a
Vivaah-homa is also called the "sacred fire ceremony". All solemn rites and ceremonies commence with the performance of Homa (sacred fire ceremony) among the followers of Vedic religion . The idea is to begin all auspicious undertakings in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality. This atmosphere is created by the burning of fragrant herbs and ghee and by the recitation of suitable Mantras.
The Achaman and Angasparsha are performed for the second time. The bride also participates.
The three Achaman mantras involve sipping of a little water three times.
The seven Angasparsha mantras involve touching water with the right hand middle two fingers apply the water to various limbs first to the right side and then the left side as follows: Mouth, Nostrils, Eyes, Ears, Arms, Thighs, Sprinkling water all over the body. Vivah samskara is a marriage not only between two bodies but also between two souls.
PANI GRAHANAM (ACCEPTANCE OF THE HAND)
The bridegroom rising from his seat and facing the bride, shall raise her right hand with his left hand and then clasping it says:
I clasp thy hand and enter into the holy state of matrimony so that we may be blessed with prosperity and noble progeny. Mayst thou live with me happily throughout life! Through the grace of the all-mighty Lord, who is the Creator and Sustainer of the universe and in the presence of this august assemblage, thou art being given away in marriage so that we may together rightly perform our duties as householders.
With all my strength and resources, I have clasped thy hand; and thus united, we shall together follow the path of virtue. Thou art my lawfully wedded wife and I am thy lawfully wedded husband. God, the protector and sustainer of all, has given thee to me. From today, it devolves upon me to protect and maintain thee. Blessed with children, mayst thou live happily with me as thy husband for the full span of human life (a hundred years).
Following the divine law and the words of wisdom uttered by the sages, may we make a good couple and may God vouchsafe unto us a shining life of virtue and happiness.
As God nourishes and sustains all creatures through His great forces like the sun, the moon, the earth, the air etc., so may He bless my wife with healthy and virtuous progeny and may you all assembled here bless her!
* I accept thee as my partner for life. * I will not keep away even mentally anything from thee. * I will share with thee all I enjoy. * We will persevere in the path of virtue, surmounting all obstacles.
PRATIGNA KARANAM (SOLEMN VOWS)
The bridegroom taking the palm of the bride into his hand helps her to rise and then they both shall walk round the altar, the bride leading. Then facing the east take the solemn vows:
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