With many divorces and ego clashes happening between the wife and husband, people started blaming Sanatanadharma and Vedic rituals in Hindu marriages.
Are we performing the real ritual? Do we know the real meaning of the Vedic rituals in a Hindu marriage?
Let's first understand every ritual and its meaning in a Hindu marriage. India is a country rich in many cultures. The marriage rituals also differ from one family to another. The basic marriage rituals will be the same. Let's get the knowledge of the main rituals in a Hindu Vedic marriage and their meaning.
Sending a request and asking for marriage
This is considered a part of Kanya Varanam. Here the groom-to-be (brahmachari) sends elders on his behalf to convey his message and ask for the bride’s (Kanya) hand in marriage. The promise of a lifetime starts here. This is one of the most common Hindu Wedding rituals followed till date.
The father of the bride then accepts the request and this results in a formal engagement or vaak daanam.
Trusting the groom, and giving him his daughter's hand
The father-in-law sits facing the eastern direction and washes the brahmachari's feet, considering him as divine as Lord Vishnu. This step involves giving him his daughter's hand for this lifetime. The bride's left hand is placed over the groom's right hand while the mantras are chanted for their well-being.
The sacred thread that unites two souls
This is one of the most important rituals in Hindu Vedic marriage where the groom ties the sacred thread of Mangalam made of cotton thread and washed in turmeric
The three knots tied back of the neck represent the physical, mental and spiritual union of their souls. The couple is blessed with 100 years of togetherness by all the elders present around them.
In many places, the mangalsutra is touched by married women to bless the bride and the groom with a lifelong companionship.
Surrendering her heart to him
After the mangalaya Dharana, the groom encloses his right hand over the bride’s right hand and prays to chant Vedic mantras for long life, prosperity, harmony, and well-being in their journey The ritual symbolizes surrendering her heart to the man of her life, on the occasion of their marriage.
A sacred ritual full of promises around Agni
During this ritual, the groom walks the bride around the sacred fire. The groom holds the bride's right hand his right hand just like they held during panigrahana. The Sister of the groom ties one end of the groom's clothing to the bride's “gatbandhan”. The groom helps the bride take the seven sacred steps around the Agni. At the start of each step, cites the divine mantra to attain the blessings of the Lord Vishnu.
He asks the Lord to bless his life partner with health, wealth, comfort, piety, food, strength, and progeny. After the seventh step, he addresses his wife with mantras, the meaning is summarized below.
Dearest life partner! By taking these seven steps you have become my lifelong companion. I promise my unfailing loyalty to this relationship.
- Let us be together for the rest of our life.
- let's be inseparable from each other.
- Let us have a single mind to carry our household.
- Let us enjoy nutritious food and have good health.
- Let us perform our Vedic duties towards our elders, rishis, God, and our surroundings together.
- Let's aspire together and be united till the end.
- May we conceive children, and may we have all the auspiciousness coming our way.
Now she is all yours, and you keep her safe
The most emotional time is when the girl leaves her family and comes to a new home to start a life with her husband. The girl's family lets her go, trusting the man in her life to take care of her, as she was taken care of by them till this very day. Post the bidaai, the bride is welcomed into the new house with a ritual called Graha Pravesh, and Satyanarayan Katha.
There are other occasions in the marriage which differ from one culture to another. Every ritual has a beautiful meaning and an emotion attached to it. Like, in the south, they have the toe ring ceremony, where the bride's aunt blesses her and makes her wear the toe rings. In north India, there is a pagdi tying ceremony where the father of the groom ties him to the pagdi and blesses him for the big day.
Every family member gathers to make it an event filled with fun, joy, and happiness.
Both the wife and the husband must be aware of their respective responsibilities and be equal partners by staying trustworthy and loyal in marriage. A Westernized lifestyle doesn't mean we forget the beautiful knowledge and principle our ancestors followed for happy family life.