Swatantra Lata Sharma, M.A
Vivah Sanskar or marriage has the greatest significance among the sixteen 'Sanskaras' or sacraments of Vedic origin.
Arya Samaj wedding rites originate from the Vedas. They are devoid of idol worship. The rituals not only bind the bridegroom and the bride in marital bond of love and respect for each other but also lay down a code of conduct towards the family and society of which they are an integral part. Every phase of the ceremony is infused with symbolic meaning and spiritual significance.
The auspicious ceremony begins with the bride and bridegroom exchanging garlands symbolising their acceptance of each other as their life partner. After welcoming the bridegroom the bride requests him to be seated. She offers him water to sprinkle on his feet and face to refresh him. She then offers water to him to drink.
In this ritual the bride offers 'madhuparka' to the groom. Madhuparka is a combination of honey, ghee, and curds. Before partaking of this madhuparka, the groom sprinkles it in all the directions, expressing his desire to offer hospitality to guests who may come to his home from all directions. It also expresses the determination of the bride to turn any sourness in their relationship into sweetness.
In common language it is called 'kanyadaan'. It is an emotional moment when the bride is given away in marriage to groom by her parents. The groom avers that he is happily accepting her hand.
The bride and groom addressing the people witnessing the marriage ceremony state that their hearts will be united just as water from two separate glasses when poured in a bowl becomes one. Similarly, their hearts will be united and never to be differentiated.
THE HAVAN or HOMA is performed by chanting of mantras, oblations to fire and prayers to God to bless the couple.
The bridegroom hold the bride's right hand for trust, co-operation and promises to keep her happy by giving her marital status of a wife in his life. The bride and groom go round the fire once and stand in their respective places. The groom chants a mantra defining their relationship in a poetic language.
The bride places her right foot on a piece of rock. This ritual is for steadfastness in married life.
The bride offers puffed rice or laja as oblation to fire with special prayers for the longevity and well being of the groom. It is followed by three 'pheras' or 'pradikshana' round the fire in which the bride holds the bride's hand and does the parikrama. This symbolizes his taking the bride to his own house. Tying the sacred marital knot denotes binding their life together forever. Saptapadi or taking seven steps together by the bride and groom which are the seven vows taken by them to make their marriage sanctified and a success.
Suryavalokan - Prayers to Surya or Sun.
Hridaya Sparsh Mantra - bride and groom placing their right hand on each other's heart avowing to be loyal to each other.
Sindoordaan Applying of vermillion powder by the groom in the parting line of his bride's hair to signify their sanctified marital relationship. Feeding each other with sweets symbolizing their sweet relationship. Beholding the Dhruva Nakshatra or Pole Start and Arundhati Nakshatra - for strong, steady relationship and togetherness.
Blessings to the couple - showering of flowers on the couple for their happiness.