The Vedic sages emphasized that the basis of a happy and fulfilling married life is the sense of unity, intimacy, and love between husband and wife both physically, mentally, and spiritually. Hence wife is considered to be the Ardhangni of the husband as per Vedic tradition. A Vedic wedding is Vivah and the ceremony associated with it is known as Vivah Sanskar in North India and Kalyanam in South India. It is one of the most important rituals among the 16 Sanskaras.
It is considered to be a significant junction in an individual’s life as he enters the second important phase or Ashram of his life – the Gruhasth Ashram. A lot of significance is associated with this ritual as it is considered to be one of the most sacred and important obligations of a person’s life. Through marriage, the individual is clearing the debt to his ancestors, by procreating and ensuring the continuation of the family lineage. Vedic weddings are long processes with various rituals. Every ritual and practice in the ceremony has deep divine and spiritual significance.
The ceremony and procedures in the Hindu marriage may vary region wise but at the very heart, these ceremonies are fundamentally a Vedic Yajna ritual. There are five crucial rituals that are common across India with slight variations. They are the Kanyadaan, Panigrahan, Vivah Homa, Laja Homa and the Saptapadi. The entire ceremony is conducted before the Vedic deity Agni, who is the prime witness and in the presence of family and friends. The rituals are performed as per the Gruhya Sutra, in Sanskrit or it is a mixture of Sanskrit and the local language.
Kanyadaan is one of the most sacred and self-sacrificing acts that an individual can perform. It is termed as a Mahadaan (a great act of charity) in the Shastras viz;
। कन्यादानं महादानं सर्वदानेषु दुर्लभं, तदैव योगेन त्वं गृहाण वरोत्तमं ।
By performing this sacred deed the parents of the bride are absolved of their debts to their ancestors by sustaining the next cycle of life. Kanyadaan is performed by the bride’s father, but if the father or the mother is not alive a close blood relative can perform it. The father brings the bride upto the Mandap and then places the bride’s hand on the groom’s hand. This marks the beginning of the Kanyadaan. The groom accepts the bride with grace and respect amid the chanting of Mantras by the priests. After the Mantras, the father asks the groom not to neglect the bride while pursuing Dharma, Artha, Kama, and Moksha. The groom then takes a vow that he will never fail the bride. The groom repeats this vow thrice and with this the Kanyadaan ritual is complete.
Panigrahan or the holding of the hand symbolizes the bride and the groom’s forthcoming marital union. The groom now accepts his duty towards four Vedic deities; Bhaga (wealth), Aryama (firmament/galaxy), Savita (brightness / new beginning) and Purandhi (knowledge/wisdom). While doing this ritual the groom is facing the west and the bride is in front of him facing the east, he is holding the hand of the bride while Mantras from the Rig Veda are being chanted.
The sacred fire that is lit in the center of the Mandap is the divine witness of the wedding rituals. The bride and the groom offer Ahuti (oblations) along with ghee to fire and pray to God for children, prosperity, and long and healthy life.
In the Laja Homa ritual, the bride’s brother pours puffed rice on her palms and the couple offers it to the fire together. It symbolizes the continuation of the link between the two families after the marriage.
The Saptapadi or Saat Phere is the most important ritual of a Vedic wedding. The couple walks around the Agni seven times as it is considered to be a witness to the vows they make to each other. Each round of the fire is led by either the bride or the groom, depending on the community and region. On completion of this ritual, the marriage is concluded and the couple seeks blessings from elders of the families.
Description: Dwar Puja, Mangalashtak, Shaakochaar (Gotra), Laja Homa, Agni Parikrama, Kanyadaan, Panigrahan, Saptapadi, Var-Vadhu Pratigya, Granthi Bandhan, Sindoor Daan, Sumangali Mantra, Ashish Grahan.
Number of Pundit/s: 2.
Duration: 1 Day.
Cost: Rs. 12,501/-