Kanyadanaceremony in a Hindu wedding comes after the Sankalpaceremony. Kanyadana ceremony is a highly complex one, and rightly it is so; for marriage makes or mars a life. The bride’s parents, glad in their hearts, that they have secured a Vedavit for their daughter, treat him with due respect. He is to them a Lakshmi Narayana, for they are believers in the famous dictum of “Tat tvamasi – That thou art”.
They give the bridegroom, clothes, ornaments, cows, lands, bedding, etc. The bridegroom assumes a second Yagnapavita to qualify himself for the discharge of the duties of a Grihastha or a householder. He is fed and is given Madhuparka.
The eyes (glances) of the bridegroom and of the bride are made to meet, for the eyes are the organs that have the highest powers of attraction or fascination.
The bridegroom eyes the bride with AghoraChakshuh i.e., with eyes that have not the least trace of fierceness in them, that is, with loving and inviting eyes; for he has his Sankalpa of obtaining Sattvic or spiritual progeny.
Bride and Groom considered Lakshmi-Narayana
The bridegroom and the bride now sit facing each other. The bride’s father performs his Pranayama, and states his Sankalpa. He invokes the spirit of Lakshmi-Narayana to dwell in the bodies of the bride and bridegroom. ‘Avahayishye’ is the expression used.
His daughter is now a Lakshmi to him, and the bridegroom,Narayana. He describes his daughter as a “Sadhvi”, and he gives her away to the bridegroom whom he recognizes as a “Susila” and “Sudhiman” in the presence of “SarvaDevatas”, all Devas.
He says:-“My unmarried daughter who is shining in her youthful decorations and who is also fit tobe adevoted wife, to thee of good character and wisdom, do I, a purified soul, give for the attainment of Dharma, Artha, and Kama.
कन्यां सालंकृतां साध्वीं सुशीलाय सुधीमते ।
प्रयतोऽहं प्रदास्यामि धर्मकामार्थ् सिद्धये ।।
These are, indeed, noble words! The use of Sadhvi decides the age of Kanya or bride. “Sadhvi” cannot be applied to a young girl, whose character is forming and not yet formed, and who is yet unable to be a good housewife.