Marriage Ritual-The Snataka Ceremony

After the navagrahas (nine planets) exercise, Snataka ceremony in the Hindu marriage is performed.

The would-be bridegroom performs the Snataka ceremony, which marks the close of his studies under a guru with rigid Brahmacharya. A number of Brahmans are fed, and they wish him good. He then stands forth, and supplicates in this strain:-

“O Brahman elders that have condescended to respond to our invitation, I pray you to hear attentively what I am going to say:-

Guru Prayers

Whereas during my Brahmacharya, from the time of my Upanayana till now, my gurus prescribed purity, Achamana, Sandhyavarndana three times a day, Agni Karya twice a day, meals begged twice at others’ doors, implicit obedience to the commands of the guru, study of the Vedas, and the constant wearing of the external marks of Brahamacharin, viz., danda, ajina, and mekhala;

And whereas they prohibited sleep during the day, the eating of the areca-nut, the chewing of betel leaves, horse-riding and elephant-riding, attendance at musical performances given by Natas, Vitas, and Gayakas, and association with bad characters such as Patitas, Pashandas and Chandalas;

And in as much as it may be that I have been unwittingly guilty of sins of excess, of commission and of omission;

And in as much as I wish to take up now the SnatakaVrata with your permission

I stand here in your august presence with a small amount of Dakshina (money-offering) which is all that I can afford, and which, though altogether inadequate as a penalty for all the sins possibly committed by me, I do yet beseech ye all to consider as adequate;

And I do beg of you, my elders, to accept this Dakshina, and to absolve me of all the aforesaid sins unwittingly committed, and to declare me as fit and worthy to enter upon the Snataka stage.”

Guru Oblation

This marks the close of the studies under a guru. The bridegroom asks for forgiveness of elders for any lapses on his part in observing the strict regime prescribed for a student.

There upon the Brahman elders receive his Dakshina, and declare him to be a Snataka.