Vivaha in Smrutigrantha
Indian society strongly believes in the institution of marriage and lifetime commitment. Most Indian marriage forms are based on the ancient philosophies of Vedas and Upanishads. The symbolic union of two persons in holy matrimony has remained virtually unblemished and unchanged for almost 5,000 years. Thus, Indian marriage system follows the oldest and most authentic nuptial rituals in the world.
An Indian marriage is celebrated as a sacrament when two individuals with their divine union begin their journey as husband and wife. The variety in Indian culture is also reflected in its different customs and rituals of marriages.
As per the Hindu tradition, a man’s life is influenced by Sanskaras and there are separate Sanskaras for each and every occasion. In total, there are 16 Sanskaras forming the foundation of Hindu religion and the way of life. The Sanskaras define the behavior of a person. The influence of these Sanskaras starts right before the birth till the death of a person. Amongst the 16 Sanskaras, ‘Vivaha Sanskara’ is the most important. Through the sacred bond of matrimony, the two souls come in unison not only physically but also mentally and spiritually. As mentioned in the shastras, the groom is believed to be Mahavishnu Svarupaya Varahaya i.e. Lord Vishnu himself, and the bride is believed to be goddess Lakshmi.
Vivaha in Smrutigrantha
Total 8 types of Vivaha are found in Smrutigrantha.
‘Buddhimate kanya prayachcheta’
The sutra says that, our daughter should be given to an intelligent person.
Suitable age for Vivaha: According to Smrutigrantha, the bride should be 10 years old and groom should be 15 years old at the time of marriage. A minimum of five years of age difference is considered beneficial so that matured husband may guide his wife. Again, a younger wife can easily mould herself as per the requirement of her husband and his family.
Some important rituals in Vivaha: The ceremony begins with puja, invoking the blessings of Lord Ganesha (Vigneswara), whose blessings is essential to remove all obstacles. It is believed that Ganesha blesses the peaceful and orderly conduct of ceremonies.
The first ritual of the Vivaha ceremony is Kanyavaran[am] which is performed with special mantras soliciting the bride.
Kanyavaran[am] is followed in a sequence of sacred events, which include –
Seeking the prospective bride with a respectable family background via Kanyaavaranam (Brahmin emissary);
Getting assurance from the bride’s family on Vakthaanam. i.e. giving out its daughter in marriage to the groom;
Invoking various gods, especially Thrimurthis and Varuna, during Kalash Puja to protect the bride from various evil forces;
Worshiping the Almighty for blessing the earth with Ankuraparna which causes sprouting;
Worshiping the ancestors with Nandi Puja;
Receiving directives for the bridegroom from a teacher/guru. The ritual is called Sama vardhanam;
Inviting the bride to the wedding hall. The bride comes accompanied by the bride’s maid and stands before the groom.
After the preceding rituals, the next 13 steps is important in the ceremony:
Vara Satkaarah: At the wedding hall’s entrance, the bridegroom and his relatives are received joyously by the bride’s family. However, the groom is only allowed in after seeking blessings of the officiating priest. The bride’s mother also applies a tilak made up of turmeric powder and vermilion on his forehead, at the doorstep.
वाचा दत्ता मया कन्या पुत्रार्थं स्वीकृता त्वया ।
कन्यावलोकनविधौ निश्चितस्त्वं सुखी भव ॥
वाचा दत्ता मया कन्या पुत्रार्थं स्वीकृता मया ।
वरावलोकनविधौ निश्चितस्त्वं सुखी भव ॥
स॒मा॒नी व आकू॑तिः समा॒ना हृद॑यानि वः।
स॒मा॒नम॑स्तु वो॒ मनो॒ यथा॑ वः॒ सुस॒हास॑ति॥
Madhuparka Ceremony: There is another warm reception of the bridegroom, at the threshold of the wedding hall, followed by showering of gifts from the bride’s father.
मधु॒ वाता॑ ऋताय॒ते मधु॑ क्षरन्ति॒ सिन्ध॑वः।
मधु॒ नक्त॑मु॒तोषसो॒ मधु॑म॒त्पार्थि॑वं॒ रजः॑।
मधु॒ द्यौर॑॑स्तु नःपि॒ता।
मधु॑मान्नो॒ वन॒स्पति॒र्मधु॑मॉं अस्तु॒ सूर्यः।
माध्वी॒र्गावो॑ भवन्तु नः॥
Kanyadana: Amid chanting of holy mantras by the priest, the bride’s father officially gives away his loving daughter to the groom.
Mangalsutra bandhan: During this pious ambience, the groom ties a necklace called Mangalsutra in his bride’s neck, in the presence of all attending the marriage. The ceremony also requires reciting of Vedic hymns and prayers by the priest. The Mangalsutra is symbolic of the divine bondage that the bride and the groom enter on marrying each other. The ritual is extremely pious and is said to be attended by all deities from heaven.
The sacred thread (Mangalsutra) is made up of two strings embellished with small black beads and a locket/pendent. Nowadays, Mangalsutra is designed as per one’s style statement with pure gold and black beads, attached with gold or diamond pendent. In the Indian tradition, Mangalsutra is worn by a married wife for protection of her marriage from evil power and also for longevity of her husband.
ॐअनृक्षरा ऋजवः सन्तु पंथा य़ोभिः सखाय़ो यंति नो वरेयम्।
समर्यमा सं भगो नो निनीयात् सं जास्पत्यं सुयमस्तु देवाः॥
क इदं कस्मा समिद्रमाविश कामेन त्वा प्रतिगृह्णामि कामैतत्ते वृष्टिरसि द्यौस्त्वा ददातु पृथिवी प्रतिगृह्णातु॥
Following mantras are compulsory recited at the end of Kanyadana ceremony –
ॐहिं॒कृ॒ण्व॒ती व॑सु॒पत्नी॒ वसू॑नां व॒॒त्समि॒च्छन्ती॒ मन॑सा॒भ्यगा॒त्।
दु॒हाम॒श्विभ्यां॒ पयो॑ अ॒घ्न्येयं सा व॑र्धतां म॒हते सौभ॑गाय ॥
ॐवन॑स्पते श॒तव॑ल्शो॒ विरो॑ह स॒हस्र॑वल्शा॒ वि व॒यं रु॑हेम।
यं त्वाम॒यं स्वधि॑ति॒स्तेज॑मानः प्रणि॒नाय॑ मह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥
ॐइंदु॑र्दे॒वाना॒मुप॑ स॒ख्यमा॒यनूत्स॒हस्र॑धारः पवते॒ मदा॑य।
नृभिः॒ स्तवा॑नो॒॒ अनु॒ धाम॒ पू॒र्वमग॒न्निद्रं॑ मह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥
ॐअ॒स्य पिब॑ क्षु॒मतः॒ प्रस्थि॑त॒स्येंद्र॒ सोम॑स्य॒ वर॒मासु॒तस्य॑।
स्व॒स्ति॒दा मन॑सा मादयस्वार्वाची॒नो रे॒वते॒ सौभ॑गाय॥
ॐघृ॒तदुर्लु॑प्तं॒॒ मधु॑मत्सु॒वर्णं॑ धनंज॒यं ध॒रुणं॑ धारयि॒ष्णुः।
ऋ॒णक्स॒पत्नां॒ दध॑रांश्चकृ॒ण्वदारो॑ह॒ मां म॑ह॒ते सौभ॑गाय॥
ॐतद॑स्तु मित्रावरुणा॒ तद॑ग्ने॒ शं योर॒स्मभ्य॑मि॒दम॑स्तु श॒स्तम्।
अ॒शी॒महि॑ गा॒धमु॒त प्र॑ति॒ष्ठां नमो॑ दि॒वे बृ॑ह॒ते साद॑नाय॥
Vivah-Homa: Performing Homa (sacred fire) during the Vivah ceremony ascertains unveiling of all auspicious undertakings in the ambiance of purity and spiritualism.
ॐअग्न आयूंषि पवसं आसुवोर्जभिषं च नः।
आ रे बाधस्व द्रुच्छुनां स्वाहा॥
ॐअग्निर्ऋषिः पवमानः पाञ्चजन्यः पुरोहितः।
तमीमहे महागयं स्वाहा॥
ॐअग्ने पवस्य स्वपा अस्मे वर्च सुवीर्यम्।
दधद्रयिं मयि पोषं स्वाहा॥
ॐत्वमर्यमा भवसि यत्कनीनां नाम स्वधावन् गुह्यं बिभर्षि।
अजंति मित्रं सुधितं न गोभियर्द्दंपती स मनसा कृणोषि स्वाहा॥
ॐप्रजायते नत्वदेतान्यन्यो विश्वां जातानि परिता बभूव।
यत्कामयते जुहुमस्तन्नो अस्तु वयं स्याम पतयोरयीणां स्वाहा॥
Pani-Grahan: Holding the right hand of the bride, the groom here accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife and better half. Four mantras are recited before the partners in marriage. The mantras convey the following meaning
I hold your hand to be with you; to rear a good family and nurture offspring; to accompany you in old age and forever. You have come to me on command of the devatas, including Lord Indra, who want you to be in charge of my home.
You have been specifically offered to me by Lord Sun and Lord Agni during the ceremony of Grahasthasrama.
Oh! Goddess Saraswati, kindly protect us well as we offer our first oblations to you before all other creatures present in the world.
Let Lord Vayu who pervades everywhere; who cleanses all corners and directions; who holds pure gold in his hands; unite me and you in mind and wavelength.
Pratigna-Karan: The wife leads her husband and while circumambulating the fire they take solemn vows of loyalty and unconditional love for each other.
Shila Arohan: The mother-daughter relation is emphasized in this ritual where bride’s mother assists her to step onto a stone slab. She is symbolically preparing her daughter for her forthcoming life with a new family.
Laja-Homah: This ritual is performed by the couple together where puffed rice is offered by the bride into the sacred fire from her palms onto those of the groom.
ॐअर्यममं तु देवं कन्या अग्निमयक्षत।
स इमां देवो अर्यमा प्रेतो मुञ्चातु नामुतः स्वाहा॥
Mangal Fera (Parikrama or Pradakshina): This is the most crucial part of the Hindu marriage and is well known all round the world. The sacred fire is circumambulated by the partners in marriage. As per the Hindu Marriage Act, Mangal Fera legalizes the marriage in India.
ॐअमोहमस्मि सा त्वं सा त्वमस्यमोहं द्यौरहं पृथिवी त्वं सामाहमृक्त्वं तावेव विवाहावहै।
प्रजां प्रजनयावहै संप्रियौ रोचिष्णू सुमनस्यमानौ जीवेव शरदः शतम्॥
Saptapadi: The groom’s scarf and the bride’s sari part (pallu) are knotted in this ritual, symbolically tying the fate of two lives. The seven steps taken while circumambulating the sacred fire represents the seven main aspects of the life viz. nourishment, vigor, opulence, bliss, progeny, longevity, harmony and understanding respectively.
इष एकपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव।पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
ऊर्जे द्विपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
रायस्योषाय त्रिपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
मा यो भव्याय चतुष्पदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
प्रजाभ्यः पंचपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
ऋतुभ्यः षट्पदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
सखा सप्तपदी भव सा मामनुव्रता भव। पुत्रान्विदावहै बहूंस्ते सन्तु जरदष्टयः॥
जीवपत्नी प्रजां विदेय।
Mantras addressed to the bride, with following interpretations.
Let the Lord (Maha Vishnu) himself follow each step for fulfilling seven main aspects of life.
Step 1: To provide you unlimited food;
Step 2: To provide excellent health and energy;
Step 3: To help you perform your rituals (vrathas) as predestined in Vedas;
Step 4: To shower all happiness in your life;
Step 5: To make your cows and other animals grow in strength and numbers;
Step 6: To make all the seasons beneficial for your wellbeing;
Step 7: To make the homams (holy fire sacrifice) successful and free from all hindrances;
The couple thus seeks blessings of Lord Vishnu, the sustainer and protector of life on earth.