Vedic Marriages in India

In the recent past Bollywood actor Dia Mirza’s wedding has brought back the focus on the brave, bold and unconventional move to get marriages officiated by female priests on Vedic way.

All you need to know is what a Vedic Marriage is.

As per Hindu religion there are four Vedas which say there are eight types of wedding. The regular weddings we see is one of them.

The eight forms of marriage, as also prescribed in dharma texts like Manu-smriti, were created according to different castes of the people.

The eight types of weddings are Brahma, Daiva, Arsha and Prajapatya, Asura, Gandharva, Rakshasa and Paisacha. Some of these forms have been accepted as customs under the Hindu Marriage Act, 1956 whereas others have become punishable offences under various Penal laws in India.

The approved forms of marriages were mostly practised by Brahmins in ancient times. The unapproved forms were usually practised by Kshatriya, Vaisya and Shudra.

Vedic wedding ceremony is the traditional Hindu wedding that includes Vedic yajna – rituals around agni, particularly the seven vows before the fire, with the hymns from the Vedas.

The roots of this tradition are found in hymn 10.85 of the Rigveda , which is also called the “Rigvedic wedding hymn

  1. Vara Satkaarah: Reception of the bridegroom and his kinsmen at the entrance gate of the wedding hall where the officiating priest chants a few mantras and the bride’s mother blesses the groom with rice and trefoil and applies tilak of vermilion and turmeric powder.
  2. Madhuparka Ceremony: Reception of the bridegroom at the altar and bestowing of presents by the bride’s father.
  3. Kanya Daan: The bride’s father gives away his daughter to the groom amidst the chanting of sacred mantras.
  4. Vivah-Homa: The sacred fire ceremony ascertaining that all auspicious undertakings are begun in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality.
  5. Pani-Grahan: The groom takes the right hand of the bride in his left hand and accepts her as his lawfully wedded wife.
  6. Pratigna-Karan: The couple walks around the fire, the bride leading, and take solemn vows of loyalty, steadfast love and life-long fidelity to each other.
  7. Shila Arohan: The mother of the bride helps the bride to step onto a stone slab and counsels her to prepare herself for a new life.
  8. Laja-Homah: Puffed rice offered as oblations into the sacred fire by the bride while she keeps the palms of her hands over those of the groom.
  9. Parikrama or Pradakshina or mangal Fera: The couple circles the sacred fire seven times. This aspect of the ceremony legalizes the marriage according to the Hindu Marriage Act as well as custom.

In the Vedas, the wedding is about promises that the couple makes to one another. More than over-the-top rituals, what is important is to understand what the Veda says. It says commitment is very important. Once you hold hands, you don’t leave.

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