weddingThe Wedding Explained

weddingThe Wedding ExplainedOn the top of the rice, they carry to the stage two gold pendants placed on a betel leaf. The gold pendants mangalyam are tied together with turmericladen multilayered threads to form theMangala Sutramu. TheMangala Sutramuis tied around the brides neck during the wedding and retained for life. It is the most auspicious symbol of marriage and the pendants are kept close to heart. Each gold pendant is of a specific weight and shape.  It is initially taken around to be blessed by the elders in the mily.

•           First step for the sake of plenty of food to nourish each other

•           Seventh step to perform vedic sacrifices and to be sacredly illuminated.

This is an extremely emotional event for the brides mily, since the daughter they raised so r is leaving the house and the separation is final.

The ancestry of the bride and groom, including their spiritual lineage from the earliest sages, and four generations of forethers is narrated by the priests. The parents of the bride arrive from their event to theMandapamand express happiness that the groom is suile and start the Kanyadan a ritual to give away the bride. In preparation for the Kanyadan, the ther of the bride offers additional strands of sacred thread, some with ceremonial strands of silver and gold to the groom.

The groom then slips silver toe rings on the brides feet. He ties a necklace with blackbeads and gold.

Mangalashtakam Eight verses seeking wellbeing, prosperity and good fortune

Mangalya tantunanena mama jeevana hetunaa kanthe badhnami Subhage saa jeeva saradam satam

Later the bride dons new clothes following a bath. The bridetobe wears flowers in her hair. She adorns her forehead with a bindi or vermillion dot and wears bangles on her wrists. All the elderly women and their husbands that had a long happy married life are invited to bless the bride to have a similar happy married life. This functions takes place at brides residence.

Kanyamimam pradasyami, Pithrunam Dharanayavai.

Abithishta pruthanyatha ssahasva prutanayathaha

The parents of bride and the groom treat each other and the immediate mily members with gifts. The mother of the groom then presents gifts such as gold and diamond ornaments and new clothes. The bride may be requested to wear the new clothes and the ornaments. Upon her return, the bride and the groom are seated next to each other.  This ceremony concludes with blessings by the priests and the elders of the assembly.

May this water purify her and bestow golden glow on the bride, and give her peace

The brides ther says that I am giving this beautiful, virtuous, healthy young lady, born to me and raised by us, foremost among all young women, dressed in finest silks, wearing gold ornaments, for continuation of your lineage, to be devoted to your welre and to make you fit for performing all the moral and prescribed religious duties during your married life. I may obtain salvation by this noble deed.

At the end of each circumambulation, the bride will be asked to step on a grind stone called sannikallu. The husband holds right toes of his wife and places them flat on the stone while reciting

Towards the end of the wedding, the priests perform Vedic chants to bring positive influence for a long lasting marriage. Following the chants, the scholars and the elders are honored with gifts by the couple and seek their blessings.

•           Third step for the ability to perform Yajnas and austerities

The bride sits cing the east in the Mandap while the groom is sitting in front cing her, but separated by a curtain the terasalla.

Dhruvantha Indraschaangischa Rashtram Dhrayatham Dhruvam

May you both live long and may your life be filled with health, wealth and be plentiful. May your life as householders prosper well.

The priests on behalf of Brides ther recite May my daughter gain protection, May holiness prosper, May there be Joy, May she be a whole, May she live long, flourish, be at peace, well nourished, and content.

Satyanarayana Pooja and Venkateswara Deeparadhana

The priest starts the function with a brief worship service by reciting a few verses of prayers. On behalf of the two milies about to be united through the solemn ceremony of the wedding, one of the elders welcomes all the guests and requests them to be seated. The priest of the host, with the entire assembly as witness, announces the lineage of the bride and speaks a few words about their mily. The priest of the groom then announces the lineage of the groom and speaks a few words about his mily . He then declares the intentions of the brides ther to seek alliance was wholeheartedly accepted by the grooms ther. He further declares that the elders of both milies approved this most appropriate alliance and the marriage date and time has been set and reads out the wedding invitation card for the assembly.

Setting a date for a Vedic wedding is an extremely complex process of calculation of planetary positions to match two variables. The variables are the planetary positions at the exact time of birth of bride and groom. The constellation of planets and their relationships should match in a harmonious way when the groom touches the bride and looks into her eyes while the Vedic verses are being recited by the priests. This specific time has to be in only certain lunar months considered auspicious for a wedding. If it is in the day, it has to be before the noon while the son is ascending. The time has to be corrected by a few minutes based on the calculated time of sunrise and sunset at the place of wedding, on that day. Our mily astrologer in India, following several hours of calculation decided that ndJune , at AM, is the most appropriate time for the Wedding. This time is called Muhurtam in sanskrit.

Then the darbha girdle Yoktra placed around the birde is removed. The groom recites the following prayers and then unties the dharbha string he has tied earlier

May prosperity prevail, May any illness be struck down, May you grant this day to be happy one, May you bless her wellbeing, may you grant her abundance, May you grant her respect and status.

Snaathakam  Convocation or prologue to marriage

We had our engagement on the stof December, . On that day, the formal ceremony in front of witnesses, mostly close friends and relatives of both parties, began with prayers to Lord Ganesh to remove all the obstacles. Following the invocation of his lineage, the ther of the bride made a formal proposal for the marriage alliance. The ther of the groom while accepting the proposal gave a happy and affirmative response to declare his commitment for the union of the milies through the institution of marriage between the groom and the bride. This was followed by more prayers, gifts to bride and groom and exchange of clothes and gifts between milies. At the conclusion of the function both parents agree to consult learned priests with knowledge of astrology to set a date for the wedding.

The groom ties a rope of responsibility around the waist of the bride while prayingAgnithe Fire god to give her all the strength necessary to shoulder the responsibilities of a mily life.

PreWedding Rituals weeks to months before the wedding

A silk cloth cradle was made and a sandalwood doll is placed, sometimes with a ripe mango/banana and turmeric was placed in it to pray for an off spring as healthy as the ripe mango, as pure as the turmeric and as selffragrant as the sandalwood. The sister of the groom approaches the bride and asks her for nephew/nice or a dairy cow. The bride replies that she would give both. This ritual is a prayer for healthy children, and to create interest of motherhood in the bride.

The fire ceremony is the most essential part of the Hindu and Vedic wedding and also by law the marriage is not complete unless this ritual is completed. The groom then leads the bride towards Homam Altar, hearth or fire pit for exclusive use of ritualistic offerings or sacrifice.

Kanyam Kanaka Sampannam kanakabharanairyutham,

This Homam is an extremely ancient ritual that was performed when marriages were performed between a man and women hailing from the same village or town and hence not applicable. In the evening when the stars appear in the sky, the priest shows the couple the constellation of Ursa Major and the Arundhati star Alcor, a star that is in close proximity to Vasista Mizar. Arundhati, the ideal wife of vasistha maharshi the great saint, is exemplified as a most virtuous woman and an embodiment of chastity. The event is to inform the bride of marital virtue of Arundhati and to seek her blessings.

The two mangalsutras are united ona common thread and are attached to a gold chain days after the wedding. An elder member of the mily or the husband himself can unite the two mangalsutras on a common thread. A few black or golden beads are slipped between the two plates so that they dont clash with each other, signifying harmony between the two milies. The bride takes a bath and wears a new sari before wearing the mangalsutra on this day. The number is a very auspicious number among Hindus. Also, days are symbolic of the time needed by the bride to understand her husbands mily.

The detailed explanation below was carefully and painstakingly written by Ganeshs ther, Dr. Narasimham Dasika after collecting and digesting information from several books and from his own expansive knowledge of ancient rites and rituals. We thank him immensely for putting in the time and effort to do this. It is a tremendous resource for us as a new bride and groom to help us better understand the meaning of the wedding ceremony and the promises we make for a happy marriage together. It is also beneficial for you, our guests, to help you follow along during the ceremony.

The parents of the bride exit the stage briefly. The bride and groom sit side by side.

O maiden, I tie this sacred thread, essential for my long life, around your neck. Having many auspicious attributes, may you live happily with me for a hundred years

Tying Madhuparkam the bride and groom together is called Brahmamudi. The priest will tie a knot between the upper garments of the groom and the bride for the next set of events. The groom ties a sacred thread around the wrist of bride and for her protection from evil. He declares in front of the fire thatPooshatweto vayatu..  maavadasiYou may come to my house on a chariot of Ashwini dieties to become the master of my house and take control of the household. This is done before  pradhana Homam.

The holy fire, a great protection against evil.  This fire acts as an eternal witness to marriage

•           Fifth step for the growth of our cattle and wealth

The bride and the groom then performpoojato the Gold pendants to invoke sanctity into the pendants.  The priest recites the following, addressed to God

This ceremony involves anointing the bride with oil and turmeric by women folk. The women folk pound turmeric roots at that time.

Since ancient Vedic times, the people of India are classified into tribes, with each tribe carrying a specific name called Gotra. It is not permitted to conduct a wedding between a man and women of same Gotra, since Aryan times, to prevent consanguineous weddings. The Pravara that includes the gotra, the great sages of that tribe and the lineage of the preceding generations of ancestors is announced loudly for everyone present to witness the wedding to hear. This is repeated times such that everyone present agrees that the lineage is distinctly different. Even if the Gotras are different, marriages are not approved if more than one sage is common.

The couple perform their firstpoojain their own home. This done on the first or second day after arrival of the bride to her new home.

Following the bridal bath, a paste or powder from the leaves of Henna plant is used to create elaborative decorative patterns on the hands and feet of the bride on this day. Following an hour or more of contact of henna with skin, a delicate shade of reddish brown is imparted on the applied areas. This forms a striking contrast on the skin that has already acquired a golden hue with the earlier application of turmeric before her bath. The friends and relatives of the bride may also participate in the event.

The hosts, brides mother and ther and married women of brides mily wait at the Mandap Venue with flowers, Garlands and other items for the ritual. The Bridegroom arrives at the wedding hall along with his mily and friends in a procession. They are then received by the brides mily and friends. Live Indian Drums and wind instrumental music begins to play. The brides mother performs Dishti to ward off evil eye with Paarani plate containing red ed water and throws away the water along with the evil it captures. Then she performsAaratiritual with an oil lamp by waving the light times, clockwise in front of the groom and steps aside to allow the ther of the bride to say welcome words. The other women in the brides mily help the hosts in inviting the guests and sprinkle the guests with flowers, perfumed water and sometimes with ncy garlands. All of them together walk towards the prearranged stage. Since this segment of the wedding is not according to ancient Vedic tradition, guests and hosts wear suits or other s of nontraditional attire.

Eduru Sannaham Receiving the groom with his mily and friends

Indra Puthrighneem Lakshyam Thamasyai savithassuva

The groom stands in front of the bride. A small Yoke is held on the head of the bride by the priests. Drops of holy water are allowed to drip through the hole of the yoke after passing over Gold. During this ritual vedic verses in praise of celestial king Indra requesting him to eliminate any hidden deficiencies in the health of the bride, in an identical shion he blessed another bride Apala in ancient times. The verses say,

Those present at the wedding shower their blessings on the couple by sprinkling flowers and turmericcoloured rice Akshata on them.

When you enter your own kingdom after marriage, you will be blessed with sility by the kingVarunawater diety, The celestial priest Bruhaspati, the king of the heavens Indra andAgnithe fire God.

Kanyam Sarvalankritham Sadhvim Suseelaya Sudheemathe

After the seventh step he makes her remain where she is and says With seven steps we become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me. The Saptapadi ceremony concludes with a prayer that the union is indissoluble. At the end of this ceremony, the bridegroom and bride become husband and wife. According to Indian Civil Law, this ,the taking of the th step signifies the defining moment of a Hindu marriage.

Dashtami Vishnave Thubhyam Brahmaloka Jigeeshiya.

She then sprinkles nine kinds of grains nava dhnylu in ritually decorated earthen pots filled with soil from an ant hill. The ants bring out extremely fine clay from the earth often from depths of a hundred feet to build their dwelling. The soil from an anthill where no one steps their foot is specifically collected for this purpose since it represents a sample from a very wide area with no human or animal waste. These pots with the grains inside them are preserved in the brides house for germination. This is symbolic of the germination process of human life or progeny for which a marriage is conducted.

I free you form the string ofVarunatied by the Lord Parameshwara who gives blessings to his devotees. You can live with me in Brahma loka where the blessed go and be with me without the fear of the rope ofVaruna.

The meaning of the verses recited while offering the sacrifices are

The Kanayadaan is that part of the marriage ceremony in which the girls mily gives her away to the groom. Her maternal uncle carries the bridetobe in a bamboo basket to themandapam, and places her in front of the groom separated by a curtain from groom. At this time the groom is considered to be a personification of Lord Vishnu. The priest invokes the blessings of the ancestors belonging to the last seven generations of both milies. The brides parents wash the grooms feet in a gesture that symbolizes their belief that Lord Vishnu, the protector of the universe came in the form of groom, to whom they now offer their daughters hand. The priest invokes the blessings of the ancestors belonging to the last seven generations of both milies. The brides parents wash the grooms feet in a gesture that symbolizes their belief that he is a form of God to whom they now offer their daughters hand. They treat him with Madhuparkam, very sweet concoction of milk. The vedic recitation of the event is as follows

Muhurtham The most important part of the wedding

The bride and groom start the day with a Mangala Snaanam or an auspicious bath early on the day of the wedding. The bath is followed by meditation to cleanse and purify their thought process and make them ready for the sacred rites to be followed. They arrive at the wedding hall by AM.

•           Sixth step to survive and enjoy the fruits of all seasons

May this bride blessed by this holy water, prosper and live happily with her husband

The bride worships the Goddess Gauri by performing GauriPoojawhile the groom is performing ganeshpoojaon the main Mandap. During the performance of thispoojaor worship, the bride typically sits in a hand woven basket lined with a sprinkle of unprocessed rice grains while performing this ritual. Given the communitys agrarian heritage, ricegrains dhnyam are a symbol of a good harvest, and thus, prosperity. The Goddess Gauri is revered as a manifestation of Shakti the most powerful mother of the universe the power and energy by which the world is created, preserved and destroyed.  She symbolizes motherhood, fertility and the victory of good over evil. Hindus consider Gauri and her consort Lord Shiva as the ideal couple in the Vedic culture. They are often worshipped as a single entity, denoting the perfect emotional, mental and physical union between them. By invoking the Goddess blessings, the bride seeks similar strength and ine love in her own life for a long and happy married life with her husband.

The bridegroom arrivesby and enters the Mandap, and bows to all the guests with respect. He then performs GaneshPoojain themandapamor wedding hall just before the marriage ceremony. Worshipping Ganesha, the elephantheaded God is an important part of most Hindu rituals as he is revered as the remover of all obstacles. He then performs Punyahavachanam and prepares himself to accept the bride. The ther of the bride arrives. The priests announce the lineage of Bride and groom from generations

•           Second step for the sake of strength

This is the last event in front of fire. During this event, the wife recognizes that her husband as a principled and learned man from his sincere vows and deeds. She performs prayers for progeny.

The ther of the bride further declares that With all the beings in this world, with the elements and all the celestials as my witness, I am giving this girl to you for the good of your ancestors and descendants and for liberation of my ancestors.

OVaruna, may this marriage result in prosperity to brides mily, O Bruhaspati, may this bride augment the progress of her husband,  O Indra, please bless them to have children.

PreWedding Rituals days before the wedding

This ritual is performed at the bridegrooms place of residence or in our case the hotel. The groom has completed his formal and religious education and the rites constitute him a Dwija born again in the Vedic culture. To eliminate unknown errors in following the vow of brahmacharya, the groom and his parents would repeat all the Vedic rituals done thus r in an abbreviated shion. So this function is unique to Brahmins and involves brief repetition of all the sacraments during Grooms life until now. The groom is now ready to become aSanyasiMonk or ascetic by relinquishing the materialistic world, unless he decides to marry and become a householder gruhasta śram. The groom sheds his ncy attire, wears a cloth, wooden sandals, holds a wooden stick and carries only an umbrella to protect him from the wrath of sun. There is no dress code for guests to attend this event and typically close mily and friends attend this function.

I shall perform the sacrificial rites, so that I may receive the status of the householder and make this bride as my wife.

O blessed bride, may you look at your husband and his mily with kind eyes, bring prosperity to his house, have a long married life, give birth to children with valor, bring luster and brilliance to your new home, and behave in a way that even God will be very appreciative of you.

Finally the groom declares that with these steps may you become my friend, let me deserve your friendship, let not part with your friendship, let you not part from my friendship. Let us live as loving, vigorous happy couple enjoying each others company, listening to each other for a hundred years.

A cool sugary drink and light snacks are served to the guests to make them happy and comforle. Family and friends of both parties introduce each other in a very informal way and make new friends and acquaintance. A few minutes later the guests take their seats in the venue, the bride and the groom are seated on the stage, with selected mily members on the respective sides.

Elderly married women with prolonged married life are honored with gifts to seek their blessings.

Married women Sumangalis, form pairs and arrive in a procession carrying large trays with and saucer shaped lamps made from a mixture of rice flour, sugar and milk, and two large trays of wet Rice. The lit lamps represent sweetness and light, two qualities that the bride brings with her to this new phase of life. The rice mixed with a touch of turmeric seeking abundance of the same in the new home.

Prayers are then offered to the wife of celestial Lord Indra.  While reciting the prayers, a gold ring is dropped into a large vessel filled with water. The bride and the groom compete with each other to quickly pull the ring from the vessel. This is done times. It is a belief that the spouse that collects the ring out of times will dominate the married life.

May there be abundance of dairy and grains, to perform donations and sacrifices. They wish each other to live in abundance of grains, essential for an ancient agrarian community.

Having tied themangala sutra, the couple now exchange garlands. Those present at the wedding shower their blessings on the couple by sprinkling flowers and turmericcoloured rice Akshata on them.

This function is held in a separate venue at the grooms place of residence or hotel, and is similar in all aspects to the of a bride. Following the ceremonial bath the groom wears a Dhoti Indian dress and is adorned with Tilakam, the red dot on the forehead. Women sing folk songs and bless the groom.

Let peace flourish in your life, contentment flourish, let there be no obstacles in life, may you give donations to the need, protect the cows, perform many good deeds and may the planets vor your married life

I free from the rope tied by Lord Parameshwara who ties this rope ofVarunafor all the goodminded beings, I give you the position of pleasure with me to you in the world of Brahma.

The curtain separates them until bride and bridegroom are allowed to look into each others eyes and touch each other at the time of Muhurtam, the most auspicious time set by astrologers. They are not to see each other until after themuhurtham.

Yajnopavita Dharana The Wearing of the additional strands of sacred thread

Om, Praise be toAgni, the domestic priest, minister of ritual and invoker of immense wealth, please bring Aditi, Anumati, Saraswati and the sun as witness

Arrival of the Bride and Groom in the New Attire for the Completion of the Wedding

O Saraswati, gracious one, you whom we hymn first of all the Gods, may you prosper this marriage. Hey maiden, LetVayuwho has the capacity to travel in all directions, who keeps a gold coin in his hand to give to those who pray him and who is the friend ofAgniwho has the capacity to purify everything as well as the capacity to make raw food edible, enter your mind and make you love me for every minute of our future lives.

Terasalla The curtain that separates bride and groom until the muhurtham

Pradhana Homam The Circumambulation around the Holy Fire

After the recitation of Vedic verses the groom starts his travel towards Kashi The city of Varanasi in India, which is the spiritual capital of India to achieve further knowledge ofbrahmaninfinite reality and the event is called Kashi Yatra. His intention is to devote himself to God and a life of prayer. The brother of the bride, who is in search of an eligible Groom for his unmarried sister, approaches him and decides to entice him to marry his sister. The brother of the bride persuades the groom that there is life beyond education and entering Grihastasramam house holder by marrying his sister is a better way of fulfilling his sacred duties. The brother offers new cloths and gifts. As expected, he succeeds in convincing the groom to marry his sister and symbolically weans him away from the pursuit of becoming a Monk. This concludes the morning program of stof June.  This will be followed by Lunch.

A small part of the stage is decorated with ful powders. Four decorated pots and four lit oil lamps are placed strategically on all the sides. Prayers are performed for the celestial Lord Indra.

While sanskrit verses are being recited, the groom stands, and ties the two strings separately around the brides neck with three knots.  Each knot signifies a level of marital commitment, manasa in heart, vacha in word and karmana in deed. By tying the necklace, the groom is offering safety, security, and commitment to the bride.

O bride, the celestials have given you to me and blessed me to become your husband. I am holding your hand so that you will have several good children and live happily with me till ripe old age.

Laja Homam is the first ritual sacrifice performed by the couple as husband and wife. This is an offering of food to the celestials through theAgnifor their blessings for a long married life. The brother of the bride provides the parched rice for the offerings. With the first offering toAgni, the wife says to husband This grain I spill May it bring to me wellbeing and unite you to me. MayAgnihear us. They also seek prosperity to their relatives. After each offering the couple performs circumambulation of the fire.

The groom and the bride would now change into auspicious clothes madhuparkamulu.For the remaining rituals, the bride wears a white cotton sari with a red border, while the groom dons a white cotton dhoti, also with a red border. White signifies purity and chastity, while red is a that represents strength.

Make this bride fit to give birth to healthy children of valor

Vishwambhara Sarvabhuta, Sakshinya Sarvadevatha,

During the wedding, several rituals are to be completed in an orderly shion. The wedding is finally deemed complete only in the presence ofAgni, the fire diety, when the bride and groom together make seven circles around a sacred fire and take seven steps while reciting vows to each other with the fire as the primary witness. During the process, they thank the Sun for its light and energy, the Earth for the food, Varun the rain deity for water,Agni, andVayuthe wind diety for air. The prayers and rituals are to join the souls of bride and groom and to create a strong tie between the two milies.

This is the same as Sankalpam described above, but recited in a much more elaborated way before the main Kanyadan function. This includes comprehensive description of origin of the bride and groom including the origins of their culture, geography of their land, ancient rulers, holy places, and the reason for giving away the bride. Since the parents of the bride are giving away their beloved daughter for the benefit of progeny and growth of a new mily, it is considered as the greatest of all duties and sacrifices and calls for a Mahasankalpam. It is a belief that the generations of ancestors and generations of descendants of brides ther are blessed by this great event.

May you the great assembled declare that this wedding task to be auspicious.

Dharmecha, arthecha, kamecha nathi charithavyethi. Data vadeth.Nathi Charatavya, Nathi Charami I shall not transgress

The groom makes the promise by repeating three times that he will not il the bride in realizingdharma,arthaandkama, and promises never to transgress her rights.

Meaning Mount up this stone. Let thy mind be rockfirm, unperturbed, by the trials and tribulations of life and when it is finished, the groom adorns the brides toes with mattelu, silver rings. This is to signify that any hardships the couple might encounter can be dealt with patience.

The bride and the groom arrive after donning the prescribed cotton cloths for completion of the next segment of marriage. The rituals of this segment are mostly performed for consolidation of marriage.

May you, goddess Lakshmi of this mangalya, be pleased with ourpooja,May your realm be as firm as that ofVaruna, the great priest Bruhaspati, Indra, andAgni.

Hey Goddess of wealth Lakshmi, you bless us with all the luck, riches and food and so we who have held our hands today, hope to get riches and pleasures by your blessings. I announce this loudly in front of all so that you will definitely bless me.

Holding each others hand with fire as an eternal witness to marriage, the bride and groom pledge and declare to all those present that they have accepted one another voluntarily.

All the honorable guests arrive and take their seats at wedding hall venue by AM for the event.

Our wedding will be conducted over two days. The many rites and rituals which are a part of our wedding incorporate vows in Sanskrit with great significance in the presence of fire, concealed prayers to five elements, the symbolic replay of celestial events and extensive prayers to seek the blessings of the planets, celestial holy men and ultimately the God. We have made an attempt to describe the events of a Vedic Hindu wedding in English with translation of key parts of the vows by bride and groom. We would like to share the significance of these elaborate Hindu wedding rituals and the concealed meaning with all of you.

The marriage ceremony over, the bride is taken to the grooms home for Griha Pravesh entering the house for the first time. When they reach his house, he says Enter with your right foot. Do not remain outside. The bride enters the home placing the right foot considered auspicious, first. When the bride and the groom enter the grooms house, the mother of the groom welcomes the bride by doing anAarati. The couple retire into their own rooms.

This is a fun event and is exclusively unique to Telugu speaking milies of the state of Andhra Pradesh. The main purpose of this is event is to break the ice between the members of the two milies. During this event the mother of the bride tries to make fun of future motherinlaw of her daughter and the mother of the groom reciprocates the gesture with similar tongue in cheek comments. Each party sings colloquial songs in their native language to belittle the other party. This party is traditionally held on the day after the wedding, but can be performed anytime since it is not a Vedic event. Later both parties join in an informal dinner.

O celestials, this woman is leaving her own behind and is following me to join my mily. I am performing these oblations, requesting you to grant her sle and prosperous life, virtuous children, and a life without sorrow.

Mangalasutra Dharana Tying of the Mangalsutra with three knots

As the event progresses, the recitation states

Two more sets of sacred threads knotted with strands each are added to the preexisting single set with strands of Yajñopavtam, the groom has across his chest since he began his pursuit of formal education as Brahmachari. The strands symbolize his indebtedness to Teacher, Parents and God including the five elements. Having declared his intent to let go of his brahmacharya stage during earlier at sntakam, the groom now proceeds to take on yagnpavtam with three threads. The ther of the bride also offers additional threads of gold and silver.

As a condition for this offering his daughter for marriage, the ther of the bride requests a promise from the groom for assisting the bride in realizing the three endsdharma,artha, andkamaand request him to never to transgress her rights. With these words, the ther of the bride pours water on the hands of the groom through the hands of bride.

The bridegroom stands cing the bride encloses all of her right hand with his right hand, withAgnias witness, and says

The bride and the groom will be welcomed to the grooms house or room as a newly married couple.

With Lord Vishnu the protector of the universe as our guide, let us take,

The parents of the bride are the hosts of this entire event which is performed in a separate room, not in the main Mandap wedding stage. They start the day very early in the morning by GanapatiPooja. This is followed by Punyahavachanam, a ritual to purify the venue and all the material used for the event and seek blessings from the priests and elders. The bride later joins them and sits by the side.

On the other hand, the wedding is an event filled with deeply meaningful and symbolic combination of rituals, prayers and traditions at the conclusion of which the couple are expected to lead a life of perfect monogamous companionship with mutual respect, dependence and love. Love begins with the marriage according to Hindu tradition. The rituals of a Hindu wedding, often referred to as a Vedic wedding, are derived from ancient scriptures called Vedas, written in Sanskrit. The Vedas are scriptures from IndoAryan culture, the s of which were transmitted orally from generation to generation with specific intonation and rhythm. They are believed to be at least , years old. The rituals and Vedic incantations provide some of the foundations of a Hindu marriage to provide a binding spiritual and religious sacrament with progressive love between a man and woman.

The bride arrives at theMandapamby being carried in a basket by her maternal uncles. She continues to sit in the same handwoven basket in which she performed the Gauri Puja. After she is placed on theMandapam, the bride and groom ce each other but are separated by a curtain.

Holding each others hands, tied together with upper cloth, the couple takes seven steps. With each step a verse is recited and Lord Vishnus blessings are sought. Seven little heaps of rice is arranged in a line. The groom slips a silver toe ring on the second toe of the bride.

This is the final event on the stage. The bride will be ritualistically be declared as part of the grooms mily. The ther and the mother of the bride joins the hands of the bride inidually to the groom, his parents and sister. He recites, I have nurtured this child till this age and I am handing her over to your mily for the prosperity and progeny of her husband. Dear parents and sister of the groom, from now on consider her as your own daughter and be a guide and philosopher.

The bridegroom holds the bride by the hand and both walk three times around the nuptial fire. Both offer oblations and recite appropriate Vedic hymns to Gods for prosperity, good fortune, and conjugal fidelity. They touch each others heart and pray for union of their hearts and minds.

Recitation of the Pravara Announcement of Lineage

A canopy is erected at the house of bride to days before wedding.

The two front stars of the constellation point to the Dhruva Star Polaris, the brightest star in the Ursa minor. Since this star is stationary, the couple look at the star as a symbol of sility.

This is exactly performed at AM. After the priest recites the wedding slokas verses from the Vedas, the bride and groom apply a small cake made from a paste of cumin seeds jeera and raw sugar jaggery on each others heads, across the curtain. The significance is slightly bitter cumin and sweet jaggery when ground together turn into an inseparable mixture, denoting that the bride and groom are supposed to become inseparable through lifes bitter and sweet times. The cake is kept exactly at anterior anel, an esoteric aperture that is believed to transmit visual and spiritual energy between them to become an inseparable couple.

The priests say the following words in Sanskrit

This is the most important part of the ceremony that confirms and sanctifies the marriage. Only after this ritual, the bride and the groom are accepted as married religiously socially and legally.

The bride and groom shower one another with talambaraalu, rice mixed with saffron turmeric, brought on to the stage earlier. This signifies the couple‟s desire for happiness, enjoyment and contentment. Initially they take turns to shower the grains on each other while the priest recites

SinceAgnithe fire Diety is common to humans and celestials, he is respectfully requested to take the offering made through him to be delivered to the intended celestial deity. All the great Hindu epics state thatAgniis a messenger and mediator between God and human. It is believed that any offerings made throughAgniis consumed here on earth and reaches the intended deity.

The Terasalla is then removed. The bride and the groom are instructed to look into each others eyes and the place in between eyes. The following Vedic verses are chanted at that time

After the declaration events, their milies perform Aarti a ceremony that involves placing a lit oil lamp or diya on a plate and circling the plate around a person in a clockwise direction. The clockwise movement is followed to imitate the earths movement around the sun. The ceremony is significant as it carries with it the milys prayer that the mind of the bride and groom be illuminated by wisdom.

Muhurtham Setting a Date and Time for the Wedding

These are verses each of which is addressed to Trinity, rulers of eight directions, elements, great sages, virtuous women enumerated in epics, planets, rivers and great trees including all vegetation to look after the bride and groom with extreme kindness.

The priest also addresses the audience who are witnesses to the event

They requestAgnito gradually reduce her attachment to her parents home and to increase attraction to husbands house.

The bride boils a very small quantity of rice and offers it toAgni, the firegod ritualistically. The rice made for the first time by the bride as a house wife is offered symbolically toAgni.

Any event of religious significance in Vedic culture starts with this event. This is process by which the person that performs a ritual orpoojahas to announce the minutest specifics of location, time, his identity and the reason for performing the event. The extremely complex specifics include the continent, its shape, the country, geographic relation relative to India, nearest Ocean, river or great lakes, specific millennium, specific named year, direction of journey of sun, name of the lunar month, day of the lunar cycle Tithi time taken by moon to move degrees from sun, in a cycle, day of the week, name of the star closer to the moon, name of the performer, his ancestry, and all the reasons for performing that event, all in Sanskrit.

May you the great assembled grant the present time to be most Auspicious.

An ideal Hindu life revolves around four stages called śrams, the first of which is a stage of education as a bachelor brahmacharya śrams, the second is that of a householder gruhasta śram, the third is that of an elderly recluse vnaprastha śram, and finally a renouncer of worldly belongings sanysa śram. The first stage of Brahmacharya concludes with the wedding. In ancient Indian culture,vivaha, or marriage, is considered as a social arrangement for the initiation of a lifelong companionship and lawful union between a man and a woman for the purpose of leading a life ofDharmafulfillment of duties towards their ancestors, descendants and the society in which they live,Arthacreation and management of wealth,Kamaphysical union for progeny, and finally to achieve Moksha liberation of soul for eternal happiness with good deeds.

•           Fourth step for the sake of love and conjugal happiness

May all the great assemble here grant this moment to be especially auspicious.

Prayathoham prayaghchami Dharmakamardha Siddhaye

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