The Wedding Sacrament (Vivah Sanskaar) is the most important among the sixteen Vedic sacraments. It is a divinely ordained institution that forms the very basis for a coordinated family life. It seeks to bring two souls together into a composite whole, in fulfillment of cosmic purpose and plan. When we observe the functioning of the universe, we see an eternally harmonious relationship between the sun and moon, heaven and earth and all the other cosmic pairs. Even God (Purusha) and Matter (Prakriti) are seen to be related eternally with each other for the creation of this universe. A groom and a bride are brought together in marriage to reflect the same kind of lifelong harmonious relationship.
The bride’s party welcomes the groom’s party in front of the wedding shrine with the recitation of Vedic Mantras. The fathers of the bride and groom embrace each other.
The bride’s mother and other respectable married ladies shower grains and wave lights over the groom to invoke the powers of prosperity and light over him.
Var Mandap Pravesh
The groom now enters the Mandap (wedding shrine).
Vadhoo Mandap Pravesh
The bride now enters the Mandap.
The bride offers the groom a seat of comfort.
The bride offers the groom a taste of sweetness. Before he sips, he chants, “The wind blows in sweetness, the river flows in sweetness. May the plants bring sweetness to us”.
The father of the bride formally offers the right hand of his daughter, into the right hand of the groom, to signify consent for her being married to him.
They both now garland each other to signify their own choice and acceptance of each other. They chant together, “May all the cosmic powers unite our hearts, and as particles of water, once mixed, can never be separated, even so may our hearts be inseparable”.
Both fathers adopt the officiating Priest and request him to perform the Vivaah Sanskaar.
The Priest invites the bride and groom to kindle the sacramental fire and make offerings of clarified butter and mixed herbs.
The groom stands with the bride still seated. He takes hold of her right hand, chanting, ” I take your hand in mine for fortunes and happiness for both of us. Live with me up to the days of old age, for all the wise people present here and God Himself have consented into us getting married…”
The groom leads the bride around the Havan Kunda three times, chanting, “I am Vishnu, you are Lakshmi. I am the Harmony of music, you are the words of wisdom. I represent heaven, while you are the earth itself, personified. Let us become one, with minds in harmony. Let us live a long life together, and while living, let us see and hear the best things in life”.
The groom asks the bride to put her right foot on a slab of stone, exhorting her to be firm like a rock when the winds of wrongdoing would come to make her fickle minded.
They both make offerings of parched grains unto the fire, praying for prosperity in wedded life.
The groom again leads the bride round the fire four times.
They now take seven steps, together, to the northeast. As each step is taken, a promise is made. The seven promises are :
The first step to nourish each other
The second step to grow together in strength
The thrid step to preserve our wealth
The fourth step to share our joys and sorrows
The fifth step to care for our children
The sixth step to be together forever
The seventh step to remain lifelong friends, the perfect halves to make a perfect whole
The priest sprinkles water over their heads, asking them to keep their powers of thought cool in life.
The groom points out the sun to the bride, saying, “Here rises the glorious eye of heaven, ever rising and pure. May we live a long life to behold the golden color of the rising sun”.
They touch each other’s heart, saying, “I take your heart into our vows, may your mind follow my mind. May you listen to my voice attentively and lovingly, because God has given you to me and me to you to live together in wedded life”.
Ring Exchange, Sindoor Daan & Mangal Sutra
The groom puts a sacred necklace around the bride’s neck. The necklace is a symbol of happy and prosperous married life. He applies sindoor to her hair parting, and asks the audience to bless him and his bride.
The guests and relatives recite hymn and shower fresh flowers onto the wedded couple to wish them good luck, prosperity and a long life.