Understanding the Saptapadhi
India is a land of rituals and traditions. From the time a person is born to the time he dies, it is the various rituals and traditions that mark each and every aspect of his life. Marriage too, is no exception. When we talk especially in context to Hindu marriages, there is one ritual that is given pivotal importance. This is the ritual of Saptpadhi or the seven promises. As per this ritual, the couple take seven steps or seven rounds in front of the pious agni, which stands witness to the union of two soul mates.
When we talk is special reference to Marathi Matrimony, Saptpadhi, in a way, is the most important ritual of the wedding. Once the seven holy steps are taken around the holy fire, the marriage is considered irreversible. As per this ritual, Seven small heaps of rice, covered with betel-nut are arranged around the alter, circling the holy sacrificial fire. The bridegroom leads the bride on these rice heaps one by one On each heap, the bride and groom make a vow to each other, which forms the basis of their marriage. On each step, they offer grains and ghee to the fire, while the priest chants mantras. The couple makes the following 7 promises to each other, during saptpadhi:
- First promise: The bride and the groom take the first step of the seven vows to pledge that they would provide the best living standard for the household and play their part in the family leading a healthy life.
- Second promise: The second vow entails the bride and groom to promise that they would make all physical mental and spiritual efforts in their powers to enable the family to lead a healthy lifestyle and ensure the well-being of each other and the family.
- Third promise: During the third step the bride and the groom promise each other that they will work hard and earn money for the family through righteous means in order to increase the family wealth and help them prosper as a family.
- Fourth promise: The fourth vow makes both the bride and groom promise that they will continuously strive to gain knowledge about the world and each other in order to build happiness and harmony amongst each other. They promise to achieve this by love, mutual respect and understanding between each other but most importantly having faith in each other.
- Fifth promise: While taking the fifth step they vow to continue their lineage by having children and being responsible for them throughout. They promise to make them honest and brave and imbibe in them all that is good in the world. They also vow to keep them healthy.
- Sixth promise: The sixth step entails them taking the sixth vow which makes them promise that they will always exercise self-control of the mind, body and ensure the longevity of their marital relationship. They promise to be faithful to each other and make their marriage last a lifetime.
- Seventh promise: While taking the seventh vow the bride and groom pledge to be true and loyal to each other and promise to be friends throughout their lives and able companions, throughout their lives.
Overall, the seven vows provide the couple with all the guidelines required to lead a happy married life and that in itself entails all that is good in a harmonious marriage.
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