7 Vows of Marriage — Free Sample Chapter
The bride walks out for the ‘Jaymala’ (a ritual where the bride and groom exchange garlands), with this song playing in the background.
A surprise gift for my readers! Yes, right. Here is a free sample chapter from my first book titled ‘7 Vows of Marriage’.
Here it goes……….
Anokhe ‘Saat Vachan’
“Yeh bandhan toh pyar ka bandhan hai
Janmon ka sangam hai”
(Translation: This relationship is a bond of love and togetherness forever)
Fictional stories and fairytales conclude with the phrase: the boy and girl got married and lived happily ever after. Marriage is a lifetime association and the couple is a single binding factor of two different families. Does the young generation realize the meaning of the seven vows of marriage?
The main thing that might catch foreign readers by surprise is the Indian baraat, or the groom’s procession. The groom arrives to the ceremony on a decorated white mare. Guests dance around him to the rhythmic beats of the dhol, celebrating the advent of his new life. Then, the bride along with her family greets the groom; the couple exchanges floral garlands to wear around their necks symbolizing acceptance of each other.
The marriage ceremony involves the priest, bride, groom, and bride’s parents who sit beneath a mandap, a canopy that somewhat resembles a Jewish huppah.
Starting off with the ceremony, the panditji (priest) chants mantras (sermon) for the kanyadaan; the bride’s parents have to give away the bride to the new family. Afterwards, the couple holds hands and moves around the holy fire placed in a small enclosure (the agni) to perform the ritual of mangal phera.
Saat phere is a tradition where the couple takes seven rounds around the pious or ‘shubh’ fire and Vedic mantras are chanted by the priest. The groom and bride recite specific vows with each phera. These vows are considered unbreakable and the pradakshinas are blessed by Agnideva.
PHERA 1: The first vow is to make available pure and nourished food, and in abundance.
PHERA 2: The couple promises to give each other a healthy and prosperous life. They pray for physical, mental, and spiritual health.
PHERA 3: The couple vows to invoke spiritual strength to share pain and happiness mutually. They also pray to support each other to acquire wealth.
PHERA 4: The couple vows to attain happiness and harmony by mutual trust and love. They pledge to live a long and joyous life with togetherness.
PHERA 5: The couple promises to provide welfare to all living beings in the world and pray for noble children.
PHERA 6: The couple prays for a long and peaceful life and seeks to travel through all seasons and share each other’s joys and sorrows.
PHERA 7: The last ‘phera’ symbolizes that the couple prays for long and mutual companionship. They pray for mutual understanding, unity, and loyalty and wish for peace in the universe.
Finally, the groom applies vermillion (sindoor) on the centre of bride’s forehead (maang) and ties the mangalsutra (necklace with black beads) around her neck to symbolize the bride as a married woman.
Exchanging such vows of duty, love, fidelity, respect and a successful union, the couple pledge to be companions forever. A Hindu marriage is incomplete without these seven vows. If every couple understands these vows, then why is the frequency of divorces increasing nowadays?
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