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Vedic Marriage & its scientific significance?

In Hindu dharma, marriage is viewed as a sacrament and not a contract. Hindu marriage is a life-long commitment of one wife and one husband, and is the strongest social bond that takes place between a man and a woman.

Grahastha Ashram (the householder stage), the second of the four stages of life begins when a man and a woman marry and start a household.

Now let us consider the elaborate process of the marriage according to the Veda, and its scientific significance.

A day before the wedding the palm and feet of the bride are decorated with “Mahendi”.

A canopy or mandapa decorated with flowers is erected at the place of wedding.

On the wedding morning, various ablutionary rituals are performed on both the bride and the groom in their own homes. Their bodies are anointed with turmeric, sandalwood paste and oils, which cleanse the body, soften the skin, and make it aromatic. They are then bathed to the chanting of Vedic mantras

Though there may be variations in the sequence of the performance of the different parts and though they are called by different names in the respective colloquials, the Vedic Marriage consists of

01. NANDI- getting started

02. NISCHITARTHA- confirming the alliance

03. ANKURARPANA-creation of the alliance by lighting the yagna fire

04. LAJA HOMA- yagna

05. SNATHAKAM-graduation ceremony

06. UPANAYANAM-thread marriage

07. KASI YATHRA- the indecisive journey of the groom to kasi for the sanyasa and bringing him back to the house by the parents of the bride for the marriage.

08. KANYA DANAM- offering of the daughter for the marriage.

09. PANI GRAHANAM, SAPTHA PADHI, MANGALASUTHRA DHARANA, OR VEEKSHANAM – the seeing of each other, touching of each other, and walking together, and tying the knot of the marriage.

10. TALAMBRALU-other performances- acquaintance of each other.

11. ARUNDHATHI DARSHANAM-showing of the arundhathi star

12. GRIHAPRAVESAM- taking the bride to the in-laws house

13. APPAGINTHALU-handing over the daughter to the groom

14. DHRUVA DARSHANA

15. SOBHANAMU-nuptials

16. GARBHADANAM-the act of creation of the foetus.

Now lets see each of these acts in detail.

One important point to be noted is that in the Vedic Age the school going is both for the boy and the girl. And the Upanayana is to be performed for both of them. At the time of the marriage the women starts wearing the ornaments and the man is tied with the sacred thread.

The points like why women wear ornaments and keep bindi are beyond the purview of this discourse.

So when both complete the Education {comprehensive education for the development of the individual and the society} the parents used to find the match by comparing the Horoscopes of the probable matches and in confirming the alliance by Horoscopes matching, Yoni matching is one of the matching that is mainly looked into. Yoni matching signifies the classification of the genetal organs of bride and groom as per sastra and it ensures a happy congress between the couple.Gana matching signifies a particular set of mental traits, and for any marriage at least 24 ganas should match i.e., should of the same count for the boy and girl.

KANYA DANAM- offering of the daughter for the marriage.

Kanya means virgin girl (namely the bride). ‘Daan´ means giving away.

There are so many Daans or Dhanas advocated by the Hindu scriptures and of these Kanya Daan is stated to be the supreme daan. Hindu Dharma says one who is bestowed with the act of Kanya Daan or One who has the opportunity of making a Kanya Daan in his life is the beloved child of the Lord and he will never have rebirth.

Kanya Daan is an important part of the marriage ceremony in which the bride´s parents give her away to the groom by entrusting her to the bridegroom. The officiating priest chants appropriate verses in Sanskrit. The people in the audience (the public) is now notified that the parents have willingly expressed their wish and consent by requesting the groom to accept their daughter as his bride. As soon as the groom indicates his acceptance the marriage ceremony begins. The parents now bestow their blessings on both the bride and the groom and pray to the Lord to shower His choicest blessings on them.

b. From then the Veekshana is the right time for the bride and the groom to see each other. The parents of the bride now hands over their daughter to the parents of the groom by stating that “I have nurtured this child till this age and am handing over to you for the progeny and prosperity of your family. Consider her as your daughter and be the guide and philosopher for her till she lives with you”.

c.The Grasping of the Hand. The process of the first physical contact between the bride and the groom starts.

The bride facing the East while the groom faces the West, the bridegroom takes the bride’s hand…and says

“O Sarasvati, gracious one, rich in offspring, you whom we hymm first of all the Gods, may you prosper this marriage.” “I seize your hand.”

d. Agnipradakshina

The Circumambulation of the Fire

Note: All solemn rites and ceremonies commence with the performance of Homa (sacred fire ceremony) among the followers of Vedic religion. The idea is to begin all auspicious undertakings in an atmosphere of purity and spirituality. This atmosphere is created by the burning of fragrant herbs and ghee and by the recitation of suitable Mantras.

e. Now comes the Mangala suthra Dharana that is the tying of the thread containing the marks of the Vishnu or Shiva in the neck of the bride by the groom.

The Mangala Vadya is played at this time with vigour and bliss. Holy akhsatha,the unbroken rice mixed with termeric powder, is poured on the heads of the groom and bride by all the visitors gathered at the marriage as a mark of their blessings and well wishes for the bride and groom to begin their new married life.

f. Asmarohana [The Treading on the Stone]

The bridegroom says the words while she stands up: “Come, beautiful one.” And he lets her put the tip of the right foot on the stone, saying: “Come, step on the stone; be strong like a stone. Resist the enemies; overcome those who attack you.”

g. Lajahoma [The Oblation of Parched Grain]

The bridegroom pours some parched grain into the bride’s joined palms :

“This grain I spill. May it bring to me well-being and unite you to me. May Agni hear us.”

He then causes the bride to spill the grain into the fire, saying:

“This woman scattering grain into the fire, prays: Blessings on my husband. May my relatives be prosperous. ‘Swaha!’ “

h. Saptapadi [The Seven Steps]

The Sapthapadi or the walking of seven steps around the Agni signifies that the bride and groom go together in all the seven planes of consciousness in performing the dharma. The seven planes of the Consciousness are signified by the seven Vyahrithis of the Gayathri Mantra. Actually the union of bride and groom takes place only at the stage of Sapthapadi and the process of the bride and groom becoming as the wife and husband is immediately begun from that time.

Then they walk around the fire, the bridegroom repeating:

“First now they bring to you in bridal procession this Surya, guiding her steps in circular motion. Return her now, O Agni, to her husband as rightful wife, with hope of children to come.”

While the bride takes the seven steps to the Northeast, the bridegroom sings the following verses:

“One step for Vigour, Two steps for Vitality, Three steps for Prosperity, Four steps for Happiness, Five steps for Cattle(Wealth), Six steps for Seasons, Seven steps for Friendship. To me be devoted.”

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.”

Then the entire rite is repeated twice more, beginning with the rite of the fried grain.

At the fourth round she pours into the fire all the fried grain from the mouth of the winnowing basket saying: “To Bhaga swaha!”

i. Dhruvadarsana [Looking at the Polestar]

Dhruvadarsana or Arundhathi Darshanam is the showing of the Saptha Rishi Mandala and the star Arundhathi underneath the star of Vashistha.The significance is to remind the pair about their cosmic responsibilities they have to perform in the coming walks of life.These seven sages and their families are the originators of the Vedic Lore of the Hindus. In memoriam of these great sages we named the seven stars in the Great Bear constellation after their names. It is the Darshan of these Great Sages will remind the couple the heritage they have to carry and the Debt of the sages to be performed.

The groom shows her the polar star to the bride.The bride says that :

“You are firm and I see you. Be firm with me, O flourishing one! Brhaspati has given you to me, so live with me a hundred years bearing children by me, your husband.”

j. Grihapravesam is the taking of the bride and the groom to the house of the groom.

k. Sobhanamu is the Nuptials arranged by the parents of the bride in their residence first and in the residence of the groom next. This is the starting of the enjoyment of the joy of the sex as learned in the Gurukula by reading the Kama sastra and implementing it in a socially acceptable way for the joy and the bliss and for the progeny of the race.

l. Gharbhadanamu is the act of sex for the progeny. This is set on the day that is neutral from the cosmic influences like the moons gravity and the suns gravity or other disturbances to create the foetus for the Jiva to enter in to the Womb of the mother to take the birth to perform his cycle of karma and to make the parents to fulfil the cycle of the karma.

Scientific observations from the ceremony :

The dress pattern on all the Vedic Marriages is in conformity with the modern day scientific non infection dressing.

The decoration with mango leaves or the performance of the homa is in a way more advanced systems of the pollution control at a group level.

The wearing of the ornaments at the ceremony of the marriage is in conformity with the Advanced Magnetic Resonance Preventive Medicine of the Present day Medical world.

This is the wisdom taught by Hindu dharmas and is dedicated to the lotus feet of all Sages who found the Dharma and this science of the marriage.