The planetary arrangements as per the time, place and circumstances
When we speak of Hindu marriage, the earnest point of sweetness is the seven vows or promises which the couple makes to each other.
These 7 vows are a beautiful symbol of unity of physical and spiritual unification of the couple since it kindles the fire of love and awakens a selfless attitude in the heart of hearts. The sacred fire which burns to enlighten the long path on which the couple is supposed to move upon is beautified by these wonderful statements, as if coming from the divine. Making them to each other and keeping the promise constitutes a happy and long married life which the couple swears to continue for at least a centennial till their last breath.
The warmth of the sacrificial fire along with the enigma of the words makes the couple come closer to a level of unified and complete understanding of love as well as responsibilities.
The seven vows translate as follows:
- First vow is where couple seeks blessings for livelihood and work in partnership to achieve it.
Groom: You will offer me food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide welfare and happiness for you and our children.
Bride: I am responsible for the home and all household responsibilities.
- The couple seeks protection, courage and strength to progress
Groom: Together we will protect our house and children.
Bride: I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely.
- Couple seeks wealth and prosperity and they pledge to make each other their top priority
Groom: May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children. May our children live long.
Bride: I will love you solely for the rest of my life, as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste.
- Blessings for enhancement of love and expansion of family
Groom: You have brought sacredness into my life, and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children.
Bride: I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can.
- Blessings for being each other’s companion forever
Groom: You are my best friend, and staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you.
Bride: I promise to love and cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes.
- They seek blessings to be together in all ups and downs
Groom: May you be filled with joy and peace.
Bride: I will always be by your side.
- Final vow for partnership and companionship
Groom: We are now husband and wife, and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.
Bride: As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honor and cherish each other forever.
As one can see, these seven promises enclose every miniscule aspect of life, beginning from the marriage and up to the separation of the physical bodies of the couple. One can find each other’s peaceful and supportive presence in any condition be it miserable or enjoyable.
Both shall be there for each other either in the spring of youth or the autumn of the advancing age with the love increasing multifold at each step of life.
Goddess Gayatri or the Mother of all the Vedas is adored and praised by chanting the powerful Gayatri mantra. The word ‘Gayatri’ itself explains the reason for the existence of this mantra. It has its origin in the Sanskrit phrase Gayantam Triyate iti, and refers to that mantra which rescues the chanter from all adverse situations that may lead to mortality.
The first line ‘Om bhur bhuvah svah’ is not actually part of a Gayatri mantra and it is a special utterance called ‘vyahriti’ that has been added to the beginning of the famous mantra.
The First word ‘OM’ is the prime subject around which the entire creation revolves and it is the permanent truth within which everything exists. It is an auspicious sound made at the beginning of many prayers.
The expression ‘bhur bhuvah’ and ‘svah’ is technical, but a simple way to think of it is as a “call to creation,” that the light of the sun (the light of God) shines on the earth (bhur), in the sky (bhuvah), and in space (svah), and therefore the implication is, “let that light also shine on me.”
The word-to-word breakdown of the Gayatri mantra that most Hindus know is:
tat– that (God)
savitur– of the sun
varenyam– the best
bhargo (bhargas)– light, illumination
dhimahi– let us meditate (a verb)
dhiyo (dhiyah)– thought(s)
nah –of us, our
prachodayat– May it push, inspire (a verb)
The most important word in the Gayatri mantra is the word, “tat” which is a neuter pronoun meaning “that.” It is a reference to “that One,” God.
The sun, which is the source of illumination, heat, food and so many other things in our life, can naturally be seen as the “representative” or symbol of God in this world.
There are two verbs in the Gayatri mantra, ‘dhimahi’ and ‘prachodayat’.
Dhimahi means, “let us meditate on the light (bhargo) of the sun which represents God.”
This is the basic meaning of the first part of the Gayatri Mantra.
Coming to the second part, the verb ‘prachodayat’ literally means, “it should push,” but in more poetic language we can translate it as “let it inspire.”
Dhiyah is “thoughts,” so dhiyo yo nah prachodayat means, “may our thoughts be inspired”
Thus the most literal meaning of the Gayatri mantra is:
“Let us meditate on the light of the sun which represents God, and may our thoughts be inspired by that divine light.”
“Weddings are not just about the wedding day. Rituals start from matching of horoscopes to conducting religious ceremonies for various “doshas” found in the kundalis. Besides, given the cultural diversity of India, traditions differ,” says Saumya Vardhan.
Goddess Durga is the divya-shakti, which can be a bounty of love and care as well as the source of destruction too. She symbolises the power of divine mother as even the Gods pay homage to her strength. Adoring Ma durga during nine days by keeping fasts and worshipping her is the perfect way to realize our upmost goal and motive of existence, which gets blur in the magical world of materialism.
Kanya Pujan marks the ending ceremony of the auspicious Navratri and is conducted on Ashtami or Navami day of Navratri. It is also known as ‘Kumari puja’, a ritual of worshipping young girls symbolising Goddess Durga. Homage is paid to nine small girls and one boy through this ritual. Special food is prepared according to the varied rituals among family, which is offered to the nine girls in the form of nine devis. Certain dakshina or new utensils are also offered to them. Then the prasadam is consumed by the family to break their fast and mark the completion of auspicious navratri.
Devotees should read the last chapter of Durga Saptashati and chant mantras to welcome the kids. The ceremony should begin by washing their feet and then tying ‘mauli’ (red thread) on their wrists. Special puri, halwa and chana are offered to them along with fruits. People should touch their feet and seek blessings from them by pleasing these young kids.
Worshipping the kanyas helps the devotees to receive wisdom, moksha, strength, wealth and dharma. Mantra for kanya pujan is as follows:
मंत्राक्षरमयीं लक्ष्मीं मातृणां रूपधारिणीम्।
नवदुर्गात्मिकां साक्षात् कन्यामावाहयाम्यहम्।।
जगत्पूज्ये जगद्वन्द्ये सर्वशक्तिस्वरुपिणि।
पूजां गृहाण कौमारि जगन्मातर्नमोस्तु ते।।
Beginnings are an epitome of hopes, happiness and immense enthusiasm. The Hindu New Year or Gudi Padwa or also called as Ugadi is widely celebrated to inaugurate the Hindu year. This is the first day of the Indian month of Chaita according to the lunar calendar. This day also marks the beginning of new season and end of the Rabi crops. People from all around India perform special rituals on this day and welcome the New Year with immense joy.
The preparations for this special day include proper cleansing of the house and decorating the home at its best. The family members install the Gudi at the entrance of their residence by taking a long stick, a sacred cloth which is mainly red or yellow in colour and a Kalash. After placing the kalash it is adorned with mango leaves and flowers. This ceremony is highly sacred and considered to bring happiness, prosperity and success for the family.
The festival is celebrated in honour of Maratha Shivaji Maharaj, a great king who had a kingdom that spread across the entire part of western India. This is the reason people worship the Gudi which is a cloth which flies like a flag that is usually a sign of victory in an army.
This day also represents love and devotion between the wife and husband. On this day newly married daughters with their husbands are invited for special meals and resents. Thus this is the festival where families and relatives get together to celebrate the joy. Special delicacies are also prepared like Shrikhand and Poori or Puran Poli in Maharashtra and a mixture of six tastes called Ugadi Pachhadi or Bevu Bella in South India.
This year Gudi Padwa is on 8th April 2016 and we wish that it brings new ray of hope in everyone’s life.