Wanna know what do the 7 steps in a Hindu wedding mean?
Whether you are going to attend a big fat Indian wedding or getting married, it is quite elating to be part of the ceremonies.
The innately significant rituals of a Hindu marriage are very interesting to watch. Even today, people bestow utmost respect to the legacy and the sacred customs of the traditional Hindu marriage.
In India, you will find several types of wedding customs among the various Hindu communities residing in different parts of the country. Tamil weddings are different from Gujarati marriages, and so on.
Hindu wedding is a sacred ceremony uniting not only the two soul mates but the two families. According to the tradition of the Hindu religion, marriage is the most sacred institution having deep-rooted social, religious, and cultural significance in life. Hence, it is the most auspicious lifetime event for every couple tying the knot.
Saptapadi is an eminent custom and integral part of almost all types of Hindu marriages. For those who have never heard of this before, herein is a brief overview of this main wedding day ritual.
Saptapadi – 7 Vows of Hindu Marriage
It’s exuberant to discover the various ways the Saptapadi ritual is performed among different communities. However, the basic meaning of 7 pheras in Hindu marriage is all the same for everyone.
Also called Mangal Pheras or the Vedic pheras is an integral part of the marriage ceremony for all communities in the Hindu religion.
According to the tradition, the groom and the bride bearing the knotted attire must walk around the pious Yagna Agni or the fire lit in a brass vessel. Each round counts for a step called the ‘Phera’. The holy fire, one of the eminent elements of the Pancha Tatva (five natural elements of the human body), represents Lord Vishnu and Lord of Fire (Agni). Assuming that God remains a witness to the marriage, the duo takes a vow for each phera. The groom makes 7 promises to his wife and the bride in reply also takes 7 pledges.
Is Saptapadi Mandatory?
If you seek a priest’s opinion, Saptapadi is an obligatory ritual in Hindu weddings.
In ancient times, this was a long process. Thankfully, the pheras and the vows are now abbreviated to include only the main points.
Significance of 7 Vows of Hindu Marriage
My non-Indian friends recently asked- why do the bride and groom go round the fire 7 times in the marriage rituals.
It’s quite likely you may not know what these vows and pheras are all about. The number ‘7’ is related to various aspects of the matrimonial relationship. There is a popular belief in Hinduism that the marital bond keeps the duo together for 7 births. The 7 oaths bind the couple in a commitment of the married relationship. Every couple must take the vital 7 pledges and abide by them during the entire tenure of married life.
What are the 7 Promises of Marriage?
Each set of oaths taken by the married couple during the pheras confer certain duties they must perform together in life. Herein is a quick overview of the oaths the groom and the bride must take for each phera and their implications.
First Step- Vows of Food and Nourishment
Groom’s Vow- “Om Esha Ekapadi Bhava Iti Prathaman”
While taking the first phera around the holy fire, the groom pledges to take responsibility for earning wealth and food for his wife and the family.
Bride’s Vow- “Dhanam Dhanyam Pade Vadet”
In exchange, the bride takes the oath that she will manage the household with whatever her husband earns. She also accepts the responsibility to feed the members of the family and children with all the food her hubby brings home.
Implication- The oaths during the first phera signify the duo’s role in managing the household, wealth, and resources.
Second Step- Strength and Energy
Groom’s Vow- “Om Oorje Jara Dastayaha”
The groom seeks his better half’s cooperation and pledges to be each other’s strength of character, body, and mind that he aspires to gain through the purity of thought and behavior.
Bride’s Vow- “Kutumbum Rakshayisyammi Sa Aravindharam”
Replying to the husband’s vow, the bride also pledges to be his strength throughout life, and keep the home healthy, energetic, and peaceful.
Implication- The second phera and the vows unite the two people for a lifetime wherein they bestow mental, spiritual, and emotional strength, energy, and support to each other throughout life.
Third Step- Wealth and Prosperity
Groom’s Vow- “Om Rayas Santu Joradastayaha”
During the third phera, the groom promises the bride to dedicate himself to assort fair means to earn a livelihood for his wife, children, and family. He also pledges to bestow his spouse to manage and preserve the wealth of the family.
Bride’s Vow- “Rava Bhakti As Vadedvachacha”
The bride in her turn vows to take care of the household income and expenses. She also promises to take her husband’s consent in matters of wealth earned by fair means and leverage efforts towards economic growth and sustainability.
Implication- The third phera indicates the role of the couple towards the economic affairs of the family. It shows how they must be honest in earning a livelihood and work towards preserving wealth for the prosperity of the family.
Fourth Step- Household and Family
Groom’s Vow- “Om Mayo Bhavyas Jaradastayaha Ha”
While taking the fourth phera, the groom vows to respect the choices and decisions taken by his wife in matters of the household. He also accepts the responsibility to work towards the prosperity of the family to gain respect and take care of the daily affairs outside the house.
Bride’s Vow- “Lalayami Cha Pade Vadet”
The bride in turn promises to do everything to bring happiness to the family do the needful in matters of worldly life to create the best home.
Implication- The fourth vow was incorporated in the ritual to build trust and understanding between the two people in married life. It bestows the bride the right to take decisions in household matters. The pledge also obliges the husband to trust and respect her efforts to make the family happy and build the best home.
Fifth Step- Progeny Care and Wellbeing
In ancient days, the fifth vow was about agriculture and farming. The reformed version has been introduced wherein they both pledge to have children only from this relationship and
Groom’s Vow- “Om Prajabhyaha Santu Jaradastayaha”
During the fifth phera, the groom prays to God to bless them with healthy, loyal, and noble children. He vows to perform duties towards the upbringing of the children.
Bride’s Vow- “Arte Arba Sapade Vadet”
The bride in turn also takes an oath to cooperate with her life partner in taking care of their children.
Implication- This vow confers the responsibilities of parents on the couple wherein they are responsible for having offspring from the marriage and leverage efforts in the upbringing and care.
Sixth Step- Healthy and Peaceful Life
Groom’s Vow- “Rutubhyah Shat Pati Bhava”
For the sixth phera, the groom promises to love his wife throughout life and have children in the relationship. He also pledges to experience all seasons of life with her.
Bride’s Vow- “Yagna Homa Shashthe Vacho Vadet”
In turn, the bride vows to bestow enjoyment to all senses to her husband in every season of life. She also pledges to complete him in every respect and fill his heart with happiness.
Implication- The sixth phera binds to two people in a bond of cordial love for a healthy and peaceful nuptial union.
Seventh Step- Love, Loyalty, and Friendship
Groom’s Vow- “Om Sakhi Jaradastayahga”
In the last step, the groom recognizes the bride as his lawfully wedded wife and promises to stay with her in the relationship for eternity.
Bride’s Vow- “Attramshe Sakshino Vadet Pade”
The bride also accords recognition to the new bonding, promises to stay happy, and appreciate the togetherness for life.
Implication- In the last phera, the duo recognizes each other as their legally married spouse and take the oath together to stay in the matrimony union till the end of time.
The modern Hindu wedding customs are not as long as they used to be in ancient times. However, Saptapadi and the 7 vows act as a medium to tie the strong nuptial bond while introducing the couple to the concept and duties while staying in the sacred institution of married life. It is hoped that this ritual plays a crucial part in keeping them hooked for a lifetime.
Now that you know what Saptapadi is, it’s time to get going with the marriage procession.