Finding a partner, submitting to the seven vows by tying the nuptial knot is a part of leading a healthy and happy life. Marriage is considered as one of the Samskaras in our Vedas, the second stage of life, the Grihastha Ashram that teaches us to accept responsibilities and fulfill them to our best capability. And blessed are the people, who find themselves uniting with those who follow the same path of spirituality, thus embracing each other in their entirety in a Vedic wedding.
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, who has blessed people world over with yoga, meditation and practical wisdom, has often given out secrets to a happy marriage. “Never ask each other for proof of love for each other,” Sri Sri Gurudev explains in one of his sermons on Secrets of a Happy Marriage. To further these harmonious unions, Art of Living facilitates weddings at their own ashrams. They have Vaidic priests to chant mantras and conduct the ceremony is an auspicious way. They also hold Samoohik Vivahas, where multiple couples tie the knot together, generally on auspicious days. And as an ideal solution, Art of Living also organize weddings in your own town. Their Bangalore ashram is particularly equipped. Situated in a serene environment with state-of-the-art facilities, fit to host gatherings with ease and convenience and an efficient event management team at play, they make dream weddings happen. And these ashrams solemnize Vedic weddings in adherence with the principles laid down by the Vedas.
The 13 steps of a Vedic Wedding
While customs and rituals vary according to family backgrounds and regions from where the bride and the groom come, all Hindu marriages follow the basic tenets set by the Vedas, including the ones that are held at the Art of Living ashrams.
1. Vara Satkaarah: The first step is the welcoming of the groom and his entourage with chants and tilak, a sign of blessings from the elders.
2. Madhuparka: Then comes a special welcome of the groom by the bride’s father and bestowing of gifts.
3. Kanya Dan: This is the emotional moment when a bride’s father symbolically hands over his daughter to the groom who now must assume responsibility for her well-being.
4. Vivah-Homa: Then the sacred fire is lit which symbolizes holy and pure beginning, and bears witness to the holy union.
5. Pani-Grahan: The groom then takes the bride’s hand in his hand accepting her as his own.
6. Pratigna-Karan: The couple then walks together around the sacred fire taking vows of fidelity, love and loyalty for their lifetime.
7. Shila Arohan: Amidst all of this, bride’s mother must prepare her for her new life, which she does using a stone slab.
8. Laja–Homah: The bride and the groom then offer puffed rice to the scared fire.
9. Mangal Fera: The bride and the groom then circle the sacred fire seven times which legalizes their wedding in the eyes of the law and of the customs.
10. Saptapadi: The bride and the groom together take the seven vows of nourishment, strength, prosperity, happiness, progeny, long life, and harmony—an ultimate promise of togetherness.
11. Abhishek: Both bride and groom then sprinkle some water as an offering to the sun and the pole star, two celestial entities considered holy for vedic purposes.
12. Anna Praashan: The couple then offers food to the sacred fire and then share a morsel with each other, symbolizing they will keep each other in best of health.
13. Aashirvadah: Once all rituals are duly completed, the couple takes blessings from the elders present who bless them for their new phase of life, thus fulfilling all the requirements of a Vedic wedding.
Credit Source: https://www.nhsf.org.uk/2006/06/the-hindu-marriage-a-vivaha-sanskara/