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The Seven Vows of Hindu Marriage

How pacifying is a promise,especially when it is coming from a loved one. How totally enchanting then, would the wedding vows be...those which are beyond mere promises or even the declaration of love. They are 'commitments' of two souls, becoming one.

In practice, the seven pheras around fire may seem like superficial movement in order to establish a particular man-made ritual, but the essence of it lies within your heart, exactly where, the God, who made us, resides. Although the exact meaning of each and every vow is inexplicable because it is understood fully by the one who feels it, however, a basic understanding of each one of them could be shared taking one vow at a time.

{ First phera / first vow } - Pray to the Gods for pure and nourishing food and prosperity.
The Groom says
"om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman"
My beloved, our bond strengthens by your walking one step with me. You will offer me food and be helpful at all times.I will embrace you and provide for our welfare and happiness and also that of our children.?
The Bride says
"dhanam dhanyam pade vadet"
I humbly comply to you, my lord. kindly bestow upon me the responsibility of the household, food and finance. I promise you that I shall carry out all responsibilities towards the welfare of the family and the children."

{ Second phera / second vow } - the couple appeals to the gods to give them the mental, physical and spiritual strength to lead a healthy life.
The Groom says
"om oorje jara dastayaha"
My beloved, now you have walked the second step with me. Fill me up with strength and courage so that together we can protect the household and the children.?
The Bride says
"kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam"

My lord, in your sorrows, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your joys , I shall rejoice. I promise you that I will please you at all times with sweet words and take care of the family and the children. and you in turn shall love none other but me as your wife.?

{ Third phera / third vow } - Pray for preservation of wealth and prosperity in life.
The Groom says
"om rayas santu joradastayaha"
My beloved, now you have walked three steps with me. With your presence in my life, our wealth and prosperity are going to grow.I shall look upon all other woman as my sisters. We will educate our children and may their live long.?
The Bride says
"tava bhakti as vadedvachacha"

My lord, I will love you with single minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you will be that of a pure wife. this is my commitment to you.?

{ Fourth phera / fourth vow } - The couple invokes the gods for joy and peace by mutual love and trust in all walks of life.
The Groom says
"om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha"
My beloved, it is a blessing that you have walked four steps with me. You're presence in my life has made it sacred and auspicious. May we be blessed with obedient and noble children and may they live long!?
The Bride says
"lalayami cha pade vadet"

My lord, I will enrich myself from head to toe with sandalwood paste and fragrance for you. I will serve you and please you in every possible way that I can.?

{ Fifth round / fifth vow } - the couple appeals to the lords for the welfare of all living beings in this world and wish for virtuous, noble and heroic children.
The Groom says
"om prajabhyaha santu jaradastayaha"
My beloved, now that you have walked five steps with me, you have adorned my life. May god bless you and may our loved ones live long and share in our prosperity.?
The Bride says
"arte arba sapade vadet"

My lord, I will share your happiness and grief. With your love in my life, I will trust and honor you. I will fulfill all your wishes.?

{ Sixth round / sixth vow } - the couple asks the gods to give them a blissful life together.
The Groom says
My beloved, you have filled my heart with happiness walking six steps with me. May you fill my heart with joy and peace at all times.?
The Bride says
"yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet"

My lord, in all righteous acts, in material prosperity, and in enjoyment of acts approved by the divine, I promise I will will stand by you.?

{ Seventh phera / seventh vow } - The couple prays for mutual understanding, loyalty and companionship.
The Groom says
"om sakhi jaradastayahga"
My beloved, as you have walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship is now eternal. We have attained a spiritual union blessed by god. Now you are one with me and I offer my life to you. Our marriage will be forever!?
The Bride says
"attramshe sakshino vadet pade"

My lord, as per the laws of God and the sanctity of the holy scriptures, I am your wife now. Whatever promises we made, were made with a pure mind. We will be truthful to each other in all matters and We will love each other forever.?

Traditionally it is believed that the fire bears witness to the taking of these seven vows, but for this to mean anything, the fire has to exist within the two who have made these promises to each other.

Marriage is not a simple love affair, it's an ordeal, and the ordeal is the sacrifice of ego to a relationship in which two have become one.? Joseph Campbell

Photo Courtesy : Vrutika Doshi, Tarun Chawla

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