Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Vivaaha Samskaara – 1 (Introduction to the Marriage Ritual)

Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan

Amongst the sixteen important Samskaaras (purifying rituals) the Vivaaha (marriage) is very well known. It is celebrated with pomp and splendour too. Only in our country Bhaarata, is it called a Samskaara. The Rshis have implemented this tradition of marriage in a very special manner. Though its spiritually-valuable essence may be lacking in today's celebration, a few remnants are still visible in the wedding procedure of our country. The meaning of the word Samskaara is "removal of accumulated dirt and restoration of the original shine or its valuable glory"Just as we bathe to maintain our body clean, the process of cleansing the inner system comprising of the mind (Manas) and intellect (Buddhi) is known as Samskaara. It is possible to visualise the Almighty, only when a purified state is attained through the process of imparting SamskaaraVivaaha is also one such ritual.

Vivaaha Samskaara (Marriage ritual) is of eight different categories. Vivaaha conducted with a comprehension of the Divine Will, is known as 'Braahma-vivaaha'. Generally speaking, this type of Vivaaha is most prevalent in our country. DaivaPraajaapatya, Aarsha, Aasura, Gaandharva, Raakshasa and Paishaacha are the remaining seven types. Udvaaha, Parinaya, Upayama, Panigrahana etc. are other auspicious synonyms for Vivaaha in our country. In other countries, wedding is considered as a business for sensual pleasures. The Maharshis of our country have used apt words, to portray their deep inner feelings. Along with sensual pleasures, it envisages a life culminating in the ultimate, with an experience of extra-sensory happiness. As the rituals follow the diktats of the Supreme Lord (Para-Brahman), it is called 'Braahma-vivaaha'. It is the most superior among the eight categories. Attaining the feet of the Lord happens to be the highest mission of life. The remaining categories originate somewhere midway in the hierarchy and not from the Supreme Lord (Brahman), who is the root.

To grow a plant, leaves are watered by some, while some others water the stem. However a plant will grow only when the root is watered. In a like manner, 'Braahma-vivaaha' is considered superior, as it is a procedure which unites us to the root known as Supreme Lord, who shines eternally as the source of our lives. In addition it provides the four cardinal principles of life viz. Dharma, Artha, Kaama and Moksha known as Purushaarthas.

Vivaaha means, carrying with it a solemn vow as well as a specially tempered mentality. "Let us unite together with a true resolve, become like-minded, possess mutual affection and light up our lives" is an agreement between the bride and the groom. The groom takes the bride to his house for this reason.  A circumambulation around Agni (Sacrificial fire), which is the Almighty's representative, with an aim to propagate His desire and reach back to the Him, qualifies to be termed ParinayaPaani-grahana means holding with the hands. Groom holding an upward turned hand of the bride with his hand, such that both their thumbs point upwards. A resolution here is as per the saying -"Oordhvam gacchanti satvasthaah"-let our lives have an upward compatibility to reach the Lord. In the Paani-grahana procedure, the five fingers being representatives of the five basic elements (earth, water, fire, air and ether - collectively known as Pancha-bhutas) unite together signifying the desire to attain fusion in life.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.  

(To be continued).