Friday, December 11, 2020

Vivaaha Samskaara – 3 (Groom’s Pilgrimage to Kaashi and Bride-Offering Rituals)

Kannada Article by: 
Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan


As summarised in the preceding articles, the eligibility criterion for a marriage is an ability to raise a spiritually worthy child. If the groom is regarded as a representative of Lord Narayana, then the bride would be regarded as a representative of Goddess Lakshmi. If he is regarded as Lord Shiva, then she will be regarded as Goddess Paarvati. They represent the female-male (Prakruti-Purusha) elements at the root of Creation. Mythological stories of the likes of Shwetaketu-Suvarchala, add to our comprehension of these aspects. The commencing procedure of a Vivaaha (marriage) also reflects this.

A pilgrimage to Kaashi termed 'Kaashi-yaatra' is a part of the marriage ritual. The Brahmachaari, adhering to the diktats which he learnt at his Guru's residence, sports a garland and proceeds in the northern direction towards the holy city of Kaashi, the abode of Lord Shiva- an embodiment of Supreme knowledge. He is young, yet mature in terms of spiritual knowledge. When such a great personality moves on cheering "Jai Shankar", the parents of the bride request him to amend it as "Jai Paarvati-Shankar", and take him to their house. The deckedup bride is married with chants of prayers conveying the message - "here is an equally spiritually-knowledgeable girl, who is capable of bearing and propagating, as it is, the divine light within you. Please accept her as your Patni (wife) and lead a fruitful householder's life as per the saying –Dhanyo Gruhastaashramah". The couple are blessed to have worthy progeny. We need noble citizens in a society/nation. This can happen only when a realised soul who dwells in the inner vision of the Supreme Truth, descends to mundane life importing the inner Dharma. Sriranga Mahaaguru used to say, if you were to ask - "tande yenu tande?"(in Kannada it means -'father what did u bring?' . There is a pun on the word tande), then the father should be in a position to answer "I brought that Supreme Knowledge (Jnaana)". Kaashi-yaatre ritual, while being an exciting event, brings home this philosophy too.

The groom assures the bride -"I will not transgress the cardinal principles of Dharma-Artha-Kaama (Dharme cha Arthe cha Kaame cha naati charaami)". In a conversation the groom says "Be my companion in all pursuits. Let us pull the life-chariot together".This is the advice of elders too. The mind-set required to realise the ultimate purpose of life viz. salvation (Moksha) is woven into the Vivaaha Samskaara. During the rite of offering the well-decorated bride as a gift to the groom (Kanyaa-daana), the priest requests the august members present "sulagnaah saavadhaanaah sumahoortaah saavadhaanaah...", which means - "on this auspicious occasion, while observing restraint over your sense organs, please bless the bride and the groom with happiness filling your minds". The sorry state of affairs in the present day marriages is a matter of regret. The goal of a marriage is rendered futile through noise, discussion on irrelevant topics, mundane thinking and the like by the guests. It is deplorable that the sacred hymns, auspicious instruments, propitious materials, courtesies extended to gods etc. which were brought into vogue at a time when the marriage ritual came into existence, are all forgotten today.

A wish for the salvation of ten past and future generations with a resolve to attain the permanent abode of the Almighty (Brahmaloka), exists in the backdrop of Kanyadaana. How adept the son-in-law must be to ferry all across! Worshipping such a noble soul as 'Achyuta' is an impressive scene to witness.

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

(to be continued)