Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Vivaaha Samskaara – 5(Role Models conveying Marital Sentiments)

Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering by: Padmini Shrinivasan

Respond to (lekhana@ayvm.in)


The word "Saptapadi" means seven steps. Be my life companion and friend as we take the seven steps together -"Sakhaa Saptapadaa bhava"- are the words of the groom. The first step is to lead a righteous life to earn a livelihood. To beget a spiritually- worthy progeny, a Jnaani son, is the second step. The third step is to sustain the vow of adherence to the four fold cardinal principles of life viz. Purushaarthas. The fourth one is to attain sensual comforts as well as the bliss of spiritual union with the Supreme. The fifth step is to acquire cattle (to be interpreted as assets of the agro-economy of yester-years) and use it for personal benefit as well as for the society. The sixth one is to use all the seasons to satisfy desires in its natural way. The last step is to consider life together as a sacrificial offering, Yajnaa, to the Supreme. To summarize, the bride and the groom sprinkle turmeric coated rice (signifying auspiciousness and prosperity), on each other as a mutual mental acceptance to earn a lawful livelihood for the entire life. It is a truthful reply to a common objection that Bhaarateeya culture gives more importance to a spiritual way of life, while jeopardising a comfortable worldly life. We observe clearly that a continuity of virtuous conduct in all ordained duties, encompassing a lifetime, never ever transgressing lawful boundaries, is held aloft.

Further 'Samraajnee Svashure bhava' - "Be like a Queen to the husband as well as to others; as the wife of a great King, possessing a pure and uncorrupted mind, protect everyone and win their appreciation" are the blessings as well as orders. An interesting hymn means - 'May you climb the head of the husband'. This does not mean that she rides over the husband's head physically! The head is the location where Truth, Jnaana is realised. To climb, she too has to ascend to the lofty heights of a Brahma-jnaani. May you be a person capable of spreading such a persona, is the implicit expectation in the hymn.

As the one who can shoulder the responsibility of everyone's welfare the saying goes as 'Na gruham gruhamityaahuh gruhini gruhamuchyate' meaning not the external building, but the house maker herself is the house.

The next ritual is placing the feet over a stone (Ashmaarohana). The message here is to be as steadfast as a stone. This kind of staunchness is required to face internal as well as external enemies. The stars Arundhati and Dhruva are shown to the newly-wed couple. Dhruva means a firm un-perishable entity, an image of the effulgent Lord, who resides within. Likewise Arundhati followed her husband Vasishtha always. In the visible sky too, they are seen together. Stars Arundhati and Dhruva serve as a 'reminder-tactic' for the wife and husband respectively.

Do role models conveying the marital sentiments exist? Vedas proclaim "I am the sky, you are the earth; earth is the mother and sky the father". The Divinity associated with the heavens should propagate in the earth. The Supreme Truth (Jnaana) up above, should flow and blossom down below in our territory. The husband while sharing a divine association with his wife makes his divine sentiments cascade through her. She in turn should take care to see that its character does not get altered while it grows in her womb and on its delivery to the world.

Sriranga Mahaguru, on witnessing and analysing the present-day scenario, remarked -"When a child is asleep, even if the mother feeds milk, on awaking in the morning the child maintains that it was not fed milk, as the satisfaction of drinking milk was lacking. Similarly the rituals being performed today without comprehending their inner philosophical import do not convey the true happiness associated with them". "Yajnam prajnayaa krutam" - Rooted in supreme Truth, with rituals as expansion, the inner vision of rishis have to be understood for rituals to bear fruit. These words are not confined just to Vivaaha, but apply to our entire Bharateeya Samskruti.

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