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Hindu Marriage - 01
|by Dr. Rama Rao Vadapalli V.B.|
In the land of Telugus: Mantras, Rituals and Festivities
Matrimony is seminal to any culture, for the family is the first, basic component to make a society and ordered living. Vedic Civilization is the highest watermark of the evolution of organized living and an extremely significant milestone in cultural anthropology. The Vedic times laid emphasis rituals and Arsha Dharma, also called Sanatana Dharma largely is a reflection of reverence to nature. Vedic pantheism held man as the most holy, next to the elements and nature. Sanatana Dharma enjoined on Man to consider sex essentially holy. Matrimony is devised then. Civilized men and intellectuals consider marriage and wife and children as a discipline to humanity. Sanatana Dharma is a way of life. That Hinduism is a religion is an afterthought and an imposition: it is a modern coinage. Since the Vedas are the fountainheads of e discipline in the highest sense of the word and since matrimony is considered sacred and a gateway to felicitous living, Vedic times laid down rituals and incantations to go with the performance of weddings.
Aarshadharma, the pristine, thoughtful, righteous and pious way of life, is drawn from Vedas and Vedic culture advocated by sages and seers. Human life has a goal and is evident from the envisaged fourfold objectives, dharma, artha, kaama and moksha, righteous life according to the sacred law, affluence in riches, fulfilling desires and finally salvation or deliverance from the cycle of birth and death. The ultimate goal is self-realization obtaining aatmajnaana. To know the self is to know that the self is just a fraction of the universal soul. Understanding and consciously adhering to the ways of life laid down in the shaastra make the path to self-realization easy and pleasurable.
Understanding vivaaha, Marriage
Vivaaha is from the Sanskrit root ‘vahee’, which means praapaNa, to obtain. With the prefix ‘vi’ it means a unique offering. Thus vivaaha became very meaningful compound. This word has several synonyms in Sanskrit. pariNaya, udvaaham, kaLyaaNam, paaNigrahaNam, paaNipeeDanam, paanA bandham darOpasngrahaNam, daara parigrahaNam, daara karma and daara kriya. All these words are indicative of the various ceremonies laid down in the Vedas.
These are explained thus:
1. Braahmam: Inviting one who has all the deserts and qualifications to be a groom, offering him the fully decked daughter, kanya, as prescribed in our shastras, books of knowledge, is braahmam. The offspring from such wedlock would cause the salvation of ten generations of his ancestors, manes. It is widely believed that he would cause the deliverance from the birth cycle of his offspring too, thus sanctifying and making them enjoy the stay in swarga, the upper world. This is most generally followed type.
2. Daivam: The yajamani, master, who performs the yajna, performs the fire ritual. If he gives away his daughter to one of the ritwiks, the co-performers, that marriage is daivam.
The offspring of such a couple would secure deliverance for the seven generations of the manes, past and forthcoming.
3. Aarsham: When the bride-giver performs the wedding accepting two cows from the groom it is arsham. This would ensure the deliverance of manes of three generations of his in the past and three forthcoming generations.
4. Praajaapatyam: If the ceremony orders the couple to lead life together as husband and wife, and if the two promise to obey the command, the marriage is praajaapatyam. The male offspring of such couple would ensure besides his own deliverance, that of six generations of the past and the forthcoming.
5. Amaram: When accepting as return a payment called shulkam for giving away the bride in marriage, the marriage is termed amaram. The son of such a couple would not be able to secure deliverance for any.
6. Gandharavam: If by mutual attraction a young man and young woman get themselves locked in wedlock without obtaining the permission of their elders this becomes Gaandharvam. This is just a physical bond with no spiritual sanction. This does not lead to anybody’s deliverance.
7. Raakshasam: Before the wedding if the girl is taken away after defeating her people in a battle and taking her away and marrying her is raakshasam. This does not lead to the deliverance of any and this is considered as an emergency alliance for the kshatriyas, the fighting, warrior-like people in the old nomenclature of castes, now fast disappearing.
8. Paishaacham: When an unwilling damsel is taken by force and married cruelly, simply by the groom’s whim, or molesting while the woman is asleep and later marrying her is also paishaacham. This is considered a sordid and mean act.
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02/12/2016 23:22 PM
02/12/2016 02:55 AM
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