Marriage through Arya Samaj Mandir
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The Arya Samaj was founded by Swami Dayanand Saraswathi. Arya Samaj weddings are conducted as per the Arya Marriage Validation act X1X of 1937, and are performed as per Vedic rites. As a basic principle, the Arya Samaj conducts weddings only for Hindus. But, if a non-Hindu couple would like to have an Arya Samaj wedding, the Samaj allows them to get converted through a process called ‘Shuddhi’.
The Arya Samaj does not believe in idol worship and the wedding ceremony is performed with the fire and other elements as the witnesses. As per the Hindu religion, the fire is considered the sustainer of life. The specialty of an Arya Samaj wedding is that the mantras are also translated into a language that the couple can understand. This adds to the charm of an Arya Samaj wedding.
Typically, an Arya Samaj wedding lasts for an hour and a half. If the couple so desire they can add the special flavor of their community wedding as well.
The main rites of the wedding are as below:
*Madhuparka: After the bride and the groom arrive at the venue of the wedding the groom partakes of ‘Madhuparka’, a mixture of honey, curds and cream. The bride gives the groom water three times, which he sprinkles on his feet, over his body and drinks it the third time. Similarly, the groom partakes of the ‘Madhuparka’ three times after sprinkling it in all directions. The Madhuparka symbolises the commencement of their journey into a happy married life.
*Kanyadaan: The parents of the bride offer their daughter’s hand in marriage to the groom. The groom graciously accepts it. Kanyadaan is considered to be the holiest of all ‘daans’ a Hindu couple can make in their lifetime. It also differs from other ‘daans’ in that the couple making the daan still have some rights over their daughter. Traditionally, once an object has been donated or given away, the giver no longer has any claims to it.
*Havanv: The wedding is solemnised in front of the ‘holy fire’ or ‘Agni’. The purohit lights the ‘Agni’ and chants mantras invoking the blessings of the Gods for a happy ‘Grihasth Jivan’ or married life.
*Pani Grahan Sanskar: The groom takes the bride’s hands in his and chants mantras promising to look after all her needs and to keep her happy throughout her life. Invoking the Gods, the bride and groom take one ‘parikrama’ around the fire.
*Shilarohan: The bride’s mother places the bride’s right foot on a stone, while the groom chants specified mantras. This symbolizes that just as a rock is solid, the relationship between the bride and groom would also be solid and permanent. With this act, the couple prays that they be given all strength by the Almighty to face life’s challenges together.
*Lajahom: Lajahom is the offering of puffed rice into the sacred fire. Puffed rice symbolizes prosperity. The bride places her hands into the groom’s hands and the brother of the bride puts puffed rice into them, which is then offered to the ‘Agni’.
*Parikrama: The couple goes around the sacred fire four times. The first three times the bride leads the groom, and she is considered as Goddess Lakshmi. After the fourth circumvention she becomes the ‘Ardhangani’ or ‘Half Body’ of the groom more commonly called – his wife. After this, the bride’s sari pallav is tied to the groom’s ‘angavastra’ with three knots by the groom’s sister.
*Saptapadi: The ‘Saptapadi’ are the seven steps taken by the couple. After the Saptapadi, the bride and groom take one parikrama around the fire walking alongside each other.
*Invoking blessings: Elders, amidst chanting of mantras, sprinkle water on the couple and the blessings of the Gods are sought.
*Hriday Sparshmantra: The bride and the groom place one hand on each other’s heart and recite mantras. The couple takes vows to be loyal to each other.
*Sindoor: The groom applies ‘sindoor’ on the forehead of the bride and ties the mangalsutra. They feed each other sweets and promise to look after each other.
*Dhruvnakshatra: The Dhruvnakshatra or Polestar is always firm in its place. The couple looks towards the star and take a vow to be permanently with each other.
*Arundhati Nakshatra: The couple also invoke the blessings of Arundhati and Vashisht Nakshatras, the two stars that appear as one always.
*Aashirwaad: The ‘Aashirwaad’ or blessings of all elders are sought by the newly wedded couple.