KAPOORS ON THE ROAD
By coincidence, the "ME" Magazine had a feature on marriage. In the issue there was the following explanation of the Arya Samaj ceremony that Puneet and Komal chose for their marriage in India. I have taken the liberty to copy what was printed in the magazine to help explain some of the photographs that I took at the wedding.
"The Arya Samaj Way:
In this tradition, mantras from the Vedas are recited and rites mentioned in the ancient texts are followed to solemnize the marriage. Fire and other natural elements are the only witnesses. No statues or deities are worshipped as the Samaj does not believe in them. Typically, an Arya Samaj wedding is a simple, frugal affair.
In the Saat Phere, the groom, with his right hand, holds the bride's left and starts taking steps towards the northeast direction. First the right foot is taken forward. The left foot is joined, to the chanting of mantras. Every two feet, small heaps of rice are placed, on the which they are supposed to tread. With Saptapadi, each step is a vow with a specific meaning:
Step One: A vow to earn and provide a living for the household, and to avoid those things that might harm the family.
Step Two: A vow to build the couple's physical, mental and spiritual powers and to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Step Three: A vow to earn and increase the wealth by righteous and proper means.
Sept Four: A vow to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect, faith and understanding.
Step Five: A vow to have children for whom they shall be responsible.
Step Six: A vow to maintain self-control.
Step Seven: A vow to be true to each other, loyal and to remain lifelong companions.
...After crossing the seven steps with me thus, you should become my friend. I too, have become your friend now. I will never discord this friendship and you should not either. Let us be together always. Let us resolve to do things in life in the same manner and tread the same path. Let us lead a life by liking and loving each other, having good heart and thoughts, and enjoying the food and strong points together. Let us have undivided opinions. We will perform the vrithas united. Let us have the same and joint desires. I will be Sama (Veda) and you will be Rig (Veda). Let me be the Heaven and you be the Earth. Let me be the Shukla (Moon), you be its wearer. Let me be the mind and you be its spokesman (Vak). With these qualities, you be my follower. You the sweet tongued, come to me to get good male children and wealth...
The wedding was a delightful event, though because it was performed in Hindi, I was not able to follow all that the pundit said. However, I did notice that he had the complete attention of all of the guests, something that does not usually happen. When a marriage is performed in Sanskrit, almost no one understands what the pundit is saying - not even the bride and groom - so the attention of the guests ends up being focused on visiting each other. I found out after the ceremony, that the pundit was explaining the marriage rites as he went along, and was even providing a bit of light humour, which served to keep everyone listening for what he would say next. I could see that all the guests were really part of the event and I believe that this will help them all to remember this day with great fondness and love. I feel very lucky to have been able to attend this wedding here in India. I hope to be a part of all the family weddings in the future.