The moment we talk about Indian weddings, words like big, fat, pomp, and show all come to our mind at once. However, irrespective of the size and style of the festivities one thing that remains common in any Hindu marriage is the sacred ritual of the Saat Pheras. Traditionally known as Saptadi, these 7 vows taken around the sacred fire or Agni is one of the most important rituals of Indian weddings.
Having strong mythological roots, it is only after these vows that the bride and the groom are pronounced as husband and wife for the next many lives to come. But have you ever wondered what is the significance and meaning of these vows in reality? We share them with you. Give our Hindu marriage piece a read and understand why these Hindu vows are an essential part of any Hindu wedding and read about the significance each of these Hindu marriage vows holds in a married person's life.
The Origin of Saath Pheras
Hindu marriages are deeply rooted in the rich Indian culture as well as the history that we all have been told at some point or the other in our lives. The Saath Pheras also knowns as Shaptapadi is one of the traditional ceremonies during a wedding which is performed along with the chants of a Pandit based on the Hindu scriptures where the bride and groom have to take seven rounds around the fire. It is believed that the God Agni resides in the holy fire that solidified the union and bond of the bride and groom who take seven vows in his presence.
While written in Sanskrit, four of the seven vows are recited by the groom while the remaining three by the bride. Hindu marriage traditions are incomplete with the mention of Saath Pheras and the couple is not considered married till they complete this ceremony. It is also the symbol of an eternal promise of companionship that keeps the bride and groom together for seven lifetimes. This important tradition has a number of variations as well in different cultures and regions, where there are three or four Pheras instead of seven. But regardless of it, it is one of the most significant and important parts of the Hindu marriage that all couples need to perform for a blissful journey ahead.
The 7 Vows of Hindu Marriage
These 7 vows are known to serve as an anchor to keep the couple going through all the good and tough time together. Any Hindu marriage will be left bereft in the absence of these vows and promises that every couple makes to one another in the lieu of their marriage!
1. The first vow is the prayer to the Lord for provision and nourishment
The couple, with the bride taking the lead seeks divine blessings in the form of pure, nourishing, and healthy food along with a respectful and noble life. The groom takes the pledge to provide for the welfare and happiness for his wife and children, and the bride promises to happily and equally shoulder all the responsibilities for the welfare of the groom and his family.
2. The second vow is for strength in sickness, health, good times or bad
The couple pleads together to the Almighty to bless them with mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. The groom while requesting the bride to stand by him at all times makes a commitment to protect and provide security to their family. The bride agrees to be his strength while demanding undivided attention and eternal love.
3. The third vow is for prosperity
While taking the third vow, the couple seeks wealth and prosperity so that they can live a comfortable and satisfying life. They also pledge to take care of their children and educate them. In the same Phera, the couple assures each other that will remain loyal to each other for the rest of their lives.
4. The fourth vow is for families; to stand by them through thick and thin
During this step, the groom thanks the bride for bringing happiness and sacredness in his life. While in return, the bride swears to serve and please the groom to the best of her abilities. Together, the couple takes a vow to take care of and respect the elders in their family.
5. The fifth vow is for progeny
The importance of the fifth vow is to seek blessings for their future progeny. While appealing to the god for strong and noble children, the couple also prays for the welfare of all the living beings on this Universe. They promise that as mother and father they will be solely responsible for the upbringing of their children. This is also the step starting which the groom takes the lead.
6. The sixth vow is for health; through sickness and in health
In the sixth vow, the bride and the groom together invoke the Almighty to bless them with a healthy and disease-free life. The groom makes a wish in which he desires that his wife would fill his life with joy and peace; while the bride provides assurance to the groom that she would willingly participate with him in all his noble and divine acts.
7. The seventh vow is for love and friendship
While taking the last vow, the couple pleads for a long-lasting relationship, enriched with love, understanding, and loyalty. They take an oath to remain friends forever and stand by each other not only in this life but in the many lives to come.
Although every culture and religion has its own unique set of vows and various different ways to perform them, the basic significance and meaning of all the vows remain the same, to be spiritually united as one. It is a way to provide assurance to your partner that he or she is worthy of your love and care. Also, read a little about the various Hindu pre-wedding rituals that make any Indian wedding a blessed occasion not only for the couple and their families but also for the attendees who are present to bless the new couple.
Overall, we believe that true love is all that you need to fulfil all the 7 vows of Hindu marriage mentioned above. What according to you is the importance of these Pheras? Do let us know through comments.