A young girl prepares for her traditional Indian marriage. After living the formative years of her life is a foreign land she wishes to find out more about her origins and her culture. She wishes to discover the reasons behind the marriage rituals that are commonly practiced in India. This small book is the result. It is a concise and factual report of the rituals that are adopted in most Hindu marriages in India. Though each community has its own peculiarities the most common features of the Hindu Marriage ritual are recorded here. Sangam wishes to share these with you as you are also sharing in the joy of seeing her married. It is her special gift to all those present and is given with love and thanks for all the blessings that have been showered upon her. Please accept it as her humble offering to her origins and her continuing desire to see all humankind as one, a community full of understanding, love and compassion for all living things.
Religion and family are two essential aspects of Hindu communities. The Hindu life is divided into four periods with natural transition periods: birth to age 16 is spent learning about society and studying religion; age 16 to 25 is the transition stage between study and applying the knowledge; age 25 to 50 is devoted to serving society; age 50 to 75 is dedicated to conducting worship and slow retreat from societal commitments, and age 75 to 100 is when all ties are broken with society and one retreats to the forest for prayer and silence.
During the years devoted to serving the community, marriage is the initial step. A man and woman are incomplete without marriage: marriage being considered an essential relationship in human society. Families are derived from couple, and communities and nations arise from families.
There are eight types of Hindu marriages. Brahmavivaha, which is described in this book, is the most prestigious and commonly practiced type of marriage. Due to myriads of superstitions, the marriage has many complicated ceremonies to drive away bad luck and so called demons.
This book summarizes the salient Hindu marriage rituals. Every community has its unique marriage rituals, but his book has attempted to compile the rituals common in nearly all Hindu marriages.
As tradition has it, the marriages are arranged and the bride leaves her relatives to live with her future husband's family. The latter gives the Indian word for marriage: Vivaha, meaning, "carrying away".
Arranging marriages is the most important duty and responsibility held by the parents and other relatives of both the bride and groom. Hindus strongly believe that a marriage is a continuation of a relationship between two persons married in previous lives.
"Common be your intention; common be your hearts, common be your thoughts so that there may be thorough union among you".
In ancient times, the dowry was considered a woman's wealth - the goods she was gifted by her family as a safeguard in the new family. The gifts given by her family were intended to only belong to the bride and not shared. However, over time, this concept has been selfishly distorted. Now in many communities throughout India, the groom's family demands a set, often lofty, dowry at the time of marriage. The dowry has come to consist of goods and cash payments that go straight into the hands of the groom's family.
The ancient Hindu texts strictly prohibit the modern dowry system. The demander and the accepter of dowry are gifted a miserable life by the Gods and sent straight to hell. But, due to greed, dowry systems have been manipulated.
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