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Hindu Marriages are performed according to Vedic rites described in the Sam Veda and the Yadur Veda. This page is being developed to assist in planning Hindu Marriages. In general Vedic marriage requires the wedding to be conducted in front of a fire (Agni). Agni is considered the main Priest in Vedic rites as the first sloka of the Rig Veda is dedicated to Agni: Agneya mile Purohitam or Agni is the Priest. Couples go around the fire seven times together to confirm their vows and by putting something in the fire such as Khai or pop corn to ignite the flames. See Wedding Ceremony below. When a couple marry according to Vedic rights and with mutual consent, it is called Prajapati Vivah. This is the most complete wedding ceremony with all the frills and it requires the consent of parents or guardians because the protection of the bride or daughter is handed over by the father to the bridegroom during the Panigrahan ceremony or the acceptance of the bride's hands. The actual wedding ceremony takes place after Panigrahan. However when a man and a woman marry with each others consent but may not have the consent of their families or are unable to involve them due to geographical reasons, then this wedding is called Gandharva Vivah. Here we describe the procedures for Prajapati Vivah only. The role of dharma and culture in our life is the same as the role of the foundation in a building. The higher the building the deeper must be the foundation. But instead of building higher and higher buildings of bricks and mortar which block the Sun and hinder the path of migrating birds, we should try and build a higher level of spirituality and life style by developing a deeper understanding of our dharma and our culture. A message for all newlyweds: As a first step we are starting a page called Swayamvar for people to meet who are interested in the Hindu pratha and wish to continue in that tradition by finding appropriate life partners of similar interest. Also the table below gives you the correct time to plan your wedding or lagna. After that we describe the wedding ceremony of Ram and Sita from the Ramcharitmanas. The ruler of weddings is the planet Brihaspati Ravi Som Mangal Budh Vrihaspat Shukra Shani

6 hrs 13 hrs 20 hrs

3 hrs 10 hrs 17 hrs 24 hrs

7 hrs 14 hrs 21 hrs

4 hrs 11 hrs 18 hrs

1 hrs 8 hrs 15 hrs 22 hrs

5 hrs 12 hrs 18 hrs

2 hrs 9 hrs 16 hrs 23 hrs

The table shows for each day when the planet Brihaspati (Guru) is ruling. The hours shown in the table are hours after sunrise. Which means on Ravivar (Sunday) if the sun rise in New York City is at 6 AM EST, then the first available hour is the 6th hour after sun rise - or to be precise between 11 AM to 12 AM. The next lagna is on the 13 th hour and the last lagna on Ravivar is on 20 th hour after sun rise. To clarify further, if the sun rise is at 6 AM then the 1 st hour is between 6 AM and 7 AM, the 2 nd hour is between 7 to 8 AM and so on. Other auspicious times are Godhuli (the time of the cow dust when Krishna came back with the cows) or at dusk. For the correct time for all days consult the table. Basically one should take care to see that the main ceremony when marriage vows are taken is completed within the selected lagna. Generally the tithi of Purnima or the day there is a full moon is considered auspicious for all activities. Wedding Ceremony The Ramcharitmanas written by Tulsidas describes the wedding of Rama and Sita after their Swayamvar which was conducted according to the local rites of Janakapur which is now in Bihar but was part of ancient Mithila. After Sita made her selection, Raja Janak invited King Dasratha to come to the wedding festivities. King Dasratha went to Janakpur with his two other sons and a lot of people, horses and elephants, etc. They were put up in a guest house arranged by Raja Janak. Customarily the bridegrooms mother did not attend his wedding and there is no mention of the three Queens of Dasratha in this journey. A barat or a wedding party is organized which travels with great fan fare to the home of the bride. There the brides mother and her friends receive the Bridegroom by performing an Arati or showing lamps to his face. After this the first ceremony is Ashirvad which is the blessing of the bridegroom as well as the bride in separate rooms by well wishers and elders. The next ceremony is Panigrahan or Kanya dan when the bride and bridegroom sit with their hands tied together and the bridegroom receives the bride from the bride's father as the priest recites wedding mantras. In the case of Ram and Sita's wedding, the ceremony included the wedding of all four brothers,viz., Ram, Lakshaman, Bharat and Shatrughna to the daughters of the King of Janakpur. But in normal wedding this is done as make believe and the bridegroom is accompanied by a boy similarly and the bride is also accompanied similarly with a small girl dressed like the bride. They are called secondary bridegroom and secondary bride respectively. After this the ceremony of Sindur dan and phera are conducted. As the priest recites the wedding vows the bridegroom applies vermilion to the forehead of the bride. After this they perform their turns of seven times clockwise around a fire and throw some fluffed rice into the fire together as witness of their wedding. The bride and bridegroom spend the night with the friends of the bride together and a lot of stories are told or songs are sung. This part of the ceremony may take place the same night or next day when the bridegroom tries to take home the bride. At this stage the brides friends make fun of the bridegroom and his background telling ribald jokes. The

bridegroom and his party make replies. After this the bride takes leave of her childhood friends and relatives as she plans to move to her husband's home. This is a sad occasion and the Ram Charit Manas describes how Sita says goodbye to her mother's pet Parrot who calls her name every morning saying: Where is Sita, Where is Sita. (Note: This phrase will be repeated by Ramchandra when Sita is abducted by Ravana from the forest.) After this the husband and wife go to their home with all the gifts that were given to the bride. Ramchandra's mother receives Sita at her home and a few other ceremonies are held there. One of the ceremonies involves the sharing of food between the bride and bridegroom when they feed each other which signifies taking care of each other. Finally a great feast is held at the husbands home to culminate the wedding. On this night the bride and bridegroom retire for their first night alone together and it is called Suhag rat. In Bengal it is called Phulsajja or the bed of flowers. In all cases the bed is decorated with flower where the bride and bridegroom go to sleep together alone. There are some other ceremonies after this sometimes of going to a temple and performing Puja.