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Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion
A Comprehensive Study of the Ancient Tradition and the Perennial Philosophy
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The Hindu Wedding or Sanskara of Vivaha
 
Rituals to begin the life of a Grahasthasrama
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Sri Meenakshi Kalyanam symbolises the Celestial Marriage of Sri Siva as Sri Sundareswarã and Sri Sakthi as Sri Meenakshi. Sri Vishnu as the brother of Sakthi comes to "give away the bride" and Sri Brahmã performs the Smãrtha form of Vedic Marriage rituals. This is a representation of the unity of the four popular forms of Hindu faith, Saivam, Vaishnavam, Sãktham and the Vedic Smãrtha Sampradhãya. The same principle is seen in all stories in Hindu Purãnas to show that the several forms of practice of Hindu faith, though externally look different from each other in their philosophy, are united together and related to each other.

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Click here to see the differences in the beliefs and practice of
Saivam, Vaishnavam, Sãktham and Smãrtha Sampradhãya.
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Hindu wedding celebrations have a combination of traditional religious rituals and social customs and celebrations. There are lots of variations in social customs of various communities and regions. The morning of wedding starts with a ceremonial bath, 'Vrutham rituals' and naming ceremonies of bride and the groom separately. The groom who has been a student goes on a 'Kasya Yathra' [also called Kasi yathra] wearing decorations, foot wears, a hand fan, umbrella and sandalwood paste 'for the first time'. The bride's father stops him and offers the hand of his daughter in marriage for the groom to settle in a family life [grahastha ashramam]. The bride is brought to the front of the wedding hall where they both exchange garlands. This symbolizes the ancient Gandharva form [love marriage] of Hindu wedding. Then they sit on a swing or 'Oonjal'. This is followed by all the key religious events.

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First the father of the bride washes the feet of the groom with milk, water and sandalwood paste. Here the groom represents God Sri Vishnu and the bride is Sri Lakshmi who will be united to perform the work of creation and preservation for the Creator. Then the bride sits on the lap of her father and her hand is held by the groom. The father of the bride offers the hand of the bride as his gift to the groom and his family in the main ceremony called Kanyaka Dhanam. At the exact specified auspicious time, the groom ties the 'Mangalya suthra' around the neck of the bride. This is the most auspicious moment in the celebrations with loud music and every one singing traditional songs. After this the bride and the groom together perform various important rituals which include Panigrahanam or holding of hands. Sapthapadhi or walking around the fire, taking the seven steps with wedding vows is the most important Vedic ritual of a marriage. Then the bride steps on a stone when the groom holds her toes. Then they will be asked to see the 'Arundhathi and Dhruva stars' each with recitation of manthras. The wedding concludes with the couple getting the blessing of the elders.

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Principles and Practice of Hindu Religion
 
Sanskara : Brahmopadesam

Devotional Paths, Prayers & Rituals

  
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