In this article, we give you the importance of Seven Steps – Saptapadi vows or Saat Pheras in Hindu Marriage.
Marriage is a vital step in everyone’s life regardless of religion or culture. It makes one’s entry to adulthood marking him or her suitable to shoulder the responsibility of another human being. In India, marriage not only binds two people in holy matrimony but also unites the two families. In today’s world, several matrimonial sites online bring the bride and the groom together thus helping them to find their respective soul mate.
While the concept of matrimony is same across the world, the culture and rituals differ from place to place. Amongst them, Hindu marriage follows a broad range of rituals and customs to solemnize a marriage. The 13 elaborate stages of the Hindu wedding ceremony put forth the seriousness of what marriage means via the rituals and the mantras.
Among the many customs and rituals of a Hindu wedding, the important ones are Jaimala, Sindoor Daan, wearing Mangalsutra and the seven vows taken by the bride and groom. The couple seeks blessings from the Almighty and the Fire that they be together for the next seven births by taking the Saat Phere.
Every ritual has its significance and cannot be ignored as it holds a special place in the ceremony. One of the main ceremonies is the Saptapadi (which means sapta-seven and padi-steps meaning, seven steps).
History of Saat Pheras
As per Hindu beliefs, marriages are made in heaven and once it is sanctified, the two souls are joined for seven lifetimes. The seven vows are the seven promises of marriage that the bride and groom make to each other to stay together in happiness and challenges, being each other’s strength thus looking forward to a happy and prosperous life. The seven vows are the crux of an ideal marriage and are to be practiced by the bride and the groom.
Saptapadi vows in Hindu wedings or Saat Phere
‘Saptapadi’ or ‘Saat Phere’ is an important rite in any Hindu Marriage Ceremony regardless of the region. While the rituals may differ as per the region, the Saat Pheras remain the same and connect the husband and wife together.
In this rite, the bride and groom are symbolically brought together via the marriage knot (Gath Bandhan). They are asked to circumambulate the sacred fire i.e. the Agnideva seven times that features specific vows. The vows represent everything from food, forte, and happiness to progeny, long life, respect, harmony and understanding.
Some also conduct the Mangalpheras which include four pheras which symbolizes the four goals (puruṣārthas) of life – Dharma, Arth, Kaam and Moksha.
What are the Saptapadi Vows?
Through the first step, the world of man and woman are united by the bond of marriage by Saptapadi to further promote the joy of life together.
Groom Says: “Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman”
“My beloved, our love becomes strong by you walking one step together with me. You will offer me food and be helpful and supportive in every way. I will treasure you and provide wellbeing and happiness for you and our children”.
Bride Says: “Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet”
“I humbly surrender to you, my lord. I am responsible for the home, household, food and finance. I promise that I shall fulfill all responsibilities towards the welfare of your family and our children.”
Groom Says: “Om oorje jara dastayaha”
“My beloved, now as you walk the second step with me, fill my heart with strength and courage and together we shall protect the home and our children.”
Bride Says: “Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam”
“My lord, in your grief, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. I shall celebrate in your happiness, and I promise you that I will always satisfy you with sweet words and take care of the family and children. And, in return, you shall love me and me alone as your wife.”
Groom Says: “Om Rayas Santu joradastayaha”
“As you take the third step with me, may we grow wealthy and prosperous. We will educate our children and may our children live long. I shall look upon all other women as my sisters.
Bride Says: “Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha”
“My love, I will love you with single-minded devotion as you are my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My commitment to you is that of a virtuous wife and you are my happiness. I vow to remain chaste.”
Groom Says: “Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha”
“It is a great blessing that you have walked four steps with me. You have brought luck and sacredness into my life. Let God Bless us with noble and obedient children. May they live long.”
Bride Says: “Lalayami cha pade vadet.”
“My lord, I will embellish myself from head to toe with flowers, garlands and ornaments, and anoint myself with sandalwood paste and fragrance for your sake. I will strive to please you in every way I can.”
Groom Says: “Om prajabhyaha Santu jaradastayaha”
“My love, as you take the fifth step with me, you have truly enriched my life. May God bless you and may our loved ones live long and be part of our prosperity.”
Bride Says: “Arte arba sapade vadet”
“I will share your joys and sorrows. I promise to love and cherish you as long as I live. I will trust and honour you and will carry out all your wishes.”
Groom Says: “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava”
“You have filled my heart with immense bliss by walking six steps with me. May you fill my heart with happiness and harmony at all times and seasons.”
Bride Says: “Yajne home shashthe vacho vadet.”
“My Noble Lord, in all acts of virtue, in material fortune, in all pleasure and divine acts, I promise you that I will participate and shall always be with you.”
Groom Says: “Om sakhi jaradastayahga.”
“As you walk the seventh step with me, our love and friendship became eternal. We are now husband and wife and we are one. We experienced a spiritual union in God. You have become completely mine and I offer my life to you. Our marriage will be forever.
Bride Says: “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade.”
“My Lord, as God is the witness and as per the Holy Scriptures, I have become your spouse with this seventh step. Whatsoever promises we gave to each other, we did so with a pure mind. We will be honest with each other in all matters and will love and respect each other forever.”
Significance of Saptapadi vows in Hindu Weddings
The wedding vows are the highlight of any marriage ceremony. The Vedic mantras uttered by the couple is a way to express their future intentions and their promises to each other in their married life. They promise to bear the responsibility of bringing a family together and doing what’s right for their children. The promise is to enter the life as equals, as friends following the age-old defined roles.
The vows of matrimony are not just for the Hindus, but every other culture that offers the same wedding vows. They outline similar goals and that is of lifelong commitment, mutual respect and devotion. Marriage is an eternal bond and all these vows solidify the couple’s determination to stay together and committed through all the highs and lows of life, till death do they part.
Thus ends the Saptapadi vows in Hindu weddings which is combined with Saat Pheras upon which the bride and groom become husband and wife.
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