KASHMIRI PANDIT MARRIAGES - MAIN FEATURES
Pt. Moti Lal Pushkar
This word denotes 'The Pandit marriage system' by way of selection of a groom by a would be brides' parents in consultation with their daughter on the basis of a would be groom's academic achievement, moral character, personality, young age and health besides emotional attachment of a couple towards each other. An invitation is extended to the groom by his father-in-law to attend the marriage Mona. This letter of invitation mentions the day and date, exact auspicious hour (Lagna), number of participants in the marriage party and the number of Brahmans for recitation of the 'Vedas' on this occasion. Bride's hand is offered to her life partner while 'Agni Deva' shines bright. This invitation letter is known as the 'LAGANCHIRI'. Now-a-days the 'Kulguru' of the brides' parents discharges this fatherly responsibility. This system of marriage is prevalent in the Kashmiri Pandit society wherever they are.
The marriage is based on morality, parental responsibility, social organization, spiritualization of human behaviour and responsive attitude. It avoids vulgarity.
At the exact auspicious hour i.e. the hour of lagna, the bride and her father face the east and the groom faces the west. Relatives from both sides also witness the ceremony. The father of the bride addresses his would be son-in-law thus "Sir, I offer you my daughter in marriage." Thrice repeated.
The groom shows his inclination thus, "Sir, I accept this offer sincerely." He thrice repeats his acceptance. Both the parties express together the following statement:
"This our statement is true. We adhere to it with all sincerely."
The father of the bride again addresses his son-in-law thus:
"Sir, you have to share your Dharma (social contact, Artha, earnings, and Kaama) the pious act of keeping God's creation unhindered, with your lifepartner without fail."
This is agreed upon by the groom and the bride takes her seat now by the left side of her husband.
Both pray that Agni Deva be pleased to bless us both.
The mantras recited here mean that desires, thoughts and endeavour of ours to establish an ideal household be based on commonality of interests. Our minds, heart and conscious being the same and serene.
Offerings, are made to the Holy Fire with the recitation of the Vedic mantes. The essence of these mantras is given here:
God alone is the bestower of everything. He sustains this our mother earth and the space above. He is the giver and protector. He is the real father and creator.
The groom prays to God while addressing his better half thus:
"The unfavourable forces that are bent upon to cause widowhood to a woman may prove the agents of longevity for the husband.
The forces that try against having cattle and other wealth may help us to have all types of wealth.
The natural agents that cause barrenness to a woman may turn as the agents for fertility."
HUSBAND THEORY - FOUR FACTORS
The husband further states thus,
"My clear, it is the Moon god that entered thee first causing m.c.t. The Sungod came the next to develop fertility. The fire god came in its turn to generate heat in thee. I, the human agent, am the fourth factor to sow the human seed."
A PIECE OF STONE AS A SEAT
It is a symbolic offering of a seat to the bride by her husband to sit on. He prays that this marriage of two souls may prove as permanent as this rocky seat. He further prays that she be freed from parental bondage to live her future life with me.
In return the bride prays for the groom's long life and prosperity. The groom reciprocates with the same spirit for her longevity.
The husband suggests to his bride to take seven symbolic steps towards her new home. She takes these seven steps while praying.1. "I take this first step with my inner desire to become life-partner of my husband.The husband repeats at every step thus, "May Almighty fulfil all thy wishes."
2. This second step I take to acquire energy to discharge my household duties.
3. Third I take to have health and fitness.
4. The fourth step I take to have fine sentiments in me.
5. Fifth I take to get ideal progeny.
6. This sixth I take to enjoy my future life happily during all the seasons of the year.
7. This seventh, to have longevity."
THE DESIRE TO HAVE IDEAL PROGENY
The Groom further ashes: "Do you see full span of life."
Bride: "Yes I see." "Do you desire to have Dhrava and Arundhati like ideal children?" "Yes Sir."
The Saraswati hymn from the Vedas is recited by the couple. It reminds them that their original home had been the banks of the river Saraswati, hence the community came to be known as the Saraswati Brahman.
Their (the Saraswat Brahman's) life mission had been Saraswati i.e. learning of Arts, Crafts, Sciences and Scriptures. It is also to remind them that they had been devotees of Saraswati i.e. the Cosmic
RECITATION OF SURYAVARGA
One more hymn from the Vedas known as the Suryavarga is recited. It reminds the couple of their new responsibilities that await them as householders. It says that this universe is like a chariot. The Sun and the Moon are its two wheels. It keeps functioning by mutual agreement, patience and psychological approach.
OFFERING OF PRASAAD
At the end of Vivahahoma prasaad is offered to the couple which they partake gladly. They offer a few morsels to each other. All the dishes offered to the guests are also offered to the bride and the groom in one plate. It is known in Kashmir is Daibat (Deiva Bhakta in Sanskrit) i.e. God's gift to the couple.
Parents of the groom shower flowers on the couple. Other relatives also participate in this flower showering. The couple sit under the cover of a small canopy, symbolic of a bedroom. Actually, it is the preparation for Garbhaadhaan Sanskara i.e. the couple invites attention of each other to have ideal Progeny
The parents and relatives from both the sides remind them names of ideal children from the Vedic heritage. This recitation covers names of sages and seers, the incarnations, great warriors, heroic mothers, famous kings and queens of the whole Vedic lore.
With this ritual, the Pandit marriage celebrations come to an end.
This system is based on the Vedic Mantras and has been presented to the society by Rishi Lougaaksha of Kashmir.