Vivaha Sanskara: Marriage


Marriage: In Hindu tradition, marriage is not only a ceremony, but it is truly a sacrament. It is not a marriage of bodies, but a marriage of souls. It is not a marriage for only a few years or a few decades, but rather it is a marriage for at least seven lifetimes.

A wedding marks not only a marriage of bodies. Rather it marks a marriage of souls. As the bride and the groom stand beside each other, they are not only taking each other’s hand into their own, but they are also taking each other’s hearts and each other’s lives into their own.

In mathematics one plus one equals two. But in spiritual marriage, one plus one equals one! Newlyweds are not two now. They are one. One heart, one mind, one soul. They are united in God, united in love and united in light. But, one plus one can also equal eleven. Coming together does not merely double who you were when you were alone. Now, they are each more than ten times as much!

The beautiful seven steps of a traditional Indian wedding represent seven sacred vows. They are vows of dedication, vows of loyalty, vows of devotion and vows of love. However, these steps are not taken only one time. These vows are not taken only on one’s wedding day. Rather, the bride and groom must walk these seven steps – in their minds and hearts – every day. They must re-pledge themselves, their love and their lives to God and to each other every moment of every day.

On the holy banks of Mother Ganga at Parmarth Niketan, we perform sacred weddings. Different arrangements can be made depending on the couple, their family, their tradition, etc. Weddings are sometimes elaborate and large, sometimes intimate and small, sometimes complex and deeply religious, sometimes simple. But each marriage is sanctified by the power and the presence of the holy Mother Goddess Ganga and the sacred Himalayas, as well as the divine energies of the saints, sages and rishis who have performed their meditation and sadhana in this holy land.