Tamil Brahmin Wedding Rituals

Tamil Brahmin Wedding Rituals

The procedure described here follows the Apastamba grihya sutra. 

The mantras are not translated literally, but with the purpose of conveying their intent. 

In the place of mantras, their meaning has been given.

Once the mantras are understood, the procedure becomes self-explanatory. 

There could be some minor regional variations.

 

Institution of Vedic marriage

In the Vedic tradition, marriage is the union of a man and a woman to pursue the purpose of life called the 4 purusharthas. 

They are dharma, artha, kama and moksha.

Dharma is to live righteously.

Artha is to earn using fair means and spend judiciously.

Kama means to attain desires that do not harm others or oneself.

Moksha is to obtain liberation from the cycle of rebirth.

A sense of unity, friendship, and collective responsibility for the attainment of the four purusharthas is the essence of Vedic marriage.

 

Click here to learn more about the essence of Vedic marriage

 

Meaning of vivaha - an event that takes life ahead in a special manner is called vivaha. 

What is special about life after marriage?

The husband and wife observe family responsibilities together.

They attain the goals of life together.

Another Sanskrit term for marriage is udvaha.

Udvaha means elevating spiritually.

 

Origin of man and woman

At the time of creation, Brahma was alone at first.

He felt bored.

He grew himself up to the size of a man and woman together in an embrace.

Then he divided himself into two.

One half became the man and the other half the woman.

Just like how a pea is split into two halves.

 

Before marriage, one-half of the man is empty.

It is filled when the wife comes in.

 

Role of women in the family

Mahabharata says -

  • The woman should be treated with respect.
  • She should be provided with all that she desires. 
  • The husband and the in-laws should keep her happy. 
  • She should be honored and treated with affection. 
  • The Gods are happy wherever women are honored. 
  • If a woman is ill-treated in the family, then all dharmic acts performed become futile.
  • The house where a woman’s tears fall will be destroyed.
  • The happiness of a man depends on the woman; he should take care of her.
  • Men should take care of them.
  • No task can be efficiently achieved without involving women.

 

The mantras chanted during the marriage ceremony assert the important role of the bride in the husband's family. 

While she leaves for her new home, she is told - climb on to the head of your husband. 

This shows her importance.

The husband would carry her on his head. 

In the subsequent mantras, she is told to become the queen among her in-laws. 

For the husband, she is an inseparable friend.

 

Marriage - an overview

The main steps in the wedding ceremony are:

  • Pre-wedding samskaras of the groom
    • Veda Vratam
    • Samavartanam
  • On the previous evening
    • Naandi sraadham
    • Vangnishchayam 
    • Janavasam
  • On the day of the wedding
    • Ganapathy puja for removal of obstacles
    • Nandi sraadham for propitiating forefathers
    • Graha Preeti danam for propitiating Navagrahas
    • Kashi yatra
    • Exchange of garlands
    • Unjal - the swing rituals
    • Ankurarpanam - sowing of seeds
    • Pratisara Bandhanam - tying of the protective thread
    • Varapreshanam - formally approaching the parents of the bride and asking for her.
    • Kanyadanam
    • The bride and groom sit together and do sankalpa
    • Purification of the bride
    • Wearing new clothes
    • Mangalya dharanam
    • Mekhala Bandhanam - tying of girdle around the waist of the bride
    • Preparation for homa
    • Panigrahanam - taking hold of the bride's hand.
    • Saptapadi - taking the seven steps into marital bliss
    • Vivaha homa
    • Ashmarohanam
    • Laja homa
    • Agni pradakshinam
    • Untying the girdle 
    • Ashirvadam
    • Mangala arathi
    • Taking the wife to her new home and chanting mantras for protection en route
    • Entry of the wife into her new home
    • Pravesha homa
    • Placing a male child on the lap of the wife and visit of friends and relatives to see her.
    • Nalangu - the playtime
    • Couple seeing together the stars Dhruva and Arundhati.
    • Sthalipakam
    • Vow of celibacy during the first three nights
  • On the fifth day
    • Shesha homa
    • Nandi sraadham
    • Punyahavachanam
    • Phaladanam
    • Tamboolacharvanam
    • Ashirvadam
    • First-time conjugal bliss on the fifth night
    • Prayers to ward off bad omens and other prayers

 

Veda vratam & Samavartanam

Vivaha can be performed only if the previous samskaras are completed.

Upanayanam, Vedavratam and Samavartanam are three samskaras associated with the learning of the Vedas (Veda adhyayanam). 

Upanayanam is the initiation.

Vratas are performed during the studies.

Samavartanam is the conclusion of the studies.

Veda adhyayanam has become very rare.

It has become common to perform Veda vratam and Samavartanam as part of the wedding ceremony.

It is either done on the previous day or early morning on the day of the wedding.

 

Veda vratam

The Yajurveda samhita is divided into four parts - Prajapatya kandam, Soumya kandam, Agneya kandam, Vaisvadeva kandam.

At the beginning and end of each part, homa is done to propitiate the Rishis and Devatas associated with the respective parts. 

This is called Veda vratam.

The groom and his father do this together.

In the present simplified format, the ahutis for all four Rishis and the respective Devatas are offered at one stretch.

The groom's eyes are covered with a blindfold to symbolize self-control.

 

Samavartanam

This is the formal ending of the brahmacharya.

The groom does full-body shaving and then takes bath.

All symbols of brahmacharya such as danda, and mekhala are relinquished.

He is anointed with perfumed powders.

Then he takes a bath marking the end of brahmacharya.

Brahmacharis wear a single piece of clothing.

From this point onwards he will wear clothes in pairs.

The second yagnopaveetham is worn. 

Also are worn chandana, flowers, and anjanam. 

This is also the time to look at a mirror for the first time.

 

Abhyudaya, punyahavachanam and ashirvadam are performed.

The groom moves towards the north or east wearing sandals and carrying a stick and umbrella. 

This connects to the Kashi yatra ritual conducted later.

 

The previous day

Nandi sraadham is done to propitiate forefathers before 3 generations.

 

Janavasam

The groom and his family are received by the bride's family. 

He is taken around the streets in a decorated vehicle in a procession.

Musical instruments are played.

 

Vangnishchayam

This is the engagement ceremony.

It would have been performed earlier at the time of fixing the marriage. 

It is repeated on the previous evening of marriage.

 

Permission is sought from Brahmins and elders in the assembly. 

Vighneswara puja and Navagraha preeti danam are performed.

The two families exchange thamboolam, chandanam, turmeric, kumkumam, coconuts, fruits, and sweets.

 

The lineage of both the bride and groom is pronounced and the intention to conduct the marriage as fixed in the proper muhurta is proclaimed.

This is often done in the form of reading out a mangala patrika.

New dresses for the bride and groom and golden chain, ring, etc. are gifted.

 

On the day of the wedding

Vighneshwara puja, abhyudaya, and Graha preeti danam are performed.

 

Kashi yatra

Samavartanam is the end point of the brahmacharya of the groom.

He now has to start a family life.

But he is not very sure about getting a suitable bride.

So he decides to go to Kashi to acquire more knowledge.

Since brahmacharya is already over, he is dressed up as a family man and carries symbols like an umbrella, walking stick, and hand fan.

The bride's father intervenes and offers his daughter's hand to the prospective groom. 

The groom is brought back to the mandapam.

 

Exchange of garlands

The bride and groom exchange their garlands three times while sitting on the shoulders of their respective uncles. 

The number three represents the sthoola, sukshma, and karana sareeras. 

Normally, it is forbidden to wear garlands or clothes worn by another person. 

This ritual symbolizes that the bride and groom are going to be unified into one.

It also harmonizes the vibrations of the bride and the groom.

 

Unjal

The bride and groom sit together on a swing to the accompaniment of music by ladies. 

Rice balls reddened in color are circumvolved around the bride and groom and thrown in different directions. 

This is a form of bali to propitiate the ferocious kind of divinities.

It also wards off drishti dosha.

 

The ritual begins with Vighnesvara puja and propitiation of the pitrus and Navagrahas.

 

Ankurarpanam

Seeds of nine kinds are sown in a wooden paalikai / clay pot while oshadhi suktam is chanted.

 It is preserved for a few days and later disposed of in the water.

The sprouting of the seeds symbolizes the emergence of life. 

As the seeds grow the marital relationship also grows and strengthens over a period of time. 

This ritual is performed even during the consecration of temples.

 

Pratisara Bandhanam

Protective thread is tied around the wrist of the bride and groom.

 

Varapreshanam

Two brahmins are sent from the groom's side to the father of the bride to formally ask for the bride.

Two mantras are chanted here addressing these brahmins - 

 

Indra wants to receive offerings from the newlywed couple.

He is sending you both to fetch the bride for this groom.

 

On arrival of the bride, the couple will start their dharmic life.

They will perform pujas together.

Gods will become pleased by the offerings they make.

 

Let the path that leads to the bride’s home be short and safe.

May Gods Bhaga and Aryama (both aspects of Surya) guide you both during your travel.

Let a strong and affectionate bond develop between the bride and the groom.

 

This ritual of actually sending two brahmins is not performed anymore.

Only the mantras are chanted.

Gotra, lineage, and name of the bridegroom are declared.

The bride’s hand in marriage is sought for the groom from her father.

The bride's father replies in agreement.

They come back and inform the bridegroom. 

 

Kanyadanam

This is the part of the wedding ceremony in which the gotra of the bride changes to that of the groom.

She formally becomes a member of the groom’s family.

 

Click here to learn why Kanyadanam is not an expression of male chauvinism

 

Kanyadanam gives emancipation to 21 generations of the bride’s family.

The steps in Kanyadanam are as follows - 

Varapuja and Madhuparka

The bridegroom is considered as Lord Mahavishnu himself.

The bride’s father washes his feet.

Since he is considered as Bhagawan, his presence is awakened in the groom’s body.

The groom declares - I am great, I am masculine, I am famous, I am healthy.

 

The water that washed his feet protects the couple from enemies and gives them strength.

It works just like the charanamrtiam / teertha given in temples.

 

Madhuparka is a ceremonial drink given to honor someone.

It is prepared by mixing curd and honey. 

There are regional variations to its combination.

The father of the bride offers it to the groom.

 

The groom sits on darbha grass.

He chants a mantra addressing darbha - you are the king among all seats. Great acharyas have used you as their seat. Let’s be together.

The bride's father gives water to the groom with a koorcha.

Koorcha looks like a brush made with darbha.

Bride’s father says - this water is good enough for worship.

The groom says addressing the water - Enrich me with fame, strength, food, and brilliance. Make me popular and may there be an abundance of wealth.

Then the groom takes a little water in his palm and says the mantra - You are the essence of the cosmos. Make me and my children brilliant.

He then pours the water in front of him on the ground saying - I am sending you back to your source, the ocean. Let there be unbroken lineage in my clan.

The groom chants mantras here addressing the madhuparka - 

 

You are the splendor of the three vedas, the splendor of splendor itself, and the brilliance of the mantras. Make me popular and may there be an abundance of wealth.

 

And addressing water - 

 

Enrich me with fame, strength, food, and brilliance. Make me popular and may there be an abundance of wealth.

 

He then sips water saying - you are nectar.

 

He then consumes madhuparka three times by chanting the mantra - this madhuparka is the ultimate provider of valor. By drinking this, I attain the ultimate valor.

The bride’s father points the groom towards a cow (symbolically).

The groom then chants this mantra addressed to the cow -

 

Let there be more yajnas. May the cows multiply. With that wealth may I become famous. Oh! Cow, you are the mother of the Rudras, daughter of the Vasus, and sister of the Adityas. You also occupy the center stage in yajnas. May no harm be caused to you. Drink water and eat grass as you please.

 

These mantras are chanted when a cow is released free as part of the madhuparka ritual. Nowadays, only the mantras are chanted.

 

Now, the groom is to be fed.

He says - may the never depleting food of cosmic nature impart energy to me.

The feeding of the groom is not done anymore.

Only the mantra is chanted.

 

The bride sits on the lap of her father facing east.

The groom faces them.

Bride's mother faces north.

 

The bride holds a coconut in her hands.

Her hands rest on the palms of her father carrying thamboolam. 

The groom also places his palms on the palms of the bride. 

The bride's mother keeps pouring water on this. 

The identities of the bride and the groom (gotra, names of the great-grandfather, grandfather, and father) are pronounced three times by the bride’s father.

He then says that -  he is performing Kanyadanam of his daughter to the groom. Gold and ornaments are given to the daughter as part of this. He along with 21 generations of his clan would attain Brahamaloka due to this. The Panchabhutas, Vishwambharas, and all the Devatas stand witness to this.

The groom takes hold of the palms of the bride along with the coconut placed there.

 

He says in acceptance -  prompted by God Savita, with the arms of Ashvins, and hands of Pusha, I am receiving.

This receipt is of divine nature. Devas themselves are receiving the bride through the groom. The purpose is divine.

May this receipt guided by Varuna give immortality and happiness to me.

Who gives to whom? 

Desire gives for the sake of desire. 

Desire is the giver and desire is the recipient. 

Desire enters the ocean in abundance. 

I am receiving you with desire.

 

(The bride’s father has desire for emancipation. The groom has desire to start a family life to elevate the couple spiritually.)

Then the groom looks at himself and prays - Oh! Varuna, Give a long life to the brothers of my bride. 

Oh! Brihaspati, give a long life to me.

Oh! Indra, give long life to my children; give my bride all kinds of prosperity.

 

Then he looks at the bride and says -

Oh! my bride, look at me with kindness.

May I have a long life.

You be good to your husband's family, noble-hearted, and brilliant.

May you have children with long life.

May you have the desire for worshiping Gods.

May you become famous for your virtues, and giving comfort to your fellow beings and animals in the household.

 

The role of the bride’s family almost ends with Kanyadanam.

The rest of the rituals are performed by the bride and groom together.

 

The main ceremony

Then the groom and bride sit together and do the vivaha sankalpam.

The purpose of marriage is declared here - for the performance of our duties as husband and wife and begetting progenies.

 

Purificatory rites for the bride

The groom holds darbha grass between the thumb and ring finger and moves it between the eyebrows of the bride in the upward direction chanting -  I am removing the alakshmi in you which may cause harm to me.

The grass is thrown away to the west.

 

The relatives of the bride may be sad since the bride is leaving them.

Some of them may cry.

 

The groom addresses them - 

Oh! relatives of the bride, why do you cry in this happy hour? 

You should be actually rejoicing.

Just think about this relationship which is going to be long-lived.

It will give salvation to the forefathers. 

Please engage in this procedure with happy hearts.

 

Now the purificatory bath with mantras for the bride. 

Two brahmins are sent to fetch water chanting the mantra - 

 

Oh! Brahmins, bring water that will provide her long-lived progenies.

Do not bring water that is otherwise in nature.

 

A ring made of darbha is placed on the head of the bride chanting -

 

By the grace of lord Aryama, like this ring, may the mothers and brothers ( of the bride and mine) form a circle around Agni. 

 

A small wooden yoke is placed on the head of the bride.

Its right hole is on top of the darbha ring. 

 

This has a connection with a Vedic lore.

A girl called Apala was suffering from leucoderma. 

She wanted to worship Indra to get cured. 

Once, while taking bath she got a Soma creeper. 

She took out the juice with her teeth and offered it to Indra. 

Pleased with this offering, Indra cured her with water poured through holes of the yoke and chariot.

This made her as brilliant as the Sun.

In the same way, the groom pours water through the holes of the yoke and the ring of darbha to cleanse the bride.

 

Then a piece of gold, usually the thirumangalyam itself is placed on top of this chanting -

Let this gold be auspicious for you.

So be the yoke and the hole, and so be the all-purifying water being poured.

 

Then the bride is bathed with the five purificatory mantras -

 

Let Lord Savita purify you with these waters, golden in color, spread across hundreds of cleansing theerthas, capable of washing away the sins.

 

The all-seeing Sun God (Kashyapa) and Agni (in the form of lightning) are born and reside in these waters. They are auspicious in color and may they provide comforts to you, here and hereafter.

 

Varuna traverses these waters witnessing the honest and dishonest deeds of the humans. Such waters from which Agni was born, auspicious in color, may they provide comforts to you, here and hereafter.

 

These waters from which the Devas receive their food in the form of ghee in Swarga, such waters from which Agni was born, auspicious in color, may they provide comforts to you, here and hereafter.

 

Let these waters emanating the essence of ghrita (ghee) look at you with auspicious eyes and touch your skin comfortably. May these purifying waters provide comforts to you, here and hereafter.

 

Wearing new clothes

Then the bride wears a new dress (koorapudavai) and the following mantra is chanted.

 

Just as the meaningful words in our praises are complete towards you, Oh! Indra, may these clothes be complete for this bride. 

Let the seniors be well taken care of by our right words and deeds.

 

Mangalya dharanam

Two mangalyams, one from the bride's side and one from the groom's side are strung in a single yellow thread. 

The groom ties the first knot and his sister two more knots.

 

The meaning of the mangalya dharana mantra is -

 

I am tying this auspicious thread around your neck.

The relationship thus created will be the very foundation of my life hereafter.

May you live for a hundred years.

 

The toe rings (metti) are also worn by the bride after this.

 

Mekhala Bandhanam

Now, a rope made of darbha grass is tied around the waist of the bride in three turns. 

The mantra is -

 

I am preparing you to worship Agni.

To seek blessings for progeny and wealth.

 

Then the groom holds the bride by her right hand and brings her to the homa kundam. 

The mantra for this is -

 

Pusha is leading you to this Agni, by holding your right hand. 

Upon performance of this homa, let the Ashvins lead you in a chariot to my home.

There, you will live like a queen.

 

The bride and the groom sit for homa. 

Two mantras are chanted here addressing the bride -

 

Soma was your protector first.

Then Gandharwa became your protector.

Then Agni became your protector.

Hereafter, I will protect you.

 

(Soma, Gandharwa, and Agni have protected the bride through her infancy, childhood, and so far. Now, it is the responsibility of the groom. The bride and groom observe celibacy during the first three nights. This is a gesture of gratitude for Soma, Gandharwa, and Agni.)

 

Soma handed you over to Gandharwa.

Gandharwa handed you over to Agni. 

May Agni bless us with wealth and progeny.

 

Panigrahanam

Now the groom holds the right hand of the bride with his right hand.

 

Four mantras are chanted here -

 

I am taking hold of your hand for a long life with me and good progenies. 

The Devas, Bhaga, Aryama, Savita, and Indra have given you so that we perform duties together.

 

These Devas only established the system of families.

They have provided you to me.

Let us do our duties together as a family.

 

Oh! Sarasvati, protect this panigrahana ritual.

 

May Gods Agni and Vayu make us like-minded.

 

Saptapadi

Then the bride and groom stand on the north side of Agni.

The bride faces the east.

The groom still holds on to the right hand of the bride with his right hand.  

The bride takes seven steps.

The groom keeps touching her right foot with his left hand.

 

The following mantra is chanted as she takes each of the seven steps.

 

May Vishnu take you through -

  • the first step for food
  • the second for strength
  • the third for observing vratas 
  • the fourth for comfort
  • the fifth for taking care of animals 
  • the sixth for the seasonal observances 
  • the seventh for the performing yajnas

 

At the end of the saptapadi the following mantra is said -

 

As you have taken the seven steps, we have become friends and shall never separate.

I am entering into your friendship. 

We shall love each other and support each other. 

We shall plan our life together.

We will think alike and move together.

Let us have only noble thoughts about each other.

We will observe our duties together. 

Just as the Rik mantras and Samas are related to each other, so shall we be.

I am the sky and you are the earth. 

I am the seed and you are its bearer. 

I am the mind and you are the words. 

You be faithful to me and may we be blessed with prosperity and progeny.

 

Now the couple does pradakshinam of Agni and sits down to continue the homa. 

 

Vivaha homa

There are a total of sixteen ahutis offered.

 

The first three ahutis are offered to Soma, Gandharva, and Agni.

They have been her protectors. 

 

The fourth one says - 

 

This bride has concluded her vow of celibacy.

She is leaving behind her parental home.

She is proceeding to her marital home.

 

This ahuti is offered to oneself and the homa continues.

 

Oh! Indra, let her be released from her parental family to be with my family forever. 

Let her be steady in my family.

Let her be affectionate towards me.

Let her be the mother of noble children.  

 

Oh! Indra, make her affectionate towards me.

Make her the mother of noble children. 

Give her ten children and make me as if I am her eleventh child.

 

(It means - let her have motherly affection even towards me)

 

The next ahuti is offered to Agni and Varuna together -

 

Let Agni with the permission of Varuna release the children of this woman from the noose of possible death. 

May there never be tears in her eyes because of her children.

 

The next ahuti is for Agni -

 

Let Agni protect this woman and her children.

May she enjoy the pleasure of motherhood.

 

Let there not be cries of grief in your house. 

May you never have the misfortune of beating your chest with untied hair (widowhood). 

Blessed with a long-lived husband and children you live comfortably like a queen in your husband's house.

 

May Dyou (heaven) protect your back.

May Vayu protect your thighs.

May Ashvins protect your bosom.

May Savita protect your children.

May Brihaspati protect the whole of you along with your clothes.

May Vishwedevas protect you hereafter.

 

I am releasing from you the possibility of childlessness or sorrows on account of children. 

Let these go towards our enemies.

 

Oh! Varuna, listen to my call for protection.

 

Oh! Varuna, I pray to you with mantras for long life.

 

Oh! all knowing Agni, brilliant with auspicious offerings made to you, may you protect us from the anger of Varuna and harm from our enemies.

 

Oh! Agni, you are the first among all Devatas. 

You become close to us by protecting us. 

Consuming the offerings given by us, protect us from the noose of Varuna and enrich us with all comforts.

 

Oh! Agni, you are the carrier of the offerings on behalf of your devotees to the Devatas. 

May you carry these, so that we are blessed in return by healing and life-prolonging medicine.

 

Ashmarohanam

A piece of rock is placed on the northern side of Agni. 

The groom holds the right hand of the bride with his right hand and with his left hand holding her right foot thumb.

The bride climbs on top of the rock. 

 

The mantra here is - 

 

This stone is steady and solid.

Just like that, you be steady in our life together.

Be firm and chase away those who want us to fight.

 

Laja Homa

The bride holds her palms together.

Laja (puffed paddy) is placed in this.

The groom offers ahuti of this in the Agni with her hands.

The groom offers the ahutis using the palms of the bride as the spoon / ladle.

In some families, the wife's brother places laja in her hands. 

 

The mantra is -

 

This woman is offering this laja asking for a hundred years of life for her husband.

 

Then the couple performs pradakshinam of Agni chanting the following mantra - 

 

In the olden times, Soorya was handed over to you along with marital gifts. 

Now, you give a wife and progeny to me.

 

(Soorya, the daughter of the Sun is the presiding deity of marriage. The reference here is to her marriage.)

 

May Agni give me the wife together with strength and longevity. May we live for a hundred years.

 

Oh! Agni, under your guidance may we cross over adversities as easily as bulls would cross over a stream of rainwater.

 

Now the ashmarohanam is repeated.

Laja Homa is done again with this mantra - 

 

Girls used to get good husbands by worshiping the deva called Aryama. 

Worshiped now with the offering of laja, let him now release her from her parental family.

She should always be with my family.

 

Pradakshinam of the Agni is performed for the second time chanting the three mantras as done before.

Ashmarohanam is repeated for the third time.

Lajahoma is performed for the third time with the mantra - 

 

Oh! Aryama, you are the provider of everything such as food, wife, and Swarga.

You nourish us like how the rains nourish the trees. 

Make us like-minded.

 

Pradakshinam is repeated for the third time.

 

The homa is concluded by offering ahutis to various deities and with customary prayaschitta ahutis. 

This Agni itself is the Aupasanagni for the couple for the rest of their life. 

It is taken in a pot and carried unextinguished to the husband's home. 

The couple is expected to perform Aupasanam every day in this agni for the rest of their married life.

 

The darbha rope tied earlier around the waist of the wife is now removed and thrown away with the following two mantras -

 

I am releasing you from the noose of Varuna that Savita had tied around you.

You enjoy all the comforts in Brahmaloka along with me.

 

I am releasing you from the noose of Varuna that Savita had tied around you.

You enjoy all comforts perpetually in Brahmaloka along with me.

 

Ashirvadam and Mangala arati

The priests and elders offer their blessings at this point in time.

Arati is done to ward off evil eyes.

 

Taking the wife home

In the olden days, the mode of conveyance used to be chariots. 

The procedure given here is associated with travel by chariot. 

The following mantra is chanted while raising the yoke of the chariot in which the wife is taken home - 

 

Truth supports the earth and the Sun. 

The Sun supports Swarga.

Soma stays in Swarga.

 

The next two mantras are for tying the horses to the chariot -

 

This newlywed wife will stay with her marital family as long as there are luminaries in the sky.

 

We call out to Indra for protection.

 

The following mantras are chanted as the wife mounts the chariot -

 

Oh! bride, you climb this chariot along with the gifts received from your parental home.

May you have a long life.

 

As you climb this chariot, defeating adversaries, you have become very important to me, and may you beget ten children.

 

May you become like a queen for your father-in-law, mother-in-law, sisters-in-law, and brothers-in-law.

 

May you lead your children, the would-be daughters-in-law, the brothers of the father-in-law, and all other relatives in the family. May you manage our wealth.

 

Two threads, one blue and one red are tied to the two wheels of the chariot.

Mantra for this -

 

These two threads, one blue and one red, may they protect you from any black magic meant to harm you.

May they also bind you with affection to your husband and family.

 

The following mantras are chanted for protection during the journey -

 

Let the Gods chase away those thieves trying to steal those valuable gifts being carried by the wife.

 

May the evil-minded robbers on the way not be able to approach this couple.

 

The path leading home is going to be safe. We are not only protected but the robbers may also surrender their wealth to us.

 

May Gods Ashvins, the protectors of rains, protect us from the evil-minded on this journey and also provide us with wealth and ten children.

 

This mantra is chanted whenever there is a holy river or other water bodies to be crossed on the way by boat - 

 

Let this boat take us across the river safely and comfortably.

 

Upon reaching the other bank -

 

We have reached safely. May Indra bring auspiciousness to us.

 

The following prayachchitta homa is performed if an impure place such as cremation ground is encountered en route or if there is a bad omen such as loss of valuables -

 

All the valuable gifts brought along have been rendered impure on account of passing through the impure place. May Indra purify them again and hand them back to us.

 

Oh! Agni, let your blessings be on us. Give us an everlasting abundance of food and wealth. and May we have descendants of great lineage.

 

Oh! Varuna, listen to my call for protection.

 

Oh! Varuna, we pray to you for a long life.

 

Oh! all knowing Agni, brilliant with auspicious offerings made to you, may you protect us from the anger of Varuna and harm from our enemies.

 

O ! Agni, you are the first among all Devatas. You become close to us by protecting us. Consuming the offerings given by us, protect us from the noose of Varuna and enrich us with all comforts.

 

Oh! Agni, you are the carrier of the offerings on behalf of your devotees to the Devatas. May you carry these, so that we are blessed in return by healing and life-prolonging medicine.

 

The sapful trees such as Ashvatha and Vata are the abodes of Gandharwas and Apsaras.

Their blessings are sought while passing by them.

Mantras for this - 

 

The Gandharvas and Apsaras who live on these sapful trees, let them be auspicious to the wife who is carrying the gifts from her parental home.

 

While crossing jungle, barren land, etc. the following mantra is chanted -

 

As we pass by the various herbs, rivers, and dry lands, let those Devatas residing there bless the wife with children and release her from all sins.

 

Upon arrival at home, the horses are released saying these two mantras -

 

Oh! Ashvins, under your protection and blessings of Aryama, we have completed the journey safely and are entering the house.

 

You have come here to fulfill our desire and are now being released.

Now you can move about freely grazing. 

May the Gods Savita, Brihaspati, Indragni, Mitra, Varuna, Tvashta, and Vishnu give auspiciousness and children to us.

 

The groom enters the house and spreads a mat -

 

This skin (mat) is being spread to seat the wife. 

May goddess Sinivali bless her with children and Lord Bhaga be kind to her.

 

He then makes the bride enter the house with her right foot first after making her chant the following mantra -

 

I am entering the house whose members are eager to take care of me.

I will live here with an abundance of food and guests and with long-lived children.

 

The husband introduces the wife to the family and friends with this mantra -

 

Take a look at my wife with kind and friendly eyes. Here is her and all the gifts that she has brought. Let them all bring us happiness.



Pravesha Homa

The Aupasanagni brought from the venue of the wedding is placed at a suitable place.

The following ahutis are offered -

 

You have arrived with the gifts received from your parental home.

I wish for my long life, and children making us eligible to enter Swarga. 

May you take care of this Aupasanagni for 100 years to come.

 

May this Aupasanangi who is the lord of our house, bestow prosperity and children to us just as he did so to the Devas.

 

May Prajapati and Indragni give us long-lived children and comforts.

 

Upon receipt of the offerings given by us, enrich us again and again.

 

Enrich us with lands, and wealth in such a way that we don't have to ask for anything.

 

Addressed to the antaratmas of the couple -

 

Let's live together here in comfort to our fullest lives and never separate from each other.

 

Addressed to the wife -

 

Brihaspati has given you unto me. 

Be with me forever and be the mother of my children.

 

Tvashta created this wife for me and me as husband for her. 

May he make us live for a hundred years.

 

Oh! Agni, let your blessings be on us. 

Give us an everlasting abundance of food and wealth and may we have descendants of great lineage.

 

Oh! Varuna, listen to my call for protection.

 

Oh! Varuna, I pray to you with mantras for long life.

 

Oh! all knowing Agni, brilliant with auspicious offerings made to you, may you protect us from the anger of Varuna and harm from our enemies.

 

Oh! Agni, you are the first among all Devatas. You become close to us by protecting us. Consuming the offerings given by us, protect us from the noose of Varuna and enrich us with all comforts.

 

Oh! Agni, you are the carrier of the offerings on behalf of your devotees to the Devatas. May you carry these, so that we are blessed in return by healing and life-prolonging medicine.

 

The homa is then completed with jayadi homa, etc. 

The husband and wife then sit together on the mat chanting - 

 

Let cows be born in this household and also horses and men.

Let there be an abundance of wealth worthy of giving away as gift to Brahmins.

 

A male child is made to sit on the lap of the wife chanting the mantra - 

 

Adityas derive their strength from Soma.

The plants and herbs flourish because of Soma.

The earth is stable because of Soma. 

Just as Soma rests on the lap of nakshatras, this boy is resting on your lap.

 

Fruits are offered to the child. Mantra addressed to the fruits -

 

Just as you carry seeds to reproduce, make this woman capable of giving birth to children.

 

Addressed to the wife - 

May you become adorable in this house by being the mother of children, caretaker of Devas and guests, and a good physical partner to me.

 

The various gifts such as ornaments brought along are displayed for the benefit of the family.

They are told to look on with soft eyes.

Lord Savita is called upon to make them auspicious.

 

Mantras chanted -

 

All sumangalis (married women), come and see this auspicious bride.

Wish her a long-lived husband and children.

 

Then the husband and wife are supposed to sit silently till stars appear in the sky. 

 

Arundhati darshanam

When stars appear, they watch the stars Dhruva and Arundhati together.

Mantra addressed to the star Dhruva –

 

You are of stable origin and stable existence. 

Just as a peg holds the bulls from going astray, you are holding the stars together around you.

 

(Indicating the importance of stability in married life)

 

Aundhati was the wife of Sage Vasishta. 

Among all the seven wives of the saptarshis she was the foremost and famous for her chastity and devotion to her husband. 

This mantra is chanted by looking at Arundhati nakshatra in the constellation of Krithika.

 

The husband says -

 

Let me become the 8th in the lineage of the saptarshis and you be the eighth among stars of the constellation Krithika.

 

Sthalipaka

Then sthalipaka homa is performed offering cooked ahuti to Agni.

 

For the next four nights, the husband and wife observe the vow of celibacy and sleep on the floor on separate beds. 

A decorated rod is placed between the beds.

A Gandharva called Vishvavasu is invoked onto the rod and worshiped with shodashopachara.

 

On the fifth day

In the third part of the fourth night, the Gandharva earlier invoked on the rod is ceremoniously sent back by chanting the following mantras - 

 

Oh! Vishvavasu, wake up. You are requested to provide this wife of mine to me.

 

Oh! Vishvavasu, wake up. Hand over this woman to me whose marriage is yet incomplete.

 

Sheshahoma

Then the following ahutis are offered in Agni -

 

Oh! Agni, you among Devas is the one who would compensate for omissions. 

May you remove any inauspiciousness in this woman that could harm her husband, children, wealth, etc,

May you destroy any challenge to her chastity.

 

Oh! Vayu, you among Devas is the one who would compensate for omissions. 

May you remove any inauspiciousness in this woman that could harm her husband, children, wealth, etc,

May you destroy any challenge to her chastity.



Oh! Aditya, you among Devas is the one who would compensate for omissions. 

May you remove any inauspiciousness in this woman that could harm her husband, children, wealth, etc,

May you destroy any challenge to her chastity.



O ! Prajapati, you among Devas is the one who would compensate for omissions. 

May you remove any inauspiciousness in this woman that could harm her husband, children, wealth, etc,

May you destroy any challenge to her chastity.

 

We are throwing our adversaries into the teeth of Devatas such as Indra, Rudra, Bhaga and Antariksha to be destroyed.

 

We are throwing our adversaries into the teeth of months such as Madhu and Madhava to be destroyed.

 

We are throwing our adversaries into the teeth of the divinities such as the inner self, opinions, teaching, learning, knowledge, amavasya and purnima to be destroyed.

 

The following ahutis are offered as drops on the head of the bride with the remaining ghee.

 

Oblations to earth, midheaven, heaven, and omkara.

 

The bride addresses the husband -

 

Oh! You, who are desirous of a progeny, I am looking at you with a heart full of affection. 

You attained your brahminhood as a result of the austerities observed and samskaras performed by your parents. 

You adorn the merits of your own austerities such as brahmacharya, vedadhyayanam, and vratas. 

May you raise a progeny in me.

 

The husband addresses the bride -

 

Oh! You, desirous of a progeny, I am looking at you with affection. 

Physically ready to attain motherhood, you will raise my progeny in you.

 

The bride and groom apply the remaining ghee from the homa around the heart (mid-chest) simultaneously chanting - 

 

May Vishvedevas, holy waters, Vayu and Dhata make us desirous of and affectionate towards each other, and may goddess Saraswati provide us with sweet words suitable to the occasion.

 

The groom chants -

 

Let Prajapati enter my body and provide me with procreative power and so be Tvashta the creator of forms along with other gods such as Vishnu.

So be Indra and the Vishvedevas. 

May they fulfill our desire to be parents to many many sons.

 

Oh! Prajapati, create progeny for us. 

Aryama, make us affectionate towards each other. 

 

Oh! bride, devoid of any inauspiciousness, enter my world for the benefit of humans and domestic animals.

 

Oh! Pusha, make this bride physically and mentally desirous and prepared for consummation.

 

The homa is completed.

Nandi sraadham is performed in hiranya form. 

Punyahavachanam is done.

 

Phaladaanam

Fruits and thamboolam are given in danam to a brahmin representing Lakshminarayana and Umamaheshvara after doing sankalpa mentioning the desire for begetting children.

 

The mantra said here is -

 

Fruit fulfills the desire of humans. 

Provide me with comforts in the form of plentiful sons and grandsons.

 

Tamboolacharvanam

A brahmachari is not allowed to chew betel leaves. 

For the first time, the husband together with the wife chews betel leaves after doing sankalpa and performing hiranyadanam.

 

Ashirvada is performed.

 

Consummation of marriage

On the fifth night, the couple receives blessings from brahmins, performs danam of fruits, and performs Ganapathy puja. The husband performs sankalpa proclaiming that he is sanctifying his wife by means of the samskara called garbhadhanam (impregnation)

 

The first half of the mantra here is addressed to self (antaratma) - 

 

You embrace this wife of yours affectionately and engage in consummation.

 

The second half is addressed to both self and the wife - 

 

Through this act of union may we produce many children.

 

Just as Agni is produced by churning, through a similar act of union, may nectar be produced for procreation.

 

I pervade all the worlds. I alone procreate the plants and herbs. I create progenies for the sake of the continuation of the lineage.

 

Let us live our full lives endowed with female children and wealth.

 

(Even though it is desired that the first child be a male this mantra specifically asks for many daughters also.)

 

We shall live together by worshiping the Gods and providing for the needy.

 

The bride expresses that she is physically mature for the union.- 

 

The husband chants -

 

May Vishnu prepare your womb, may Prajapati through me inseminate you, may Dhata make it into a fetus, and may Tvashta provide organs to the fetus.

 

May Goddesses Sarasvati and Sinivali and the Ashvins hold this pregnancy in you.

 

The pregnancy is generated through a process similar to how agni is generated by the churning of arani wood, may it stay stable for delivery in the tenth month, and may the progeny be as handsome as the Ashvins.

 

Just like the earth inseminated by the sky in the form of rains bears her pregnancy in the form of herbs and plants, may you bear your pregnancy till delivery in the tenth month.

 

Just as Bhumi bears Agni in her womb, Akasha bears Indra in her womb, the directions bear Vayu in their womb, I am giving this pregnancy to you.

 

Oh! Vishnu, bestow this woman's womb with a well-formed pregnancy for delivery in the tenth month.

 

May Nejamesha ( destroyer of the fetus ) go away and may a meritorious son be born from the fetus in this wife of mine desirous of a child.

 

Receive the seeds in your womb, bear the fetus for ten months, and may your son so born be the most valorous among us.

 

May your womb hold this pregnancy like a quiver the arrows. May a valorous son be born in the tenth month.

 

I am inseminating you, receive the pregnancy in your womb, and may the child be born without any defect and not affected by evil spirits.

 

May seeds capable of providing many sons, one after the other be produced.

 

May these auspicious seeds produce sons in you.

 

Oh! Vayu, make this task successful, and may our desire be fulfilled.

 

Bad omens such as calling from behind, uttering bad and cruel words, bad dreams, all of them I am sending away from me towards the adversaries.

 

Bad omens such as calling from behind, uttering bad and cruel words, sideways movement of deer, all of them I am sending away from me towards the adversaries.

 

Abhimantranam of a herb called chitriya is done -

 

May you be protected from fire, the axe, and strong winds. 

May you be nourished by the rains. 

Just as you stay comfortable, may I also be comfortable.

 

A prayer addressed to a kind of Rudras who are associated with cow dung

( UcchushmaRrudras ) -

 

You stay among the cows, don't harm us. 

You are not harsh as lightning. 

You are mild as the edge of a cloth.

 

Addressed to the rooster -

 

You sing like the samaganam during yajnas. 

Give comforts to us.

 

And they live happily ever after observing dharma.

How long is a Tamil Brahmin wedding?

Tamil Brahmin wedding was originally spread over 7 days. Nowadays, most weddings take place in 2 days.

Can Brahmin marry in same gotra?

Same gotra marriage is discouraged in Dharma shastra.

Quiz

Why are Brahmins called twice born?
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