We believe that marriages are made in heaven and as human beings we are just following the instructions of predetermined destiny. Fate, along with the cosmic energies, plays a significant role in making a successful marriage. This is the reason why Indian weddings hold symbolic connotation and belief system-making it a religious function than mere social gathering. Unravel the concept of symbolism in Indian marriages with us.
The ancient Vedic tradition roots the deepest meanings involved with Indian weddings. From saptapadi to seven vows (sath pheres), every single element is beautifully weaved with a spiritual, philosophical and divine meaning.
For instance, the cosmic involvement of digit 7 is close to this meaning. It reflects the rich seven aspects of mother energy-the sacred fire has seven flames, music having seven notes, body enriched with seven elements, a woman going through seven major phases in life, the purity of seven major rivers, seven prominent planets and seven rays of sun.
The Mythological Connotation:
The wedding story of lord Shiva, the creator and destroyer of universe, and goddess Parvati has profound impact in Indian marriages. This all started when lord Shiva blessed asuras (demons) with the power to rule swarglok (heaven). According to the blessings, asuras could be only defeated when the son of lord would arrive to kill them. This made asuras happy because lord Shiva shared an unmarried life. Contrary to this, other Gods were tensed because lord Shiva went for a deep meditation afterward and was thoughtless about his own marriage. This was the time when other Gods decided to send Kamdev (the lord of sexual desires) to change the mind of lord Shiva. Kamdev intervened lord Shiva while meditating due to which he became the victim of Shiva’s anger (was burned to death).
The Concept of Intercourse in Indian Wedding:
Ardhanarishvara’ i.e. half male and half female
The entire episode symbolizes the idea of sex in Indian wedding. Sex cannot be the first reason for union of two souls- yes it a very important as an element of successful marriage but cannot be the sole reason. Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, together as a couple, represents the concept of ‘Ardhanarishvara’ i.e. half male and half female. It depicts the equality of two genders in one relationship, the blend of souls, unity of opposites and element of sexual desire for creation of world.
The ancient tale of ‘Savitri and Satyavan’
The ancient tale of Savitri and Satyavan is integral to the thought of Indian wedding. Savitri symbolizes a devoted wife who challenges the lord of death, Yumraaj, by denying the uncertain demise of her husband. When Yumraaj arrives to take the soul of dead Satyavan, Savitri refutes the happening and stands firm as a wall between her husband and his death. Her wisdom, argument and prompt answers impressed Yumraaj who then grants Savitri three wishes (other than the life of Satyavan). In her third wish, Savitri desires to be the mother of hundred sons of Satyavan. The entire episode forces Yumraaj to return life of Satyavan.
Indian marriages are considered incomplete without the use of some prominent symbols. From sindoor (vermillion) to mangalsutra (necklace), more than a fashion statement, these elements share a story and meaning. Symbolism is rather reflected in even the minutest elements and practices. Vedic shlokas that binds the bride and groom together are recited for sustaining positive energies in a wedding.