Complied  London Swaminathan

Post No.7574

Date uploaded in London – 14 February 2020

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The Samhita of the Rig Veda has fortunately preserved one particular hymn 10-85 which proves that not only the institution of marriage but also the ideals which characterised it in India in later days were deeply rooted in the minds of men. Its interest, however, transcends the narrow bounds of India, as it is perhaps the oldest written document in the world which gives an ideal picture of the marriage system with all that it involves in a civilized society.

The subject matter of the hymn is ‘suuryaa’, the daughter of the sun and a form of the dawn, who is regarded as the typical bride. We learn from it that the friends of the bridegroom came to the  bride’s father with the proposal of the marriage, and evidently it is settled by him. The ceremony took place at the bride’s house, and the decorated bride, with her companions came to the marriage pandal. Then the bridegroom took the hand of the bride in his own hand, probably in front of fire, with the words, I take thy hand in my hand for happy fortune that you may reach old age with me your husband. Gods ….. have given you to be my household’s mistress.

Later he offers another prayer-

O Pushan, send her on as most auspicious , her who shall be he sharer of my pleasures; her who shall twine her loving arms about me ad welcome all my love and mine embraces.

After the rituals were over, the bride left her father’s home for that of her husband. This change is emphasized in the prayers addressed to Vishwavasu, one of the Gandharvas, and supposed to be the protector of virgins. Rise up from hence, Vishwavasu… you seek another willing maid in her father’s house. This maiden hath a husband; with her husband leave the bride

I free the bride from your father’s family but not from your husband’s. I make you softly fettered there. O Indra may she live blest in her fortune and her sons.

Lastly, she is urged to go to the husband’s house to the household’s mistress, and payers were offered to the gods for their safe journey. On her arrival at the new home she was welcomed by the friends and relatives of her husband with the verse,

Happy be you and prosper with your children here, here, be vigilant to rule your household in this home. Closely unite your body with this man your husband. So shall you, full of years, address your company.

To the guests assembled to welcome newly married pair it is said,

Signs of good fortune mark the bride; come all of you and look at her. Wish her prosperity, and then return unto your homes.

After the guests had departed, the bride was addressed as follows, probably when offering sacrifice,

Be you not parted, dwell you here; reach the full time of human life. With sons and grandsons sport and play, rejoicing in your own abode.

Then the husband addresses his wife,

So may Prajapati bring children forth to us, may Aryaman adorn us till old age come nigh. Not inauspicious enter thou your husband’s house; bring blessings to our bipeds and quarepeds… over your husband’s father and your husband’s mother bear full sway; over the sister of your husband, over his brothers rule supreme.

The husband then prays,

O bounteous Indra , make this bride blest in her sons and fortunate. Vouchsafe to her ten sons, and make her husband the eleventh man.

Then there is the concluding payer offered jointly by the bridegroom and the bride,

So may the universal gods , so may the waters join our hearts. May Matarishwan, Dhatar, and Deshtri together bind us close.

Thus ends this remarkable hymn which may be regarded as the earliest expression of human thoughts concerning marriage viewed as a sacrament and a willing union of two hears.

Xxx subham xxxx