Marriage means the holy union of two minds as well as the union of two families. Many rituals are followed in Hindu marriage. Hindu marriage ceremony includes Patipatra, Pankhil, Ashirvad, Aiburo Bhat, Dadhi Mangal, Gaye Halud, Shankha Kangkan, Jal Sai, Bar Baran, Satpak, Shubhadrishti, Mala Badal, Kanya Sampradan, Anjali, Sindoor Daan, Basi Biye, Basar Jagaran, Kanakanjali, Badhu Baran, Kalratri, Bhat Kapor, Bou Bhat, Phulshajya, Ashtamangala etc. rituals. Though some of these vary from place to place, most of these are performed following Vedic religious texts. Saptapadi or Sagnik Saptapadi is one of these most prominent rituals in Hindu wedding. In Bengal, it is called Satpak.
Saptapadi involves the couple walking seven steps in a clockwise direction around the Agni (sacred fire) near the Mandap. Each of the steps is called a ‘Phere’, and each Phere stands for the seven promises and principles made by the groom and the bride to each other during the exchange of vows. It is said that through this ritual, the fire god (Agni) is kept as a witness in the marriage. Here’s all you should know about the seven vows or promises of a Hindu marriage.
♥ First Promise: “Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman,” the groom says. “Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet,” the bride complies. [First the groom promises to provide welfare and happiness for the bride and their children. In response to this, the bride promises to be responsible for the complete household management.]
♥ Second Promise: “Om oorje jara dastayaha,” the groom says. “Kutumbum rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam,” the bride replies. [This time the groom promises that he will protect his wife from all circumstances. In return, the bride promises to be with her husband in all his troubles.]
♥Third Promise: “Om rayas santu joradastayaha,” the groom says. “Rava bhakti as vadedvachacha,” the bride assures. [This time the groom promises that he will earn for his wife and family and take care of them. The bride responses by giving an assurance of staying loyal to her husband.]
♥Fourth Promise: “Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha,” the groom says. “Lalayami cha pade vadet,” the bride responses. [The groom promises to hand over all the responsibilities of his family to the wife and at the same time give importance on all the opinions of the wife. The wife promises to carry out all her responsibilities properly.]
♥Fifth Promise: “Om prajabhyaha santu jaradastayaha,” the groom declares. “Arte arba sapade vadet,” the bride replies. [ The groom calls the bride his best friend and a well-wisher. He thanks her, and prays to God to bless her. In return, the bride promises to love and cherish him in her lifetime. She says that his partner’s happiness and suffering are now her own happiness and suffering. The bride pledges to the groom to honour him and strive to fulfill his wishes.]
♥Sixth Promise: “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava,” the groom says. “Yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet,” the bride promises. [ Now the groom tells the bride that she has taken six steps with him and he is delighted and he is promised to be true to her. He asks the bride if she will promise to fill his heart with the same happiness for the lifetime. Then the wife also promises to be true to her husband.]
♥Seventh Promise: “Om sakhi jaradastayahga,” the groom says. “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade,” the bride replies. [ In the last promise the groom declares that they are now husband and wife, and now they will stay together for eternity. In return, the wife promises to stay with her husband until the last moment of her life.]
Even though the vows were created in Vedic period, they have an essence of modern values where a couple promises each other lifelong companionship. Each pledge revolves the necessary elements required to make the marriage successful and the bonding between the partners stronger.