Tuesday, June 26, 2018

1169. A Sacrament called Marriage.

“Iyam Sita Mama Sutha, Sahadharmachari Tava Pratheechcha Chainam Bhadramte Pannim Grihneeshva Panina Pativrata Mahabhaga Chayevanugatasada.”

“Here is my daughter, Sita, who will ever tread with you in the path of Dharma. Take her hand in yours. Blessed and devoted, she will ever walk with you like your own shadow.”
This is what Janaka Maharaja tells Shri Rama while introducing his daughter Sitadevi, after Shri Rama had lifted the Shaivachapa (Shiva’s Bow). 

A traditional marriage is the union of two individuals for life, so that they can pursue Dharma (Righteousness), Artha (Economy), Kama (Desires) and Moksha (Liberation) together and also a ceremony of cementing the bonds of two families together. The primary witness of a Vivaha is Agni (Sacred Fire) and by law as well as by tradition, no Vedic marriage is deemed complete unless Saptapadi (Seven Encirclements) have been made around the Sacred Fire, by the bride and the groom together. Vivahais one of the “Shodasha Samskara” (16 Sacrament) which was instituted by Shwetaketu, the Son of Uddalaka.

There was a time when it was allowed for men and women to take any number of partner they desired. Budha (Mercury) was born out of union of Chandra (Moon) and Tara, the wife of Sage Brihaspati (Jupiter). Sage Bharadvaja was born when Brihaspati desire for Mamta, wife of Sage Utathya who was his brother. Uninhibited and free sexual conduct was normal at those times. Any woman or man could go with anyone they desired to fulfill their sexual urge.

Young Shwetaketu once happens to see his mother being pulled by a Muni and telling her “let us go”. Looking at that Shwetaketu was very upset, but his father Sage Uddalaka tried to convince him and said, “Don’t get angry son, this is the cosmic law, as cows and other creatures do, men and women are free to go with anyone they like, either on their own free will or in response to an invitations.” But Shwetaketu did not agree with the instinct valid only for animals. He felt a urgent need for maintaining dignity and propriety of conduct between man and woman that led to the evolution of the “Institution of Marriage”.  

Shwetaketu propounded a set of “Do’s & Don’ts” for both married men and women enforcing a proper dictum to marriage. He streamlined the fidelity between husband and wife and licensed marriage as prerequisite to procreation. He also instituted property rights in those times.

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