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Sapt Padee

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Sapt Padee
see also   Vivaah (Marriage)

Sapt means seven, and Padee means steps. According to Hindoo religion a girl takes up seven strides along with her groom taking seven vows around the sacred Fire god, that is called Sapt Padee. After this Sapt Padee the bride becomes the wife of the groom. This is the main ceremony of a Hindoo marriage. Without Sapt Padee the Hindu marriage is not complete.

The vows taken with each Pheraa (round) are as below:

(1) With the first Pheraa, the couple invokes the Gods for the plentitude of pure and nourishing food and a life that is noble and respectful.
(2) With the second Pheraa the couple prays for physical and mental strength to lead a healthy and peaceful life.
(3) With the third Pheraa the couple takes vow for the fulfilment of spiritual obligations. The Gods are invoked for blessing the couple with spiritual strength.
(4) The fourth Pheraa is taken for the attainment of happiness and harmony through mutual love and trust and a long joyous life together.
(5) The fifth Pheraa is taken to pray for the welfare of all living entities in the entire universe and for begetting noble children.
(6) The sixth Pheraa is for bountiful seasons all over the world. The couple prays for bountiful seasons and seeks that they may go through these seasons together, just as they would share their joys and sorrows.
(7) With the seventh and the last Pheraa they pray for a life of understanding, loyalty, unity and companionship not only for themselves but also for the peace of the Universe.

Having exchanged these vows of love, duty, respect, fidelity and a fruitful union the couple agree to be companions forever. The process of this Saat Phere acquires more significance in that the couple prays for the peace and well being of the entire Universe.

After this Sapt Padee, the bride and the groom say the following
"We have taken the seven steps. You have become mine forever. Yes, we have become partners, I have become yours. Hereafter I cannot live without you, do not live without me. Let us share the joys. We are word and meaning united. You are thought and I am sound. May the night be honey sweet for us. May the morning be honey sweet for us. May the Earth be honey sweet for us. May the Heavens be honey sweet for us. May the plants be honey sweet for us. May the Sun be all honey for us. May the cows yield us honey sweet milk. As the Heavens are stable, as the Earth is stable, as the mountains are stable, as the whole Universe is stable, so may our unions be stable permanently settled."

As per the Vaidik rituals, the bridegroom sings the following :
With God as our guide, let us take :
--the first step to nourish each other
--the second step to grow together in strength
--the third step to preserve our wealth
--the fourth step to share our joys and sorrows
--the fifth step to care for our children
--the sixth step to be together forever
--the seventh step to remain lifelong friends,
--the perfect halves to make a perfect whole.

After the seventh step he makes her remain where she is and says: "With seven steps we become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me."

The Spat Padee ceremony concludes with a prayer that the union is indissoluble. At the end of this ceremony, the bridegroom and the bride become husband and wife.

There are seven Pheraa or steps in an Indian Hindu Marriage. Each step has its own importance and its own meaning. These Pheraa are to be taken around the holy fire called "Agni Devtaa". In each step there is a significant vow to be taken both by the bride and the groom. They vow to each other for the rest of their lives.

Vows to be taken by the groom
(1) We will share the responsibilities of the house, food and finance together. May God bless us with children and may they have long lives.
(2) You are only my beloved wife. I will love you and only you. I give commitment will provide strength and courage to you, my wife, always.
(3) The third step is for the growth of prosperity and wealth, and to educate their children
(4) In the fourth step he thanks his wife for bringing auspiciousness and sacredness in his life.
(5) In the fifth step may the Goddess Mahaalakshmee (Deity of Prosperity) make us prosperous and God bless us.
(6). In the sixth step the groom promises the bride that he will fill her heart with great joy and peace, time and time again.
(7) This is the last and final step. Here the groom tells his bride that as you have walked seven steps with me you have made our love and friendship firm and inseparable. Now you have become mine and I offer my total self to you. May our marriage successfully last forever.

Vows to be taken by the bride
(1) In the first step the bride commits to her Lord same as the groom that she will share the responsibility of the house, food and finance. She will discharge her share of responsibilities for the welfare of house and children.
(2) With the second step she vows to fill the heart of her husband with courage and strength and to rejoice in his happiness.
(3) While taking the third step the bride promises that I will love you with single-minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers.
(4) O my lord, in all acts of righteousness (Dharm), in material prosperity (Arth), in every form of enjoyment, and in those divine acts such as fire sacrifice, worship and charity, I promise you that I shall participate and I will always be with you.
(5) From this day of life I will share both your joy and sorrow. Your love will make me very happy.
(6). May the blessings of God always be with you. I will be with you in any stage of life.
(7). In the seventh and the final step she says that now that I have been your wife in front of the holy fire. Whatever vows and pledges I have taken, are all taken with pure heart. I shall never deceive you nor shall I let you down. I shall love you forever and ever.

After performing Punyaah, Laaja Hom and Kanyaadaan, the groom with his right hand holds the right leg of the bride and puts seven steps forward. These seven steps are indicative of. (1) Shubhechchhaa (2) Suvichaaran (3) Satwaapathee (4) Asam Shakti (5) Tanu Maanas (6) Padaarth A-Bhaavanee (7) Turyaga (Padaarthaa Bhaavanee).

(1) Shubhechchhaa : (Shubh + Ichchhaa). Groom promises the bride that with my knowledge, I will always wish good for you.

(2) Suvichaaran : (Su + Vichaar) groom promises the bride that with my knowledge, I will always think good about you. (If the wishes are pure, then the thoughts becomes pure)

(3) Satwaapathi - (Satwa + aapathi) I will see that you are always protected well. (means, Sattwa Apachaya). The groom promises that with my knowledge, I will take you to that stage where you will experience that you are not there. Means, you will feel that you do not have an identity of your own. Only when I realize that, only when I reach that state where I am not there, I loss myself.  (This is a state of emptiness of mind). It is a state of unison described at so many places.

(4) Anaasakti - I will try to inculcate in you, to enable you, reach position of "without any desire" (towards the visible) a state without Aasakti or any kind of instinct (Trishnaa).

(5) Tanumaanas : (Tanu + maanas) I will try that you get your mind so polite, mind will be so Sookshm and not Sthool. (You will visualize the Sookshm in everything, or everything you will see in Sookshm state or form)

(6) Padaarthaabhaavanee (Padaarth + Abhaavanee) - with my knowledge I will make all efforts to enable you achieve that there is no materialistic state in your life/mind. and finally

(7) Turyaga - Moksha, liberation. I will see that you are liberated from the birth and death cycle.

The Sapt Padee mentioned here is to highlight the chastity of marriage in Bhaarat and the position it is assigned or accorded as a sacrament. Thus conceiving is a sacrament, giving birth is a sacrament, and so on.

First Step:  Let God Mahaa Vishnu who is spread through out the world, Give you food in plenty
Second step:  Let Him come with you for a second step and give you sufficient strength
Third step:  Let Him come with you for a third step to make you observe all religious rituals.
Fourth step:  Let Him come along with you for the fourth step to give you pleasures
Fifth step:  Let Him be with you when you take the fifth step to give you lot of wealth (cow)
Sixth step:  Let Him lead you the six stages of life with happiness and welfare
Seventh step:  Let Him help you in performing Soma Yagya and other prayers when you take the seventh step

The following requests are to be recited by the groom to the bride after she takes the seven steps:-

"You who has taken the seven steps with me should become my friend.
We who have taken the seven steps together would live as friends.
I should get your friendship, Oh maid.
Oh maid, I should never get parted from your friendship.
We who have attained each other, should get lustrous health, serenity, peaceful mind, and should enjoy together the food and all other tastes.
We would plan all things that are to be done in future together.
Let us both make our two minds in to one.
Let us enjoy together all the physical and mental pleasures together from now onwards.
Let us do all religious observations together."

Then again the groom tells the bride:-

"You are the Rig Ved and I am the Saam Ved
I am the Saam Ved and you are the Rig Ved (recited twice for emphasis)
Like these two Ved we should never separate from each other. We also will not get separated.
I am the world Dyu and you are the Earth (dyu is the world above. This indicates that she is below him and should obey his wishes).
I am the material called Shukla (semen) and you are the wearer of this in your womb.
I am the mind and you are the word
I am the Saam Ved and you are the Rig Ved
I am telling this because I have lot of care for you.
Please bear me male children in future,
Hey Maid come with me."

Once the prayer and the groom's request is recited the bride becomes groom's wife and joins his family (Gotra)


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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 06/09/11