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Pani Grahan – Hand Grasping In Hindu Marriage – Importance of Pani Grahan - Mantra – Meaning

Pani Grahan in Hindu marriage refers to the taking hold of the bride’s hand by the bridegroom. In marriage rites, though differences exist in minute details from region to region and sect to sect, certain rites are considered to be essential for the validity of the marriage and are common to all.

In Hindu marriage, four rites are of prime importance
  • Kanyadana – giving the bride to the bridegroom by the bride’s father
  • Vivaha home – offering of oblations into the sacred fire, the fire god being the witness to the marriage.
  • Pani Grahan – in which the bride’s right hand is grasped by the bridegroom
  • Sapta padi – the rite of seven steps in which the bridegroom leads the bride seven steps towards the north amidst the utterance of mantras.

How Is Pani Grahan Performed?

In Pani Grahan, the bride groom stands facing west, while the bride sits in front of him with her face to the east. He now grasps her right hand while reciting a Vedic mantra.

This grasping of the hand is to be done in one of three ways, according to some Grahyasutras: the groom holds the bride’s whole hand including the thumb, if he desires both male and female offspring; if he desires only male offspring, he seizes the thumb only; if he desires female offspring, he holds fingers only, leaving the thumb free.

Pani Grahan Mantra - Meaning

The translation of the mantra is as follows:
I take thy hand in mine, yearning for happiness
I ask thee to live with me as thy husband till both of us, with age, grow old.
Know this, as I declare, that the Gods Bhaga, Aryama, Savita and Purandhri have bestowed thy person.
Upon me, that I may fulfill my dharmas of the householder with thee.

Importance of Pani Grahan

Pani Grahan mantra is of great importance in that it publicly announces that the bridegroom has taken the responsibility of the bride for life, to lead with her a prosperous and religious life and that the gods bear witness to that declaration.

The Vedic mantra show that the pani grahan is an indispensable part of the marriage ceremony. A striking resemblance between the pani grahan rite of ancient Hindus and the dextrarum junctio of the early Romans points to the conclusion that the rite of pani grahan dates from the prehistoric period, when the forefathers of these people might have lived together as some theorists hold.

Bibliography
Hindu Social Organization (1976) P.N. Prabhu - Popular Prakashan Mumbai
Hindu Samskaras Socio Religious Studies of the Hindu Sacraments (1992) Raj Bali Pandey - Motilal Banarsidass
India of Vedic Kalpasutras (1983) Ram Gopal - Motilal Banarsidass New Delhi
Encyclopedia of Hinduism Volume VIII page 50 - 51 - IHRF