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7 steps in Hindu Marriage Importance – Seven Steps Of Marriage Meaning And Symbolism

7 steps in Hindu marriage if of great importance and it is known as Saptapadi. This post takes a look at the meaning and symbolism of it in Hinduism.

The seven steps and seven vows are taken by the newly married couple in the presence of the sacred fire. These vows can be seen as the crux of an ideal Hindu marriage.

Agni, the fire God is the sustainer of life. He carries to the gods the oblations of the yajna performed by us. Therefore, he becomes the witness of the seven vows.

In the marriage, the groom bending down, lifts his bride’s feet one by one and slips the silver toe ring (metti) - another symbol of marriage into the second toe of each foot. The bride and the groom with their outfits tied with a holy cloth bonding them, take seven steps signifying health, wealth, good luck, love, strength, food and offspring.

By taking the seven vows, in right earnest, in the presence of Vedic priests, invoking Lord Vishnu’s mercy with the Agnideva or Lord of Fire as their divine witness, the couple demonstrate that two souls are joined for seven lifetimes and will strictly adhere to the solemn vows.

Seven Steps Of Marriage Meaning

 In the first vow, the groom swears, ‘O Bride, you have walked one step with me, so we have become friends, hence you be my provider of food. Help me to fulfill my vratas, vowed religious observances. May we have many sons and may they have a long life.’

The bride complies in return, ‘I am responsible for the home and all household, food and finance.’

In the second vow, the groom says, ‘You have walked two steps with me, hence may you become one who will give me strength.’

The bride in return promises, ‘I will be by your side your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness, in return you will love me solely.’

In the third vow, the groom says, ‘May we grow wealthy and prosperous and strive for the education of our children and may our children live long.’

The bride in return promises, ‘I will love you solely for the rest of my life as you are my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste.’

In the fourth vow, the groom declares, ‘You have walked four steps with me, you have brought sacredness into my life and have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children.’

The bride in return replies, ‘I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way I can.’

In the fifth vow, the groom says, ‘You are my best friend and well wisher. You have come into my life enriching it. May you give birth to children.’

To this the bride replies, ‘I promise to love and cherish you as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness and your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust and honor you, and will strive to fulfill all your wishes.’

In the sixth vow, the groom asks, ‘Now that you have taken six steps with me, you have filled my heart with immense happiness. Will you do the same kindness for all times?’

The bride replies, ‘I will always be by your side.’

In the last and seventh vow, the groom says, ‘We are now husband and wife and are one. You are mine and I am yours for eternity.’

The bride accepts the proclamation and says, ‘As God is witness. I am now your wife, we will love, honor and cherish each other forever.’

 Seven Steps Of Marriage Symbolism 

The essence of these vows can be condensed as follows:
  1. With the first step, we will provide for and support each other.
  2. With the second step, we will develop mental, physical and spiritual strength.
  3. With the third step, we will share the worldly possessions.
  4. With the fourth step, we will acquire knowledge, happiness and peace.
  5. With the fifth step, we will raise strong and virtuous children.
  6. With the sixth step, we will enjoy the fruits of all seasons.
  7. With the seventh step, we will always remain friends and cherish each other.
Before asking the bride to step on the grinding stone, the groom declares:

‘I take thy hand in mine, yearning for happiness. I ask thee, to live with me, till both of us, with age grow old. Know this as I declare that the Gods have bestowed thy person upon me That I may fulfil my Dharma of the householder with thee.

I am the Sky, you are the Earth;
I am the Thought, you are the Speech;
I am the Fire, you are the Fuel;
I am the Song, you are the Verse;
I am the Ocean, you are the Shore;
I am the Strength, but you are the beauty;
I am the Purush and you are the Prakriti;

Let us live together lovingly and bring up our progeny.
Let us lead a joyful life of hundred years.’

Source Vedanta Kesari December 2019 Issue.