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Importance Of Marriage In Hinduism

The institution of marriage is given great importance in Hinduism. Most of the deities that Hindus worship — Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma, Rama, and Krishna, for instance — are married. Also, divine couples like Shiva and Parvati or Sita and Rama are taken by Hindu couples to be their ideals. The poet Bhavabhuti describes the sanctity of intimate conjugal relationship in his Uttararamacharita. There Rama tells Lakshmana: ‘One in happiness and misery; favourable to each other under all circumstances; in which intimate relationship the heart obtains repose and rest; where there is no diminution of sweetness even in old age; which does not break down with the passage of time, since it is grounded in love — such ideal conjugal relationship (which exists between Sita and me) comes to the lot of a fortunate few.’

Vivaha or marriage is the second samskara. It marks the individual’s entry into the second of the
four ashramas: Grihastha. This ashrama is the foundation for all the other ashramas, and also of the

The Hindu marriage ceremony is an elaborate ritual. One of the important components of this
ritual is the saptapadi or ‘rite of seven steps’ — the marriage vows taken by the bride and the groom, while going north of the nuptial fire. The following is a free rendering of the mantras recited with each step:

With God as Guide let us take

  • 1.      The first step to nourish each other,
  • 2.      The second step to grow together in strength,
  • 3.      The third step to preserve our wealth,
  • 4.      The fourth step to share our joys and sorrows,
  • 5.      The fifth step to care for our children,
  • 6.      The sixth step to be together forever,
  • 7.      The seventh step to remain lifelong friends — perfect halves to make a perfect whole