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To many a present generation, tradition & rituals are farce and orthodox. Nevertheless, the social charms of the functions, is what has kept it alive for eons. Whether it has basis or not? I keep it open for speculation. I believe certain rituals and traditions, hit the perfect note to present day concepts of equality. “Saat Vachaan Saath (read “together” henceforth) Phere”, is a testimony to the ancient gender equality.
In ancient Hinduism polygamy was a common practice. But this practice led to too much discord among people. They were unhappy, maybe even jealous. Hence according to the myth, the gods Intervened and Rishi Prajapati (Prajāpati-Rajjan or Rajanya, "Lord of Creation & Protector”) laid the foundation of marital institution, Saptadi (The seven steps to marital harmony).
Se7en The Ancient Mystic
Number 7 is considered holy and auspicious. Its mystical importance seen across all major religions around the world. Hence the “Saat Vachaan Saath Phere”. A Hindu marriage is not considered solemnised without following the ritual of Saath Pheres. Like the seven notes of music, seven colours of the rainbow and the seven seas, couples seek to be in a harmonious relationship for seven lifetimes.
Although the saath pheras have their roots in ancient culture, the concept is as modern as it comes. The saath pheras symbolises the holy union of two souls based on seven vows of equality between a husband and a wife. A life partner, none above the other.
The holy prenup
The Saat Vachaan are taken keeping in witness the sacred fire, the gods and goddesses who bless the couple & the pole star (Dhruva Tara: is fixed at its position in sky), which represents the strong and immovable commitment of the couples to each other.
Pehla Vachaan Pehla Phera
The couple pray to lord for nourishment. Promising, they will provide each other with food & nourishment always. They share responsibility pledging to look after the welfare of the family together.
Groom: “Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman”
You will offer me food & be helpful in every way. I will cherish you & provide welfare and happiness for you and our children’.
Bride: “Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet”
I am responsible for the home & all household, food & financial responsibilities’
Doosra Vachaan Doosra Phera
The couple seeks union on three planes mental, emotional & spiritual They pray for a healthy life. They promise to protect each other’s happiness.
Groom:” Om oorje jara dastayaha”
Together we will protect our house and children
Bride: “Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam”
I will be by your side as your courage and strength. I will rejoice in your happiness. In return, you will love me solely.
Teesra Vachaan Teesra Phera
The coupes invoke the gods for spiritual power. The vow of chastity, spiritual strength and fulfilment of spiritual obligation
Groom: “Om rayas santu joradastayaha”
May we grow wealthy & prosperous & strive for the education of our children and may our children live long.
Bride: “Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha”
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.
Chautha Vachaan Chautha Phera
The couple express their gratitude on becoming complete as one & thanks for bringing sacredness to their lives. They promise to please each other in every way possible.
Groom: “Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha”
You have brought sacredness into my life, & have completed me. May we be blessed with noble and obedient children
Bride: “lalayami cha pade vadet”
I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will strive to please you in every way.
Panchva Vachaan Panchva Phera
They vow to love & honour each other as equals. The recognise each other as best of friends and staunch supporters.
Groom: “Om prajabhyaha santu jaradastayaha”
You are my best friend, & staunchest well-wisher. You have come into my life, enriching it. God bless you.
Bride: “Arte arba sapade vadet”
I promise to love & cherish you for as long as I live. Your happiness is my happiness, & your sorrow is my sorrow. I will trust & honour you.
Chata Vachaan Chata Phera
The couples pray for togetherness. They pledge to share all joy & happiness together. To be on each other’s side forever.
Groom: “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava”
Now that you have taken six steps with me, you have filled my heart with immense happiness. Will you do the kindness of filling my heart with happiness like this for all times?’
Bride: “Yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet”
I will always be by your side
Satva Vachaan Satva Phera
The couple seek blessings from the gods & their elders, for a long lasting & enriching relationship, marked with loyalty fidelity and duty.
Groom: “Om sakhi jaradastayahga”
‘We are now husband & wife, we are one. You are mine & I am yours for eternity.
Bride: “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade”
As God is witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honour & cherish each other forever.
The Saat Vachaan SaaTh Phere is a ritual for equality, love & responsibility. A reminder that a man & women have equal footings in life. A reminder that only by sharing our responsibility & by mutually respecting each other can we strive to grow & survive.