Marriage vows

Following are the “vachaans” a bride is supposed to make on her marriage (in the brackets, “modern interpretation” of the vachaans):

  1. Never go out home alone (you must not forget to take wallet, mobile phone)
  2. Whatever the husband says, you must obey (train your husband so well that he never says/demand anything that you object!)
  3. If you see an unknown man coming to your direction, you shall either change your way or move ahead after the man has left (now, that is basic traffic sense!)
  4. You should not visit your father’s house till you are ‘invited’ by them.

These are the vows Shiva had asked Parvati when they were getting married. Similarly, Parvati had asked for 7 vows from Shiva. I found these marriage vows somewhat obsolete and biased (against both the bride and the groom). I could not understand how a couple start their lives by taking vows which both of them know will not be followed for even a day. People say that they do it as part of formality and they do not put any significance to these rituals. If this is so, what is the essence of performing them?

3 thoughts on “Marriage vows”

  1. * The bride and the groom take the first step of the seven vows to pledge that they would provide a prospered living for the household or the family that they would look after and avoid those that might hinder their healthy living.
    * During the second step of the seven pheras, the bride and the groom promise that they would develop their physical, mental and spiritual powers in order to lead a lifestyle that would be healthy.
    * During the third vow, the couple promises to earn a living and increase by righteous and proper means, so that their materialistic wealth increases manifold.
    * While taking the fourth vow, the married couple pledges to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love, respect, understanding and faith.
    * The fifth vow is taken to have expand their heredity by having children, for whom, they will be responsible. They also pray to be blessed with healthy, honest and brave children.
    * While taking the sixth step around the sacred fire, the bride and the groom pray for self-control of the mind, body and soul and longevity of their marital relationship.
    * When the bride and the groom take the seventh and the last vow, they promise that they would be true and loyal to each other and would remain companions and best of friends for the lifetime.

    *http://weddings.iloveindia.com/indian-weddings/seven-vows.html

    the vows which bhaiya and bhabhi took were very similar to these.
    not very exactly, but the jest was something like it.
    one was where bhaiya had to promise bhabhi that he would always let her know where he is.another one was where bhabhi had to promise that she wont be a spendthrift!

    i guess these vows are based on a lot of assumptions and stereotypes, specially about the role of a woman in the marriage.
    this explains the three vows you have mentioned.
    but i dont think such vows are taken these days.
    i mean the one marriage i saw closely did not have such vows.

    things are changing.in earlier days marriage ceremonies lasted for a month!
    traditions are like a product.
    and like any product,they will be a success only if theyre user friendly !
    and i think they are getting friendlier…….

  2. These vows represent the duty of a man and a woman in a marriage. Man is expected to work and woman has to take care of home. This might have been fine centuries ago but not now! And I really wonder whether these vows and other such ceremonies reflect the stereotype existing or do they actually accentuate it.
    The vows that you mentioned were somewhat user friendly but the ones that bhaiya took in jaipur were so biased. And people are least bothered about vows. Pandit says something in sanskrit and asks the couple to give their consent, who really cares to know what they are agreeing to! And my problem with traditions is that they tend to reinforce the existing inequalities. But people follow them, mindlessly..So ultimately it becomes user friendly in terms of ‘time’ but otherwise the society is only changing at snail’s pace! (It is better than no change though)

  3. http://weddings.weddingchannel.com/wedding-planning-ideas/wedding-ceremony-ideas/articles/wedding-vows-hindu.aspx

    Indian wedding vows (Hinduism is a religion native to India) are quite strict. Here is a modern interpretation:
    “Let us take the first steps to provide for our household a nourishing and pure diet, avoiding those foods injurious to healthy living. Let us take the second step to develop physical, mental and spiritual powers. Let us take the third step, to increase our wealth by righteous means and proper use. Let us take the fourth step to acquire knowledge, happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust. Let us take the fifth step, so that we be blessed with strong, virtuous and heroic children. Let us take the sixth step, for self-restraint and longevity. Finally, let us take the seventh step and be true companions and remain lifelong partners by this wedlock.”

    Indian wedding vows traditionally include these words as part of the Hindu ritual of Seven Steps:
    “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 and 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 permanently settled.”

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