Sacred Thread and Marriage

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The Sacred Thread ­ the tenth samskara Hindu weddings take place at night, when the Pole Star comes out,
Receiving the thread is a very important mile-stone for every High this is because the couple promise each other that they will be as
Introduction: Caste Hindu boy, from now on he is expected to: unchanging as the Pole Star, they will never change.
Marks the transition from childhood to religious status of the Vedic - Pray three times a day. Is conducted by the Brahmin Priest and takes place around the sacred
student. - Perform the ceremonies of puja. fire which symbolizes the presence and blessing of Brahman.
The `twice-born' status is the direct result of the ritual and the boy is - Read, study and learn the sacred scriptures. Ghee is placed on the fire to keep it alight, and rice and spices are
then qualified to study the Vedas. thrown as a symbol of fertility. Prayers are offered to Ganesh, who is
The boy's head is usually shaved to mark his coming of age and to the key to success in any venture.
This is very important!! remove any bad karma from a previous life. The coupled stand under the Mandap, canopy.
He then passes from the care of his mother to the care of his spiritual The bride's parents give her away to the husband by placing her hand
The boy will now begin a new kind of life under the supervision of a teacher, or guru. in his and her brother pours fried rice onto her palm to show that they
guru or spiritual teacher. After the ceremony they celebrate with festive foods. agree.
Once the boy has received his thread, he is expected to show his The couple take seven steps around the fire, making seven promises
Hindus consider spiritual birth more important than physical birth commitment to his faith by studying the Hindu Holy Books and leading as they do, the promises are:-
because a mother only carries her child for nine months while the a disciplined life. - Food, the provision of food
teacher cares for his pupils for many years. The laws of Manu describe the rules which a boy should be expected - Energy, the need for physical strength
to observe during this period of study. - Wealth, acquisition of wealth
After the Sacred Thread ceremony, the boy has obligations to be "Let him have nothing to do with meat, perfumes, garlands, anger, - Happiness, need for good fortune
fulfilled daily: jealousy, and singing, dancing or playing musical instruments. He may - Children, the hope of having many children
- Worship by offering food and flowers to the gods. not gamble, lie, quarrel, hurt any living creature or associate with - Seasons, good harvest and many good seasons together
- Reverence for the holey men. women." - Friendship, lasting friendship
- Honouring relatives and elders and offering rice and water to
ancestors. The boy now has five duties, On the last step, their garments are tied together and they utter the
- Helping the poor or holy men with food and shelter. - Yoga and mediation words `Into my will I take thy heart, thy mind shall follow mine, let the
- Feeding animals. - Worship and reverence for the deity heart of money be yours.'
- Respect for the elders and ancestors They are now husband and wife, no binding until after the seven steps
Today few boys leave home and learn mediation and the language - Hospitality to the needy and holy men are completed.
and the teachings of the Vedas. Few undergo this ceremony and - And a respect and kindness to all living beings. Flower petals are thrown over the couple before they receive their
leave home this way. wedding gifts, and after the ceremony the Bride may leave her hand
The Marriage Ceremony - the 13th Samskara print on a wall in her house to remind her family of her when she has
The Ceremony: left.
Is held in the home around a sacred fire, where the priest or guru Introduction:
leads the ceremony by reciting from the Scriptures. All Hindu's are expected to marry to continue the family and care for They now have obligations to fulfil.
the welfare of the dead.
The guru and boy stand on opposite sides of the fire which is sacred The Rig Vedas states that the `Bride and Groom, never be disunited- Wife Duties:
to the fire god Agni. be happy in your home.' Assuming religious duties as well as wifely duties,
Offerings of incense and ghee are made while the father recites the Hindu's should marry a person in the same Caste, where parents will Having children and bringing them up,
Gayatri Mantra. consider the social and financial background, education and Saying prayers before the family shrine in the home and offering food
temperament o a prospective partner. to the deities,
His son then repeats it and says that he will be guided by his teacher. Horoscopes are drawn up for the couple to see if they are compatible Sharing prashad with the family, blessed food,
The son makes a vow after repeating the Gayatri Mantra that he will and they will also tell them the right time to marry. Teaching the children about the family's religion,
remain celibate, and he receives the Sacred Thread. Very few Hindu's choose to marry their own partner, and the couple Become part of the husband's family and help to run the home and
may meet socially before the wedding day. care for the elderly members.
The thread rests on his left shoulder and hangs diagonally across his The father of the son normally asks the girl's hand in marriage to his
chest, and is made up of three strands of coloured wool which are son and one major problem caused is that the groom's family Husband Duties:
dyed white, red and yellow and tied together with the special knot demands a high dowry from the bride's parents, with things such as Providing for his wife and children,
known as the Brahma Granthi or spiritual knot. fridges being listed. Being a faithful and loyal husband to his wife,
Women are seen as inferior on the house-hold, but her status Pursue Dharma, Kama and Artha.
The knot reminds the boy of his three debts which he has to discharge increases once she gives birth to a son, and a mother-in-law is a well
throughout his life. respected family member and head of the household. The Importance of Marriage:
The men do no work, and a wife must be respectful to her husband, Marriages mark the beginning of the Grihastha stage in life, where a
The three debts are to his God, for life itself and all that sustains him even if he is unfaithful. student can set up his own sacred fire, have a family and fulfil the
through it, to his parents for giving him life and teaching him about 228 brides died from burns or suicide by their in-laws but few cases obligations of society.
Hinduism d to his ancestors and teachers for imparting onto him his were brought to court because they are reported as an accident n the Marriage is considered as a social duty and a sacramental necessity,
wisdom and knowledge. kitchen. and s a contract between two families, therefore the happiness of the
couple is secondary.
The strands also represent the three main gods of Hinduism, Brahma, The Ceremony: Social pressures ad the virtual out casting of a divorced woman are so
Vishnu and Shiva. The bride usually wears a red sari to symbolize new life, and plenty of strong that divorces rarely occur.
gold jewellery. Her hands and feet are painted with mehndi patterns All Hindu's are encouraged to marry and this Samskara is open to
The thread encourages Hindu's to remember that he is always and a red spot called a Tilaka is placed upon her forehead. She will Hindu's of all Castes.
surrounded by God's presence, a reminder of the truth and the value wear this for her husband's life time. Married couples support the other three stages in life, they provide the
of faith into which he has been initiated and the reminder that the The groom wears loose fitting trousers or a western style suit, and a economic stability of the country, and you can only pursue the three
body, mind and speech must be controlled. garland of flowers. duties in life when you are married.

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