Basically the tenets of the Hindu Marriage, its conduct, procedure and styles are explicitly laid down in the Vedas. Due to regional cultural influences, pleasant variations have crept in without altering the fundamentals. The Hindu wedding is a balanced blending of religion, moral, culture and joy, making it a memorable event. The Vedic rituals solemnises the marriage while indoctrinating specified duties of the couple through life.
The Hindu wedding ceremony has number of rituals and customs, most of which are often labelled as superstitious or time-wasting. It is believed to be nothing but rituals and more rituals. But have we asked ourselves what a “ritual” is?
A ritual begins as a creative rational action to express a sentiment or an idea-like the lighting of a lamp to dispel darkness at twilight or the folding of hands into a “Namaste” to greet an elder. As more and more people in succeeding generations repeat the action, it becomes a convention than a ritual. A ritual is thus an action on which time has set its seal of approval and sanctity.
The rituals of the Hindu wedding symbolise beautiful sentiments. Unfortunately, today many parents and couples perform them without an awareness of the rich meanings behind them.
A modest attempt has therefore been made to briefly describe the implications of the rituals of a Tamil Brahmin wedding. Mostly these are applicable to any other Hindu sect. For the elders, this information may be superfluous but it is hoped the younger generation, especially those yet to be married, may find these as general guidelines. So, a South Indian wedding has a significance and signifies the theme “simple living and high thinking’.
Right from Stone Age, we have worked towards simplifying our lives. Whether it was through discovery of fire or invention of the wheel, we looked to reduce the effort we expended in life. However, today, in this quest to make our lives simpler, it seems like we are defeating the very purpose of this action. We wake up early, not to enjoy a beautiful sunrise but to plan ahead for the rest of the day. We rush to our offices not because we love our work, but because we are caught up in the endless grind to earn a living—a high living that is better than what we had yesterday. We come home, not to our families, but to a pile of bills that are waiting to be paid. Sure, our kitchens have the latest appliances, our living rooms have the best of home theatre systems, and our patios have the best furniture pieces. But, we are nowhere in the picture to enjoy these.
Time and money have constantly been at loggerheads. In this inverse relationship, we have started to sacrifice time to earn more money. One thing we are missing in this endless rut it that money can be deposited in the bank and withdrawn, but there is no bank where you can deposit time and withdraw it when you are in need. Following one diktat can solve this incessant battle—simple living high thinking. Simple living does not necessarily mean giving up all worldly pleasures to lead the life of a monk. Simple living means having the ability to feel content with what one has acquired. A person without contentment is like a bottomless pit—no matter what you put into it, no matter how much you put into it, it is bound to seem empty and darkness is all you’ll find when you look into it.
(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)