The elaborate process of the marriage according to the Veda, and its scientific significance. Though there may be variations in the sequence of the performance of the different parts and though they are called by different names in the respective colloquials, the Vedic Marriage consists of
01. NANDI- getting started
02. NISCHITARTHA- confirming the alliance
03. ANKURARPANA-creation of the alliance by lighting the yagna fire
04. LAJA HOMA- yagna
05. SNATHAKAM-graduation ceremony
06. UPANAYANAM-thread marriage
07. KASI YATHRA- the indecisive journey of the groom to kasi for the sanyasa and bringing him back to the house by the parents of the bride for the marriage.
08. KANYA DANAM- offering of the daughter for the marriage.
09. PANI GRAHANAM, SAPTHA PADHI, MANGALASUTHRA DHARANA, OR VEEKSHANAM - the seeing of each other, touching of each other, and walking together, and tying the knot of the marriage.
10. TALAMBRALU-other performances- acquaintance of each other.
11. ARUNDHATHI DARSHANAM-showing of the arundhathi star
12. GRIHAPRAVESAM- taking the bride to the in-laws house
13. APPAGINTHALU-handing over the daughter to the groom
14. DHRUVA DARSHANA
16. GARBHADANAM-the act of creation of the foetus.
Among the 16 process discussed above,
1 to 7 are to be performed at different ages and only Kasi Yatra is performed as a prologue to the marriage. But all these are performed just before the marriage due to the changing values in our societies.
8. The actual Kanyadana is the offering of the bride to the groom to perform his Duties towards the society by following the path of the Dharma.
9. From then the Veekshana is the right time for the bride and the groom to see each other. Then the Pani Grahana is the taking the hand of the bride or the process of the first physical contact between the bride and the groom starts. The Sapthapadi or the walking of seven steps around the Agni signifies that we go together in all the seven planes of consciousness in performing the dharma. The seven planes of the Consciousness are signified by the 7 Vyahrithis of the Gayathri Mantra. The Mangala suthra Dharana is the tying of the thread containing the marks of the Vishnu or Shiva in the neck of the bride by the groom.
There is a dispute over the point that which is the proof of the performance of the marriage- veekshana, panigrahana,sapthapadi,or mangala suthra dharana or the time of keeping the bindi in the fore head. Various Pundits explain in different ways.But all these practices depending on the regional variations may be performed or may not performed. All form part of the Vedic Marriage Rites so the argument is unnecessary.
10. In many South Indian marriages this act is a must. The rice mixed with the turmeric is poured over the heads of groom and bride by bride and groom. After this there will be certain ceremonies of name calling singing and certain other things and all these are basically aimed at the bringing the bride and the groom nearer in psychological and mental paths.
11. Arundhathi Darshanam is the showing of the Saptha Rishi Mandala and the small star Arundhathi underneath the star of Vashistha.The significance is to remind the pair about their cosmic responsibilities they have to perform in the coming walk of life.These seven sages and their families are the originators of the Vedic Lore of the Hindus. In memoriam of these great sages we named the seven stars in the Great Bear constellation after their names. It is the Darshan of these Great Sages will remind the couple the heritage they have to carry and the Debt of the sages to be performed.
12. Grihapravesam is the taking of the bride and the groom to the house of the groom.
13. Appaginthalu or the handing over of the bride to the parents of the groom by stating that "I have nurtured this child till this age and am handing over to you for the progeny and prosperity of your
family. Consider her as your daughter and be the guide and philosopher for her till she lives with you.
14. The Mangala Vaidyalu or the instruments that are blown are to create the serene atmosphere among the people who gathered there. As these are the ragas of the great composers they produce the sonorous and serene effect on the listeners. The Mangala Vaidyalu will be over at this juncture.
15. Sobhanamu is the Nuptials arranged by the parents of the bride in their residence first and in the residence of the groom next. This is the starting of the enjoyment of the joy of the sex as learned in the Gurukula by reading the Kamashasthra and implementing it in a socially acceptable way for the joy and for the bliss and for the progeny of the race.
16. Gharbhadanamu is the act of sex for the progeny. This is set on the day that is neutral from the cosmic influences like the moons gravity and the suns gravity or other disturbances to create the foetus for the Jiva to enter in to the Womb of the mother to take the birth to perform his cycle of karma and to make the parents to fulfil the cycle of the karma.