Importance of 7 Phere (Seven Vows) in Hindu Marriage
Marriage is an elaborate affair which signifies the bond between two people where they both in front of their families, friends and relatives take a pledge to be with another for their entire life. The tradition and concept of marriage is probably same in almost all the cultures. However, the difference that exists is in the rituals performed.
In a Hindu wedding ceremony, there are a number of rituals which are being practiced closely for the successful completion of a marriage.
All the rituals and celebrations of the marriage are spread over days but the ceremony is deemed complete only when the bride and groom takes 7 phere (circumambulations) around Agnikund (sacred fire). And the ritual of performing these seven vows is called as Saptapadi and popularly as Saat Phere.
Rituals of Seven Vows (Saat Phere)
In the ritual of saat phere, the couple takes seven rounds around the agnikund and also take seven different vows which are followed by the groom and bride for their whole life. By practicing this ritual, the couple seeks togetherness for seven births.
Following is the significance of these seven vows (Saptapadi) in a Hindu wedding ceremony:
In the first vow, the groom agrees and promises to take enough care of the nourishment of his wife and would be responsible for providing food and happiness to her and the children. In response, the bride promises to take care of the family by sharing all the responsibilities, managing household finances and looking after the children, the home and their food.
In the second vow, the groom agrees and promises to protect his wife and the children. In response, the bride promises that in all the endeavors and ventures of her husband, she will give her full support and encouragement at every step of the life. She promises to become his strength.
In the third vow, the groom agrees and promises to earn enough wealth as to provide good education to the children and to live a peaceful life. In response, the bride promises to being a devoted and loving wife.
In the fourth vow, the groom pay gratitude and thanks to the bride for making his home and life beautiful and sacred with her presence and also pray for a happy marriage life and to get blessed with loving and obedient children. In response, the bride promises to fill the life of the groom with cheer, happiness and joy.
In the fifth vow, the groom agree and promise to consider his wife as his best friend, the dearest well wisher and prays to God to bless her. In response, the bride promises to love her husband till eternity and also promise to completely trust him in all the circumstances. She agrees that from now onwards his happiness would be her bliss.
In the sixth vow, the groom agrees and promises to remain loyal and committed to his wife and would not give her place to anyone in his life. In response, the bride promises to remain completely faithful to him and also promise to stand by his side in a same way for the coming life.
In the seventh and the last vow, the groom promises a lifelong friendship with his wife and prays for the longevity of their marital alliance. He declares that from now, she would be his wife and he would be her husband for lifelong. In response, the bride promises to spend her whole life with him and accept the groom as her husband in the witness of God. She prays for their happy married life.
These seven vows are considered as the most significant and vital aspect of any Hindu marriage ceremony. The vows are the words which have been uttered by the bride and the groom are the foundation of their future promises, responsibilities and intentions.
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These 7 phere cover all the usually accepted don’ts and do’s for living a contented and successful married life. These vows represents mutual respect, devotion and a lifelong commitment towards each other. Marriage is a blissful bond which is lifelong and everlasting and these seven vows strengthen and reinforce the intentions of the couple to stay along through all thicks and thins of life and enjoy the happiness of a married life.