Seven-The 7 Promises ..

I again have a topic pertaining to marriages, specifically Hindu Marriages. This time no Arrange, no love, just marriages this time. Everybody might be well aware about the Indian custom of swearing 7 promises (called Saptpadi in Sanskrit, Sapt means Seven, Padi means foot) at the time of wedding. In this post I have something to share about those 7 vows of the Indian Marriages.

Hello everybody, hope you all are doing great. To my engineering friends, am sure you all might be having a hell of enjoyment in the Tech-Fest Season. Well coming to the point, this time I again have a topic pertaining to marriages, specifically Hindu Marriages. This time no Arrange, no love, just marriages this time. Everybody might be well aware about the Indian custom of swearing 7 promises (called Saptpadi in Sanskrit, Sapt means Seven, Padi means foot) at the time of wedding. Born as a Brahmin, I have always been inquisitive about all Hindu rites and rituals and 7 promises made during a Hindu wedding held a special position among those curiosities. I had always been under a spell of knowing as well as seeing a couple swear those 7 promises around the holy fire and know their significance. I referred the scriptures pertaining to the rituals in Sanskrit and their translation and I feel proud to be a part of such an amazing culture. Once you’re done reading this blog post, you will be captivated in entirety by Indian Culture and customs. Without mulch ado, here I go:

Hindu wedding is all about rituals and customs, which teach us the actual essence of a blissful married life. The seven vows of marriage symbolize seven promises, which are sworn by the bride and the groom during the auspicious ceremony of wedding. These seven promises are not just taken in the presence of a few hundreds of people, but the Hindu customs ensure that even the Gods and Goddesses, the five elements of nature, the earth and the whole universe are a part of every Hindu wedding. So thoughtful have been the Vedas in devising these customs have no doubt our elders term marriages as an eternal bond transcending beyond births. The asceticism in which a couple is bound during those 7 promises is just seamless for any power in the universe to contain.

With the commencement of the ritual, a holy fired is sparked in the havankund (the holy fireplace) which comprises of wood and ghee (cow manure later). Now the sages who had devised the Vedas were so thoughtful that they had explicitly mentioned the reason for comprising the havankund with Wood and Ghee only. It is scientifically proved that the combustion of wood in presence of ghee generates such gases which protect the ozone layer. The reason for this lies in benevolence and the good-will that the ritual incorporates. The sages believed that the nature gives us almost everything for our survival, but what do we give in return? Hence we return ozone to the atmosphere which serves as a protective shield to the atmosphere. So thoughtful is the beginning of the Seven Promises!

Moving ahead – the fire, around which the seven vows are sworn by the couple. Have you all ever thought about this? Why take seven promises around fire only? What is so special about fire? Some might argue that fire being one of the five constituents of Panch-Maha-Bhoot or Panch Tatva (5 natural elements of which the human body is believed to be made up of according to Hindu Mythology). But these 5 elements comprise of wind, earth and water also. Why not take seven promises around them? Fire is special because, fire is the factor which bonds the couple in an eternal bond of marriage and it is the only power capable to separate husband and wife i.e. once a person is dead, his/her dead body is burnt on the pyre according to Hindu rituals. Therefore, it’s the fire which bonds two people and it’s the fire only which can separate them. This not only symbolizes the importance of holy fire, but this also declares that a married couple is inseparable by any human powers and conjoined by God himself .

After fire, comes the seating arrangement before the 7 promises. Before the 7 vows are sworn the bride and the groom are seated on chairs and some chants are recited by the priests. Now Vedas are so particular about the ambrosial event of marriage that they decide the seating position of the bride and the groom in such a way that they get the maximum possible blessings from the nature in all its forms.  Generally, before taking the seven vows, the bride is seated to the right hand side of the groom. After taking the 7 promises, the bride shifts to the left side of the groom – this symbolizes that she is now closer to his heart. How exquisite! Every custom which is put in the wedding ceremony has a unique significance, which when enlightened just leaves us with our jaws dropped.

Now after lighting the holy fire and reciting some mantras, the bride and the groom are asked to stand up to take 7 rounds around the holy fire. Each round stands for a unique promise. The holy fire is the witness of all these promises. How solicitous have the Vedas been! They do not entitle the humans to be the witness of such a pious ceremony like wedding, but they pass the hat to the nature, the superpower to be witness of the eternal union of two souls. Now the main event begins – the seven promises. Here they are:

First Promise:

धर्मेच अर्थेच कामेच इमां नातिचरामि ।
धर्मेच अर्थेच कामेच इमं नातिचरामि ॥  

Initiating the promise, the groom says that their love has become firm by taking the first step. He promises to provide everything for her as well as family’s welfare and happiness.

In return, the bride happily takes the responsibility of home, food and finances. She hereby promises to satiate all her responsibilities for the welfare of the household, family and the children.

Second Promise:

Initiating the second vow, the groom promises to protect the bride and the family by all his strength in god’s name.

In return the bride promises that at all times, she shall continue to fill his heart with strength and courage. She promises to be his strength and stand by him in all tough and turbulent times.

Third Promise: (Too Enchanting!)

In the third promise, the bride accepts the groom as her husband and promising this she says that every man in her life will be secondary for her. Her husband will be all and all for her in this whole universe. (Guys this is what you call COMMITMENT!!! You will see this in INDIA only…)

गृभ्णामि ते सुप्रजास्त्वाय हस्तं मया पत्या जरदष्टिर्यथासः ।
भगो अर्यमा सविता पुरन्धिर्मह्यांत्वादुःगार्हपत्याय देवाः ॥

In return, the groom accepts the bride as his wife and promises for their prosperity and wealth as a couple. He also wishes good up-bringing for their children.

Fourth Promise:

गृभ्णामि ते सुप्रजास्त्वाय हस्तं मया पत्या जरदष्टिर्यथासः ।
भगो अर्यमा सविता पुरन्धिर्मह्यांत्वादुःगार्हपत्याय देवाः ॥

In the fourth promise, the groom confesses that she has brought sanctity and auspiciousness in his life. He prays to God to bestow him and her with good children and grant them a long life.

In return the bride promises to acquire happiness and harmony via respect, faith, mutual love and understanding.

Fifth Promise: (What a Wonderful Definition to Marriage)

Giving the fifth promise, the groom accepts her has his best-friend. The bride promises to honour the groom with all the respect and love she can.

Sixth Promise:

Taking the sixth round around the holy fire, the groom wishes for her happiness and the bride commits to stand by his side always.

Seventh Promise: (The best of all)

सखा सप्तपदा भव ।
सखायौ सप्तपदा बभूव ।
सख्यं ते गमेयम् ।
सख्यात् ते मायोषम् ।
सख्यान्मे मयोष्ठाः ।

The bride promises that she has become his spouse by the law of God, holy fire and the Holy Scriptures. The promises she has made have been spoken with pure heart and pure mind. All the angels are witnesses to this fact. She shall neither deceive him nor will she ever let him down.

Finishing the promise ceremony, the groom promises the bride that by walking this seventh step with her, their love and companionship have become inseparable and eternal. They have experienced spiritual union in God. Now she has become completely his. He offers his total self to her.

These were the 7- Seven Promises made by the bride and the groom to each other at the time of wedding. If you have read these attentively, then you might have just noticed that these seven promises encompass every dimension of human life beginning from the life after marriage to the death. The promises include every sphere of marital life- be it family, household, finances, children, adversities, difficulties, loyalty, companionship, strength, weakness, everything. The seven promises are nothing but a microcosm of the life the couple has to see after their marriage. The seven promises make sure to unite the couple eternally then and there amidst a divine atmosphere. Above all, they make all the Terrence agencies a part of the wedding- be it God, be it nature, be it any supernatural force of this universe.

This was all I had to share about 7 promises. I bet if a couple follows even 1% of these 7 promises, the word divorce would vanish away from the society. But ironically, the scenario today is these 7 promises can sustain their existence till the wedding ceremony only. After that, it’s all on god’s mercy and nature’s fury. God bless everybody…

I hope you all have liked reading it as much as I have liked writing and compiling it. Suggestions and Feedback welcomed.

Love & Regards,

Anish.

Did you like this? Share it:

36 thoughts on “Seven-The 7 Promises ..”

  1. this is the uniqueness of our Holy scriptures… compiles just about everything in simple rites & rituals… & when it cums to something as auspicious as marriage… well, i’ve no words for it…
    & yeah its sad tht its limited to the ceremony only… bt since nothing is permanent…we can expect this kind of thought..lyk tht of divorce… to vanish soon…

  2. The best one was the fifth promise……very important for any marriage to understand their partner frankly being their best friend…..wriiten very nicely ANISH…..keep it up…!!!

  3. its just soooo heart touching..thank u so much for making us realize the value of marriages.. i m just 18.. but still while reading it.. i felt as if m living each n every moment of dis auspicious ceremony.. thank u once agn..

  4. I have been looking for the meaning of the 7 sacred vows for a while now. This is the best explanation 🙂 It is simply beautiful. Thanks a tonne Anish, now I will know the gravitas of the 7 vows when I exchange it with my fiance 🙂

  5. Just a suggestion
    Such a nice write up…. how come you have copyrighted the text… I am sure you are not selling this. so why not to spread the word out and let many couple read, understand and god forbid save their marriages.

  6. Thanks a lot. I was searching for a good explanation about marriage and the 7 promises that you take. FInally I had a good explanation. Thanks a lot. 🙂

  7. Very well written esp for an 18 year old.. Unfortunately Anish dont you think the vows are somewhat unbalanced. A marriage stands on mutual love and respect and putting each other over everyone else, not just a wife putting her husband above other men – 3rd vow. As long as this equality is not maintained a marriage cannot be happy. I have nothing against these vows, I took them too and can understand that they are written from your perspective but dont you think from 4th promise onwards, the groom mostly accepts whereas the bride promises and commits.

    1. I don’t want to be chauvinistic, but this is how it has been written in the scriptures. Yes, it may be a bit unbalanced, for then the culture was highly patriarchal. What I believe that the Vedas assigned specific responsibilities to both genders. Hence, where one promises the other simply takes it and vice versa.

  8. A nice translation but I agree with Danita, there is no equality. The vow about remaining chaste seems to apply only to the bride.
    Also you seem somewhat pretentious assuming that only women in India are able to commit. There are women all over the world that have made the some promises only in another tongue.
    Finally, promises made around a holy fire are not the only thing that keep a marriage going. Those people that have gone through a divorce have not been noncommittal, they have chosen to live a happy UNmarried life as opposed to an unhappy married life.

    1. @savita – please check the 7th promise by the groom. He promises to his Complete self to the wife. Hope u understand the meaning of Complete self….

  9. Savita, those are NOT translations; those are mere interpretations; his interpretations. For example, the first one धर्मेच अर्थेच कामेच इमां नातिचरामि simply means “In my duty, financial commitments and needs, I will consult with you and take your consent.” There is no “Love” anywhere in these mantras, only there is commitment (which is no small thing, by the way).

  10. thank u very mch dear i really need it!! thanks alot …do u know i m just of 17 yr n 4 mnths old n i m reading ur dis article thanks thanks thanks alot ………………………….. u know 1 thng i cant marrid wid whom i love now i m sure got me n my prob. thanks bro once again

  11. thanks brot. thanks alot!! do u know i m just of 17 yr. and 4 mnths old … really i was need of these 7vows from last 8 mnth and finally got in ths ver7ion .wht a gr8 mind!!! pls spread it overseas

  12. Very nice. Very important for a hindu couple.

    What happens when on of them breaks one of the vows? Like that of loyalty…?

  13. I love to read your blog. you write everything perfect. I am a hindu Bramhin and I can say that all words are correct.

    Now a days…. the problem is, very less people actually understand the meaning of this vows, they simply wrap the marriage where guest are waiting for lunch and families of both are in hurry for completing everything perfectly and poor couple don’t understand Sanskrit…. it would be nice if Pundits explain them while they are taking this vows…. and not only at time of marriage but I would say on each time of their Anniversary….

    By looking divorces rates increase I believe the vows taken by either parties are either forgotten or taken into granted…..

    I urged to all my brother and sisters that when you get married please be loyal to your good partners. Of course I am not saying to stand by a wrong partner but if he/she loyal to you and if he/she always stands by you then never take him/her granted.

    I am facing a bad marriage but though I wish a great luck to all the readers….

    Thanks Anish for the great blog…. god bless you man!

    DHAVAL

  14. Thnk u so much..:) i love my fiance a lot we r soon gttng married..:) dis ws smthgn vry beautifully explained n useful for us,thnk u once again…:)

  15. Great … I understand you are well versed in Sanskrit? I am not at all… My paternal grandfather was a great Sanskrit scholar.. What a shame I have no knowledge of this great language… what they call ‘the language of the Gods ‘! I was looking for this just today and chanced upon your explanation. Thanks:)

  16. dear JI

    While all this may be so true and romantic. The cold hard reality is that these promises are always broken. i am someone who fulfilled all those promises as a bride and wife and all i got in return was abuse and a broken heart. Does the fire still except me to endure this life until death?

  17. I’m glad and feeling lucky to be part of Hinduism means what an Orthodox way of marriage has shown in Hinduism

  18. Lovely post. Just one doubt. Will the marriage still hold true if the bride were married with a changed name and during the Kanya daan the names of family were changed? Pardon me for my question, but I recently attended a wedding where the names of bride and her family members were changed before the pheres.

  19. Hey .. Very nice explanation. There is a tradition named Kanyadaan. So what does it actually mean? Please explain .

I would be glad to have your response