Vedic Marriage Ceremony Part---3

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The mantras chanted during the marriage ceremony were handed down to posterity thousands of years ago by our ancient sages who 'saw' them in their state of super-consciousness or communion with the divine. The mantras express lofty ideas and have great spiritual potency. The vibrations set in motion by the chanting of the mantras purify the marriage hall as well as all those present there. The persons belonging to the bride's party and the bridegroom's party should listen to the mantras with devotion and faith so that the maximum benefit may be derived. The bridegroom's father, the bridegroom and the bride's father should, when they perform the various rituals,repeat the mantras after the priest with devotion and faith (Bhakti and Sraddha). Devotion and faith are very important. Lord Krishna says in the Bhagavadgita that he accepts even insignificant offerings, such asa leaf, flower, fruit or even just water, so long as they are made with devotion. He further says that any yajna, daanam, austerity or any other rite performed without faith does not benefit the person eitherin this world or in the next. The Chaandogya Upanishad makes it clear that chanting mantras even without knowing their meaning does confer benefit, though the benefit will be greater if the person chanting knows the meaning also. Marriage is not merely a joyous occasion, but,more than that, it is essentially a religious function with great sanctity attached to it. The guests who attend the marriage ceremony will contribute greatly to the lasting welfare and happiness of the bride and bridegroom if they observe silence, listen to the mantras,and keep mentally praying to God to bless the couple, instead of merely engaging in conversation with others. Nowadays the decibel level in marriage hall goes up so high that the chanting of the mantras cannot be heard. We, the educated elite, should bring about a wholesome change in this situation so that the sanctity of the marriage ceremony may be maintained and the full benefit of the mantras may be derived. Another point to be stressed here is that no one should shake hands with the bride or bridegroom until the marriage ceremony is completed. It would be advisable if the invitees wait till the end of the marriage ceremony to offer their presents to the bride and bride-groom. Those who want to leave early would do well to hand over their presents to some other member of the family concerned instead of interrupting the ceremony by insisting on giving them to the bride or bride-groom.