Vedic Marriage Ceremony Part---4

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It mustbe pointed out here that there is no sanction whatsoever in thescriptures for the demand or acceptance of dowry in cash or in kind.This is an evil which has crept into the society and which deserves tobe eradicated. It will also be seen from the episode of the marriage ofSoma to Sooryaa narrated above that it is the prospective bridegroomwho has to take the initiative in searching for a bride and not theparents of the bride as has become the practice now.

The variousitems in the marriage ceremony are essentially the same for personsbelonging to all the three Vedas, but there are differences in somedetails, depending on the Veda to which the bridegroom belongs. Thesedifferences will be pointed out at the appropriate places. The marriageceremony as performed by the Brahmin community in Tamil Nadu is what isdescribed here.

The various limbs of the actual marriage ceremony will now be described.

Onthe afternoon of the day preceding the marriage the bridegroom's partysets out for the marriage hall. Before starting, a puja to Lord Ganesais performed by the bridegroom's father.

On theevening preceding the day of the marriage, the bride and bridegroom andthe members of their families go to a temple and offer worship. In thepast the bridegroom used to be taken in a procession, but this is doneonly rarely nowadays. The term 'Jaanuvaasam' puzzles most people.'Jaanu' means, in Sanskrit, 'knee' and 'vaasa' means 'cloth'. ABrahmachari is, according to the Sastras, expected to wear only asingle dhoti which reaches up to his knees. When he becomes aGrihastha, he has to wear 'panchakaccham' and an upper cloth. (The word‘panchakaccham' is wrongly pronounced by most people as ‘panchgaccham'.Kaccham means an end or hem of the dhoti and pancha means five. In thisway of wearing the dhoti, five ends are tucked in and hence the namepanchakaccham). The occasion on which he wears the single dhoti up tothe knees for the last time is known by the term 'Jaanuvaasam'. Theterm persists, though no one follows these conventions about dressnowadays.