A Hindu wedding is not a contract but an inseparable union for life ,yes for life, as there is no word for divorce in Hindi or Sanskrit.
It is a fusion of two souls in love as they take their sacred vows. A beautiful ritual is of the brother of the bride filling his sister’s joined palms with puffed rice which she then hands over to the groom and he then offers them to the fire (Representing the Lord as a witness to the union).
Rice is the only grain that has to be transplanted for its proper growth and fruition. So the brother of the bride is telling her; “oh my much loved sister, I would never give you away to another, but as this rice you have to be ‘transplanted’ to your husband’s house for your own growth.
You can bear fruit and lead a fulfilling life only in the other house. In my house you will wilt without growth and fulfilment.”
Then the bride gives the rice to the groom saying, “ My brother is sending me to your love and care so that I am able to flower out and fulfil myself.”
Then the groom offers the rice to the sacrificial fire( representing the Lord) saying;”oh lord ,this bride is being entrusted to me in love and care, help me look after her tenderly as a young transplanted rice sapling so that she may achieve growth, stability and fulfilment and bear fruit.”
What a beautiful message is given by the brother to the sister and to the groom.
Then the grooms prayer to the Lord seeking strength to perform his matrimonial duties and expectations.
Using rice as a symbol, the brother explains gently to his sister why he must give her in marriage to the groom.
Prarthna Saran, President Chinmaya Mission New Delhi can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org