early reference of a wedding ritual

In continuation of my blog – ‘thoughts around the international women’s day’, where I have mentioned my mom’s work on Assamese wedding songs, I tried to explore little further, including varied aspects of the institution of marriage and the early references.

In this process, I found one of the interesting parts of the rites and rituals of a Brahma mode of marriage. Here to be mentioned that Vedic literature recognised eight modes of marriage, out of which Brahma mode is associated with the Brahmin caste. The ritual I found interesting is the ‘pani grahan‘. This is performed either before or after another ritual called Saptapadi (when the bride, accompanied by the bridegroom, takes seven steps towards the northeast). It is mentioned in the Rg Veda, 85.36 that in the pani grahan ritual, while the bride sits looking towards the east, the bridegroom facing the north, takes her hand, uttering the verse,’ I clasp they hand for happiness that thou mayest reach old age with me, thy husband,’ etc.

Attached here an excerpt of an Assamese wedding song sung during the pani grahan. It talks about the sacred fire, witnessing which two souls promise to be together forever.

Voice: Ambika Dutta

Full text available at Bibah Paddhati aru Biyanam, Ambika Dutta, Guwahati, 2020

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