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Sri ANDAL-Sei RanganAthar ThirukkalyANam Part 7.3

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Fri Apr 17 1998 - 19:15:55 PDT

Dear Sri RanganAtha PrEmis :
 
Today is Friday , the auspicious Sukra Vaaram .
We will cover the next stages of the great marriage
at Sri VillipputthUr .

Maangalya DhAraNam , PaaNigrahaNam & the 7 steps around the Fire
******************************************************************

The Varan ( Sri RanganAthA ) and the VadhU ( Sri ANDAL )
arrived at the KalyANa mantapam . The high point of 
the vivAha MahOthsavam is about to take place . ANDAL
describes this scene in two paasurams of 10.6 :

matthaLam kotta vari sangham ninrUtha 
mutthudaitthAmam nirai thAzhntha pantharkkeezh 
maitthunan nambi MadhusUdhan venthennaik
kaitthalam paRRak kanAk kantEn ThOzhI naan --NTM:10.6.6

vaai nallAr nalla maRai Othi manthiratthAL
paasilai nANal padutthup parithi vaitthuk
kAicchina mAkaLRannAn yenn kaippaRRit
theevalam seyyak kanAk kantEn ThOzhi naan --NTM: 10.6.7

This is the time of Subha MUhUrtham ; MangaLa vAdhyams
are playing . Over those sounds arose a Veda Manthram :

mAngalyam tanthunAnEna mama jeevana ( loka rakshaNa ) hEthunA I
kaNtE bhadhnAmi subaghE sanjeeva saradha: satham ( tava mE sukham ) II

Sri RanganAthan tied the auspicious knots around 
the neck of ANDAL to the sound of ghetti mELam 
and said : " Oh ANDAL ! This is the Mangala sUthram . 
I tie this Mangala sUthram around Your neck for enhancing 
my good fortune .You are the light and purpose of my life .
Oh , SoubhAgyavathi ! May Thou be with Me eternally 
and grant the most glorious boons to our BhakthAs 
and protect them from any and every mishap " .
( I have changed the meanings some what ,
because praying for the life of 100 years as for 
us mortals does not make sense for the Lord .
If we use the words Mama Jeevana hethunA , it is
even more poignant ). 

PAANI GRAHAAM CEREMONY 
**********************

After Maangalya DhAraNam , Sri RanganAthA 
recited the four manthrAs for PaaNigrahaNam 
under " the tutorship " of His purOhithA ,
Chathurmukha BrahmA . During this occasion ,
He lifted His right hand and held inside it 
the right hand of ANDAL , which had been folded
together like a kumudhA flower . This mudrA of
ANDAL's hand is called " kuvintha Kumudham "
or the lotus that had folded its petals into
the form of a tight bud . This mudhrai refers to 
Her heart lotus. Sri RanganAthA ( and the modern day 
bridegroom ) implied that Your heart has now become my
possession/responsibility . From here on , I will protect it with 
all the care and cherish it. This is the inner meaning of 
PaaNigrahaNam .The four Veda manthrams salute the soubhAghyams 
arising from that ceremony of PaaNigrahaNam and 
praise the glories of the new queen of the house. 

The first of the four manthrams recited during this 
occasion is famous :

grubhNAmi thE soubhagthvAya hastham 
mayA pathyA jaradashtir yathAsa: I
BhagO AryamA SavithA puramdhir mahyam 
tvAdhur gArhapathyAya dEvA : II--Rg Vedam X.85.36

( Meaning ) : Oh My dear One ! I accept Your hand 
for good fortune ! I pray that You attain old age 
with Me as Your husband . Our Bhagaa( Lord of Grace ) ,
AryamA ( Lord of Cosmic orders ) , savithA-puramdhi
( Lord of creation and wisdom ) have given You to Me 
so that I may be the master of the Household .

The second manthram starting with " thE ha purvE janAsO--"
is another salutation to the Lord of DevAs , who 
presented the bride to the groom .Reference here is 
to Bahgan, Agni and SUryan . The manthram suggests 
that the best among them gave the bride to the groom .

The third manthram starts with  a prayer to Sarasvathi
by the groom on behalf of the couple to protect 
their marriage .

The fourth manthram is a salutation to Vaayu BhagavAN 
and starts with the words :" ya yEthi prathisas sarvA
disAnu pavamAna:" and ends with " hiraNya hastha iyrammas 
sa tvA manmanasam gruNOthu " . In this prayer , the groom 
prays to PavamAnan ( Vaayu bhagavAn ) , who thru his 
passage purifies every nook and corner . The manthram 
visualizes Vaayu as having Gold in his hand and being 
associated with Agni dEvan. The groom prays here to
the all powerful Vaayu and seeks his intercession 
to bless the bride to be devoted to him always . 
Undiminishing love and affection is prayed for here .

ANDAL fondly recalls this scene in Her sixth paasuram 
of NaacchiyAr Thirumozhi ( MatthaLam kotta --) . 
She hears the auspicious sounds of MattaLams , 
She experiences the purifying , sacrd sound of 
Vari Sankhus ( praNava Naadham ).Under the wedding
canopy bent with the load of flowers decorating it , 
She (ANDAL ) recalls the scene of the Lord ( MadhusUdhana
nambi) lifting her hand and covering it with the palm of 
His hand . 

THE SEVEN STEPS AROUND THE SACRED FIRE 
***************************************

IN THE SEVENTH PAASURAM , ANDAL RECALLS 
THE SEVEN STEPS SHE TOOK AROUND THE SACRED 
WEDDING FIRE ( Vaai nallAr --theevalam seyya
kanAk kantEn ---) . 

The groom lifts the bride from the "silk mat/
MaNai ) " she was sitting on by holding her 
right hand with his right hand tightly .

Then , the groom walks to the right side of 
the sacred fire and lifts gently the right 
foot of the bride with his right hand and 
helps her take a step . The bride makes
seven steps ( Saptha Pathi ) with the help 
of her husband . This is the Agni Saakshi 
for the wedding . 

With each of the seven steps , a particular 
manthram is recited . Let us examine these manthrams :

First Step : " yEkamishE VishNus tvAnvEthu " is 
the first manthram . This says : " O Dear girl !
O ANDAL ! You made the first step as my wife. 
May Lord VishNu (Myself will)follow your step to make sure 
that you have undiminishing food  all your life 
( prayer for subhishtam, Akshaya paathram )" .

Second Step : " dhvE UrjE " . Here the groom prays
once again to Lord VishNu . he says : " O Dear girl !
You have now taken the second step with me as my wife .
May Lord VishNu ( Myself will ) follow your step and bless you 
with pushti (strength ) in your body ( a prayer 
for disease-free life ) " .

Third Step : " thrINi vrathAya " . Here again , 
the prayer is for Lord VishNu to follow GodhA's 
third step and to grant the boon of vrathAnushtAnam 
( performance of yaj~nams assigned to GruhasthAs 
as Dharma pathnee )  to her during her married life .

Fourth Step : " ChatvAri MaayObhavaaya " . 
This prayer once again is to MahA VishNu 
( Himself ) to follow her during her fourth step and
grant her the boon of conjugal happiness .

Fifth Step : " pancha pasubhya : " .The prayer
is : " may Lord VishNu follow your fifth step with me 
and grow your wealth of cattle ( cows , Horses ,
Elephants and Isvaryams related to the four-footed )".

Sixth Step : " Shat ruthubhya : " . Here 
MahA VishNu is beseeched to follow her sixth
step ( be behind her and support her ) for all
auspicious ruthus (six seasons ) during her married 
life .Sri RanganAthA hints that He is going to be right 
next to Her and make sure that Vasantha Ruthu ,
Ghreeshma Ruthu and all the other four are going to
make Her days with Him plesant . 

Seventh Step : This is the last of the seven steps .
The prayer is : " saptha sapthabhyO hOthrAbhyO 
VishNus tvAn vethu " .The Lord said : " aNi puthuvai
paimkamalt thaNteriyal Bhattar pirAn GOdhE ! When you
recited the seventh manthram and took the seventh step ,
I , MahA vishNu , the former resident of Srirangam will
follow You to help You perform OupAsanai , Agni HOthram 
and other Gruhastha Homams and Yaj~nams without deficiencies .
You are the NaacchiyAr of My house now. Sri VilliputthUr 
is your MaaLikai ( Palace ) . This is your place of birth .
Therefore , You have more power than me here . I will hence
follow You and bless You to have all SoubhAgyams by 
moving over to Your birth place and stay in my 
father-in-law's place , Your house . We guess that 
PeriyAzhwAr was mighty pleased with the decision of
his Son-in-law so that he could have the aanandham of 
seeing his daughter and the Lord , Her husband right
there in Sri VilliputthUr nest to him .Even today , we 
see RangamannAr , ANDAL and PeriyAzhwAr ( Garudan ) 
on One peetam at Sri VilliputthUr .

After sapthathi ceremony 
*************************

Sapthathi was followed by Agni PrathakshiNam . Then , 
the bridegroom looked at his new bride and recited 
three manthrams , whose meanings are as follows :
 
My dear one! With these seven steps that you took ,
You have become my dearest friend . We have cemented 
our friendship firmly with these seven steps . I seek 
closeness with you as my dearest beloved one . I will
not stray away from this friendship ever . Please do not
diminish the depth of your affection for me . Let us stay united 
always . Let us pledge to do together , what we have
to follow as duties .May we have deep love ,May we do things
which please one another ,May we have good intentions 
towards each other and enjoy food and strength in 
equal measure and partake of life's blessings 
equally together . Let our thoughts converge . 

Let us perform the sanctioned vrathams in unison .
May our desires be united and not pull apart .
I will be Saaman ; Let Thou be Rg rk .
I will be the upper lokam ( Dhyou , the region between
sky and earth ); May Thou be the earth ( pruthvee ) .
I will be the suklam ; May Thou be the bearer of 
Suklam .I will be the mind ; Let Thou be vaak ( speech ) .
I will be Saaman ; Let Thou be Rg rks. May Thou follow Me ! 
O my dear One of sweet speech going to bless me 
with wealth and progeny ! Please come ( --manOsmi
Vaak tvam , saamaahamasmi rg tvam , saa maa manuvrathA 
bhava , pumsE puthrAya vEthtavai ; sriyai puthrAya 
vEthtavA ; Yehi sUnruthE ) ".

PradhAna HOmam and its sixteen manthrams 
*****************************************
After the seven steps and Agni pradhakshiNam , 
PradhAna Homam took place .Ammi mithitthal
( stepping on the grinding stone ) , Laaja 
Homam ( placing parched rice into the fire ),
Graha PravEsam , Pravisya Homam , Sesha Homam ,
the holding of the child in the wife's lap ,
giving fruits to that child ,Dhruvan-Arundhati 
nakshathra darsanams , PrAyscchittha Homams 
took place . I will cover them in the concluding 
posting on Sri ANDAL-Sri RanganAtha ThirukkalyANam
series over this weekend .

Daasan , Oppilaippan Koil VaradAchAri SadagOpan 
Jayathu Sri RanganAtha :! Jayathu Sri RanganAyaki !

P.S : This is the point in time after my posting for
the day that I remind you to take part in our 
Universal parent's wedding and facilitate their 
graha PravEsam.. Please do not forget your 
sambhAvanAs and forward them to Sri RanganAthA 
Temple , P.O. Box 120 , Pomona , NY 10970 
( This address of our parents , I should know now
by heart ) . Please look up the wonderful home page
set up by Sri P.Dileepan for their new home at
Pomona : http://www.geocities.com/~ahobilam/ranga.html 
Subhamasthu ; Sarva MangaLAni santhu .