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rituals in iyengar and iyer marriages

From: V. Sadagopan (75041.3037_at_compuserve.com)
Date: Tue Jan 28 1997 - 04:10:51 PST

Dear Dr. Kanaka Vasudevan :

I will take  a guess on the reasons behind 
the colorful and ancient ceremonies associated
with our Marriage ceremonies of the kind listed by
you. They are now woven deeply into the stages of
marriage leading to the Vedic -sanctioned steps 
described by GodhA Piratti in her VaraNamAyiram
paasurams .
  
The observances that you referred to in 
the south Indian marriages are an evolution of 
centuries of hand -me-down type of observances.
They have no Vedic Significance , except that they 
recognize and salute pancha bhuthams , Ashta Dig devatAs
and seek auspiciousness for the couple to be united thru 
the Vedic ceremonies. Dhrushti Dhosham and non-offense to 
"Sillarai daivams " appear to be the reasons for it for 
Sumangalis to make the Vilakku PrathakshiNam .BHotha Suddhi 
of a special kind is also implied inn these observances.The 
color of the Urundais have close connection to some of
the Dig PaalakAs. Like Mantra Kavacham gives dig Bhandhanam,
these offerings "appease " the appropriate Dig paalakAs 
to ward off any untoward happenings during the ceremonies.

The carrying of the bride and bride groom by the uncles
is a practise , which originated at the time , when the 
children were betrothed at an early age ( 6-12 years ) 
and the elders enjoyed the fun of carrying these
"dolls " on their shoulders and exchanging garlands 
from the back of the respective uncles . Inview of 
the advancement of the marriage years these days reaching into the 
twenties and thirties , the practise of carrying 
(1) heavy and (2 ) adults with "modern views "
on the back of "fragile " and unwilling uncles 
is not observed often for understandable reasons. 

In PerumAL ThirukkalyANams in Oppiliappan Koil ,
the two Archakars representing the bride ( Sri Bhumi Devi )
and bridegroom ( Sri Oppiliappan ) exchange garlands 
on their  behalf.Godha Piraati 's exchange of Garlands 
with Sri Ranganatha has been celebrated by Swami Desikan
in one of the verses of GodhA Sthuthi . 

There are a lot of marriage songs that used to be
sung during the different stages of wedding of four days 
in old times . My grand mother was a great storehouse of
such songs and she was very much in demand with others to
add gaitey to the occasion.They are more or less lost now. 

The sounding of MangaLa Vaadhyams , the invocation to 
the Gods at every level to ward off dhrushti Dhosham ,
the pronouncement of Vedic manthrams to obtain the blessings
of happy married life with progeny and prosperity
to fulfill the obligations of GrahasthAsrama DharmA
and confer happiness on the about-to-be married couple are 
some of the reasons for these ceremonies . 

I am sure htere are other members of the group, 
who can add more insights .

V.Sadagopan 

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RE:	rituals in iyengar and iyer marriages

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Dear bhakthi members,

I had been to india to attend two marriages , one was my husband's niece 
and the other was of my nephew.The elders of my family made me do a lot 
of things , the day before and also on the day of marriage like [ pudi 
sutthal , pal thoduthal etc I did . MY HUSBAND HAD TO CARRY HIS NIECE IN 
HIS SHOULDER FOR MALAI MATTHAL AND  UNJAL ETC. Mr. Sadagopan wrote about 
the meanings of the kalyana manthram which i have saved . could you 
please write about the whole marriage ceremony and every step of it with 
their meanings. It would be very useful if we want to perform the 
marriages here in the temples or even at home. why should one throw the 
color rice urundai first on the right side , what are the meanings of 
going round the couple with  vilakku in a pathram, pouring water 
alternatively and when should these rituals be done in the order, etc etc
I am sure many of the members would have some meaning to all of this . 
Icould not get any explanations from my parents . They said  
'JUST DO IT ' Could somebody shed some light on it ? 
thanks, kanaka vasudevan