The Vedas - Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

09 November 1995

Part I


Marriage and Life

All problems of existence are essentially problems of harmony. Marriage is one of the powerful means of training in the science and art of harmony. Varuna and Mitra, cosmic power of wideness and cosmic power of mutuality, are at once the means and the goals of the training that marriage of the bride and the bridegroom initiates.

An individual, living alone tends to be self-centered, even egocentric. To break the walls of egoism and to expand into universality, marriage builds up a progressive path. A steady austerity that marriage imposes in attaining mutuality of relationship provides varied contents of the path that must lead to harmony.

Life-long association and continuous partnership of equality in every activity of life underlines the Vedic philosophy of marriage.

The very first declaration of the bride and the bridegroom in the marriage ceremony underlines this philosophy

ऊं समंजन्तु विश्वेदेवाः समापो हृदयानिनौ
सं मातरिश्वा संधाता समुदेष्ट्री दधातु नौ ।। (Rig Veda, 10.8.47)

Let all the cosmic powers know that we are accepting each other voluntarily and pleasantly and our hearts are concordant and united like waters. Let the King of Love, let Fashioner of relations, let the Guide of Secrets keep us  united.


 Vows and Duties

Veda looks upon life as a long journey of ascent which can be successfully carried on only if vows and duties are performed consciously and conscientiously.

A Vow (व्रत) is a resolution taken voluntarily by an individual or a group or a nation to observe an austerity with scrupulous adherence to the letter and spirit of the resolution. A duty results from a vow as also from inter-personal relations which aim at continuous progressive harmony in personal life and social life.

The Vedic ceremony of marriage is a declaration of the vows and duties that marriage imposes upon the husband and wife and upon the society.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Duties of Husband and Wife towards each other

The Vedic ceremony of marriage enjoins the bridegroom and the bride to undertake several vows. The most important vow is declared by the bridegroom to the bride as follows:

"As I accept you voluntarily and happily, even so, you will accept me. If I am like Samaveda, you are like Rigveda; if you are like the all-receiving Earth, I am like a Sun that causes rain. Let us unite happily; let us increase our strength unitedly; let our progeny attain ripe age. Let us live together for 100 years, let us hear each other for 100 years, let us see each other for hundred years in delight of each other, with mutual appreciation and ever filled with great and noble thoughts."

In another resolution the bridegroom declares:

"I accept your heart in observance of all activities of the vow. May your mind and heart be in tune with my mind and heart; may you help me with all your attention. May the Supreme Lord bind you for our common fulfillment.

ऊं मम व्रते ते हृदयं दधामि मम चिन्तमनुचित्तं ते अस्तु।
मम वाचमेकमना जुषत्स्व प्रजापतिष्ट्वा नियुनक्तु मह्यम्।।

In yet another vow, the bridegroom and the bride declare to each other:

ऊं यदेतद्हृदयं तव तदस्तु हृदयं मम।
यदिदं हृदयं मम तदस्तु हृदयं तव।।

May your heart be mine and may my heart be yours.

As the bridegroom leads the performance of the vows and duties, even so the bride is called upon to give all support to the bridegroom with all tenderness, with all sweet speech and devoid of all anger.

मृदर्निमन्युः केवली प्रियवादिन्यनुव्रता।
(Artharvaveda 3-25-4)

Significance of Panigrahana

(Acceptance of the Hand).

An important initial part of the Vedic ceremony of marriage is that of Paniqrahana. This ceremony of Panigrahana imposes life-long responsibilities which are to be discharged under the sacred sanction of the Supreme Lord.

Both the bride and the bridegroom declare at the time of the acceptance of each others' hands :

अहं विष्यामि मयि रुपमस्या वेददित्पश्यन्मनसा कुलायम्।
न स्त्येमद्मि मनसोदमुच्ये स्वयं श्रन्थानो बरुणस्य पाशान्।।

( Artharvaveda 14.1.58)

I perceive in my vision prosperous growth our family, and attracted by your love, beauty and joy I crave your union and want your equal attraction and union in me. Nothing will be taken by me for enjoyment stealthily and I shall engage myself in every labour in order to remove nets of narrowness so as to reach the highest law of vastness, and may you also do the same.


Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


The most important part of the Wedding Ceremony is Parikrama.

Four circum-ambulations around the sacred fire lit for the sacrifice symbolise repeated reiteration of the truth of self-giving which is indispensable for harmony and union. The bride recites the prayer to the bridegroom:

ऊं इमांल्लाजानावपाम्यग्नौ समृद्धिकरणं तव।
मम तुभ्यं च संवननं तदग्निररनुमन्यायिमं स्वाहा।।

O my Lord! I offer these gifts in the fire for your prosperity and progress. May there be great affection between you and me. May this fire of sacrifice be the source of help to us. — Swaha!

And the bridegroom replies:

ऊं सरस्वति प्रेदमव सुभगे वाजिनीवति।
गाथां गास्यामि या स्त्रीणामुत्तमं यज्ञः।।

O Saraswati, endowed with excellent powers, be helpful to save this conjugal affinity. I shall sing the excellent glory of women.


(Seven Steps)

Saptapadi is as important as Parikrama.

The ritual of seven steps in the presence of sacrificial fire is the ritual of seven vows. The bride and the bridegroom begin the ceremony after the dress- sheet of the bride is tied with the dress-sheet of the bridegroom. This is called the conjugal tie of the couple.

म सव्येन दक्षिणमतिक्राम।

"Let not your left foot surpass your right foot" is the advice given at the outset to indicate the necessity of mutuality in relationship between the bride and the bridegroom.

At the first step, it is declared :

ऊं इषे एकपदी भव सा मामनु व्रता भव।

Take the first step for the sake of material well- being. Follow me in my vows. May all-pervading Spirit be your guide.

At the second step, it is pronounced :

ऊं ऊज्र्जे द्धिपदी भव।

Take the second step for strength.

At the third step, it is declared :

ऊं रायस्पौषाय त्रिपदी भव।

Take the third step for felicity and prosperity

At the fourth step, it is pronounced :

ॐ मयोभवाय धतुष्पदी भव ।

Take the fourth step for highest welfare.

At the fifth step, it is declared:

ॐ प्रजाभ्यः पंचपदीभव ।

Take the fifth step for progeny.

At the sixth step, the declaration is :

ऊं अतुभ्यः षट्पदी भव ।

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Take the sixth step for regulation of life according to the right seasons of Time.

At the seventh step, it is declared :

ऊं सखे सप्तपदी भव ।

Take the seventh step for close union of friendship.

The ceremony of seven steps is concluded with Hymns offered to Waters of Life so that they may irrigate activities with happiness, prosperity and perennial health.

The last part of the ceremony is concerned with the symbolic lesson to be imparted to the bride and bridegroom to emphasize that life should be lived with as much scrupulous observance of law as the Sun in all its operation. The bride and the bridegroom are asked to see the Sun with the following Mantra:

ऊं तच्चक्षुर्देवहितं पुरस्ताच्छुक्रमुच्चरत् ।
पश्येम शरदः जीवेम शरदः शतं श्रृणुयाम शरदः
शतं प्रतवाम शरदः शतमदीनाः स्याम
शरदः शतं भूयश्च शरदः शतात् ।

He is all-vision and benevolent to all auspicious beings. He existed pure and will remain pure hereafter. Meditating on Him hundred autumns,   may we see , a hundred autumns may we live, a hundred autumns may we hear, a hundred autumns may we speak, a hundred autumns may we enjoy full freedom and longer than hundred autumns may we enjoy all those blessings.

If the marriage ceremony terminates after the sunset, the bride and the bridegroom are asked to see the Pole Star, indicating that their adherence to law should be as constant as the Pole Star.

When the Bride Leaves the Parental Home

Advice to the Bride

Advice to the  Bride at the time of her departure from her parental family to the family of her husband is summarised by Kanwa Rishi in Kalidasa's great play "Shakuntalam".

शुश्रूषस्व गुरुन् कुरु प्रियसरवीवृत्ति ननान्दृष्वथ
भर्तुर्विप्रकृताऽपि रोषणतया मा स्म प्रतीपं गमः ।
भूयिष्ठं भव दक्षिणा परिजने भाग्येष्वनुत्सेकिनी
यान्तयेवं गृहिणीपदं युवतयो वामाः कुलस्याधयः ।।

Serve the elderly members of the family. Be friendly with your sisters -in -law. Go not against the wishes of your husband, even when ill-tempered. Be polite to all family members. Be not proud of your fortunes.

It is only by following the above code of conduct that the young brides can attain the supreme position in the family. Others constitute only the maladies of the family.

Advice to the Bridegroom

It is the duty of the husband to extend protection to the wife. It is, however, laid down that women are not guarded when they are confined in a house by men but women who guard themselves by themselves are well-guarded.

अरिक्षता गृहे रूद्भाः पुरुषैराप्त्कारिभिः ।
आत्मानमात्मना यास्तु रक्षेयुस्ताः सुरक्षिताः ।।
(मनुस्मृति, ६.१२)

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

When The Bride is Welcomed in Husband's Home

Soon after the marriage, as she enters into her life of marriage, the Veda enjoins that she is recieved with the following message in her husband's home:

ऊं सम्राज्ञी श्वशुरे भव, सम्राज्ञी श्वश्चा भव ।
ननान्दरि सम्राज्ञी भव स्म्राज्ञी अधि देवृषु स्वाहा ।।
(ऋग्वेद १०/८५/४६)

O Bride! Be the queen in the house of your father-in-law, be a queen for your mother-in-law, be a queen for your sister-in-law, be also be a queen for your brother-in-law.


The Concept f Ardhnareshwar in The Vedic Tradition

In the Vedic tradition, the Supreme Reality is conceived as One (ekam sat) which has two heads (द्वे शीर्षे). Oneness that manifests in two equal manifestations is the foundation of all creation, and the masculine and the feminine is conceived as the twin and indivisible divine principles. Ardhanareshwar (अर्धनारीश्वर) is the highest concept that embodies the equality and interdependence of the masculine and the feminine. It is for this reason that wife has been regarded as Ardhangini, the equal half of the husband. Kalidasa in Raghuvamsa  (रघुवंश) describing the mutuality of the husband and the wife compares them to the mutuality of the word and the meaning:

वागर्थाविव सम्पृक्तौ ।

Tulsidasa in Rama Charit Manasa describes the mutuality of Sita and Rama in the following verse :

गिरा अर्थ जल वीचि सम कहियत भिन्न न भिन ।
वन्दी सीताराम पद जिनहिं परम प्रिय खिन्न ।।

( Just as word and meaning, water and waves are only apparently different but not actually different, even so, are Sita and Rama, to whom I bow down. )

Manu Smriti declares that at the very origin of things, the Supreme Reality divided its own body into two and became a man with one half and a woman with the other half.

द्विधा कृत्वात्मनो देहं अर्धेन पुरुषोऽभवत् ।
अर्धेन नारी ……
(मनुस्मृति १.३२ )

It is for this reason that the masculine and the feminine together constitute one integral unit. They are also compared with two wheels of one chariot, where both of them have to move simultaneously, jointly and in the same direction. If one wheel stops, the entire chariot stops. The unity of the husband and wife has, therefore, to be so complete that the chariot of the family does not come to any grinding halt on account of any disequilibrium in their movements.

Variety is the law of life, but unity in variety is a greater law of life.The differences of the husband and wife should be like varieties in one unity.

The Vedic tradition prescribes the subtle art by which variety is retained even when unity is constantly created by a process of inner transcendence. it is by transcendence of causes of friction, egoism and angularities that husband and wife attain true cooperation and admiration for each other, and they are able to sustain the unity of the family which is essential for the protection and growth of the child and for the protection and growth of the family.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Place of Women in Family and Society

It is prescribed in the Vedic tradition:

"Fathers, brothers, husbands who wish for great good-fortune should revere women and adorn them.

"Cosmic powers participate in life with great joy in places where women are revered; but where women are not revered, all activities are rendered fruitless. Where the women of the family are miserable, the family is soon destroyed, but it always thrives where women are not miserable.

"Homes that are cursed by women of the family who have not been treated with due reverence, are completely destroyed as if struck down by devices of ill-will."

पितृभिभर्मतृभिश्चैताः पतिभिर्देवरैस्तथा।
पूज्या भूषयितव्याश्व बहुकल्याणमीप्सुभिः।।
यत्र नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते रमन्ते तत्र देवताः।
यत्रैतास्तु न पूज्यन्ते सर्वास्तत्राफलाः क्रियाः।।
शोचन्ति जामयो यत्र विनश्यत्याशु तत् कुलम्।
न शोचन्ति तु यत्रैता बर्द्धते तद्धि सर्वदा।।
जामयो यानि गेहानि शपन्त्यप्रति पूजिताः।।
तानि कृत्याहतानीव विनश्यंति समन्ततः।।
(मनुस्मृति, 3.55-58)


Duties Of Husband And Wife Towards Family And Society

The Supreme Duty

The supreme duty imposed upon husband and wife is that of the performance of sacrifice (यज्ञ). The concept of  यज्ञ has a ritualistic meaning and has also a deeper meaning. In ritualistic sense, yajna refers to offering made to sacrificial fire which is lit in the yajna-kunda. In the deeper sense, which has been explained at length in theGita, yajna means every activity that is consecrated to the cosmic divine activity of creation. The supreme duty of the husband and wife is, therefore, to perform every action with consciousness that their actions are only a part of the whole cosmos, that cosmos is maintained by interdependence of forces, and that it is by consecration to the totality that an action becomes sacred and meaningful.

Secret of True Science and Art of Life: Synthesis of Knowledge, Action and Devotion

Every human being possesses the faculties of thought, emotion and will. But ordinarily, these three faculties are not rightly developed and they are not properly harmonised. As a result, thinkers tend to be unpractical, and those who are dynamic and active, tend to neglect the powers of knowledge and impartiality. Similarly, those who are highly emotional, tend to neglect work and indulge in sentimentalism. Conflict of knowledge and will and love is very common in humanity. The Vedic tradition, however, points out that perfection can be attained only when the faculties of thought, emotion and will are properly developed and when their tendencies are rightly blended.

The Veda itself is a synthesis of knowledge, action and devotion; Veda is a book of knolwedge, Veda prescribes actions (कर्मकाण्ड); and Veda is a chanting adoration of the Divine. Upanishads also prescribe the combination of these three elements in personality. The Bhagavadgita is a luminous statement of the synthesis of Jnanayoga, Karmayoga and Bhaktiyoga.

This sublime teaching can be tested even at any ordinary level. We find that even a housewife succeeds in cooking well when she has the right knowledge of science and art of cooking, and when she carries out the applications of all the prescriptions of cooking in actual activity of cooking, and when she happens to cook the food with all the devotion of her heart.

There is no real success without the study and practice of the combination of Jnana, Karma and Bhakti.

Vedic tradition, therefore, invites everyone to develop and synthesise the faculties of knowledge, devotion and action.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Five Basic Duties

Five basic duties of the yajna have been specially identified in this tradition, and these duties are to be performed daily by husband and wife jointly in partnership as an offering to the cosmos and its Creator.

  1. The first group of duties is connected with the advancement of knowledge, culture, and refinements of manners. These duties constitute Brahma-yajna.
  2. The second group of duties include all activities that cause purification of air, rain and water and thereby control pollution of the environment.These duties constitute Deva Yajna.
  3. The third group of duties include the service of father, mother, other learned persons and great souls whose knowledge and wisdom help us to discriminate between Right and Wrong. These duties increase the virtue of gratitude. They are called duties of Pitri-yajna.
  4. The fourth group of duties include the discharge of our obligations towards the sick, the needy, the fallen and towards those animals and birds and others which are dependent on the family for sustenance. These duties constitute वलिवैश्वदेव यज्ञ, Valivaishwadeva Yajna.
  5. The fifth group of duties consist of offerings to the guests. These duties constitute अतिथि यज्ञ, atithi yajna.

Manu Smriti declares that husband and wife , who do not neglect these great five duties as long as they are able to perform them, are not defiled.

पंचैतान् यो महायज्ञान्न हापयति शक्तिः।
स गृहेऽपि वसन्नित्यं सूनादोषैर्न लिप्यते।।
(मनुस्मृति, 3,71)

Other Duties

Apart from these five basic duties, several other duties have been enjoined upon the husband and the wife.

These include the following:

  1. One should wake up early in the morning, and having relieved the necessities of nature, one should think upon the means of acquiring virtue and wealth and attend to the problems of health. One should then contemplate upon the essential meaning of Knowledge.
  2. One should never lead an unrighteous life, because practice of unrighteousness advances slowly and cuts off the very root of happiness.
  3. One should not cross the bounds of justice and righteousness; one who does
    so, perishes at last like a tree whose roots have been cut off.
  4. One should never quarrel with a teacher of truth and righteousness, with a guest and a dependant, with children, aged and the sick, with father-in-law and mother-in-law, with father and mother, with a sister and a brother and with servants.
  5. One should practise tapas, one should practise truthfulness.One who does
    not do it is like the one who attempts to cross an ocean in a boat made of stones and sinks down.

(Manu Smriti, Chapter IV)

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


Rules of Right Conduct

Manu Smriti lays down the following rules for the right conduct of life which have ten chief characteristics.

  1. Cultivation of firmness of mind and contentment;
  2. Cultivation of the spirit of forgiveness under all circumstances — whether one is censured or praised, honoured or dishonoured;
  3. Devotion of mind to virtue and absence of sin and vice;
  4. Honesty and offence of acquisition of anything without the permission of its owner or through fraud, hypocrisy, or breach of faith or by teaching falsely;
  5. Mental purity consisting of freedom from partiality, prejudice or injustice and bodily cleanliness consisting of daily use of water for neatness and fragrance;
  6. Direction of the senses in the path of rectitude and freedom from sin;
  7. Development of one's intellect by abstaining from intoxicant and other articles that are prejudicial to its growth, and from the company of the wicked;
  8. The acquisition of correct knowledge of all things and its proper application;
  9. Truthfulness in thought and deed;
  10. Freedom from wrath and other evil habits and the cultivation of calmness of mind and other good qualities.

धृति क्षमा दमोऽस्तेयं शौचमिन्द्रियनिग्रहः।
धीर्विद्या सत्यमक्रोधो दशकं धर्मलक्षणम्।।
मनुस्मृति 6.92

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


Marriage and Self-Control

Self-knowledge and God-knowledge are essential parts of the ultimate goal of human life. And this goal cannot be achieved without self-control. Practice of self-control was the aim of Vedic system of education, and Brahmacharya has been looked upon by the Vedic tradition as the essential part of self-control. Brahmacharya is not confined merely to the control of the desire for sexual pleasure but also development of concentration of body, life and mind on the concept of the Brahman. To contemplate constantly on the Brahman is the real meaning of Brahmacharya. Manu Smriti declares :

"One who is not a master of his senses cannot attain one's objectives; he who allows himself to become slave of the senses soon loses his character; verily that man alone can achieve his objectives who is a master of his senses."

इन्द्रियाणां प्रसंगेन दोषमृच्छत्यसंशयम्।
सन्नियम्य तु तान्येव ततः सिर्द्धि नियच्छति।।
(मनु 2-93)

Brahmacharya is a life-long discipline, and the enjoyments of married life are to be regulated. Regulation of these enjoyments is also considered to be a part of discipline of Brahmacharya. Manu Smriti declares :

"He that is contented with his own wife and avoids even with her conjugal embraces on the eight forbidden nights is a brahmachari, even though he be married man."

निन्द्यास्वष्टासु चान्यासु स्त्रियो रात्रिषु वर्जजन्।
ब्रह्मचाय्र्येव भवति यत्र तत्राश्रमे वसन्।।
(मनु 3-50)

Vedic tradition prescribes that one should undergo the sacrament of impregnation (गर्भाधारण) in order that the enjoyment of married life is limited to the fulfilment of the desire for good progeny. One should keep away the idea of enjoyment with any woman other than his own wife, and the woman on her part should always be in this matter far away from any other man except her own husband who has been won through by marriage. Even then, the period of enjoyment should exclude the period of menustral course and also avoid parva nights (Purnima, Amavasya, Chaturdashi and Ashtami). There are further details as a result of which only ten nights are considered auspicious and excellent for the purpose of impregnantion.

Self-control is not confined merely to bramacharya. There are five yamas  and five niyamas which should all be observed. The five yamas are : सत्य (Satya, Truthfulness ), अंहिसा ( Ahimsa, Compassion), ब्रह्मचर्य (Brahmacharya, Continence), अस्तेय (Asteya, Avoidance of Theft ) and अपरिग्रह (Aparigraha, Abstinence from Accumulation of unnecessary possesions ) . The five niyamas are :शौच (Shaucha, Cleanliness ), संतोष (Santosh, Contentment ), तपस् (Tapas, Austerity ),स्वाध्याय (Swadhyaya, Pursuit of True Knowledge) , and ईश्वरप्रणिधान (Ishwara Pranidhana, Submission to the Will of God).

तत्राहिंसासत्यास्तेयब्रह्मचर्यापरिग्रहा यमः ।
शौचसंतोषतपः स्वाध्यायेश्वरप्रणिधानि नियमाः ।।
(योग सूत्रः ३०, ३२)

The Vedic view of enjoyment has been guided by the great prescription of the Ishopanishad:

तेनत्येक्तेन भुञ्जीथा।।

(By having renounced, thou shouldst enjoy. )

To unite renunciation and transform lower forms of enjoyment into divine enjoyment is the secret art of self-control as conceived by the Vedic tradition.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


Vedic Concern for the Child and Duties Relating to the Child

The Vedic view of life considers that the eternal Spirit is present in every movement of the world and in every activity of the creatures; this imparts a sense of sacredness to all life. The entire way of life is therefore conceived as Dharma, an occasion for the upliftment of the individual from the narrow bondage to the vast liberation into all-pervading Spirit.

Every important occasion of life is, therefore, marked in the Vedic tradition with a reminder that it contributes to the growth of life towards the fulfillment of Spirit in the World. All members of the family are expected to participate in these special occasions (which are called "Samskaras" ), and specific duties are prescribed so that the required sense of sacredness is rightly emphasised by every participant.

In the Vedic view of life the institution of marraige is conceived primarily for the right care of the progeny. Child is at the centre of the Vedic view of society, and a number of sacraments are conceived specifically for ensuring the creation of the right atmosphere during the period of pregnancy and birth and education of the child.

1. One of the first sacraments (samskara) after marriage is called Simantonnayana.

The performance of this Samskara is to ensure that the mind of the pregnant woman is rendered happy and healthy, since it is underlined that it is by the happiness and health of the pregnant woman that the right effect is caused on the developing child in the embryo. This Samskara is performed in the fourth month of pregnancy.

One of the verses recited on this occasion sums up the attitude of the husband towards the wife:

I, the husband, call my wife, who is as beautiful as full moon night and possess the good words for me, in all the functions of prayer and praise. Let her. the Lady of good fortune, listen to my words and understand them with her Spirit.

May she peform the functions of progeny in such a good way as she sews the clothes with the needle which does not pierce the fingers at the time of sewing. (Rigveda 2.32.4 )

The end of the ceremony imposes upon the old noble ladies of the family a deep feeling of warmth and happiness towards the pregnant woman. They are enjoined to give the following blessing :

ॐ वीरसूस्त्वं भव, जीवसृस्त्वं भव, जीवपत्नी त्वं भव ।।

Give birth to a brave child, give birth to a living child, remain forever the wife of a living husband.

2. Another important Samskara is that of Jata-karma. This Samskara is performed soon after the birth of the child.

The persons concerned are required to sprinkle waters on the woman giving birth to the child. Thereafter, the father of the newly born child and who has been cleaned up is allowed to enter in, and he should cut the navel's string of the newly born child. He should afterwards bathe the child with lukewarm water, clean it with clean clothes, dress the child with new clean clothes and bring him to the place of Yajna-kunda.

The sacrifice that is performed prescribes that the father of the child should


I, husband, make happy my wife with offerings offered to the sacrifice. My wife is fully concordant with me and she is the accomplisher of all her duties. I hail the glory of my wife who accomplishes her works, gives all the desired things and is mighty force of the house.

He then turns to the learned men who have been invited and makes the following prayer:

"O learned men, you always come to us and preach for well-being."

The father of the child then writes the syllable OM on the tongue of the child and makes the child lick a little of the mixed ghee, honey and dust of gold in unequal quantities.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

The father declares to the child:

"Be you presevered and protected by learned men and parents and attain long life in this world for 100 years.

I establish in you the idea of God who is the giver of life.

I establish in you, 0 child! the idea of God who is all grace.

I establish in you, 0 Child! the idea of God who is the source of all movements.

I establish in you the idea of God who is the life of all beatitude and the source of all movements."

In the course of the ceremony, the father puts symbolic and mystical questions to the child:

"O child! Who are you? Really you are this one of our souls.You are immortal."

Referring to his wife, he declares:

"O brave lady! You are like the Goddess of revelation, you are like the Goddess of harmony and Goddess of vastness. You have given birth to a brave child."

At the end of the ceremony, the wise and the learned will pronounce the following blessing:

"Make us free from fear. May there be many brave beings in this world and may they be filled with strength and light and energy.

(Atharvaveda 8,3,3,61 )

3. One more sacrament to which we can make a reference is that of Upanayana.

It is the procedure of investiture of sacred thread.

Investiture of sacred thread marks the occasion when the child is initiated in the vow of concentration on studies.

The procedure is quite long, but the duty is cast upon the parents and the teacher through this ceremony to ensure that the child begins the practice of vrata (व्रत:) and understands the significance of scrupulous observance of vrata (व्रत:). The main resolution that is made by the child in respect of the vrata (व्रत:)is as follows:

ऊं अग्ने व्रतपते व्रतं चरिष्यामि तत्ते प्रब्रवीमि तच्छकेयम् । 
तनोासमिदमहमन्तात्सत्यमुपैमि स्वाहा ।। 

O Fire of Aspiration! thou art the master of vows; and I shall observe the vows and disciplines. I declare before thee. May I be able to observe my vows. May I abide by the vow and may I attain the highest Truth rising from the untruth. Swaha.

Fire (अग्नि) has also been called Mystic Fire. Mystic Fire, it has been contended in the Vedic tradition, is the real fire, while the physical fire is only an outer manifestation.

But even physical fire has been worshipped because by its very nature, it is an agent of purification. Its basic qualities are those of heat and light. Vedic seers perceived three-fold physical fire, dada agni (physical fire that is normally seen in our daily life), vidyut agni (fire that is electricity), and saura agni (fire that burns in the suns or stars). They knew that even though all of them have certain common qualities, all of them have their distinctive characteristics and qualities. Corresponding to these three fires, Vedic rishis conceived of the inner fires, the inner fire that is the source of the three-fold physical fire of the physical universe, the fire that is the cause and the builder of life-force, and the fire that is the cause and builder of the mind-force. (These three fires were named the Fires of Nachiketas in the Katha Upanishad.) The physical, the vital and the mental were symbolically spoken of by them as, respectively, prithvi (पृथ्वी), antariksha (अन्तरिक्ष) and dyau (द्यौ).

As the physical fire always burns upward, even so, Mystic Fire, too, burns upward always. All human effort which uplifts human beings to higher and higher levels of thought, feeling and action are all inspired by the Mystic Fire. The Mystic Fire was discovered as the leader of the body, life and mind and was, therefore, addressed as the Priest of the sacrifice of body, life and mind constantly effected by human beings in their upward journey. Mystic Fire was, therefore, called in sanskrit Purohita, one which is placed in front of the human journey. Mystic Fire was also conceived as the invoker of higher forces. It was, therefore, known as Hota (होता). The third epithet of Mystic Fire was Ritwij, the knower of the truth and also the knower of the right seasons of the manifestation of the truth. Finally, it was also conceived as the one that brings the highest felicity. It was, therefore, known as Ratnadha (रत्नाधा), bearer of felicity and delight. We find that all these four epithets of Mystic Fire are contained in the very first verse of the Rig Veda, which reads as follows:

अ॒ग्निमी॑ळे पु॒रोहि॑तं य॒ज्ञस्य॑ दे॒वमृ॒त्विज॑म्।
होता॑रं रत्न॒धात॑मम्॥

"I worship the Mystic Fire which is leader of the sacrifice and which is the cosmic power that knows the Truth and seasons of the manifestation of the Truth, and which is also the invoker and bearer of supreme delight."

The message of this mantra, whether known consciously or riot known consciously, was sufficiently wide spread among all those who followed the Vedic tradition and it was the practice of the knowledge contained in this mantra that provided the sustaining force of unity in the life of the individual, in the life of the family and in the life of people in general.

Agni has also been regarded as vratapati (व्रतपति), the Lord of firm resolutions of upward effort and discipline. It is for this reason that all the vows and duties were undertaken in the presence of the sacrificial fire externally or of Mystic Fire internally. )

The greatest gift that the parents and the teacher have to give to the child is the following mantra, which is imparted to child at this Upanayana Samskara. This is the famous Gayatri mantra:

ऊं भूर्भुवः स्वः । तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं भर्गो देवस्य धीमहि । धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात् ।।

The meaning of it is:

We meditate upon the Supreme Splendour of Savitri, the Cosmic power that illumines and awakes everything in a new light, so that it may direct our intelligence.

At the end of the Upanayana Samskara, the father instructs the child and gives him the code of conduct as follows:

ब्रह्मचार्यसि असौ । अपोऽशान ।
कर्म कुरु । दिवा मा स्वाप्सीः ।
आचार्याधीनो वेदमधीष्व ।
आचार्याधीनो भवान्यत्राधर्माचरणात् ।
क्रोधानृते वर्जय ।

(Remember that you are celibate from today. Drink always pure waters of knowledge; perform your work; never sleep during day time; study the books of knowledge under the guidance of the teacher; be obedient to the teacher, but avoid any unrighteous action under every circumstance; gain mastery over anger and untruth. )

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


Marriage And Victory

Vedic ceremony of marriage is conceived as the festivity of victory, where the bride and bridegroom offer themselves to the Mystic Fire and pray for good conscience and competence, for forming good opinion, for right discrmination, for love for science, for love for arts and for strength of mind and body, and as also for observance of duties of various seasons of life.

With the help of Mystic Fire, the bride and the bridegroom are asked to ascend on the difficult journey that will ultimately give the highest delight of Divine Love, Soma.

Ideal Union Of Husband And Wife As Envisaged In The Vedic Vision In conclusion, we may sum up the ideal of marriage that emerges from the Vedic teaching.

To unite physical existences and material interests, to associate with each other so as to face together the difficulties and successes, the defeats and victories of life — this is the very basis of marriage.

To be united in feelings and to vibrate together in a common response to the same things, one by the other and one for the other — this is good essential.

To unite in thoughts harmonising and becoming complementary to each other, — this is also necessary; but even this is not enough.

Beyond it all, at the bottom, at the centre, at the summit of the being, there is a Supreme Truth of the being, an Eternal Light, independent of all circumstances of birth, of country, of environment, of education; the origin, cause and master of our spiritual development — it is That that gives a definite orientation to our existence; it is That that decides our destiny; it is in the consciousness of this that union should be effected. To be one in aspiration and ascension, to advance with the same step on the spiritual path — such is the secret of a durable union.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity


Application: Methods And Techniques


No applications can be effective unless the objectives and ideals are clearly grasped and held in mind and heart repeatedly and firmly.

The objectives and ideals that are embodied in the institution of marriage are the following:

  1. Love and Harmony;
  2. Faithfulness,
  3. Generation of vigorous children who can build the glorious future on firm foundation of the past and the present; and
  4. Unity of family life, of society and of the world.

Vows and duties which have been prescribed in the Vedic ceremony of marriage pertain to these four ideals and objectives.

The first step in application is to study and understand as deeply as possible the meanings of these vows and duties until one feels inspired to practise them.

1. Love And Harmony:

Love and harmony between husband and wife is the most essential objective.

Love may be defined as the emotion of delight which seeks relationships of closeness and union and finds varied expressions in acts of admiration, reverence, mutuality and identity.

The passion that is called love at the physical level is more often than not coarse, gross and so temporary that it dries up soon after the physical desire is satisfied.

At a higher level, love is an expression of deep-seated attraction of qualities of dynamism, strength, power and dignity.

At a still higher level, love expresses itself in quest of splendour of great and noble ideas, heroic courage and inexpressible charm of ideal beauty and joy.

It is only at the highest level that love rises to all-pervading Spirit that manifests itself in infinite relationships and activities of truth, beauty and goodness in ever progressive vastness and harmony.

Love is thus a movement of ascent, and at each level it must break the bounds of limiting nets of experiences until everything is transmuted by all-transforming Delight of the Spirit.

In the Veda, the highest power of Love has been given a name; that is Mitra, which is described as follows:

हिर॑ण्यनिर्णि॒गयो॑ अस्य॒ स्थूणा॒ वि भ्रा॑जते दि॒व्य१॒॑श्वाज॑नीव।
भ॒द्रे क्षेत्रे॒ निमि॑ता॒ तिल्वि॑ले वा स॒नेम॒ मध्वो॒ अधि॑गर्त्यस्य ॥७॥
(Rigveda 5,62,7)

"Its form is of golden light, iron is its pillar and shines in heaven as if the swift lightning; in the happy field it is shaped or in the field of the gleaming. May we win possession of the sweet honey which is in that home."

There are several steps and methods by which love of the lower levels is purified and led to higher heights of intensity and ultimate consummation.

It is to be recognised that love should not be killed. Its physical and other lower manifestations should, however, be controlled and transformed. Simultaneously, higher forms of love should be developed.

Let us dwell upon this point:

It is to be underlined that the Indian conception of human life recognises four basic motives which inspire human effort (Purushartha). These are, in ascending order, Kama (human desire, love and passion), Artha (pursuit of wealth and prosperity ), Dharma (pursuit of Right Action ) and Moksha (Liberation ). Indian culture does not negate any one of these four motives. Indian ideal is, therefore, not ascetic; it does not enjoin any torture or self-inflicting pain on lower motives and lower members of our being. At the same time, Kama which includes human passionate love, as also Artha, are expected to be restrained and controlled by Dharma.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Methods And Techniques Of The Control Of Kama By Dharma

(a )  One should avoid suppression of Kama and achieve control of Kama.

  • A distinction is made between control and suppression :

    In the process of suppression, one pushes down a feeling, emotion, desire or a passion from active state of consciousness, and one begins to believe that the feeling, emotion, desire or passion so pushed down is abolished or forgotten. But actually this does not happen, particularly, when one goes on indulging psychologically in the concerned feeling, emotion or desire or passion. Actually, the suppressed stuff goes into the subconscious and continues to wait for the right moment for its emergence, and when it emerges it is even stronger and wilder than ever before.

    In the process of control, one observes quietly the concerned feeling, emotion, desire and passion and one admits to onself if it is truly undesirable in the light of one's knowledge of Dharma. (Dharma has been discussed above to some extent in sections concerning Vows and Duties in Part I. )

    Next, effort is directed towards the rejection of the undesirable stuff of consciousness.

    This rejection is effected by two methods : (i) by concentrating light of the right idea of Dharma on the concerned stuff; and by repeated exercises, one is able to dissolve what is undesirable; (ii) by a strong act of will, one refuses to be a slave or a tool of the concerned undesirable stuff; and by repeated exercises one gains true control and even mastery to such an extent that the undesirable elements are removed from our psychological system and we become free from subjection to the concerned impulse or desire.
  • An important part in self-control is played by the control of senses. All lower expressions of love are sensuous in character, and control of senses is very important.
    A judicious indulgence restrained by luminous sense-control provides the progressive way.
  • The underlying cause of uncontrolled movement of senses is the uncontrolled mind. Therefore, control of the mind is to be effected.

    In this connection, we refer to the following statement of Arjuna in the Bhagavadgita:

    चञ्चलं हि मन: कृष्ण प्रमाथि बलवद्दृढम् |
    तस्याहं निग्रहं मन्ये वायोरिव सुदुष्करम् || 6, 34||

    O Krishna! Mind is restless and strong and obstinate. I believe that it is as difficult to control it as the wind.

    In answer, Sri Krishna gives the solution:

    असंशयं महाबाहो मनो दुर्निग्रहं चलम् |
    अभ्यासेन तु कौन्तेय वैराग्येण च गृह्यते ||6, 35||

    O Arjuna, there is no doubt that it is very difficult to control the mind. But it can be controlled by constant practice and disillusionment.

(b)      The second method is to renounce those objectives, associations and circumstances which impel any undesirable desires or passions. But this renunciation should not be ascetic in character. It should not be an escape; even if escape is inevitable, it should be temporary. Basically, renunciation should be inward in character.

Any movement in one's consciousness that enhances self-centredness, egoism, selfishness and personal satisfaction should be rejected from one's consciousness, and later on from all nooks and corners of our being.

(c)      The third method is to sublimate the lower by the higher. The grosser elements should be substituted by refined elements. Crude expressions and hankerings should be substituted by seekings of higher forms of beauty and cultural pursuits. A stage must come when the higher pursuits occupy our being and our time to such an extent that the lower things do not find any point of attention or place in our life. Eventually, higher pursuits of Dharma will become so powerful that one will feel uplifted from lower cravings.

(d )       The fourth method is to turn all our emotions towards ethical and spiritual Objectives. In due course, in the search of the Absolute, all our passions will
be consumed, uplifted and transformed.

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

2. Faithfulness:

Faithfulness may be defined as a state of trust, accpetance and loyalty which expresses itself in one-pointed relationship and serivce and excludes any other relationship or service which is inconsistent with the former.

Faithfulness is the sure basis of success.

True love inspires faithfulness, but even then one needs to cultivate faithfulness in every detail.

In relationship between husband and wife, faithfulness rooted in love is indispensable. In other relationships which subsist in the family or with others, where unity is to be preserved, faithfulness is essential, even though the element of love may be less explicit or may be of varieties different from what subsists between husband and wife.

Faithfulness demands continuous sacrifice of one's own inclinations, preferences, conveniences, interests and in certain circumstances, even one's own life. Practice of faithfulness is a long and continuous tapasya (austerity) and marriage imposes upon husband and wife as also upon other members of the family a rigorous course of tapasya.

In the Rigveda, the cosmic power that presides over sacrificial action has been given a name. It is Aryaman,

"Aryaman of the unbroken path, of the many chariots, who dwells as the seven-fold offerer of sacrifice in births of diverse forms." (X.64.5)

The Rigveda has discovered that the sacrifices needed in human journey are facilitated by contemplation of Aryaman, that great cosmic power, which is always associated with Mitra.

Aryaman presides over the human journey and carries it forward in its irresistible progresss which the attacks of the enemy cannot overcome or successfully interrupt so long as this divine Force is our leader. The journey is effected through a manifold movement of our evolution; that is why Aryaman is imaged as having many chariots. It is the journey of the human sacrifice which has varied energy of its action because there are varied principles in our being which have to be fulfilled in our integral perfection.

Methods And Techniques Of The Practice Of Faithfulness :

The first step is to develop the right sense of trust, acceptance and loyalty;

The second step is to develop the knowledge and the skills in respect of the work that manifests relationships of trust, acceptance and royalty;

The third step is to understand the distinction between faithfulness to the objectives and faithfulness to the individuals connected with the objectives, and to ensure that one's own attitudes and actions fulfil the objectives and promote thereby one's faithfulness to all connected with the objectives.

But this is not enough.

At a deeper level, faithfulness demands the knowledge of one's own swabhava (inmost nature issuing from one's own soul) and swadharma (law of the development of one's essential nature).

The discovery of the swabhava and swadharma is effected by a long process of purification from egoism and personal preferences and by living at deeper and deeper levels of the inner being where our soul dwells. As the Kathopanishad points out:

"Our inner self is seated in the midst of our being, and it is no larger than the finger of a man; it is the Master of what was and what shall be. Having seen it, one shrinks from nothing and abhors nothing."

अंगुष्ठमात्रः पुरुषो मध्य आत्मनि तिष्ठति ।
ईशानो भूतभव्यस्य न ततो विजुगुप्सते ।।
(Kathopanishad, 2,2, 12)

One has still to go farther.

Having discovered swabhava and swadharma, and having discovered the inmost self, one discovers the real seat of faithfulness in our deepest being.

It is the inmost faith in our deepest being and its destiny that we truly grow and become truly faithful in all our relationships. At this stage, faithfulness becomes spontaneous and effortless. For it is then that one discovers that the Divine is present everywhere, and it is to the Divine that one's deepest self and deepest faithfulness is consecrated.

To remain faithful to one's own swabhava and swadharma is the direct method of attainment of faithfulness in all our relationships.

The importance of swadharma and the importance of following one's own swadharma is so great that Lord Krishna declares:

स्वधर्मे निधनं श्रेय: परधर्मो भयावह: ||

"Death is preferable while following one's own dharma (law of action); pursuit of another's dharma (law of action ) is perilous."

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

3. Generation And Growth Of Vigorous Children:

Vedic tradition has laid down that one should aspire to have vigorous and brave children (वीर).

It is also underlined that in order to have vigorous progeny, both mother and father must be vigorous themselves. It was for that reason that there was a prescribed period of brahmacharya both for boys and girls covering the entire period of educational life before they could enter into relationship of marriage. Even the sacraments of impregnation (गर्भाधान) and celebration of pregnancy (simantonnayana) were conceived as practical methods of securing vigorous progeny. The same end was further advanced by the sacraments related to the birth of the child and several others during infancy of the child leading upto the sacrament of invesiture.of sacred thread, sacrament of Upanayana. Several special methods and techniques were also developed, some of which can be mentioned below.

Methods and Techniques Connected With The Birth and Growth of Children :
  1. The Vedic tradition recognises that even if an exceptional being or godly being was to be brought on the earth, it could be only through the agency of the motherhood of the women. That is why it has been prescribed that women should receive utmost protection from everybody (स्त्रियं रक्षेत् प्रयत्नतः, one should protect a woman with deliberate efforts). It has also been laid down that the mother and motherland are preferable even to Heaven ( जननी जन्मभूमिश्च सवर्गादपि गरीयसी I ).
  2. Security of the child is obtained only through a home, and Mahabharata declares that a house is a home only by virtue of the housewife (गृहमित्याहुः, गृहिणी गृहमध्यंत ।) ( महाभारत, 12,144.6.)
  3. The tradition recognises that it is only if the the wife is kept in a condition of happiness and contentment that she can bring forth healthy and happy children;
  4. The tradition has also a fund of knowledge according to which the wife can aspire to become a mother of exceptional child or children and that this aspiration can be intensified by regular practices of austerity or tapasya;
  5. It was also known that one can impart special character or qualities to the child even in the embryo, and one could provide pre-natal education to the growing child in the embryo.
  6. There was a tradition that a couple desiring to have a child should perform a sacrifice and invite the gods ( which are symbols of psychological powers and functions ) to preside over the mating and the formation of the body of the child to be. It was also prescribed that the period of pregnancy should be marked by a phase of retirement from the routine of ordinary life which should be devoted to noble thoughts and aspirations. It was held that the thought, feeling, and action of the mother during this period has a profound influence upon the psychological formation of the child in the embryo.

(Indian Epics and Puranas present us with numerous stories giving evidence of the Indian psychology of pre-natal education. In this respect is the famous story of Abhiymanyu in the Mahabharata.

It is related that Abhimanyu obtained the knowledge of a certain strategy called Chakravyuha, which is used in the war under exceptional circumstances, while he was still in his embryonic stage.

It is noteworthy that this truth of pre-natal education is now being increasingly confirmed through experiments which are being carried out in the West. Effects of certain kinds of sound and music on children in the embryo have also been tested and recorded.)

  1. Physical education was given a great importance. शरीरमाद्यं खलु धर्मसाधनम् , a healthy and sturdy body is the right instrument of upholding the ideal of life,, dharma ‒ such is the ancient sanskrit adage.
  2. Vedic system of education brought home to the student the message that human life is a journey, full of difficulties and obstacles, full of inferior truths mixed with errors. The system provided the knowledge of the means by which one can rise from inferior existence to the unmixed truth, boundless freedom and pure delight. The basic means that were encouraged wre the following:
    1. Burning aspiration.
    2. Development of illumined intelligence.
    3. Development of universality and harmony.
    4. Purification by austerity, self-restrain and self-sacrifice.
Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity
  1. The air and the atmosphere of the education was surcharged with the vibration of the following aspiration :
    Lead me from falsehood to Truth.
    Lead me from darkness to Light.
    Lead me from death to Immortality.

    ॐ असतो मा सद्गमय ।
    तमसो मा ज्योतिर्गमय ।
    मृत्योर्मा अमृतं गमय ।
  2. Swadhaya (self-study) was the corner stone of the pupil's discipline and method of learning.
  3. The teacher had no set method but he employed every method that would be
    suitable for the awakening of the pupil's interest, capacity and faculty. Often the teacher communicated in silence or through brief remarks or through dialogues. The teachers interwove their own lives with the lives of the pupils.
  4. Togetherness was the watch word of the teacher. He prayed:

    "Together may He protect us.
    Together may He possess us.
    Together may we make unto us strength and virility;
    May our study be full of light and power.
    May we never hate."

    ॐ सह नाववतु । सह नौ भुनक्तु । सह वीर्यं करवावहै । तेजस्वि नावधीतमस्तु मा विद्विषावहै ।
  5. The pupil was the central pillar of the Vedic system of education. The entire life of the Ashram was organised in such a way that it provided the right atmosphere for encouraging the student to develop all his/her potentialities in a harmonious and balanced manner. The pupil was asked to impose upon himself or herself the ideal and practice of brahmacharya which means not only physical countenance but also a constant burning aspiration for the knowledge of Brahmin.
  6. What was expected from the pupil was enthusiasm, utsaha, zeal to learn, to discover and to master.

    Pupils like Satyakama Jabala (used to search out their own teachers and seek approval for admission to their Gurukulas from them ). The teachers, too, used to pray for pupils. ("The Rishi in Taitareya Upanishad prays: "May the Bramacharins come unto me. From here and there may the Brahmacharins come unto me.May the Brahmacharins set forth unto me. May the Brahmacharins attain to peace of soul." आ मा यन्तु ब्रह्मचारिणः स्वाहा । वि मा यन्तु ब्रह्मचारिणः स्वाहा । प्र मा यन्तु ब्रह्मचारिणः स्वाहा । शमायन्तु ब्रह्मचारिणः स्वाहा।।)
  7. The pupil was expected to develop extraordinary memory, imagination and thought. The predominance of the oral tradition necessitated the cultivation of power of memory; the high content of philosophical and spiritual knowledge necessitated the cultivation of subtlety of thought; the setting of the ashram in the open forest necessitated the cultivation of intimate communion with nature and power of inner harmony, imagination and spontaneous delight.
  8. The following qualities were encouraged and developed among students:
    Benevolence, beneficence, compassion, altruism, kindliness, courage, heroism, loyalty, continence, truth, honour, justice, faith, obedience.
  9. In regard to mind, the ideal was to encourage pursuit of learning and knowledge, openness to poetry and art, sharp and subtle intelligence, and, above all, wisdom.
  10. A great emphasis was laid on the awakening of intellect. It was underlined that it was only the awakened intelligence that could be trained to develop the power of concentration. Secrets of concentration were taught by direct methods of the practice of meditation. The great Gayatri mantra enjoined upon the students to meditate upon the supreme light of the Spirit, and the prayer was that the intellect should be guided by the Supreme Light, which was defined as the light of comprehensive consciousness manifesting the Truth, the Right and the Vast, सत्यम्, ऋतम्, बृहत्.
  11. The austerity of meditation was directed to higher levels where one could rise up to the level of truth-consciousness and one could enrich one's thought by that consciousness. At a later stage, there was insistence on the irrigation of all parts of being (mind, life and body) with the truth that was realised at higher levels. Rishi Parashara describes in the Rigveda the path that was
    followed in this regard :

    दध॑न्नृ॒तं ध॒नय॑न्नस्य धी॒तिमादिद॒र्यो दि॑धि॒ष्वो॒३॒॑ विभृ॑त्राः। (Rigveda, 1,71,3)

    "They held the truth, they enriched its thought; then indeed, aspiring souls they, holding it in thought, bore it diffused in all their being."
  12. Instruction had lesser role than the living example of the inner life of the teacher. But more important than instruction and example, was the influence of the teacher, emanating not from any arbitrary authority but from the nearness of the soul of the teacher to the soul of the pupil.
  13. The life of the pupil was vigorous and rigorous, but there was no absence of mirth and joy.

    (In some of the accounts of the life in the ashram, there is ample evidence to show that the system of education was flexible, free from rigidties. In Abhijnana Shakuntalam, Kalidasa gives a beautiful portrayal of the ashram of Kanwa, a great Rishi revered by common people and kings alike. In this ashram, there were both boys and girls, and while the atmosphere was charged with tapasya, self-discipline, there was also fun and frolic among friends. No feeling of rigidity is portrayed in this beautiful ashram. Other accounts, too, such as those in the Ramayana and Mahabharata describe the colour and warmth of the inter-play of the forces of human nature, and give examples of how the teacher dealt with this inter-play with gentle firmness guided by mature experience and wisdom. )
  14. A great emphasis was laid upon the study of the tradition, so that the accumulated knowledge of the past was attempted to be transmitted to the students. At the same time, there was a great emphasis on the future. The Vedic Rishis worshipped dawns of the past, but also invited dawns of the future. They also suggested that knowledge was ever-progressive and that as one rises higher and higher, new horizons of knowledge begin to appear.

    ब्राह्मणस्त्वा शतक्रत उद् वंशमिव येमिरे ।
    यत् सानोः सानुमारूहद् भूर्यस्पिष्ट कवंम् ।।
    (Rigveda, 1.101, 2)

    The mind's movements climb thee like a ladder, 0 hundred-powered. As one ascends from peak to peak, there is made clear the joy that has still to be done.
  15. Vedic system of education was so organised as to develop young men and women capable of adventures of the future but rooted in the foundations of the past and the present.
Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

4. Unity of Family Life, of Society and of World:

The unity of the family life is ensured by:

  1. Love and harmony between husband and wife;
  2. Atmosphere of faithfulness;
  3. Protection offered to wife and children;
  4. Respect rendered to women of the family;
  5. Performance of various vows and duties, conceived as Yajna, consecrated to the Divine;
  6. Periodic sacraments;
  7. Loving care and education of children;
  8. Respect rendered to the teacher and to see that the child is sent for education as an inmate of the ashram;
  9. Regularity and right time of activities of life;
  10. Effort at purification, concentration and self-control among all members of the family The central symbol of the unity of the family life is symbolic Fire. This fire is periodically worshipped as sacrificial fire, but it is constantly worshipped as the inner fire of the soul engaged in upward aspiration.

    It was recognised that the central barrier in the process of unification is egoism. Hence, the Vedic tradition endeavored to reduce the claims of egoism to the utmost possible limit and even prescribed that ultimately egoism must be annihilated.

    This emphasis on the ideal of the elimination of egoism gave rise to the following methods and techniques :
    1. Development of joint family system in which increasing number of individuals were required to live together and to share together the trials of life, difficulties and tests as also rewards of labour and common fund of joys and sorrows. Each one was required to sacrifice his/her egoistic demand for the sake of the common welfare of the entire joint family. It also implied a good deal of training in the art of cooperation, common consultation and joint responsibility;
    2. In respect of wealth and possession, too, the joint family developed the sense of common holding and common enjoyment. The idea of personal property was subordinated to the idea of common property;
    3. A great emphasis was laid on the virtue of obedience, ‒ obedience to the elders, obedience to the teachers, obedience to dharma, and obedience to the Supreme Divine.

      (We find that one of the most important elements in the story of Ramayana is its emphasis on the virtue of obedience, where Rama accepted to give up impending coronation for the sake of obedience to the wishes of his father, and where, again, the self-giving of Bharata and Lakshmana was actuated by their sense of obedience to their elder brother. Obedience to the wishes of the people in the running of the government was an important aspect of the way in which Rama conducted his kingdom and shaped the ideal of democratic monarchy. Obedience to the teacher has been exemplified copiously in the annals of ancient Indian history as also in Itihasas and Puranas. )
    4. The great refrain of the Vedic sacrifice "Idam na mama", -- "this is not mine" was constantly reiterated in the Vedic sacrifices and it imparted an abiding message for the life of the family life as also the life of the society.
    5. Altruism came to be acknowledged as a common principle of life, and the ideal of  paropakara (परोपकार) came to be equated with the individual dharma and also social dharma.
Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity
  1. Dana (दान, gifting ) also came to be regarded as a common activity of life and it came to be practised dynamically by all sections of people, particularly by those who were rich and powerful.
  2. 'Yoga came be to developed with a view to annihilate ego totally, and liberation (मोक्ष) came to be recognised as a state in which egoism and desire are totally abolished.

    Unity of family life is a corner stone of unity of the society and eventually of the world.
  1. Vedic tradition utilised the unity of the family for purposes of securing social solidarity. It also undertook several other methods and techniques to fortify this goal. These included the following:
  2. It recognised that the individual and the society should synchronise their need of each other.Consequently, it recognised the need for individual freedom, communal freedom and of the cohesion and coherence of social life.
  3. It erected the ideals of the best, the law of the good or noble leader, of the disicipline laid down for the self-perfecting individual. This ideal of the best was the ideal of Arya, Shreshtha, Sanana, Sadhu.It was laid down that the leader of the society must lead exemplary life and must aim at perfection of the total human nature. As Lord Krishna declares in the Bhagavadgita:

    यद्यदाचरति श्रेष्ठस्तत्तदेवेतरो जन: |
    स यत्प्रमाणं कुरुते लोकस्तदनुवर्तते || 3, 21||

    "Whatever is done by the best, is done by others as well. Whatever standard he sets, world follows the same.
  4. It was also recognised that life is too complex to admit of arbitrary simplicity and uniformity of ideals which the moralising purists love. Natures differ, the position, the work each one has to do has its own claims and standards; the call of life, the call of the spirit within is not the same for everyone; turn of development capacity and are not equal. The social law or dharma, therefore, made room for this variety and did not lose by being rigidly one for all. A complex concept of dharma was evolved where it was special for the special person, stage of development, pursuit of life or individual field of action, but universal too in the broad lines which all ought to pursue.
  5. Vedic tradition gave recognition to the primary turn of human nature which seeks satisfaction of the motives of self-interest and hedonistic desire, kama, artha; ‒ but they were kept from entering into unbridled claim or heading ferociously towards their satisfaction. Dharma was conceived as a highest and supervening motive of life; and even dharma was subordinated to a still higher motive and aim, namely, that of spiritual liberation and perfection, mukti, moksha. And in pursuit of this aim, the individual was provided highest possible freedom, recognised and sanctified by the social law.
  6. Chaturvarnaya (system of four varanas) was devised to provide to each individual and every group of society the kind of work and duty which was appropriate to their need of development and their capacity to serve the needs of society  गुण कर्म विभागसहशः ( gunakarmavibhigahah ). (The ancient chaturvarnaya must not be judged by its later disintegration, degeneration and gross meaniningless parody, the caste system. Its true originality and permanent value was in the ethical and spiritual content which the thinkers and builders of society poured into this form.)
  7. Four great needs of society were recognised and provided for :

    There is, first, the physical man for whom the Vedic tradition provided a system of outer symbols and rituals, of festivals and other such occasions which even in his daily routine bring him into contact with the deeper truths that governs the cosmos. There is, next, the vital man, the man of emotion, passion and action, for whom there was created a vast literature of stories, kathas, a plethora of accounts and practices as in Puranas and Tantras which stimulate his imagination and experience and connect him to the deeper truths bf- the Spirit. There is, thridly, the intellectual man, to whom were offered different systems of knowledge, countless philosophies, and unending literature of commentaries. There is, finally, the spiritual man for whom the tradition provides an utter freedom from all dogmas, ceremonies and creeds and it offers him numerous paths of direct experience of the spiritual verities. The method utilised by the Vedic tradition was to combine all these four needs in a subtle and complex framework which established a perennial but ever-growing foundation for the solidarity and unity of the society.
Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

The social solidarity was further cemented by the great ideal of togetherness that was formulated in the Rigveda:

सं ग॑च्छध्वं॒ सं व॑दध्वं॒ सं वो॒ मनां॑सि जानताम् ।
दे॒वा भा॒गं यथा॒ पूर्वे॑ संजाना॒ना उ॒पास॑ते ॥
स॒मा॒नो मन्त्र॒: समि॑तिः समा॒नी स॑मा॒नं मन॑: स॒ह चि॒त्तमे॑षाम् ।
स॒मा॒नं मन्त्र॑म॒भि म॑न्त्रये वः समा॒नेन॑ वो ह॒विषा॑ जुहोमि ॥
स॒मा॒नी व॒ आकू॑तिः समा॒ना हृद॑यानि वः ।
स॒मा॒नम॑स्तु वो॒ मनो॒ यथा॑ व॒: सुस॒हास॑ति ॥
(Rigveda10,192,2-4 )

"May you move together, speak together in one voice, let your minds be of one accord; like the ancient sages, may you enjoy your assigned share of fortune. May your public prayers be common, and common be your assembly. May your minds be in accord; may your thinking be in harmony, — common the purpose, and common the desire. May your prayers and worship be alike and may your devotional offering be one and the same. May your resolves be one; may your hearts feel alike. May your thinking be one; and thus may all of you live happily with constant union."

It was on the basis of social unity that the ideal of unity of human kind was not only conceived but was made a part of the practice of daily life.

  1. The whole world was conceived as one nest and the whole world was conceived as one family : यत्र विश्वम् भवति एक नीडम्।
  2. The mind was asked to be open to all good thoughts that may come from every quarter of the world. आ नो भद्राः क्रतवो यन्तु विश्वतः। (Rigveda 1.81.1)
  3. Mind was enjoined to be filled with the universal good-will. As the Yajurveda declares:

    यत्प्रज्ञानमुत घेतो तिश्व यज्ज्योतिरन्तरमृत प्रजासु ।
    यस्मान्न मते किंचन कर्म क्रियते तन्मे मनः शिवसंकल्पमस्तु ।। ३४. ३ ।।
    "That which has the capacity of knowledge and power of concentration, that which is immortal light, seated among the people, that without which human beings can do not a single action; may that my mind, be moved by good-will."
  4. Vedic system of knowledge is centred on the discovery of means and methods by which the individual can establish constant communion with cosmic consciousness and could rise up to transcendental consciousness, and can bring back to the world the power of the transcendental consciousness for universal welfare.

    (Of Ayasya, the great Rishi, Rigveda declares that when he reached the highest end of his yogic search, he attained universality. तुरीयं स्विज्जन्यद्विश्वजन्योऽयास्यः।  Ayasya became universal when he attained to the highest plane of consciousness.)
  5. Moksha, spiritual liberation, which was conceived as the highest motive of human life, cannot be achieved, according to Vedic tradition, without trascending all limitations of egoism, and without attaining universality.

    To live in the world, and to seek universal welfare is thus the corner stone of the ideal and practice of the Vedic tradition.
Vedic Philosophy of Marriage and Its Application for Happiness and Prosperity

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