In commonly accepted opinion any type of bond in human relations is not good. But in our culture when two people are united in any relation it is called knot. This bond or sacred knot is accepted by society. Rather we are happy to have such knots. There are some festivals, which glorify the word bond. Sisters and brothers are bonded. ‘Rakshabandhan’, the bond between sister and brother is celebrated. The feeling of bondage gives happiness, pleasure and security when two persons are bound with each other. Bondage of love, affection and security gives happiness. These bonds are invisible, but give the feeling of their existence. It is the fact that the moment a child takes birth she or he is bonded in so many bondages. Individual’s bonded life begins with his birth only. But all are ties to live together. These bonds give us opportunities to live united and unity brings happiness not only to human beings, but to entire beings. These invisible knots keep people stick together.
Among all these knots, one is taken between bridegroom and bride. In Hindu view, this bond is not for one, but for seven lives. When this type of relation is going to start which is expected to live long, some vows are taken from both sides. Vows taken by bridegroom and bride contain the essence of commitment from both sides, which promises to keep the life united and expectations from both the persons to live not only for each other, but for whole family members and its future also.
Now-a-days whenever I get chance to meet husbands and wives together of different age groups, I ask them whether they remember the vows they took at the time of marriage ceremony. Not a single pair recalls the vows. They are living together for two, three or five decades, but they did not feel necessary to remember the vows which were taken at the time of marriage ceremony and were left unwritten.
I always keep the paper on which the vows of bride and bride groom are written. I read one by one and ask the couple whether they have lived the lives following the vows; the fact is that the vows taken by two persons to live together for whole life is enough. They do not need to recall or remind other’s vows taken by themselves, which are to assist them in reminding the purpose of the bond or knot. Actually they forget that both are living together under a bond. Or they are tied up with a knot. They are happy or unhappy does not matter. They are living together for each other, children and the other family members is enough.
While performing the marriage rituals priest’s role is most important. He does not explain the vows taken by bride and bridegroom. Both are also not too much eager or curious to understand the deep meaning of the vows they are taking. Their attention is on other matters relevant or irrelevant on the occasion of marriage. Going round the sacred fire for seven times is necessary in marriage. It is called saath phere or saptapadi. While moving round the fire, both are tied with a knot of cloths. It is supposed that the knot that has been tied with mantras by Panditji will live for their whole life.
In married lives sometimes the knot begins to loose. Then of course, the untied knots pinch each-other. There must be somebody whether their friends, parents, society members or councillors to remind them their vows taken at the time of marriage. The vows are nothing but the commitment by each-other to live together and look after the family future. All the family members including their parents, children and other members like servants also are depending on the couple. This dependence is not economical only. The family members are depended on each-other for their emotional or other needs also. Actually the emotional or natural needs of the human beings are the main factor behind family unity. The first and third generations, where three generations are living together, are fully depended on middle generation. Husband and wife should be united for their dependents also. The knot which is tied at the time of marriage is not enough. It is the knot of cloths. While living the conjugal life both the parties pull towards each-others. Every party thinks that its stand in running the family should be carried on. They want to change each-other according to their own choice. Sometimes they change each-other. There are some points for which both the sides try and try and do not succeed. They do not accept their spouse’s stand. They become older and older exercising their strength to change each-other. They live together for their children and for their third generation also. While exercising to pull each-other the invisible marriage knot becomes harder. The belief of Hindu culture, that marriage life is for seven-birth takes the shape.
Coming to the seven vows one can come to conclusion that the marriage ceremony is in favour of bride. Without wife the life of a man is empty. He is single. Nobody in his family takes him seriously. After coming of the bride increase the status of the groom in his house and society.
At the time of marriage the first vow is taken that he will not spend night outside the home without any reason.
Second vow is that the happiness and sorrows of his siblings and friends will be hers also and he will willingly look after the necessities of the bride as her protector and sustainer.
Third vow is that the bride will enhance her strength with his strength. Bridegroom accepts.
Fourth vow is taken by bridegroom that the bride will live for him and he will take care of her.
Fifth vow taken by the bride is that the bridegroom will not be perturbed by her angry words. Whenever this situation arises, bride groom will keep mum or be peaceful. Groom accepts.
The bride says: “My parents have brought me up with care and now they have given my hand in your hand (kanyadan). You will never deride my family whether they have given some gifts or not (dowry).” – Bridegroom accepts the demand of the bride.
Seventh vow that groom takes is that the bride will also sit with him in every ritual and religious functions, but she will not share his sins. He agrees that he will not be in touch of any other lady.
Going through all the seven vows taken at the time of marriage, one comes to realise that marriage is in favour of bride. We can say that woman is the axis of family. But in practice the scenario is opposite. In conjugal life man has upper hand.
As I said earlier no wife or husband recalls the vows or commitments, even then both live for each other for whole life. If both of them try to make the life happy, the children also learn to live happily. Marriage lives should live long is the blessings of society. One marriage life is broken several others become victims. When the knot of marriage ceremony is not pinching or hurting, why is going to unite the knot. Untieding the knot can ruin the personal life also.