Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Anniversary -- Remembering the Saptapadi

Greendaddy and I had wedding anniversary on February 19th. We haven't yet celebrated -- though we did have a babysitter that night, so we could go see Barak Obama speaking at a Houston megarally. I have an inkling Greendaddy wants to be the one to tell you all about that, so I won't go on about it.

In celebration of our anniversary I will announce the reinstatement of some of the pages I created for our wedding's website and post a little about the description of the vedic wedding ceremony and the vows we took that day here.

Notice, over to the right, beneath the profile of Greendaddy and I is a little link that says: Our Hindu Wedding. If you click it, you'll find prettier pages, pictures, and a detailed description of the entire cermeony.

On the Vedic Ceremony

The Vedic wedding ceremony is more than five thousand years old, and is still performed in Sanskrit. It weaves two souls, two families, and two communities into one harmonious existence and a deep significance is attached to every step within it. With the completion of the ceremony, Greendaddy and Magreen enter into Grihasthashram, the second phase of life, which is devoted to family.

Our wedding will be beautifully sung by the priest, Rajan Joshi. Few people know Sanskrit well enough to understand the literal meaning of the ceremony. According to the seers who wrote the verses, there is more than one kind of meaning to them-the meaning behind a word's definition and the vibrational meaning of a word, which transcends language barriers. Thus, Om has a literal meaning (peace/breath/all that is) and a physical meaning in that its sound connects a person hearing it to the universe. This idea extends to all words in the Vedic ceremony-they all have multiple literal and sonic/transcendental meanings. If the ceremony were translated into another language the sonic meaning would be lost.

Thus, the performance of a Sanskrit ceremony retains the particular sounds of the Sanskrit words, as it connects us to a tradition older than history. We hope his small book will help everybody present to understand the literal and symbolic meaning of the ceremony, and that the sounds of the chants will move us all to a higher plane.

Here are the vows we took. Though it was unusual for a vedic ceremony, Greendaddy and I repeated the core wedding vows in both Sanskrit and English. We worked hard to translate the Sanskrit vows into English because we wanted our guests (and ourselves!) to understand.

The nice thing about translating from Sanskrit is that it offers a lot of room for interpretation since many of the sounds mean many things. I think next anniversary I might add a few new fangled vows...but it is nice to remember what we began promising.

Saptapadi (Seven Steps) Wedding Vows

Greendaddy: With this step, let us love, cherish, and respect one another.
Magreen: With this step, I ask that our lives together be full of joy.

Greendaddy: I promise you my love until our last days.
Magreen: Let us create a home full of laughter, where we find serenity and strength.

Greendaddy: My love for you will grow deeper day by day, as we share in each other's trials and triumph.
Magreen: May our marriage be blessed by peace and harmony until our last days. Let us have a measure of patience and forgive with grace.

Greendaddy: May we enjoy lightness, joy, and beauty until our last days.
Magreen: From our foreheads to our feet shall we share in each other's bodies.

Greendaddy: I embrace your family as my own as well as our own yet to come.
Magreen: Hear me now, for richer or poorer, in sickness or in health, I will be with you.

Greendaddy: May we care for people more than possessions and for honor more than honors.
Magreen: May the dimensions of our home be measured not by the details of the house but by the depth of our sacrifice and the breadth of our studies.

Greendaddy: Let us be friends and partners until our last days.
Magreen: May all those present bear witness that we take these steps by our own will.

**Photos by Cristobal Perez, Azul Wedding Photography**


Anonymous said...

So beautiful, thank you for sharing this. Happy anniversary!

Amit said...

Happy Anniversary!! Those pictures are beautiful, and I loved the explanation of the vedic hymns. So will there be a post on how you two met each other? :) :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Anniversary, you two! Julie

Anonymous said...

Gorgeous!! Happy Anniversary!
Christy Daley

Robin said...

Happy Anniversary, green friends! xo

Mama Randa Morning Glory said...

Ooo, so beautiful! I have t admit that i HATE the traditional American white wedding. Such gorgeous traditions and ceremonies out there in the big wide world! WHen/if I wed, I hope to learn about all these wonderful traditions and weave my own unique ritual from bits and pieces of the ones I am drawn to. Happy anniversary!