seven pheras

Know what the seven pheras mean.

Hindu marriage ceremonies involve elaborate rituals, one of the most important being the "saat phere" or the seven steps to marriage. This ritual involves the bride and groom circumambulating around the sacred fire seven times while the priest chants the holy mantras. With every step, the couple invokes the Gods to shower their blessings on them.

The significance of each sacred "phera" is as follows:

First Step:
The couple invokes the gods for plenty of pure and nourishing food. "With God as our guide, let us take the first step to live with honour and respect. Let us walk together so we get food," the couple prays.

Second Step:
With the second step, the couple prays to the Gods to give them the mental, physical and spiritual strength to lead a healthy life. "Let us be happy and enjoy life. Let us walk together so we grow together in strength," they pray.

Third Step:
The third step is for preserving wealth and prosperity in life. The chant at this stage means, "let us share joys and pains together. Let us walk together so we get wealth."

Fourth Step:
With the fourth step, the bride and groom invoke the gods for attainment of happiness and harmony by mutual love and trust in all walks of life. "Let us not forget parents and elders. Let us walk together so we get happiness by sharing our joys and sorrows," they say.

Fifth Step:
They pray for the welfare of all living beings in the Universe and pray for virtuous, noble and heroic children." Let us observe all acts of charity. Let us walk together so we have family," the mantras say.

Sixth Step:
They ask the gods to give them a long, joyous life and togetherness forever. "Let us live a long and peaceful life. Let us walk together so we have joy," the couple prays.

Seventh Step:
With the seventh, and last, step, the couple prays for understanding, companionship, loyalty and unity. "Let us be friends with love and sacrifice. Let us walk together so we have friendship," the holy chants signify.
After the seventh step has been taken, the groom says to the bride: "With seven steps we have become friends. Let me reach your friendship. Let me not be severed from your friendship. Let your friendship not be severed from me." With completion of the saptapadi, the two are pronounced husband and wife.

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