or the taking of seven steps by the bride and the bridegroom
before the sacred fire, is considered to be the rite
of prime importance in solemnizing a marriage. According
to Paraskar Grahaya Suktram and various other prominent
Smritis, marriage has no strength or recognition if
this rite is not duly performed. Until the bride has
performed the Saptapadi she is considered unmarried.
The Saptapadi is the only ritual that gives the right
to a girl to choose her husband in front of the sacred
A question that often comes to the mind is why seven
steps? Seven has a very deep spiritual, philosophical
& divine significance in it. There are seven matrikas
or seven aspects of mother energy. The sacred fire has
seven flames, there are seven porous pious rivers, seven
phases in the life of a woman, seven elements of body,
seven notes of music, seven rays of the sun and seven
main planets. Therefore, seven is always considered
to be a mystic number that bestows long life. In the
famous puranic story of Savitri and Satyavan, Savitri
mentions to Yamaraj (Lord of Death) that I have moved
with you for seven steps, so we are already friends.
As a friend how can you make me a widow by taking away
my husband Satyawan's soul. Hence the concept of Saptapadi
is very closely related with our mystic legends in the
tradition of fulfilling the four ends of human life
i.e. Dharma, Kama, Artha and Moksha in family life (grahasta).
While performing this rite, the bride, bearing in mind
all previous ceremonies of Kanyadaan and Laja Homa,
agrees to take the seven steps as the beginning of her
life together with the bridegroom.
It is important to mention here, that this ceremony
i.e. Saptapadi is mostly confused with pheras or agni
pradakshina. The agni pradakshina or pheras is a totally
different rite of four, three or seven circuits round
the sacred fire, three of which are led by the bride
and rest by bridegroom. The Saptapadi on the other hand
is the rite of seven steps taken together by the bride
and the bridegroom, at a slow and measured pace side-by-side
and step-by step in the north-eastern direction. While
moving forward the bride is always on the right side
so that the bridegroom's right hand is on her right
shoulder. He says to her "Let not your left foot surpass
your right foot." With each step, the bride and the
bridegroom take a pledge together.
esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman"
"My beloved, our love becomes
firm by your walking one step with me. You will offer
my food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish
you and provide for your welfare and happiness and that
of your children.
dhanyam pade vadet"
"I humbly submit to you, my
lord. Kindly give me the responsibility of the home,
food and finance. I promise you that I shall fulfil
all responsibilities towards the welfare of the family
and the children.
oorje jara dastayaha"
"My beloved, now you have
walked the second step with me. Fill my heart with strength
and courage and together we shall protect the household
and the children."
rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam"
"My lord, in your grief, I
shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In
your happiness, I shall rejoice, I promise you that
I will please you always with sweet words and take care
of the family and children. And you shall love me and
me alone as your wife.
rayas Santu joradastayaha"
"My beloved, now you have
walked three steps with me. By virtue of this, our wealth
and prosperity are going to grow. I shall look upon
all other woman as my sisters. Together, we will educate
our children and may they live long"
"Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha"
"My love, I will love you
with single minded devotion as my husband. I will treat
all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is
that of a chaste wife and you are my joy. This is my
commitment and my pledge to you."
"Om mayo bhavyas
"My beloved, it is a great
blessing that you have walked four steps with me. You
have brought auspiciousness and sacredness into my life.
May we be blessed with obedient and noble children.
May they live long."
"My lord, I will adorn myself
from head to toe with flowers, garlands and ornaments,
and anoint myself with sandalwood paste and fragrance
for your sake. I will serve you and please you in every
way I can."
"My beloved, now that you
have walked five steps with me, you have enriched my
life. May God bless you. May our loved ones live long
and share in our prosperity."
"Arte arba sapade vadet"
"My Lord, I will share your
joys and sorrows. Your love will make me trust and honour
you. I will carry out all your wishes."
"My beloved, you have filled
my heart with happiness walking six steps with me. May
you fill my heart with joy and peace at all times and
"Yajne home shashthe vacho vadet."
"My Lord, in all acts of righteousness,
in material prosperity in all enjoyment and divine acts,
I promise you I will participate and I shall always
be with you."
"Om sakhi jaradastayahga."
"My beloved, as you walked
the seven steps with me, our love and friendship became
eternal. We experienced spiritual union in God. Now
you have become completely mine and I offer my life
to you. Our marriage will be forever.
"My Lord, as per the law of
God and the holy scriptures, I have become your spouse
with the taking of the seventh step. Whatever promises
we gave, we did so with a pure mind. We will be truthful
to each other in all matters. We will love each other