I always follow traditions blindly. I hardly question my elders on why some ways are done in a specific manner. The reason behind me not questioning the elders is that I don’t get a clear conceptual answer. However, I always have the questions on my mind and hmm I do ponder upon the answers.
When a woman is married she has to enter the future house, whether in-law’s place or her own home with right foot. Maybe I can rephrase this. One has to enter the doorstep with their right foot. This sounds weird. It apparently brings good omen . Well this is what I was told. I went into our vedic scriptures to find out the deeper significance.
These are my findings:
1) In vedic marriage bride’s right hand is held by the right hand of the groom. In Saptapadi the right leg toe of the bride is held by the right hand of the groom. The right toe of the bride is placed over the grinding stone also. So the right leg of the bride is used while entering the bridegroom’s house. The bridegroom is also entering with his right leg first.
The couple while entering the marriage hall use their right legs earlier.
(Right hand gesture or Mudra is used for archana, argaiyam, achamanium, naivedyam etc. in Pooja.)
2) Pani Grahanam:
After Mangalya Dharanam, the groom lowers his RIGHT palm and encloses it over the RIGHT hand of the bride. He covers all the five fingers of the RIGHT hand of the bride with his RIGHTpalm through this act of paani grahanam. He recites mantras in praise of Bhaga, Aryama, Savita, Indra, Agni, Suryan, Vayu and Saraswati, while holding the bride’s hand. He prays for long life, progeny, prosperity and harmony with the bride during their married life. The closed fingers of the RIGHT hand of the bride is said to represent her heart. The pani grahanam ritual symbolizes the bride surrendering her heart in the hands of the groom during the occasion of the marriage.
3) Sapta Padi:
During this ritual, the groom walks with the bride to the RIGHT side of the sacred fire. All along, he holds his wife’s RIGHT hand in his RIGHT hand in the way in which he held her hand during the PANI Grahanam ceremony. He stops, bends down and holds the RIGHT toe of his wife with his RIGHT hand and helps her take seven steps around the fire. At the beginning of each step, he recites a Veda mantra to invoke the blessings of Maha Vishnu. Through these seven mantras, he asks Maha Vishnu to follow in the footsteps of his wife and bless her with food, strength, piety, progeny, wealth, comfort and health.
Step 1.:- Ekamishe – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 2.:- Dhve Oorjve – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 3.:- Threeni Vruthaya – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 4.:- Chathvaari Maayo – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 5.:- Pancha Pasubhyaha – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 6.:- Shadru Thubhyaha – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
Step 7.:- Sapth Sapthabhyaha – Vishnuthva – Anvethu –
“Let Lord Maha Vishnu follow each one of your steps for the following specific purposes.
Step 1: To give you unlimited food.
Step 2. To give you excellent health and energy.
Step 3. To make you perform your vrithas (rituals) as ordained in Vedas, during your life time.
Step 4. To give you happiness in life.
Step 5. To make your cows and good animals to grow in strength and in numbers.
Step 6. To make all the seasons be beneficial to you.
Step 7. To make the homams (sacrifices to be done in Holy Fire) to be performed by you in your life as ordained in Vedas, successful and free from hindrances.”
Obviously, the idea behind this is to pray to Lord Vishnu, the protector of life, for his blessings in marital life.
At the conclusion of the seven steps, he addresses his wife with a moving statement from the Vedas.
“Sakaa -Sapthapadha -bhava Sakaayov -Saptha padhaa –Bhaboova”
By these seven steps you have taken with me, you have become my best friend.
“Sakyam -the’ -Ghame’yam Sakyaath -the’ Maayosham -Sakyan me”
I will never move out of this relationship. God has united us in this bondage.
“Maayosta -Samayaava -Samayaava Sangalpaavahai –Sampriyov”
We shall perform all activities together with love and affection.
“Rosishnu -Sumanasyamanov Ishamoorjam – abhi –Savasaanov”
Let us be friendly in our thoughts. Let us observe our duties and rituals together.
“Managhumsi -Samvrathaas smu Chiththaani -Aakaram –Sathvamasi”
If you are the lyrics, I am the music. If you are the music, I am the lyrics.
“Amooham -Amoohamasmi saa -Thvam –dhyowraham”
If I am the heavenly body, you are the earthly world.
“Pruthivee thvam -Retho’ aham -retho’ Bhruthvam –Manohamasmi”
While I am the life source, you are the carrier of the same.
“vak thvam -Saamaa ham asmi -Rukthvam –Saamaam”
I am the thoughts and you are the speech.
“Anuvradhaa -bhava Pumse’ Pumse’ -Puthraaya- Veththavai”
While you are the words, I am the meaning.
“Sriyai -Puthraaya -Veththavai ehi -Soonrurute”
With your sweet words, come with me to lead a prosperous life begetting our progeny with [male] children.
4) Stepping on the grinding stone:
After pradhana homam, the husband holds the RIGHT TOE of his wife and lifts her leg and places it on a flat granite grinding stone known as “ammikkal” in Tamil. The ammi stands at the right side of the sacred fire.
The husband recites a Veda mantra when he places the RIGHT foot of his wife on the ammi:
‘May you stand on this firm stone.
May you be rock-firm during your stay on this grinding stone.
May you stand up to those who oppose you while you carry out your time-honoured responsibilities as a wife sanctioned by the Vedas and tradition.
May our bonds as husband and wife be as strong as this stone.
May you develop tolerance to your enemies and put up a fair fight to defend your legitimate rights as the head of the household in a firm manner, equal to the steady strength of this grinding stone.’
5) Graha Pravesam:
This is done after Laja Homam. This ceremony relates to the journey of the wife to her husband’s home. The husband carries the sacred fire (homa agni) in a earthern vessel during this journey home. There are many Veda mantras associated with this journey. These mantras pray to the appropriate Vedic gods to remove all obstacles that one can experience in a journey. The bride is requested to become the mistress of the house and is reminded of her important role among the relatives of her husband.
After reaching her new home, she puts her RIGHT foot first in the house and recites the following Veda mantra:
Zaankhaayana Grhyasuutra, (ZGS3.5/3):
‘grhaan bhadran sumanasah prapadye aviiraghni viiravatah suviiraan I
iraam vahato ghrtam uksamaanah teshu aham sumanaah sam vizami
‘I enter this house with a happy heart. May I give birth to children, who observe the path of righteousness (dharma)! May this house that I enter today be prosperous forever and never be deficient in food. May this house be populated by people of virtue and pious thoughts.’
Now with a greater concept and rituals, I will enter any house right footed without clueless mind.
Source: Wikipedia, Yahoo – answers, Bhagavath Gita, father’s knowledge