Hindu Wedding Saptapadi – Seven Steps – Seven Pheras – Saat Phera – Saat Vachan – Seven Vows – Mangal Pheras
Saptapadi (or Seven Phera or Saat Phera or Seven Steps or Seven Vows or Saat Vachan or Mangal Pheras) is the most important ceremony in a Hindu wedding. The Saptapadi ritual is conducted after the “Mangal Sutra” ceremony.
The bride and the groom take Seven Steps or Seven Phera around the Holy Fire (Saptapadi). The Holy Fire (or “Yagna”) is lit to pray to God Agni (Fire) to bless the married couple. A Hindu marriage is solemnized with the Fire God as its witness (“Agni Sakshi”) Before the Seven Pheras the groom’s “Dupatta” or “Kurta” is tied to the bride’s bridal Saree or Lehanga. The bridegroom and bride hold each other’s hand while circling the Holy Fire. The Seven Pheras are also called “Mangal Pheras”.
The groom leads the way around the Holy Fire for the first three Pheras and the bride leads the way for the remaining four Pheras. Some communities like the Marwari’s and Sindhi’s only perform Four Pheras. In such cases the groom leads the first three Pheras and the bride the last Phera. Before the Seven Pheras (“Mangal Pheras”), the bride sits to the LEFT of the groom. After the Saptapadi or Seven Pheras are over, the bride sits to the RIGHT of the groom.
In a Hindu marriage the bride and groom are considered as Gods and Goddesses in human form. The bride is considered a form of Goddess Lakshmi and the groom is considered a form of God Vishnu.
Seven Vows (Saat Vachan or Seven Promises) and Mantras of Saptapadi / Seven Steps / Seven Pheras
Both the Bride and the groom make Seven Vows to each other. These vows are in Sanskrit and are as follows:
SAPTAPADI PHERA 1:
Blessing for nourishing food and noble and respectful life.
PHERA 1: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman”.
I will love, cherish and provide for you and our children. You will support me and offer me food.
PHERA 1: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet”
I will honor you. I take upon myself the responsibilities of the house and children.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 2:
Pray for strength (physical and mental). Also pray for a peaceful and healthy life
PHERA 2: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om oorje jara dastayaha”
The groom promises to support his wife forever. Together we will defend our family and home.
PHERA 2: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam”
Bride vows to stand side by side with her husband in protecting their family and home.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 3:
Pray for prosperity and wisdom. Also pray for religious and spiritual strength and reaffirm their commitment to each other.
PHERA 3: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om rayas Santu joradastayaha”
The groom promises to work for the prosperity of his family. The groom also promises to be faithful to his wife and lead a spiritual life.
PHERA 3: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha”
The bride promises to be faithful to her husband and to support him.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 4:
Pray for the happiness of the couple
PHERA 4: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha”
The groom declares his good fortune at marrying his wife. The groom prays for a happy life and good children
PHERA 4: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Lalayami cha pade vadet.”
The bride affirms that she will do her best to please her husband.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 5:
Pray for happy children and happiness for all beings
PHERA 5: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om prajabhyaha Santu jaradastayaha”
Pray for the happiness and wellbeing of our family. May we have righteous and obedient children.
PHERA 5: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Arte arba sapade vadet”
I will trust and honor you. I will be with you always.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 6:
Pray that we live in perfect harmony. May we have a long and happy life
PHERA 6: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
May we be happy together forever.
PHERA 6: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Yajne home shashthe vacho vadet”
I will always be by your side in your endeavors.
SAPTAPADI PHERA 7:
May we always be good friends
PHERA 7: Bridegroom’s vow/promise:
“Om sakhi jaradastayahga.”
With this last Phera we forever belong to each other.
PHERA 7: Bride’s vow/promise:
“Attramshe sakshino vadet pade.”
I am delighted to be your wife. May we be together forever.