According to the Hindu beliefs, marriages are made in heaven and once the marriage is performed, the two souls are joined for seven lifetimes. The significance of Saat Phere in the Hindu customs and rituals cannot be ignored. Saat Phere also is known as Saptapadi are the circumambulations or rounds around the sacred fire and is one of the most important rituals in Hindu marriage ceremony and seven vows are the seven promises that the couple makes to each other for happy and prosperous life. Without performing these rituals any Hindu marriage is incomplete. The significance of Saat Phere is that it sanctifies the union and affords social recognization to the marriage.
On the wedding day, the bride and groom sit under the mandap. The sacred fire is lighted along with the chanting of mantras by the pandit or priest. The corner of bride's saree and groom's Uttariya are tied together in a sacred knot by the pandit. The bride and the groom are asked to stand up. Then they take seven circumambulations around the sacred fire and utter different vows to each other. Furthermore, the bride sits on left of the groom before the Pheras and on right once they are done. Hence, let's take a look at the significance of Saat Phere in the Hindu marriage
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Significance of Saat Phere
Saptapadi Phera One
In the first Phera groom vows “Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman”. Which means 'You will offer me food and be helpful in every way possible. I will appreciate you and give welfare and happiness to you and our children’.
The bride agrees and vows "Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet". Which signifies ‘I am in control of the home, entire family, food and financial responsibilities'. Concisely, the bride and groom vow each other prosperity by satisfying their respective parts in their lives’.
Saptapadi Phera Two
In the second Phera groom vows “Om oorje jara dastayaha”. By this, he means ‘Together we will ensure the welfare of our family, home and our children from all arduous situations’.
The bride agrees and in return vows “Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam”. Which signifies ‘I will be with you at all times as your strength and I will provide you with support, courage and power. I will be happy to your happiness. In return, you will love me completely’.
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Saptapadi Phera Three
In the third Phera groom vows “Om rayas Santu joradastayaha”. By this, he means ‘May we become rich and prosperous. I shall look upon all other women as my sisters. Together, we will teach our children and may they live long and healthy life’.
In return, the bride vows, “Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha”. Which signifies ‘I will only love and adore you for my entire life, as you are now my husband. Every other man in my life will be secondary. I vow to remain chaste and support you in every step of our life’.
Saptapadi Phera Four
For the fourth Phera groom vows, “Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha”. By this, he means ‘You have brought auspiciousness and sacredness into my life. May we be blessed with obedient and virtuous, children. May they live long’.
In return, the bride vows, “Lalayami cha pade vadet”. Meaning, ‘I will shower you with joy, from head to toe. I will do my best to please you in every way I can’.
Saptapadi Phera Five
In the fifth Phera groom vows “Om prajabhyaha Santu jaradastayaha”. By this, he means ‘ You are my best friend now, and faithful well-wisher. You have come into my life, enhancing it. May God bestow his blessing on you’.
To this, the bride vows, “Arte arba sapade vadet”. Meaning ‘My Lord, I will share all of your happiness and sorrows. Your love will make me trust and honour you. I will carry out all your wishes’.
Saptapadi Phera Six
During the sixth Phera groom vows “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava”. Which means ‘You have filled my heart with immense contentment and joy. Will you do the kindness of filling my heart with joy like this for our entire life?’
The bride vows, “Yajna hom shashthe vacho vadet”. By this, she means ‘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.’
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Saptapadi Phera Seven
This is the last phera in which groom vows, “Om sakhi jaradastayahga”. Symbolising ‘We are now tied into a union of husband and wife.You are mine and I am yours for forever'.
The bride accepts this and vows “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade”. By this, she means ‘As God is our witness, I am now your wife. We will love, honour, respect and cherish each other for eternity.’
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The significance of Saat Phere or seven vows is of utmost importance in our Hindu marriage as they tie the couple in a lifelong union. Without these vows, a marriage is incomplete. They signify the love, trust, respect, purity and fidelity of two individuals towards each other. These vows reinforce the couple’s intent to stay together for the lifetime. Not only in this life but for the next seven lives. The vows generally summarise the Do’s and Don’ts for a happy married life. The couple promises to enter the marriage as friends and vows to look after each other and respect each other’s family till death do them apart.