Jainism is one of the oldest religions known to mankind. It prescribes the dharma of non-injury to any living being, be how small it is. Non-violence, along with self-control is the guiding principles of Jainism and are very religiously practiced. The religion of Jainism doesn’t support the idea of an either a creator or a destroyer god. It speaks of eternal universe, divided into two parts – ascending or descending. During each part, it is believed that 24 tirthankaras shall visit the world and teach the right principles. Mahavira is the last known tirthankar known to modern history and is revered highly by the Jains.
Jain weddings – A unique cultural event
Jain weddings are unique in terms of the cultural practices and traditions among all Indian weddings or even Asian weddings. Like any other wedding, they are also very enthusiastic about weddings and have a series of pre-wedding, wedding and post-wedding events. A lot of planning is involved for Jain weddings where the families talk and understand each other and try to find the best partner for their son or daughter. In the marriage ceremony, a public proclamation of grand level is done with the belief that the couple will live together. The list of different events done in a Jain wedding is –
- Vinayakyantra puja
- Lagana lekhan
- Mada Mandap
- Phere, the actual marriage
- Granthi bandhan
- Ashirvada ceremony
- Sva Graha Aagamana
The preliminary occasion is the Sagai, which takes place in the groom's place. A puja puja is conducted called Vinayakyantra puja. The brother of the bride applies sindhoor on the forehead of the groom. The grooms are also handed over gifts like money, clothes, gold etc.
Next, the Lagana Lekhan is performed at the bride’s place. During this occasion, an auspicious time and date for the marriage is fixed. These details are then read out in the groom’s house called as the Lagana Vachan. This is followed by the Mada Mandap, performed by a priest.
The wedding rituals
The most important ritual is Phere which happens at the wedding. The bride and groom are made to seat in the mandap. The bride’s father holds his daughter with some rice and some money in her hand, and then hands over her hand to the groom. This is called Kanyadanam. The priest pours hold water on the couple’s hands for three times. This is followed by Granthi Bandhan where the bride’s sari is ties to the groom’s shawl.
The couple then takes the mangal pheras where they walk around the holy fire for seven times. During this time, the mahavir ashtak is chanted in the background. This is written by the great Jain poet Bhagchand. The couple then exchanges the garlands.
The couple is blessed by all the elders present wishing them long life, unity and a happy family. This is called the Ashirvada ceremony. The couple proceeds to the groom’s house from here and welcomed by the marital family. The wedding is followed by a reception organized by the groom’s family to all near and dear.