Sunday, June 11, 2006

Mangalyam tantunaanena...

This is the beginning of sacred mantra that is chanted during a marriage ceremony. It is chanted when the groom is tying the sacred mangalasutra around the bride’s neck, an act that seals the deal. If you are married you will know it. Actually even otherwise you will know it thanks to our philums. But do all of us know what it means? Well, I didn't know till today (!!!) This is the only mantra the poojari did not explain in the whole wedding process. (seriously, he was testing is English proficiency by explaining all the mantras to us while we were trying to concentrate on the fact that it is actually happening to the two of us in front of at least 400 people!) Coming back to the subject, the mantra goes like this "mAngalyam tantunAnena mama jIvanA hethunA kaNThe: badhnami subhahe! sanjIva Sarada: Satam" (pardon the ignorance if it isn’t accurate to the T, I am reproducing it here based on my auditory memory). Apparently it means "This is a sacred thread. This is essential for my long life. I tie this around your neck, O maiden having many auspicious attributes! May you live happily for a hundred years (with me)."

I am not sure how accurate this translation is, but this is explanation is widely accepted. Now what strikes me the most of this very sacred mantra is that it says "this sacred thread is essential for my long life" That is the bride groom's long life! And since you (the bride) have special attributes to keep me alive and prosperous I wish that you live for a hundred years with me. Very interesting indeed.

This was probably written to mean that "a man cannot live his life without a woman" And so they need to be united in a sacred (?!?) bond. But in today's context and after years of living in man's world it comes across as very selfish statement to me. It comes across as if a man needs woman ONLY because she can give him a long and happy life. Doesn't it?

I am suddenly interested in Vedas...I want to know read the scriptures to see what is actually written and how it has been interpreted or misinterpreted by Man.

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