In Hindu culture, marriage is one of the most important Sankara or rites of passage that a Hindu observes during his or her lifetime. Briefly stated, the marriage or the Vivaah Sanskar is the transition from the first stage of life, devoted to education and learning, to the second stage of life, devoted to building a household and raising children. The married couple pursues Dharma, performing the righteous duty, Artha, the acquisition of wealth and Kama, the enjoyment of natural desires. They lead a productive life of work, service and enjoyment, fulfilling various duties and obligations towards themselves, their families and society at large. In Hindu scripture, marriage is a sacrament with strong moral and ethical values. It is meant to unite the bride and the groom firmly so that they essentially become one in soul and spirit.
According to Ashwalaayan GrihSutra, for a man and a woman, there are eight different ways of getting married; “Brahm Vivaah” is considered the highest form of marriage where we join the bride and groom in matrimony with full consent and active participation of all family members and friends. The ceremony is meant to integrate the lives of the marrying couple across the two families and many generations, both horizontally and vertically.
The Hindu marriage ceremony is primarily based on the marriage of Surya, the daughter of Savita (The Sun) to Ashwinikumar, as described in the Rig-Veda, one of the oldest Hindu scriptures, written about 1500 BC. After Ashwinikumar wins the chariot race competing with hundreds of eligible bachelors, Savita gives away the bride in a splendid ceremony. The ceremony is written in Sanskrit, one of the oldest language in the world and is described in Grihya sutras, with many verses directly taken from Rigveda.