Religion has been regarded as the heart of divinity in India. It brings a sense of connection with the higher self for the followers. Scripts written by Hindu scholars observe the diversity of the culture albeit with a unified faith in the religion. The scripts mention many events and occasion, which when read bring out a deeper sense of meaning for us humans to understand the natural ways of our Being.
One of the most revered Divine couples in the religion are Shiv and Parvati. The most solemn occasion connected with them was their marital union.
Parvati, being the form of Shakti, who took many births to unite with Shiv as life companion was regarded as the other half of Shiv. The marriage was a celestial event as all the Gods and Goddesses, beings from all Loks witnessed this event which was regarded as a holy union and an establishment of the union in a mate relationship.
The marriage saw Shiv and Parvati take 7 vows towards each other for leading a happy and successful married life. The vows were exchanged as :
“Parvati : My fortunes are through you. It is because of my deeds in my previous birth that I am blessed to have you now as my husband and I being your wife.
Shiv: I will always treat you with love. To keep you free from worries, I shall be with you in times of happiness and sorrow.
Parvati: I will be content with whatever I receive and shall provide care and nourishment to all persons of the family from children to elder.
Shiv: You will have freedom in running all affairs of the domestic life. I will provide you with all your daily requirements.
Parvati: I will follow your directions. I will prepare food and sweets for you.
Shiv: I will never desire any other woman. And I will be conscious of never seeking satisfaction from any other woman.
Parvati: I will adorn the jewels of purity. I will perform all actions with you by dedicating my mind, body and soul to it.
Shiv: I will never perform the actions of yajna, dharma and prayers in your absence. I will always be with you in every spiritual movement .
Parvati: I will maintain patience in times of struggle and will express my happiness in times of joy. I will never get close to any other man.
Shiv:  I will always be by your side and will jointly love each other in spending times with nature, delight, and entertainment. Your interest in nourishment will be upheld at all times.
Parvati: I will live with contentment in your home. I will live wherever you live. I will serve your family members with love. I will neither betray nor be betrayed by any of my dear ones.
Shiv: I will never deprive you of your rights as my better half. I will never abandon you from my being.
Parvati: In all actions of yajna and prayers I will be with you. I shall follow your directives in all actions of dharma, arth and kaam.
Everyone here present is witness that you have become my husband and I devote myself to you completely.
Shiva: I merge your heart into my being. You will continue to live in my thoughts, expression and body as One”

And thus the marriage was solemnised. The vows have undergone evolution. The essence is upheld through many generations. In modern times these vows form part of the ritual of saptpadi (seven sacred steps) which is regarded necessary for completion of marriage as per Hindu religion. Reading through the vows and reflecting upon them brings a deeper sense of understanding of our relationship with our mate.
The vows of bringing happiness into each other’s life, respecting each other’s decisions, performing actions together, never abandoning each other, accepting each other with love, providing nourishment and material requirements, becoming One from now onwards are all vows to understand our union with ourselves. The vows that are spelt are the vows that we make to ourselves- not only the 7 vows given by us but also the 7 vows given by the mate, since we are meant to assist and equally honour the vows of our mate. The vows are devoted to experience completion within self, understand the permanence of the being and absorb the true meaning of oneness through the relationship.
Mate brings unique experiences and understandings, which were not within our awareness whereas they form an intrinsic part of our lives. The thought processes may be different but the mate and we fit into each other as perfectly as two puzzle pieces fit into each other despite being of different sizes. Each sees life through a slightly different perspective but both merge their perspectives to view and live life holistically. Each accepts its duty towards the other and performs its role in the best of abilities and assists the other in performing their role effectively. Both believe, trust and impose faith on each other while becoming the better half for/of the other. Both decide to take care of each other and live life mutually with love.
Such is the beauty of a mate relationship that allows us to bloom in the relationship as well as a being. The above-said vows are brought in awareness at different junctures of life to understand that the mate is within us and vice versa thereby bringing us closer to experiencing the divine love in our being.
PS: the understandings are based on one of the Serenity Surrender workshops that I attended recently, namely “Acceptance of Mate”.  Serenity Surrender facilitates inclusive workshops that deal with multiple aspects of our lives and bring new perspectives such that one experiences a significant shift in one’s way of living and thinking.


About Author

Akhilesh Arora

The World is a Mirror (what we see or experience is a reflection of our current state of consciousness) - this line holds apt for Akhilesh while embarking on this journey of self realisation through Serenity Surrender(SS). What started off for Akhilesh as a sheer inquisitiveness and means to acquire knowledge of this modality, he was able to recognise and identify the deepest conflicts he had been carrying within. Whether it ranged from facing situations at the professional level with colleagues and seniors, or on the roads while dealing with

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