With saptapadi or saat phere, a marriage in Hindu culture is believed to be solemnized.
Only after the seven steps at the altar, the bride is accepted to be married.
Why seven? Well, seven is believed to be a mystic number that bestows long life. All the life-oriented things come as seven, like seven aspects of energy, seven flames of sacred fire, seven notes of music, seven rays of the sun, and seven main planets.
With the seven steps to the sacred agni, the couple vow seven wachanas(Promises).
The wachanas are as follows:
1) Bridegroom Says : “Om esha ekapadi bhava iti prathaman” “My beloved, our love becomes firm by your walking one step with me. You will offer my food and be helpful in every way. I will cherish you and provide for your welfare and happiness and that of your children“.
Bride Says : “Dhanam dhanyam pade vadet” “I humbly submit to you, my lord. Kindly give me the responsibility of the home, food and finance. I promise you that I shall fulfil all responsibilities towards the welfare of the family and the children.”
2) Bridegroom Says :“Om oorje jara dastayaha” “My beloved, now you have walked the second step with me. Fill my heart with strength and courage and together we shall protect the household and the children.”
Bride Says : “Kutumburn rakshayishyammi sa aravindharam” “My lord, in your grief, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In your happiness, I shall rejoice, I promise you that I will please you always with sweet words and take care of the family and children. And you shall love me and me alone as your wife.”
3)Bridegroom says : “Om rayas Santu joradastayaha” “My beloved, now you have walked three steps with me. By virtue of this, our wealth and prosperity are going to grow. I shall look upon all other woman as my sisters. Together, we will educate our children and may they live long”
Bride Says : “Tava bhakti as vadedvachacha” “My love, I will love you with single minded devotion as my husband. I will treat all other men as my brothers. My devotion to you is that of a chaste wife and you are my joy. This is my commitment and my pledge to you.”
4)Bridegroom Says : “Om mayo bhavyas jaradastaya ha” “My beloved, it is a great blessing that you have walked four steps with me. You have brought auspiciousness and sacredness into my life. May we be blessed with obedient and noble children. May they live long.”
Bride Says “Lalayami cha pade vadet.” “My lord, I will adorn myself from head to toe with flowers, garlands and ornaments, and anoint myself with sandalwood paste and fragrance for your sake. I will serve you and please you in every way I can.”
5)Bridegroom Says : “Om prajabhyaha Santu jaradastayaha” “My beloved, now that you have walked five steps with me, you have enriched my life. May God bless you. May our loved ones live long and share in our prosperity.”
Bride Says : “Arte arba sapade vadet” “My Lord, I will share your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me trust and honour you. I will carry out all your wishes.”
6)Bridegroom Says : “Rutubhyah shat padi bhava” “My beloved, you have filled my heart with happiness walking six steps with me. May you fill my heart with joy and peace at all times and seasons.”
Bride says: “Yajne home shashthe vacho vadet” “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.”
7)Bridegroom says: “Om sakhi jaradastayahga.” “My beloved, as you walked the seven steps with me, our love and friendship became eternal. We experienced spiritual union in God. Now you have become completely mine and I offer my life to you. Our marriage will be forever.
Bride Says : “Attramshe sakshino vadet pade” “My Lord, as per the law of God and the holy scriptures, I have become your spouse with the taking of the seventh step. Whatever promises we gave, we did so with a pure mind. We will be truthful to each other in all matters. We will love each other forever.”
The promises are made with the sacred fire witnessing the couple.
And the seven steps further sanctify their promises.