Sapthapadi, the 7 steps is an important ritual in a marriage ceremony.
7 steps together
Here the bride and the bridegroom enter into an
understanding as they do Pradakshina,
circumambulate in the Agni, fire altar
life partner, with these 7 steps that we take together holding hands.”
stray from being companions.
2. We shall
have deep liking affection towards each other.
have a noble bent of mind.
4. May our
thinking, ideas and ideals be Alike.
we shall enjoy the bounties of food, desires and wealth.
6. Together we shall carry out our duties towards
the prosperity of our progeny, family and society.
7. Oh the truthful one, let us together tread this noble path.
Universal Practice with minor variations
While the concept is same, it is all about 7
steps. In Hindi, it is called Sathphera
Interpretation and regional variations have
occurred which is but natural.
This is the practical sharing of aspirations of a
husband to his wife at their poignant moment. It is these thoughts and the
symbolic 7 steps that is practiced in this form or in minor variants across the
land in Nagara, Grama and among Vanavasi too.
The ritual of Sapthapadi
is not just creating a bond between husband and wife but is a ritual that binds
the civilization across the land across times.
There is an interesting Indian legend on the
significance of Sapthapadi.
Significance of Saptapadi – Savitri Yama conversation
After Yama had taken the life of
Satyavan, Savithri the wife of Satyavan quietly follows Yama, for the soul of
Satyavan had left its body and was in Yama’s hand now. After some distance,
Yama observes Savithri following him and asks her to go back to her husband’s
body. Savithri then tells Yama that Satyavan’s soul is with Yama and hence is
following him. Savithri wants to engage Yama in a conversation, which Yama
initially refuses. Savthri then says that she has walked with Yama more than 7
steps and she is now his friend and would like to engage in a conversation with
At the end of their ensuing dialogue, Savithri with her guile is able to win over Yama and retrieve her husband.
The point to be taken from this
story is walking more than 7 steps together makes one a friend to engage in a
conversation. The Sapthapadi, the 7
steps is the beginning of the life long journey of the couple, where they have
the ageless time honoured, given right to engage in conversation to overcome
obstacles, including even winning over Yama. That is the strength of Sapthpadi, Sathphera.
India in the last few years have carried out three Surgical Strikes.
Surgical Strike at Indo-Myanmar border on 10th June 2015
Surgical Strike in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir (POK) on 29th September 2016.
Surgical Air Strike into Pakistan on 26th February 2019.
All these strikes have been successful.
Third Surgical Strike – Air Strike
This Surgical Air Strike has been carried out by the Indian
Air Force (IAF), to destroy 3 terror camps 2 POK – in Muzzafarabad and Chakothi
and one in Pakistan – in Balakot.
Thus this strike was not limited to POK, but was deep into Pakistan territory of Balakot.
This town Balakot is geographically near Abbottabad, where Pakistan was hiding the dreaded terrorist Osama Bin laden, where the US Army seals struck to eliminate him.
1000 Kg Bomb
The payload of the bombs dropped at the terrorist camp in
Balakot was in the range of 1000 kgs.
The effect of dropping a 1000 kg bomb in one spot is that everything there is smashed to smithereens.
Even Earthworms cannot survive
Even earthworms cannot survive that heavy pounding.
300 terrorists eliminated
It is guesstimated that about 300 terrorists have been eliminated in these air strikes.
First since 1971
Indian Air force has not crossed the Line of Control (LOC)
India has done so now decisively.
Pakistan – Terroristan
For long, Pakistan has been nurturing and harboring terrorist to such an extent that it is now recognized by the world community not as not Pakistan but Terroristan.
Deep Striking ability of IAF
This day February 26th should be remembered for the valour and the deep striking capacity of the Indian Air Force.
India’s right to defend itself
India should at frequent intervals eliminate these terror
bases in Pakistan to keep India safe from bomb blasting. Regular and Robust
attacks are a hall mark of a country that can rightfully defend itself and flex
its muscles in defending itself.
If Israel can carry out surgical strikes, If USA can carry
out surgical strikes, India too has clearly given the message that it can carry
out repeated surgical strikes, and successfully at that, and tellingly at that.
A resounding message.
More on the Surgical Strikes carried out by India, in our book, “Knowing New India”.
We all are familiar with this sloka, right from our school days. In most schools, the day begins with this chant,
But, some vested interests
now want this quotation be removed from schools, giving it a religious
A quotation in Samskrt, doesn’t mean that it belongs
only to the Hindu religion.
Behind every judge of the
Supreme Court is a logo which says, “Yato
Dharma Tato Jaya.”, meaning where there is Dharma, there is Victory. This is a quote from the Bhagavad Gita. Now, does this make the
Supreme Court a religious institution?
We need to take a closer look
at this sloka to understand its
universal representation, far removed from any religion.
A sloka, a verse sets context to what one needs to achieve.
What does this sloka say?
It says, lead us from unreal to Real, from darkness to Light and from death to Immortality. Peace, Peace, Peace.
Sat here stands for Truth, Real and Asat for Untruth, Unreal. Which school wouldn’t like to inculcate Truth in its students. Sat here also refers to that which is everlasting, and this prayer seeks that which is permanent and not ephemeral,
Maa Jyothir Gamaya
stands for darkness, inertia, ignorance. And Jyothir for light, clarity, wisdom. This prayer sets a
framework in mind for a student to come there for the sake of knowledge to a
school and seek knowledge in the right framework of mind. It is a sloka seeking to leverage mind power
successfully, to attain higher levels of knowledge.
In this sloka, the
student, a seeker who wants to dwell in knowledge, prays to the Divine to show
the path to tread, from ignorance to wisdom, the knowledge of the Sat, as against Asat. This knowledge in turn leads him / her on the pathway to
Which is what one seeks in the next part of the prayer.
Mrytyor Maa Amritam Gamaya
This part of the sloka seeks to take one from death,
mortality to immortality.
Mrithyu, Mrit stands for death and A – mrit, Amrit for Immortality. It is from the word Amrit that the Greek word Ambrotos is derived, which in turn became the latin word Ambrosia, for nectar. It is from this word Ambrosia that that the Christian word Ambrose is derived.
Again, it is from the word Mrit that the words mortal, mortality and immortality have come.
What is sought in this sloka here is not just longevity of the body, but immortality of the soul, the Atma.
Youth, Vitality and Longevity
Youth, vitality and longevity – a search for this has been
on since intelligence came into being.
In Indian legends, we have the concept of the nectar Amrit, phonetically similar to Ambrosia, which gives health, vitality and long life. Everyone, including the Divine, yearns after this Amrit, which comes from the churn of the milky oceans according to the symbolic Indian legend of Samudra Manthan. The Greeks later on came up with the concept of Ambrosia, the elixir of life.
This churning is not just a physical Manthan, churning, in an ocean of a
bygone era, but churning of ideas in the mind that happens in every knowledge seeker,
student in every school.
So this makes this mantra contextual and the right knowledge invocation mantra that is best suited for a school child every day.
The words “mind”, “man”, “human” etc. are rooted in the word Mana
for mind, which differentiates man from the rest of the animals, giving
human race the classification Manava, one who knows to use his mind, to
acquire knowledge, which is symbolized by Jyoti,
More on the role of Mind in the coming Mind era, in our book, Brand Bharat – Future From India.
Om Shanti Shanti Shanti
This prayer ends with calling for peace three times, for
body, mind and soul.
Peace is one of the core human values that our nation has stood for, and is one
of main reasons why this civilization has been a continuous one, and stood the
tests of time for many millennia, inspite of facing invasions and plunders.
Peace stands for a host of other qualities like equanimity, amity, harmony, tranquility, calmness, accord, friendship, silence, non-violence etc.
Not about Religion, but Knowledge Seeking
Thus we see that this prayer
doesn’t speak about any religion. It is context oriented, the context here
being knowledge seeking, and school is a place of knowledge seeking.
Infact, both the words religion and Hindu are alien to this land. The texts such as Upanishads are about philosophies of attaining the formless Divinity. A religion is rigid and dogmatic.
There is no perceivable problem in the quotation as it comes from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (1.2.28). Brihad means Big, Aryana means forest and Upanishad means to sit close. In ancient times, students used to seek knowledge by staying close to a Guru, in a Gurukul, which used to be located in a forest area.
Raja Janaka, had once, hosted a spiritual conference, which was attended by Rishi Yagnavalkya, Rishika Gargi Vachaknavi and many other Rishi and Rishika.
During the conference, there was a debate between Rishika
Gargi and Rishi Yagnavalkya. Rishika Gargi was accepted as a
leader by the male Rishi present there and considered qualified enough
to debate with Rishi Yagnavalkya, who was one of the foremost Rishi of
The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad is a record of their debate and includes this invocation sloka.
More on the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad in our book, Breaking The Myths – About Society.
ancient Indian Language
Mother of Indic and other languages
There might be some who object to the language. Samskrt is an ancient Indian language. It is a mother to most of the Indic and Indo-European languages.
In other countries too
In the current era, even the premier schools from all over the world, be it Germany, England or America, have understood the value of Samskrt and have started introducing it in their daily curriculum and invocation. Then why should we have problem in mouthing this timeless quote, which is an apt way to begin the day for students and to energize themselves.
A narrow mindset
However, many people feel that Samskrt indicates Hindu religion. This has got to do more with a narrow mindset.
Scientific use of Samskrt
Many leading experts have repeatedly pointed out the scientific usage of the Samskrt language, in the modern world.
Dr. B.R.Ambedkar in 1949, sponsored an amendment to Article 310, to make Samskrt the official language of Indian Union in place of Hindi.
The amendment was supported by
1. Dr. B.V. Kesar, Deputy Minister of External affairs
2. Prof. Naziruddin Ahmed
The report on this demand was published in all newspapers on 11th September, 1949.
What happened then?
Samskrt Dropped From Link Language, English Becomes Link Language
Dr. Ambedkar’s proposal fell through, as the bill for Samskrt was unfortunately defeated by just one vote in the Constituent Assemble. This point clearly emphasizes that the father of the Indian Constitution Bharat Ratna Sri Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, very clearly by his actions, wanted Samskrt to be the national and link language of India.
Hindi was chosen as the national language in 1947.
English was chosen as the link language.
With that, India missed the bus and the plot. More on thisin our book, Breaking The Myths – About Ability.
Dr. Abdul Kalam
One of the recent proponents of the scientific validity of Samskrt was Dr. A P J Abdul Kalam. He was among the leading scientists of the land and was secular to the core. He was a statesman, musician, and a scientist. An epitome of secularism in the true sense. This eminent scientist himself has used this quotation, multiple time, at different fora.
Thus, there can be no
objection to Samskrt or this
quotation in any way.
This Prayer, Asato Maa Satgamaya should continue to
be a part of our educational institutions, as it represents the timeless ethos
of this civilization.