Method of Mandap and Marriage
Marriage period can be divided into three parts--- child marriage, adolescent marriage and marriage at mature age. Child marriage which relates to marriage at the age earlier to the age of adolescence and should never be performed.
Hindu religion is based on eternal philosophy of Vedas and this philosophy is well briefed in six shastras and Manusmirti etc., written by this rishis who were philosophers of Vedas, did practice of ashtang yoga, realized God and ved mantras within their heart. Those ancient rishis were like Manu, Atri, Kambadh, Matang, Patanjali, Vashisth Vyas Muni, and dignitaries like Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Mata Sita, brahamcharini Gargi who was Guru of king Janak and so may other multi million ancient rishis and Raj rishis.
In between there came a time, i.e., about 5000 years ago and thereafter started following smritis and shastras and now a days India mostly depends on the present saints and present holy books written between 3000 years time. So there are three types of periods--- eternal--l based on Vedas, middle period-- based on smritis and shastras/karam kand and present period-- which we are observing, whatsoever is going on, i.e., mostly against the Vedas and smritis. However, according to the eternal philosophy of Vedas, child marriage is not permitted. The age of marriage of boy is plus 25, 33 and 44 years up to which one has to be complete in Brahmacharya and of girl's the age is above 18 years. In middle period and present period, the custom of child marriage against Vedas started. Reason may be any, which has created a huge loss of humanity. In Manusmriti shlok 3/21, eighttypes of marriages have been stated, but of eight last two are prohibited:
1. Brahm Vivah (marriage) -- it is self decided marriage by girl. In this girl is married while performing holy yajna with the best learned boy searched by parents or herself and no dowry.
2. Dev Vivah -- in this marriage holy yajna is performed and to perform the yajna, number of learned boys are also invited. And in this marriage some good articles, clothes etc., are donated whereas in above stated Braham marriage nothing is donated.
3. Aarsh Vivah -- in this marriage the father of bridegroom takes nothing and marriage is performed in holy yajna.
4. Prajapatya Vivah -- in a holy yajna, learned person and parents do marriage and advice both (boy and the girl) to continue their family life religiously. In this marriage all the married learned persons give blessings to newly married couple.
5. Asur Vivah -- while performing holy yajna marriage is performed and the parents of girl give some dowry to bridegroom. It is not blessed by learned persons due to the involvement of dowry system, etc.
6. Gandharv Vivah -- where there is no Yaj and presence of any other person except girl and the boy. Both agreed to marry and continue family life.
7. Rakshas Vivah -- when a girl is forcefully taken and marriage is done, it is also not admitted by learned persons and is not religious.
8. Paishach Vivah -- in a lonely place if a girl is met while sleeping or she is mad etc., and someone outrages her modesty. It is also not admitted bylearned persons and is not religious.
These marriages are according to Manusmriti shlok 3/21.
Marriage is a religious function. In this religious function, the holy yajna with Ved mantras is performed. The ved mantras are also recited concerning the future family life of couple which makes pious effects on both hearts. It is performed by a learned person who knows Vedas. The following custom is performed. The welcome of whole barat and specially of bridegroom in mandap. The best seat is offered to bridegroom by bride, water is given to wash the hands, mouth and feet and to do achmann. System of donation of cow. Bridegroom also gives heartily respect to the bride. The yajna in full respect is performed. Pannigrahn custom is performed when bridegroom takes hand of bride, while reciting Ved mantras.
In Ved mantras, there are promises to be fulfilled like offering whole life by both to each other while doing pious deeds according to Vedas. Then both go around the holy fire of yajna between which holy Ved mantras are recited and offering of ghee and havan samagri is continued in the fire. Then the custom of Shila arohann is done which shows to be firm like a stone in the matter of moral duties of family etc. Then the custom of Phere is done. Then Saptpadi i.e., to go together up to seven steps, within the voice of Ved mantras wherein good advices remains. Then other custom are done. Mandap is made in both the houses i.e., in the house of bride and bridegroom too. Then barat i.e., bridegroom and their relatives, friends etc., reaches the house of parents of bride. The mandap, is already made in the house of bridegroom. It is mostly made of bamboos or sticks etc., duly decorated. In the middle of the mandap, a Yagya kund is placed in which pious fire is generated wherein Yaj is done offering aahuti of ghee and havan samagri etc.
Four small plates, four small bowls and one bowl of ghee, four small spoons, one big spoon, about one kg pure ghee, the dry twigs of mango tree, four packet of havan samagri, match box, camphor, one hand fan, a big bowl full of water, Yajopavit (sacred thread) turmeric powder, wheat flour, roli (a powder prepared from a mixture of turmeric and lime used to decorate the havan kund and mandap). Mandap comprises of four seats (asans) on ground to be occupied by purohit and others who will perform the marriage function, twowooden seats to be occupied by bride and bridegroom, flower garlands, sweets and boiled rice. The said articles are used in the decoration of mandap and to perform the holy yajna and to perform the marriagefunction, this is all in short please.