We again returned to Mumbai, but this time to the home of Kishor and Rashmi Rathod.
Many of you will remember Rashmi as she visited the Devi Mandir a few years ago.
Their son, Dhruv, had been engaged for a number of years to his fiancé, Utsavi.
While at the farmhouse in Shahapur, Shree Maa had suggested they do the wedding on Kartik Purnima, which was in just a few days.
Swamiji had described to them the meaning and symbolism behind the Divya Vivaha (the Divine Marriage) which he performs and asked them if they wanted that kind of wedding.
They enthusiastically agreed!
As such, we prepared to perform the wedding when we returned to Mumbai.
As it was on short notice, and the ceremony would take place in their home, they only invited close family and friends to attend.
The house was decorated with colorful paper flags and strings of marigold flowers.
Two beautiful chairs were brought for the bride and groom to sit on, which Shree Maa decorated with strings of marigolds as well.
A henna artist came to decorate the hands of the bride and all the women in attendance — including Shree Maa! Shree Maa even colored her fingernails red.
Kishor and Rashmi’s daughter, Pooja, drew a small “Aum” on Swamiji’s hand with henna.
It was certainly fun watching everyone else prepare and I was relieved that I was not dragged in as an active participant to get my nails painted and flowers drawn on my hands.
As is traditional before a wedding, a Haldi or Pithi Ceremony is performed on the bride and groom.
As the Vidhi (method, procedure) goes, a short puja is first performed to the bride and groom, and then they get covered with a special paste of turmeric, sandalwood powder, and rose water.
There are various reasons for this ancient tradition. Not only does the Haldi mixture make the skin glow, but it is believed that the turmeric has powerful properties against negativity and purifies the body, mind, and soul prior to the wedding.
Also, those who rub the paste onto the bride and groom, are blessing them with a healthy, happy, and auspicious married life. It is a beautiful blessing.
Swamiji performed a short puja to Dhruv and Ustavi, and then the fun began!
Shree Maa and Swamiji, along with Kishor’s family, did the honors of smearing Dhruv and Utsavi with turmeric paste.
Then everyone else took turns applying the paste. This was an occasion that was full of smiles and joy.
One the Haldi ceremony was over, the bride and groom departed to separate quarters to bath and get dressed for the wedding ceremony, which took place soon thereafter.
Shree Maa took care of many of the details of setting-up the wedding herself. For example, in India the groom often wears a stylishly tied turban during the wedding.
One devotee looked up a Youtube video on how to tie the turban and showed it to Shree Maa.
She sweetly and lovingly tied the turban on Dhruv’s head herself for his wedding. What a blessing!
In front of the altar that Shree Maa had constructed for Puja, the bride and groom sat on two pillows facing each other.
Swamiji sat adjacent to them and led them both in performing Puja to each other.
Utsavi worshipped her soon to be husband, Dhruv, as Shiva.
Equally and reciprocally, Dhruv, with the help of Swamiji, properly worshipped her as the Divine Mother.
It was a beautiful exchange of love and inspiration, between both the bride and groom, as well as the devotees and their Gurus.
Swamiji’s loving and playful antics made everyone to smile and laugh, and created a joyful atmosphere that pervaded everyone present. Smiles could be seen on faces all around.
Swamiji’s playfulness coupled with his perfection in understanding and chanting the Sanskrit mantras of the ceremony is something totally unique. Dhruv and Utsavi could not have hoped to find anyone else who could inspire such a mirth in the wedding while also executing the ceremony so perfectly.
Next Swamiji took Dhruv and sat him in one of the decorative chairs and proceeded to blindfolded him.
Utsavi and Swamiji then walked around him seven times offering a rose at his feet each time.
Swamiji explains that Shiva accepts blindly whatever the Divine Mother wants to give him, and she in turn only wants to give him her surrender.
Everyone present showered the bride, groom and Swamiji with flowers as they walked around. Some flowers even got stuck in Swamiji’s hair and everyone enjoyed the sight.
How enthusiastically and lovingly everyone showered flower petals on the soon to be husband and wife!
Swamiji then stood Dhruv up and asked him if he was ready to remove the blindfold and see what he got. Dhruv replied, “Yes!”
Swamiji removed the blindfold and Dhruv saw Utsavi standing before him. They both lovingly gazed at each other.
When the Divine Fire had been duly invited and worshipped, the couple stood up and, led by Swamiji, walked around the Divine Fire seven times.
Then came the vow of the seven steps with the Divine Fire as the witness.
After taking the seven steps together, and making seven promises to one another, they again sat back down together.
Swamiji tied his mala around their hands and pronounced the mantra saying, “Not Brahma, not Shiva, nor Vishnu, so long as the sun and the moon shine in the sky, no one can untie this knot.”
I could see Dhruv intently looking at Swamiji when he spoke these words.
Dhruv told me sometime after the wedding that he had a lot of faith in this Vidhi (part of the marriage) and was very eager to get such a guarantee of their union from Swamiji.
Then they exchanged the flower garlands that they were wearing, put sindhur in her hair, and both bowed down to each other and blessed each other and then received the blessings of their families as well.
The families on both sides, as well as the bride and groom, were brimming with joy, inspired by the atmosphere of happiness which Swamiji and Shree Maa had created, as well as their love for one another.
At the end of the wedding, Dhruv and Utsavi sat together on two decorative chairs as the images of Shiva and Shakti sitting together. Shree Maa was first to pick up the arati plate and wave the lights before them. Then everyone else followed suit. Near the end of the arati, Swamiji put down his keyboard, and dancing and smiling, waved the lights before them. Now the marriage was really complete.
We were able to broadcast this event live and even have a video. Watch the two-part video below:
Swamiji and Shree Maa tried their utmost to convey the bhavana (spiritual feeling) of divine marriage throughout the ceremony. They tried to give the couple, and everyone else present, the feeling that they are divine beings, in a divine union, which is for the express purpose of mutually inspiring each other to remember God and divinity all the time.
If she could respect him as Shiva, then he would be inspired to respect her as Shakti, the Divine Mother. Likewise, if he would respect and love her as the Divine Mother, then she would be inspired to remember him as Shiva, the Consciousness of Infinite Goodness, and together they would obtain the highest goal.
Please join me in blessing Dhruv and Utsavi with a happy, prosperous and divine life together!
Jai Maa! Jai Swamiji!