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Published on Wednesday, November 17, 2010 at 1850 Hrs. IST

It is said, marriages are made in heaven! ...And when marriages are done in the heaven on earth, in the immediate Divine presence of the Avatar of the Age, the joy of such a feat can only be described by the direct recepients of the benediction, ninety five couples who tied the nuptial knot in Prasanthi Nilayam this afternoon.

This morning, Sai Kulwant Hall, the venue of the mass marriage function presented a festive look with beautiful decorations in the traditional way. The dais was decorated traditionally with coconut leaves and flowers of various hues. The brides and bridegrooms were seated in an orderly fashion along with their parents for the function. Bhagawan came for the function at 1125 hrs. After Bhagawan came to the dais, the chief priest started the rituals for the marriage asking the brides and grooms to follow him religiously. At the outset, the chief priest declared that it was a very auspicious moment for the brides and grooms since they had the opportunity to celebrate their marriage in the Divine Presence of Bhagawan on the occasion of Bhagawan’s 85th Birthday Celebrations.

The proceedings began with the worship of Ganapati by the brides and grooms with Akshata (sanctified rice). Rituals like tying of Kankana (protective thread, which acts as a talisman) on the wrist and Kanya Dhanam (giving away the bride by her parents) were followed according to scriptural injunctions. Since this ritual entails that the bride and groom should not look at each other, a veil was placed in between them. Then came the most auspicious moment, the tying of Mangalasutra at 1159 hrs. when the bridegroom tied the Mangalasutra round the bride’s neck to the chant of hymns from the Vedas. Garlands were exchanged by the bride and groom and the couples went round the sacred fire observing the vow to be faithful to each other.

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An announcement was made that a few former students of Bhagawan from the Institute too had entered the wedlock on this auspicious occasion along with brides and grooms from the nearby villages. Bhagawan in His unbounded compassion had arranged for the distribution of articles of immediate household need. Even decorative jewellery, watches and sweets were distributed to the couples. Bhagawan then went down amidst the couples blessing the couples and their parents while the couples did Padanamaskar. Swami went in between in each of the rows as the research scholars from the Institute facilitated the free movement of Bhagawan. Swami had arranged a sumptuous feast for the couples and their relatives on this occasion. An announcement was made Bhagawan wants the couples to wear the new attire and come for the evening Darshan. Arati was offered to Bhagawan at 1255 hrs. and Bhagawan retired for the morning session.