By Santosh Sachdeva
Rites of passage are being uniquely injected with spirit. Here, two seekers consecrate their marriage with a moving ceremony seeking universal blessings
When two seekers decide to tie the knot, chances are that they will bring their sensibility to the marriage ceremony. More and more are choosing to craft a celebration that is personally meaningful and aligned to their own belief systems. A case in point is the recent marriage of Sheetal Sanghvi, founder of the Pune-based Urban Ashram and his girlfriend, Khushmita Biyani, a yoga teacher. The two met at the Urban Ashram and their common aspirations and values knit them together.
The couple was keen to enhance the grace of their union through a mindful ceremony where they could be fully present and receptive to universal blessings and loving guidance. Accordingly, after the traditional, colourful Vedic wedding, a simple, yet sacred ceremony was designed to strengthen their intention of coming together in love, spiritual evolution and service.
The location was carefully chosen to emphasise our intrinsic connection with nature’s timeless beauty, grace and wisdom. Sunset brought out the gorgeous colours of the witnessing sky, river, greenery and birds. The serene venue was lit up with soft, discreet lights and The locale of the ceremony a minimalist gold and white theme added charm to the setting.
I had the honour of anchoring the ceremony. An excerpt:
“You are being held by the beautiful and nourishing Mother Earth.
May this remind you of the value of steadiness, nurturing and patience in your relationship.
The graceful river ambles on beside us. May the flowing waters remind you of the virtues of flexibility, adaptability and perseverance in your coming years. Just as your union was purified and blessed by the sacred fire, the sun shines its joy and ceaseless energy on you now.
May it continually remind you of the celebration, enthusiasm and productivity that light and lightness bring.
Dr Megha Deoskar, a close friend of Sheetal’s, rendered an exquisite chant of Adi Shankaracharya’s Atmashatakam (Chidananda rupam,Shivoham, Shivoham), Shivoham, Shivoham), transporting listeners to another realm. She was accompanied by the groom’s sister Mayatai. Dr Mangesh Teli (Khushmita’s uncle and Chairman at the Lotus Temple, Delhi) read words on marriage from the Bahai texts. Roya Singh, a school friend of Khushmita, sweetly sang a Baha-ullah verse. Madhusudan and Meghana Agrawal, the founders of MAM movies, jointly read Gibran’s famous passage, Manav Menon recites Rumi Fairy Mazkoorie singing her heart out You Were Born Together. Here is an excerpt: “Love one another but make not a bond of love. Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls. Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup. Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.”
This was followed by Dr S Pramod and Ritu Tripathi, friends of the groom, singing Gurubani – ‘Ik Onkar’. Manav Menon, a supporter of the Urban Ashram, then read the classic Rumi poem, Looking for your face. To share a small part of it:
From the beginning of my life I have been looking for your face but today I have seen it Today I have seen the charm, the beauty, the unfathomable grace of the face that I was looking for
After being attentively immersed in this grace and love, the couple moved away to a water deck to articulate the vision of their life together.
In the meantime, Fairy Mazkoorie, another school friend of Khushmita’s, rendered a soulful version of Shania Twain’s From this moment on. The couple was welcomed back with Fairy and Khorshid Raman singing a lively Top of the World.
All present now read the Apache Wedding Blessing, showering rose petals on them as they embarked on their new life:
Now you will feel no rain,
For each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold,
For each of you will be warmth to the other.
Now there is no more loneliness,
For each of you will be companion to the other.
Now you are two bodies,
But there is only one life before you.
Go now to your dwelling place,
To enter into the days of your togetherness.
And may your days be good and long upon the earth.