aśmārohaṇa

(‘mounting the stone’)

Among all the Hindu saṁskāras or sacraments, vivāha or marriage, has been given the central place. Unlike as in some other societies, marriage for a Hindu, is not a social contract but a spiritual sacrament and hence considered as perma-nent and indissoluble.

Out of the several steps involved in the sacrament of marriage, aśmārohaṇa is also one. When the couple go round the nuptial fire three times—this is called agnipariṇayana or circumambulating the fire—the bridegroom makes the bride step upon a mill-stone each time, with certain mantras, the purport of which is that she should be firm and steady like the stone, in her marital life which is spiritual companionship.

See also SAṀSKĀRAS and VIVĀHA.