Mantra Mangalya: A ritual of marriage for liberals in the time of frenzied Vaidik influence

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As the dusk sets in on rainy season, dawn breaks out on wedding season with many couple getting into wedlock with diverse rituals set on the basis of castes and religions spending exorbitant money.

While the Karnataka government-led by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah is carefully making efforts to lay down certain sanctions on grand weddings to slash exorbitant spendings, here are a few atheists, rationalists and liberals who want to proclaim 'wedded' through 'simple' and 'liberal mode'.


These minor chunk want to keep ostentation and traditional rituals, which are generally associated to wedding, at bay.

'Mantra Mangalya' -- the name for many is unfamiliar especially for the people dwelling outside of Karnataka. An atheist, Prateeksha Shishila, is looking forward with zeal to marry through a ritual Mantra Mangalya that was advocated by Jnanpith laureate, late Kuppali Venkatappa Puttappa, famously known by his pen name Kuvempu.

"How many people in this generation acquire knowledge of great ideas of Kuvempu?" Prateeksha questions while announcing that she and her fiance resolved to get into wedlock to set an example for simple marriage thereby promoting the very idea of Kuvempu.

[How to apply for Marriage Certificate in India: Your complete guide]

"At least people, who will attend my wedding, would be influenced by the nature of simple wedding," Prateeksha observes.

Kuvempu's idea and advocacy of Mantra Mangalya is available in the book titled Mantra Mangalya published by Udayaravai Prakashana.

Mantra Mangalya way:

The bride and bridegroom are made to read some Kannada shlokas (hymns) written by Kuvempu.

"It is a kind of oath taking" says Dinesh Amin Mattu, Press Advisor to the Chief Minister of Karnataka. Mattu speaking to OneIndia said he has performed Mantra Mangalya for two weddings.

"My colleague got married through this way. He had called me to read the script to embrace relationship. Generally elders recite the oath to the couple and make them to repeat the hymns. All the procedures takes hardly 30 minutes as against long conventional and Brahminical ritual. Once they take the oath they exchange garlands or tie the knot. While Vaidik (Brahminical) rituals unfortunately seeped into many lives cutting across castes, this idea could be seen as liberal," Mattu opined.

Simple and rationalistic marriage:

Atheist Prateeksha Shishila, who is currently pursuing her BEd (Bachelor of Education), wants to marry through Kuvempu's idea as it categorically shuns caste system.

"Caste system has derailed equality in India and I want young generation to know modes of ending caste system."

"It is the ideal way for intercaste and inter-religion couple to socially formalize their relationship. Doing away with caste and religion should be the key priority to me." she viewed.

The marriage also hails simplicity, besides cost is very minimal. There is a rule in the book that ritual has to be performed before 50-100 audience.

"I do not want my father to spend lacs of money on jewelery and wedding," Prateeksha said.

For Jitu Nidle, a writer- the expense for his wedding was only Rs 6000. "This is Mantra Mangalya", he says.

Jitu has followed the norms laid by the book. He only invited close acquaints to his wedding and the descended crowd was not more than 100. Kuvempu laid the idea and it was first experimented on his son Poornachandra Tejaswi.

In a time where people set aside crores of money for wedding, this teaches why simplicity matters.

He said this ritual is not only meant for atheists but even theists can perform this as hymns also talk about spirituality.

When asked why the ritual was not popularized, he said there was no organized effort yet to publicise the idea, hence, it has remained in the shadows.

Jitu also spoke about legal aspect. The Mantra Mangalya has no legal sanctions and one has to register his/her marriage to get legal sanctions post-Mantra Mangalya.

However, in Jitu's case, he has not done so as he and his wife live solely on 'trust'. "For sure progressives can adopt Mantra Mangalya and only through progressive people' effort the ritual has to be passed on to generations."

No Vedic Influence:

"I have decided to marry through Kuvempu's way for two reasons - Simple marriage and no vedic influence," conveyed Bhaskar Bhat.

He is currently stationed at Madagascar to persue French language and literature. Bhat, speaking to OneIndia from Madagascar, said he was brought up in very orthodox Brahmin family and after witnessing illogical practices, he gradually, over the years, turned liberal. Bhashar is marrying a girl who is not from his caste.

The very Idea of Kuvempu opposes vedic marriage practice and this captured the mind of Bhaskar.

"In my view as my reading on Kuvempu goes, he was staunch anti-vedic," Bhaskar observed. He expressed this practice also talks about simple wedding. He admitted that there are spiritual laced hymns and said Kuvempu was not an atheist but liberal and rationalist. Since Kuvempu was just a writer and not an activist the idea was not publicized much.

Mantra Mangalya diluted:

Dinesh Amin Mattu is of a opinion after observing Mantra Mangalya evolve after years that it has diluted. The Mantra Mangalya was solution for simple marriage. But a few, though perform this unique ritual, they invite huge crowd spending money. "This was not the idea of Kuvempu." Mattu categorically observed that since there are hymns that talks about spirituality, a few atheists do not prefer this.

"During one of my friends' wedding we discussed in length about Mantra Mangalya and later he decided not to get married through this way as it possess spiritual aspect." Mattu at the same time said the ritual is liberal to many extent.




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