I remember sitting on the London underground the first night I met my husband, looking at him and thinking “this is my husband”. I already felt that I was his wife. My husband told me that my father-in-law said “marriages are made in heaven, we just have to do the rituals again on Earth”. This is exactly how it felt for us.
When I arrived in India in June we had already decided that we would confirm our marriage on Earth as soon as possible. There are eight types of marriage described in the ancient Hindu texts. One of these, Gandharva marriage, is a love marriage where the girl and the boy get married secretly without the knowledge of their parents. The kamasutra regards this marriage as an ideal one and there are lots of examples of such marriages in Hindu mythology. This type of marriage involves a simple exchange of garlands. There is no need for witnesses, the only witness is God himself.
“Gandharva vivaha is supposed to be witnessed by ‘Gandharvas’ (powers associated with God). There is no superior authority for approval other than God. If God is for us, who could be against us? If God or Gandharvas have witnessed it, everyone deemed to have witnessed it, and hence there is no need to register it. There is no need to prove it to any other authorities once you have cleared it with the heavens. It is set in stone.”
So, without telling anyone, on June the 23rd we travelled to a temple in Arvi to get married.
This temple had been built by one of my Husbands great Grandfathers and so was the perfect place to get married. We bought two garlands, a small pot of sindoor and sweets to offer to God. The temple was so beautiful and tranquil, I loved it there so much, I could have happily sat there for hours. There were some young children running around playing hide and seek, they were so cute. My husband told me used to do the same with his cousins when he was a child, it was so lovely see a snapshot of his childhood by watching these children. I felt so happy, I cannot even describe it.
We entered the temple and became Husband and Wife (again) in front of Lord Shiva. We exchanged garlands of marigolds and my Husband applied sindoor to the top of my forehead. It was so beautiful and simply perfect. We gave the sweets we had offered to God, to the children who were playing together in the temple.
I wore my pink dress that day and now regard it as my wedding dress. We are still going to have a wedding including our families but it was so special and wonderful to have a marriage in front of God alone.
A week or so later, my in-laws took me to see an uncle who is a palmist so he could read my palm. He told us he could see that my Husband and I were married in our previous life… we already knew that months ago.