By Swami Harshananda
Sometimes transliterated as: Mangalasutra, MaJgalasutra, Maygalasutra
Mañgalasutra literally means ‘the auspicious thread’.
Vivāha or marriage is considered as an important sanskāra or sacrament in the life of every person. One of the primary steps in this sacrament is the tying of the mañgalasutra by the bridegroom round the neck of the bride, which she is expected to wear as long as her husband is alive. This rite comes after the saptapadī. The sutra generally consists of a string with golden and other beads including a coin-shaped amulet.
Though this is considered as one of the most important aspects of the marriage ritual now, it has not been mentioned in the earlier dharmaśāstra works. The Śaunakasmṛti is the earliest treatise to mention it. The practice must have come into vogue around A. D. 1000. In some works, the tying of kaṅkaṇa by the couple to each other’s hands is mentioned as ‘kaṅkaṇabandhana’. This cord is called maṅgalasutra.
- Kaṅkaṇa means the protective cord.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore