By Swami Harshananda
Aśmārohaṇa literally means ‘mounting the stone’.
Among all the saihskāras or sacraments, vivāha or marriage, has been given the central place. Unlike in some other societies, marriage is not a social contract but a spiritual sacrament and hence considered as permanent and indissoluble.
Out of the several steps involved in the sacrament of marriage, aśmārohaṇa is also one ritual. When the couple go round the nuptial fire three times, this is called agnipariṇayana or circum-ambulating the fire, the bridegroom makes the bride step upon a mill-stone each time, with certain mantras. The purport of it is that she should be firm and steady like the stone in her marital life which is also a considered as a spiritual companionship.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore