What is the purpose of Shiksha in a Hindu wedding?
Shiksha literally means to teach or give instruction. Just when the marriage ceremony is complete and the newly wedded couple ready to leave, it is customary to impart shiksha to the young bride who will soon assume the responsibilities of a wife. Shiksha is invariably in the form of a poem that includes the names of the couple, parents, relatives and friends. The poem includes both, blessings and instructions for a new life in a new home.
It is emotionally worded and when recited evokes art outburst of emotions with the bride and the family weeping at the parting. Some do not approve of it because of emotional outbreaks, but the crying reminds everyone of the changing relationships. It also arouses in the mind of the bride the need to adapt and adjust to new surroundings and relationships.
Although shiksha is directed at the bride, the emotional outpouring creates a deep influence on the groom, making him aware how his wife is leaving behind old relationships. It also creates awareness for the need of his becoming more understanding and tolerant towards her.
Leaving the parents' home after having lived there for over two decades is invariably a difficult situation. But it is a way of life. Every girl must one day leave the parental home for her husband's house to raise a family. As the couple leaves, the bride carries puffed rice in her hands and throws it over her head. Her parental family walking behind her catches the rice in their outstretched clothes.