(Last Updated on : 11-09-2009)
The word Dampati means a husband and his wife. This word is known to one and all among the Hindus. But its religious as well as spiritual significance is known to very few only. The moment the marriage knot is tied after the performance of the enjoined marriage rites, they become partners for life and the tie can be broken only by the death of one of them. Thus the Hindu marriage is a sacrament and not a contract as it is in other countries.
It is laid down in the Hindu Dharma Sastras, that the ceremonials observed by a husband without the co-operation of his wife would be null and void. Hence an orthodox Hindu performs all ceremonies in company with his wife. If he goes on a pilgrimage, he takes his wife with him. If he performs the Sraddha for his Pitris i.e. manes, his wife co-operates with him and helps him. If he bestows gifts on others, his wife joins him in giving away the gift by pouring a spoonful of water on the article held by her husband. In giving away a daughter in marriage, his wife must join him in the observances of the formalities attached to it, else the gift is valueless. Some people consider it a sin to feed a Brahmin widower on certain occasions. Thus it can be seen that proper importance has been given to the observances and participations in religious functions by Hindu dampatis. An example can be set, as any machinery without one of its part cannot work properly. In the same way the observances of religious rites and ceremonies by a man in the absence of his wife would be just like trying to use machinery without its important part.
The sages of old who had knowledge of the working of forces set in motion by the observances of ceremonials, laid down principles, which if strictly followed. These principles would make the ceremonials really effective. People in olden days had implicit faith in the sages who laid down rules for them to follow and hence did exactly as they were bidden to do and were none the worse for it.
Science tells that a union of the positive and negative electricity is essential to emit a spark. Either kind of itself could affect nothing. Having this example as the basis, experts in Yoga opine that for the vivifying of certain centres in the human body forces from both sexes, male and female, should be utilized. So it can be inferred that the wholly devoted husband and wife, become a mighty pivot to move anything on. Most of the Dampatis of ancient days were such and consequently were able to achieve great things. Further people who propitiated them and worshipped them were the better for their act. Since they drew upon them from those Dampatis mighty influences, which they would otherwise be unable to do.
Like most of the customs, this fine custom too has been ignored. And, if at all it is observed anywhere, it is done in a ineffectual manner. This is because as the observer and the Dampatis are both regarded as unfit for the generation.