Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Upanayana and Ved Aarambh Yagyopaveet Mekhela sanskar

Upanayan and Vedaarambh - initiation to the vedas- these rituals are so closely inter-knit that it would be better not to separate them. Upanayan signifies that hereafter the boy or the girl will start their pursuit of knowledge of the vedas , this means in modern terminology that the child will begin his education. Upanayan is the entry door to the temple of learning to know ourselves, after entering this door , the pursuit of study of knowledge is Vedaarambh             ( God and Man )

Age for Upanayan -
The primary function of the ritual of 'Upanayan' is wearing the sacred thread-Yajyopavee according to the grihyasutra in the traditional Hindu hierarchy of brahman , kshtriya and vaishya - the rituals are preformed in the 7th, 9th, 12th, 16th years of the child respectively 'Saftam varshe braahmanam upanayet, Navmam kshatriyam, dwaadashe vaishyam and shudsham to shudrha - this is the established method. Those whose Upanayan ceremony is not performed in these years are considered degraded - "ata oordhwam patit-savitrikaa bhavanti"

It is clear that those who want their child to be cultured and virtuous should perform this ceremony as early as possible.

Brahm-varchas-kaamasya kaaryam viprasya panchame. Raajyo balaarthinah shashthe vaishyasya -ihaarthinoashtame.

Who desire that the child should imbibe knowledge, strength and conduct earlier and the child is also suitable in studies; then he should perform the sacrament of yajyopaveet as ; for a brahman son in the 7th year from birth , the son of a kshtriya in the 9th son of vaishya in the 12th, and 16th year for the son of a sudraha.

After Upanayan the child is called 'dwij'- its meaning
'Dwij' means he who is born second time parents provide first birth, but when the child absorbs himself in the environment of culture transforming into a new human; that is the second birth of the child.

Manusmriti says " Janmanaa jaayate shudrah sanskaaraat dwij unchyate" - all are born shudrah sanskaaraat dwij uchyate" - all are born shudras it is sanskars which make him "dwij". Man cannot be a man without sanskars.             ( Anantnag )

The significance of Yajjopaveet
Yajjopaveet has three threads which signify 3 obligations or debts namely; -
(a) rishi-rin- debt to rishis
(b)pirtri-rin- debt to father etc,
(c) dev-rin - debt to God.

The first obligation is to pursue the study of vedas and knowledge remaining in brahmcharya celebate; the seond obligation is to virtuously spend domestic life and procreate and thirdly the obligation is to renounce domestic life and prepare oneself for sercvice of the country. One is free from these obligations when they are fulfilled. These debts signify 3 stages of life namely brahmcharya, grihastha and baanprastha. This is the reason that when one fulfils these 3 obligingness, when he crosses these stages of life, then as ordained he offers these threads to the fire in a yajna and does not wear them as he enters the 4th stage of life- sanyas-renuniciation. What are these 3 obligations which have to be fulfilled by each individual?

(1) Rishi-rin - The rishis -sages in society have acquired to give us all kinds of knowledge and wisdom. Had they not acquired knowledge we would have remained ignorant. Just as they acquired knowledge and passed on to us, similarly we should acquired knowledge and range in promoting this ocean of knowledge further - this is what one thread in the yajjopaveet reminds us. When we are in pursuit of knowledge, we remember that legacy left by the Rishis for us. This job is fulfilled by remaining in brahmcharya ashram thereby serving as a reminder of repaying the debt of rishi-rin.

(2) Pitri-rin- We were born when our parents entered the stage of domestic life from brahmcharya. Had they not entered into domestic bliss how would we come into existence. In the same manner after completing brahmcharya and entering the stage of domestic life we should foster excellent offspring so that this chain from father to son and in turn to his son continues in society. While entering the stage of domestic life agter completing brahmcharya we recollect the memory in the stage of domesticity. This is the 2nd thread of yajjopaveet which reminds of pitri-rin

(3) Dev-rin- The main aim of staying in a an 'ashram' is to move from attachment to detachment. We are so engrossed in the ways of the world that attachment binds us. All attachment is ultimately to go, elders in our country and society have entered life and freed themselves from all attachment; they entered domestic life and abandoned it while entering 'vaanprastha'. In the same manner we should free ourselves from domestic life for the benefit and service to society and enter vaanprastha. We may not just get sunk in domestic life- the 3rd thread of yajjopaveet reminds us the legacy left by those divine people and indicates that obligation they have left for us.

Girls had freedom-right-to undergo the ritual of yajjopaveet
To discuss whether girls are free to wear yajjopaveet in modern times is of no significance today, since there is no obstacle in girls pursuing knowledge and learning. Indian society has accepted that boys and girls have rights as the boys , to accept yajjopaveet and the second is that the ladies in vedic times used to study vedic philosophy. It was not forbidden. Both men and women had similar and equal procedures.

The right of girls on yajjopaveet-  this is clear from the following shloka- "Puraakalpe hi naarinaam mounjee-bandhan-mishyate. Adhyaapanam cha vedaanaam savitri-vaachanam tathaa. i.e., in ancient times there used to be investiture of the sacred thread for women- mounjeebandhan or upanayan -they used to study the vedas and other ideology.               ( Sharda Peeth )

 Girls were free to pursue the study of the vedas- Girls and the boys had equal rights to study the vedas and vedic ideology- this is clear from various quotations in the vedas.

Article Written By Shri Pawan Pandita

For any query about astrology , Yajjopaveet or any religious ritual pooja  please feel free to contact  writer at,, Phone 09811735947 (Delhi).

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