We are preparing for our Son's Upanayanam (Sacred thread wearing ceremony). Though Upanayanam has become a 'Lougiga' festival these days with lot of style and no substance, it is indeed a 'knowledege' ceremony, which was used to initiate the process of learning, knowledge and evolution of intelligence.
The Upanayanam ceremony highlighted the importance of knowledge and intelligence and the importance of the learning process in the Vedic period. It was done by all sections of society from Brahmins, Kshatriyas and Vaisyas in the olden days. Since it was a ceremony to initiate learning of knowledge everyone required it irrespective of their caste. Everyone wore the thread to indicate their status in their household.
Though the procedure in itself may not seem applicable and more a 'custom', the principles on which it has been grounded are still applicable.
I tried to capture the meaning of the procedures involved in Upanayanam ceremony as carried out in the Brahmin community to spread the purpose of it being done in the inivitation card. I am putting it here for wider knowledge. The ceremony largely is similar across several communities as I observed.
Upanayanam - About to Lead by Learning the sacrifices
Step 1: Invocation of tranquility - Udaka Shanti
Udaka Shanti is carried out before any auspicious event at a house. It is expected to invoke peace and happiness in a place by removing the germs that cause diseases from a place. Vedas describe Rakshasas and Ganas as miniscule 'beings' that can benefit as well as curse living beings. I map them to bacterias and viruses.
Step 2: Invocation of ancestral blessings
The vedic philosophies clearly espouse that evolution of living beings is from matter which is itself from Amba and Purusha which themselves evolved from Atma. Refer to several of my blogs on this subject. Brahman, which means evolution is the essence of this Universe. This, as I interpret in my blogs on Nasadiya Suktam, is based on the desire of the Atma to realize itself through the process of evolution of intelligence. Hence Atman is also called Brahman (one that is evolving).
Hence every living being is part of that Brahman or 'have a reflection of that Atma in them' , the Atma that is situated deep inside the Origins of Universe. As life travels from physics to chemistry to biology, death travels back from biology to chemistry to physics and finally becomes part of that Atman or Brahman.
In any auspicious ceremony the blessings of the ancestors upto the Atman/Brahman is invoked before we proceed on the ceremony.
•The sacred thread is prepared. Blessings of Piturs is invoked for the boy and the ceremony.
•Asrumukha piturs are immediate 3 generations of ancestors. They have become Vasus, Rudras and Adityas and paid homage yearly.
•NaandiMukha Piturs are ancestors beyond last 3 generations. They have become part of the Brahman.
•Their blessings are sought before the training is initiated .
Step 4: Vow to learn and acquire Knowledge
Upa – Next-in-Line or close to or about to, Upanayana – Next in line to lead
sir can u plz tell me where the samuhika upanayana's are done in february?
Dear Natarajan sir,
Thanks for your comments and blessings. Hope he makes use of this samskaram in his life.
Dear Sivaram sir,
Thanks for your blessings for my son.
I never knew all this
Wish your Son all the best
Everything in this world including concepts of western world starts as esoteric views and then become common -place.
The modern view of Hinduism was an 'esoteric' view of Adi-Sankara. Now 'Smarthas' are common-place. We do not know well the pre-Sankara era of Hinduism.
Thousand years later it may not be a surprise to see Iqbal as an Australian name, though it appears impossible now. There are several examples to such name changes in our history.
Interesting and esoteric reading. But we are living in an imperfect world where the Gautham Iqbal Menons are a rarity and a difficult find. Gautham, was the only son, of my boss, in Kerala and he christened his son as above harping on the university in diversity that is India and when the opportunity came for him to go to
Dear VP Sir,
I am replying to ur comment first, as it raised several questions.
In those days Brahmins only were 'allowed' into the path of formal education and hence continued with the practice of Upanayanam. Other castes were 'directed' on the path of professional education.
In today's world we all agree that everyone needs to be on the path of formal education and hence everyone is a Brahmin and everyone should perform Upanayanam to teach their wards the importance, methods and purpose of learning/formal education.
There is no caste/creed in performing Upanayanam today, as every one goes on the formal path of education and they all need it.
Looks far fetched..? But then it is important that every one us who have been born and/or brought up in this land teach our children the principles behind Upanayanam. The ceremony in itself may or may not be important. But the principles are important for our cultural continuity.
Yes, inter-caste marriages are common in India. In my family also it has happened many times. Once we understand that Vedas and Vedic procedures in proper context we will understand that they have nothing to do with caste.
All scientists/researchers/technologists in today's world are Brahmans (evolutionaries) who are furthering the cause of evolution. All engineers, doctors, farmers who are dependent on a profession are Vaisyas (dependents). All soldiers, police, social volunteers who are involved in protection are Kshatriyas/Rajanyas (protectors). People who keep chaning or have to change their ways/means of living from one to another are zudras (fast-changing).
Is performing Trikala Sandhya the ultimate goal of Upanayanam..?
An absolute NO.
Trikala Sandhya is one of the Niyamas prescribed for every human being. It is a combination of peaceful meditation, Pranayama and Reciting Gayatri to become fearless. If one performs it, it would give absolute peace to mind. That is all. It is a very simple and easy thing to do compared to transcendental meditation or any other meditation forms.
No issues if you are able to do it three-times, one-time, weekly or not at all. Doctors ask us to exercise. But doctors themselves may not exercise. It is like that. It is an exercise for mind to keep it peaceful and above waters.
Yes, we are becoming world citizens.
That's why we NEED to propogate the good procedures that we have had for the benefit of world communities at large. If we chicken out without understanding the benefits of our own culture, we will NOT ONLY stand to loose it, but also will be held guilty of not doing our duty.
I yearn for a day when the good things of our culture spread and all communities adopt them.
It may look far-fetched or outlandish at this point of time. But I see that none has predicted tomorrow. Things have changed in the world beyond our imagination.
So, Yes, if it is destined to be so, it will happen. Who knows..?
Malayali and coorgi daughter-in-laws will perform sradhha better than the Brahmin one. Srardh is derived from Sraddha which means faith and it is faith in our way of life that matters to carry our traditions and way of life forward.
Sorry if it hurts or is not proper in any way.
Thanks for your comments and triggering my thoughts.