Sunday, March 8, 2009

Upanayanam-Sacred Thread ceremony of a brahmin boy

In the Hindu custom, Upanayanam is a rebirth to a man, when he is invested into spiritual life. On the 21st february 1982 I was intiated into to the stage of studenthood'or Brahmacharya ashram as a Brahmin. "Birth and learning does not make one a Brahmana,Good conduct alone does".

Prior to the ceremony, child of any caste is considered 'once-born' With the performance of the Upanayanam, he becomes 'twice-born'. Or dvija. This initiation rite marks his second, spiritual birth after his first physical one.

Uthakashanthi: The Purification of the Mind & Body and the protection of the child is done by Invoking all the Gods & Deities into the sacred water by the chanting of the MANTHRAS and this water is poured over the child, during Uthakashanthi.
Nandhimukha Ceremony:A ceremony performed to obtain the blessings of the ancestors of the family before the festive occasion of Upanayanam.
Kumarabhojanam: The boy is fed alongwith a bramachari after the Yagnopaveethadhaarana.
Aajyabhaagaantha Homam: By praying to the god of fire, AGNI, the child is blessed with long life, intellect, courage etc.
Yagnopaveethadhaaranam : The father places the sacred thread across the child’s left shoulder under the advice of the Guru.The sacred thread consists of three strands signifying Brahma, Vishnu & Siva. This represents Janana, Karma & Bakthi. Next a Girdle made out of Munja grass is tied around the waist of the child. This is to protect his purity and to keep evils away.
Brahmopadesham: The Gayathri Manthra is a Supreme manthra and protects those who recite it. The boys father becomes his GURU and whispers into his ears this powerful “Gayathri Manthra”.
The Twig in the Right Hand: The Twig( Usually from the Pipal tree) in the right hand signifies his entry into Bramacharya. Brahma, Vishnu & Rudra all three Devatas reside in the Pipal tree. Hence by holding the branch from the Pipal tree, he receives Divine Grace from Brahma, Vishnu & Siva and also from Saraswati, Lakshmi & Parvathi their respective consorts.
Bikshakaranam: The boy symbolically asks for alms of Rice from his mother and other women. This is done to make one humble and free of Ego. It enables the young Bramachari to control the senses, which is absolutely essential to receiving Vedic knowledge.
Abivathanam : After Upanayanam the boy seeks the blessing of all the elders present by saluting on their feet with Sashtanga Namaskaram. After his Namaskaras, the child introduces himself by his Rishi, Parampara, Gothram, Suthram and name step by step. The first person chosen for Abivathanam
is ones own mother. One who has introduced him into this WORLD.

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