Monday, 22 June 2015

Upanayana - 11th Shodasa Samskara

Upanayana is one of the most important Samskārās in a person’s life. "Upa" means ‘close’ and "Nayana" means ‘to bring’. Upanayana means to bring closer to the Guru or Divine. The Upanayana ceremony is best done between the ages of six to eight years for boys although many perform it at a later age. It symbolizes spiritual rebirth and moving into the Brahmacharya stage of life. Traditionally Upanayana was done for women also but was discontinued a few centuries ago due to social conditions.

The child is initiated into the most sacred Gayatri mantra in the Brahmopadesham ceremony. He is taught the Sandhyāvandanam which is to be performed thrice every day. The Gayatri mantra is a prayer to invoke brilliance and purity in our intellect and consciousness. The three threads in the Yagnopaveetam represent the responsibility towards the one self, family and society. It can also be interpreted as responsibility towards the Rish, Pita(father) and the Divine. From the Rishis he gets knowledge, from his pita birth and by helping others he must free himself of his responsibility towards God.
The initiation is a passport to the literary treasures of the Hindus. Hindus made universal education the indispensable test and insignia of their community. By virtue of this ceremony the initiated is ranked as Twice born. 

By the end of the Upanishad period, the theory of the four ashramas seems to have become established and student’s life or Brahmacharya became a respected institution. This indicates that ancient Hindus attached great importance to education. 


Post a Comment