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Monday, July 23, 2012

Upanayanam or Sacred Thread Ceremoney - Part 2

This is continuation of the previous post. This post is about the happenings on day two when the actual Upanayanam takes place and my niece's son Yash gets to wear his Yajnopavitham or Sacred Thread and enters Brahmacharyam:

Beginning of Day 2 - starting with a prayer
The mama (uncle) smearing kumkumam and chandanam (sandalwood paste) on the boy's forehead
The boy being garlanded by the mama
The boy is now ready to be initiated
Aajyabhaagaantha homam..it is a prayer to the God of Fire, Agni for the child's long life, intellect, courage
Boy reciting the  Mantras - above & below
Yagnopaveetha Dharanam...The father places the sacred thread across the child's left shoulder under the advice of  the Head Priest. The sacred thread consists of three strands signifying Brahmma, Vishnu, and Shiva. 
The young boy is now wearing his Yajnopavitham or Sacred Thread
Boy posing for a photo with his newly acquired "Yajnopavitham"
Kumara Bhojanam - The boy is fed along with one or two other Brahmachari, a symbol that he too has now become a Brahmachari
Next  a girdle made out the mooja grass (dharbai grass) is tied around the waist of the child. This is to protect his purity and to keep evils away.
Boy carried by his proud and beaming father - all are very happy
The Twig in the right hand.. .. a small stick of peepal tree with green leaves signifies his entry into Brahmmacharya. The Gods Brahmma, Vishnu and Rudra - all the three Gods reside in the peepal tree is a belief and thus the boy  receives the grace from the three Gods and also from the Goddesses Saraswati, Lakshmi and Durga.
Boy washing his fathers feet thus accepting him as a Guru
Brammopadesam...The Gayatri mantra is a supreme mantra and protects those who recite it. The boy's father becomes his GURU and whispers into his ears this powerful Gayatri mantra.


The Gayatri Mantra has been chronicled in the Rig Veda, which was written in Sanskrit about 2500 to 3500 years ago, and the mantra may have been chanted for many centuries before that. The ancient Hindu scriptures describe how the sage Vishwamitra was given the Gayatri mantra by the Supreme Being as a reward for his many years of deep penance and meditation.  This was to be a gift for all humanity.

No photographs are available of the following rituals which also form an important part of the Sacred Thread Ceremony: 

1.Soorya Dharshan...The boy to be taken outside and shown the Surya, the sun god. This assumption here is that he will be protected by Surya. The palms are clasped in such a way that it makes a peep hole to the Sun God.
  2. Bhikshakaranam...The boy symbolically asks for alms of rice from his mother and other married women. This is an important event and is done to make one humble, polite, and egoless. Also this makes the young boy to control his senses, which is absolutely essential for receiving Vedic knowledge.
 3. Abhivathanam..After upanayanam, the boy seeks the blessings of the all the elders present by saluting them on their feet with shashtanga namaskar. During this this abhivathanam, the boy introduces himself by his rishi, parampara, gothram, suthram and name step by step.

36 comments:

  1. Fascinating........beautiful colours everywhere,great photos too! I'm looking with interest at the boy's facial expressions,it seems that he enjoyed the ceremony.
    Thanks for sharing this!

    Ruby

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  2. @Ruby: Yes Yash enjoyed every moment of the function-he was the center of attraction and the cynosure of all eyes. He was enjoying all the special attention being showered on him !

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  3. a wonderful rite for a young boy heading into adolescence.

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  4. AMAAAAAZING!!!! Thank you so much for sharing this Ram, I am so so so inspired by your beautiful, colorful culture!!! Congratulations to your family Ram :)))

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  5. Really good to see such wonderful rituals..:-) God bless to your boy..:-)

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  6. Great post. I love your photos and the way you share things.

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  7. Very well described with pictures.

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  8. My friend Ram,
    The young man looks like a PRINCE!! Well done my brother. You really show us so much through your blog. I find this to be very educational. Thanks again for sharing.

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  9. @Andy: Yes I agree - he certainly is a Prince!

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  10. Many congratulations to you all. You must be such a proud father.

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  11. @Mridula: Not my son Mridula;I am too old :)This is actually my niece's son !

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  12. Brilliant colours. Loved it.

    http://www.rajniranjandas.blogspot.com

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  13. very interesting post...well explained with lovely cliks
    Tasty Appetite

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  14. Nice pictures and good narration! Thank you!

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  15. You have taken care of every step. Yash looks so sweet. Kindly convey my ashirwadams.

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  16. These are amazing photos of a rite I've never seen before. It's quite involved, this particular coming-of-age. I'm wondering if this all occurred over one day or over several days. The youngster must have been tired when it was all over.

    Thanks for sharing!

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  17. well documented with photos...I have seen this function once for a friend

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  18. @Lowell: This happened over 2 days. Surprisingly the young man was as enthusiastic and energetic at the end of it all as he was at the beginning.

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  19. PNS Sir: Thanks.Shall convey your Asirvadams to Yash.

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  20. what happened to the mundan ceremony????
    thats the cutest part...though these days that's just a symbolic ceremony....

    regards

    anu

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  21. Great second part to your interesting posts about the ceremony. The photographs are fantastic.

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  22. Beautiful pictures. In our customs (Konkani) the head is shaved with little hair on the back side.

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  23. I just LOVE photos like these... ceremonies! These are rituals that I cannot get into so photos like these enlighten/inform. I am curious though. Are these strictly for Buddhists? What about catholic Indians?

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  24. @eye in the sky: This is primarily a Hindu Brahmin(originally a priestly class)ritual. Non Brahmin Hindus do not follow this ritual. Buddhists also have a similar ceremony.

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  25. @eye in the sky: Catholics do not perform this either.

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  26. @Kusum: Most families now a days have done away with the head shaving - a little hair is snipped as a symbolism.And a small(almost invisible) tuft is left behind.

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  27. This post is a treasure. Shall read the first post soon too. Sometime in the near future, we plan to perform Upanayanam for my son and it will be very useful to show him these photos and explain the ceremony accordingly. Selfish though noble objectives aside, it is wonderful to see the happy family via these pics. Do I recognize the Kalyana Mantapam? Sai Aravind? Not sure. Old n you? No Way !!

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  28. @Mom with a Dot: Thanks. It is exactly for such a purpose that I have chronicled this event. The function was at Lalita Mahal Kalyana Mandapam, Venkata Krishna Iyer Rd, Opp.Mandaveli Bus Stand,Chennai.It is compact,3 storied,air conditioned hall and spacious rooms.
    Best Wishes for your son's Upanayam and advance asirvadams.

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  29. Very nice pics of the ceremony. The boy looks like a class topper student.

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  30. Once again a masterpiece..Our blessings to Yash, as it looked we were part of the function.. thanks for sharing RR..
    ERR

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  31. I read both the posts, quite an elaborate ceremony. We have something similar to this. Thanks for sharing!

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  32. Your niece's son looks very proud to be initiated into this next stage of his life. Thank you for sharing!

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  33. how very interesting !!
    I am glad that I just happened to stumble upon your blog
    greetings from brussels
    anni

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