Sri . Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha , Bangalore

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  • Upanayanam 

  • Frank J. Tipler, a Professor of Mathematical Physics, in his book The Physics of Immortality’ discusses the various theories of Cosmology (Omega Point Theory) and Points out that the Present Observations are based on visible Universe  which is only a small fraction of the total universe.  By  defining the universe as the  totality of all that exists (including invisible portion of the universe), he points out the existence of a person or force that is omnipotent (unlimited power), omniscient (knowing everything) omni present (present everywhere).  Extending his theory he brings out that concept of God in Theology, concept of rebirth, cyclic character of time, are meaningful.  Many other cosmic research scientists have also echoed similar views.  Present day cosmic research has narrowed down the gap between Science and Theology.

  •  Vedic concept is that Para Brahman, Creates (Shristi), Sustains (Stithi) and Destroys (Laya) universe and this process goes on cyclically.  Para Brahman is an infinite source of infinite forms of energy.  His influence (energy) spreads all over Universe. Our sages through meditation have found out the great influence the Cosmic Energy has on humans – Particularly health and personality. They have also found out that human body is equipped for intake of Cosmic Energy (just as a radio receiver can receive radio signals present in air) but this calls for some discipline.  This discipline is referred to as “samskaras’ and there are 16 Samskaras in all covering the full range of human life – from mothers womb to death.Sages Parasara, Manu, Yagnavalkya and Gautama in their Smrithis have brought out the relevance of Samskaras.  All of them had one main aim – namely to create a society of noble persons.  A boulder lying in the street is treaded by all.  If out of this rock, if an artisan carves an image of God, it becomes worthy of worship.  In the same way Samskaras help to give nobility to individuals and mould them to respect worthiness. "Aksharabhyasa”and “Upanayana” are two Samskaras devoted to education.  Upanayanam has a unique place amongst Samskaras.  It is to be performed between age 7 and 10 as per various sages.  (Some margin is given to Kshatriyas and Vysyas).

  •  Upanayana means ‘taken near’ meaning that the boy is taken near a teacher for education.  After upanayanam the boy becomes a Brahmachari and is eligible to learn Vedas and chant them.  In other words, his education in Gurukula starts after Upanayanam. The significance of Upanayanam is far beyond this meaning (applicable even today).  It is a Samskara to provide the boy with faculties to meet the change from childhood to boyhood. (many religions recognize and observe the evernt of change from childhood to boyhood).  The rituals such as mother feeding food for the boy, the  boytaking food with other boys, etc. signifies bidding farewell to childwood habits  (in those days all the children in the house sit around the mother and she gives each one of them a morsel of food by rotation.  After Upanayanam, the food is served exclusively to the boy and he should purify it before eating.

  •  Some of the important and significant rituals in Upanayanam are :

  •  Mekala or Maunji – Acharya ties a thread made out of grass (Dharba) around the waist of the boy, chanting hymns.  The significance is that this thread protects the boy against evil forces.  It also helps him to understand and absorb essence of Mantras.  Even scientific studies have shown that grass like Dharba are good energy collectors.

  •  Next is Yagnopavita Dharanam. Here the boy wears the Sacred thread chanting hymns. Yagnopavita is a thread goving round the body from left shoulder to navel and back to left shoulder via our back.  Thus, it symbolizes a thread going round our ‘Antaryami’ or  Vishnu seated in our heart.  Yagnopavita is a thread  with three strands, each strand containing three threads.  Thus,  there  are  nine  threads,  joined  together. Nine deities – namely Prithvi, Aap Tejas, Vayu, Akash (ether), Prana, Atman, Antaratman, Paramatman  - are installed corresponding to the nine threads.  At the joint ‘Grantithraya devatas’ namely Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra are installed.  There is a prescribed procedure for the installation of deities and this is done only once.  Subsequently the Yagnopavita is charged by Gayathri Japam during Sandhyavandanam.  The installation of deities is done by Purohit or Vadyar before giving it to the boy.

  •  The Brahmachari is given later given a Danda or a Stick (of Palasa tree) this is also for protection against evil forces.  Trees such as Aswatha, Palasa and a few others are known to be good collectors of Pranic Energy or Cosmic Energy.
  •  Mantropadesa is the most important constituent of Upanayanam First, the Acharya purifies the Brahmachari through water, seeing Sun, etc.  This will be followed by a question – answer session between Brahmachari  and Acharya. Later Acharya accepts Brahmachari as a disciple  and teaches him Gayathri Mantra.  (For Gayathri Mantra, boy’s father himself will be Acharya. Prior to imparting Mantra to his son, the father should have chanted Gayathri Japam atleast 24,000 times. This is from Bio-energy considerations).

  •  After Mantropadesha the Brahmachari  performs Homam with Samit and prays to Agni to give him lustre, intellect, knowledge, etc.  The studies by Institute of Vedic Sciences on ‘Agnihotra’, have shown release of beneficial energies  and reduction of atmospheric pollution during homam with samit.

  •  The Biksha ritual symbolizes that  a Brahmachari should live on Biksha till he gets married.

  •  The post-upanayanam period is very important.  Apart from learning, his daily routines should include –  (a) Sandyavandanam  (b) Purification of food before eating.

 

 Sandyavandanam means prayers perform at Sandhya periods to avail energies released at Sandhya time and consists of three parts  - 

 i) purification  ii) worship through Arghyam iii) Meditation through Gayathri Mantram or Gayathri Japam. Arghyam  and Gayathri Japam are detailed in all books.  Gayathri Mantra is a very powerful mantra and benefits are immense.   This mantra protects those who recite it.  It should be chanted in Gayathri Chandas “Tatsaviturvarenyam – Bargo Devasya Dhimahi – dhiyo yo nah Prachodayat”is the Gayathri Mantra’ “OM” (Pranava)and “Bhur Bhuva Suvah” are prefixed for chanting.  Gayathri  is considered  as mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to Vedas.  It has power to improve Tejas, Physical and Mental strength and ward off all sins.  When chanted correctly with devotion at Sandhya times, the benefits are immense.  This is chanted 10 or 28 or 108 times during Sandhyavandanam  depending on time availability. In the purification aspect, Achamanam’ and ‘Pranayamam’ are very important. Achamanam balances Bioenergy  in our body and helps in efficient functioning of organs.  This should be  done to the specification though it may take some time. Pranayamam is a very powerful one.  It has influence on endocrine glands and also helps in energy supply to all organs.  According to Sage Hamsa Yogi, Pranayamam not only cures all  ailments but also eradicate them. An important aspect of Pranayamam  is that it helps to build immune system against infection and environment (pollution).  This should be done to specification though it may be difficult in the beginning.

 Thus, Sandyavandanam has not only great influence on the health of the individuals but also on his personality, intellectual ability, etc.   This should be performed at 6.00 a.m. + 2 hours and 6.00 p.m. + 2 hrs preferably as close to 6 am or 6 pm (or atleast first thing in the morning). It is a time oriented ritual.  Hence the procedure starts  with Mantra Snanam to cover all exigencies.  Even if one is not performing Sandyavandanam the past, it is no disqualification  and he can start.

The above points have been discussed in detail in the books ‘Sandyavandanam’ and ‘ Vedic Pranayamam’ by our Sabha .

 

These days performance of Upanayanam involves a substantial expenditure.  Having spent the money, one should avail the benefits.  Hence, the post-Upanayanam period is very important.  It is said that perfornance of Sandyavandanam not only helps individual (performer) but also other members of his family, neighbour hood, village, etc.

 

 Sri Thillasthanam Swamy Kainkarya Sabha's  book on 'Upanayanam - Significance and importance  is modelled as a handbook with lots of useful information . 


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