Upanayana Sanskaar is one of the great Indian traditions and one of the important sanskaar’s among sixteen Sanskaar in Hindu Ritual. It is widely discussed in ancient Sanskrit texts and the ceremony is generally related with higher caste in Hindus. Upanayana indicates that the child taking as second birth in the world of knowledge. The second birth indicates to lead a life with modulated life with purity in thinking, word, and deed. The Upanayana Sanskaar ceremony is familiarly performed at the age of eight among the Brahmin child’s, at the age eleven among Kshatriyas and at the age of twelve among Vaishyas not only this the time till sixteenth, twenty-second and twenty-fourth years the order remains.
This is the time for a child to wear sacred thread called “Yagnopavitra or Janeu” which is also known as Upanayana. The thread will be measured as ninety-six times the breadth of four fingers of a person which is believed by the people and think it is equal to the person’s height. A bunch of three cotton threads with a knot stands for Rig Veda, Yajur Veda, and Sama Veda and also it symbolizes towards the three goddesses Lakshmi, Parvathi, and Saraswathi. The knot among the thread is known as Granthi. Granthi is changed as a knot.
The Brahmin boys and kshatriya boys must wear Yagnopavitra. It should from the left side of the shoulder it crosses the body onto the right side towards the chest. The thread is changed for every six months at a particular date and time as per the Hindu calendar. The Yagnopavitra is given for the child as a reminder to the commitment as that the child would stay completely to learn and gain knowledge from education without any avoidance. Throughout the time of Upanayana, the child receives the first lesson of “Gayatri Mantra” from his father. So the father is the first teacher (Guru) for every child. Hence wearing the Yagnopavitra the child should be connected to Hinduism and it marks as the child is ready to begin education.
In some region, at present days girls also go with tradition of Upanayana Sanskaar at the age of eight years but that is rare. Initiates that they start their formal schooling thereafter the girl child named as “Brahmavadini”. Later it was limited only to boys. We can also observe from our goddesses like Durga, Maitreyi, Indrani, Urvashi, Sachi, Parvathi Ganga, etc. these are all deities from our Indian history who were seen with the thread in pictures. They all wearing the Yagnopavitra with their all other ornaments and that is the indicator of her strength and knowledge equal with male gods.
Indian tradition is very important and famous everywhere. This ceremony this named as different types in different languages related to their states. By wearing Yagnopavitra they accepted to follow some rules and regulations. They must be as vegetarians did not eat meat and they do not drink because most of the Brahmans having the traditional occupation is priesthood at Hindu temples. They also attend to make different ceremonies like new house opening ceremony, marriage ceremony and conduct many yagnas in temples and houses. So they need to be in pure and spiritual minds.
The child’s who are undertaking lessons over Vedas and dharma Sutra’s they has to learn about rituals and Purana’s. They need to follow some steps that are:
- Be truthful.
- Do rules of rituals.
- Follow Vedas without delight.
- Teach his art to virtuous men.
- Never hurt any living being.
- Having self-control.
- Be kind towards everyone.
- Be gentle.
By understanding these steps and rituals they lead a virtuous life. Mostly all Indians follow traditions and doing Puja rituals to God and Goddess. They believe Brahman is always nearer and close towards God. Everyone starts each ceremony with Ganesha Puja which done by the Brahmans. Based on the learning of Vedas and Purana’s they know all rituals compared to other people so every Indian believes that they know everything. While starting any new work any business it starts with a Puja by a Brahman that is the symbol for happening good things over their work or business and it is believed by everyone.
The boy takes a commitment that he would capable of performing all his responsibilities and duties which he learns from their lesions. The child who wears the Yagnopavitra is also believed that he takes second birth in knowledge so he needs to follow the attributes. Must concentrate on learning by seeking out and devote. He uses his entire time to build up his mind.
The ceremony follows some order that starts with Pancha Shanthi (purification), Ankur-Arpanam, Raksha Bandhanam, Chowlam, Kumara Bojanam, Agni Sthapanam, Yagnopavitha Dharanam, Homam, Nama Prashna, Brahmopadesham, Dandadharanam, Samidadhanam, Adityopasanam, Bhilkshacharanam, Ashirvadam and finally Mangala Arati.
At the time of ceremony the child has to remove their hair, they just allowed with a single and small tuft of hair remain on his head. The child after wearing thread has to ask bhiksha (beg a gift) from mother. First bhiksha is given from his mother and that too most probably bronze plate with some row rice in it. Then every guest gifts him with unique gifts. After then the child is make to run and his maternal uncle catches him and gift him a set of clothes to him. All the steps need to be finished for complete Upanayana Sanskar traditionally. After completing all then is the time to reception.
Olden traditions were actually golden a their and people that time was very much strictly following the rules and regulations in their daily life routine. Child after Upanayana Sanskaar, has to were compulsory white thread and if due to any circumstances it is removed with clothes he has to keep silence till he wears the other thread. the child is bound to do one mala of Gayatri mantra (108 time Gayatri mantra). Nowadays people perform all the rituals but they feel free to obey their rules. they continue how long they can, then after they leave doing all this. I too believe that the person if can strictly follow the rules of the ritual than only he must perform otherwise it is a waste of time and money. As this ceremony nowadays costs same as per the wedding ceremony.