Let us ennoble all of the Universe
Rig Veda 9.63.5
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The Sixteen Sanskaars Of Aryas
All religions have important sacraments i.e. important religious ceremonies such as the Christian baptism and the Jewish bar/bat mitzvah. The Vedas describe the following 16 sacraments for Aryas.
- Garbhaadhaan sanskaar (The Sanskaar of conception):
This takes place after the wedding, when the couple pray for a healthy and noble child
- Punsavan sanskaar (The sanskaar performed for the physical health of the foetus):
This is performed when the pregnancy is three months old. The parents pray for the normal development of the baby in the motherís womb
- Seemantonnayan sanskaar (The sanskaar performed for the mental development of the foetus):
This is performed at 4, 6 or 8 months of pregnancy. The parents pray for the normal mental development of the foetus.
- Jaatakarm sanskaar (The sanskaar performed on the day of the childís birth)
- Naamakaran sanskaar (The sanskaar of giving the child a name):
It is performed on the eleventh day after birth, the 101st day or on the first birthday whereby the child is formally given its name.
- Nishkraman sanskaar (The sanskaar of taking the infant outdoors into the open air for the first time):
Done at the beginning of the fourth month. The child is exposed to the health-giving rays of the sun and there is a prayer for long life.
- Annapraashan sanskaar (The sanskaar of giving solid grain to the infant for the first time):
This is done between the ages of six to eight months, when its teeth begin to appear.
- Choodaakarm sanskaar (The sanskaar of shaving the childís head for the first time):
It is done between the ages of one and three. A prayer is carried out for good health and sound mental development.
- Karnavedh sanskaar (The sanskaar of piercing the ears):
It is done at the age of three, and a prayer is said for the childís physical well-being.
- Upanayan sanskaar (becoming close to another person) (The sanskaar of introducing the child to the concept of having another parent-like figure, the teacher):
It is symbolized by giving the child the sacred thread (yajyopaveeta). It is performed between the ages of 5 to 8 to herald the childís introduction to the teacher. The thread consists of 3 separate strands each symbolizing the three disciplines of life; knowledge, action (conduct) and worship of god.
- Vedaarambh sanskaar (The ritual of initiating Study of the Vedas and all branches of knowledge):
It is performed immediately after the Upanayan; in order that the child can prepare to seek progress in the material world, at the same time to become spiritually stronger.
- Samaavartan sanskaar (The sanskaar of graduation i.e. completion of education):
This is performed between the ages of 21 to 25.
- Vivaah sanskaar (The wedding sacrament i.e. moving into the next stage of life of being a married householder):
The male should be at least 25 and the female at least 16 years of age before they enter the Grihastha ashram.
- Vaanaprasth sanskaar (The sanskaar of leaving household for a life or austerity):
It is performed at the age of 51 or at the time of birth of grandchildren. A person is now free to hand over all his family responsibilities to the next generation, and instead devote himself to a life of living austerety, by performing meditation and charitable work.
- Sanyaas sanskaar (The ritual of renouncing all worldly attachments e.g. all wealth, family attachments and desire for fame):
The saffron robe of the sanyaasi is the symbol of a life of total austerity.
- Antyeshti sanskaar (The cremation ceremony):
This is the last ritual and is performed when the body ends.