Premanjana Dasa (Pranjal Joshi): By sanskaar it is meant that just as a child erases anything written incorrect with pencil and then writes correct word on the same rubbed place similarly on performing sanskaars any bad deed causing sorrows etc. imprinted on chitta gets erasedand pious, beneficial sanskaars get imprinted on chitta which leads to destruction of all bad karmas and consequently soul escapes from facing the outcome of bad karmas i.e. sorrows. In fact the soul enjoys happiness which is the result of pious good karmas. Sanskaar ceremony is performed in Yajyen only thus Yajyen and Acharya possessing eternal knowledge ofVedas are indispensable for performing sanskaars. This statement can be supported by a historical example that all sanskaars of Sri Ram were performed by guru Vashisth and of Sri Krishna by rishi Sandeepan and other rishis and so is the case of allancient public. It is through the performance of these sanskaars that the soul conquers above quoted problems like birth-death, old age, disease etc. while performing each sanskaar, divine blessings are showered by both, GOD and Acharya/learned possessing on one to all participating in ceremony i.e. children, young and elderly people for a long happy life etc. Yajyen is indispensable for the performance of each of the 16 sanskaars which may be elaborated as under:
1. GARBHADHAN SANSKAAR
In this sanskaar, the Acharya , husband - wife, parents, followers of learned guru along with asmany people having faith in God and Vedas, sit in yajshala to offer aahutis in pious fire of Yajyen. All such prayers are showered with pious and beneficial result of such offerings. In this connection Saamveda mantra 104 says that he who offersaahuti in vedi (burning fire in havan kund) he is escaped from illusion and enemies etc. All this puts excellent effect on the child who is to take birth. Valmiki Ramayan and Tulsikrit Ramayan prove the fact that king Dashrath got garbhadhan sanskaar done of his wives with the blessings of Shringi rishi and was blessed with 4 sons
2. PUNSVAN SANSKAR
This sanskaar is performed after garbhadhan sanskaar when a women becomes pregnant. In this sanskaar offerings are made to pious fire of Yajyen and is performed in second or third month to ensure the stability of pregnancy.
3. SEEMANTHONAYAN SANSKAAR
It is performed in fourth, sixth or eighth month of pregnancy. In this sanskaar offerings of khichdi i.e., a dish prepared by boiling of rice and dal together are also added along with other offerings of ghee and samagri.
4. JAATKARAM SANSKAAR
It is performed on the same day when the child takes birth . The child is to take ghee and honey in optimum quantity i.e., in the ratio 1:4. “OM” is written on the tongue of newly born child either with thin neem stem or thin stick of gold.
5. NAAMKARAN SANSKAAR
This sanskaar is performed after 101 days from the day on which the child takes birth or in the second year.some acharyas are of the opnion of that this Samskar can be performed on the 10th day of the chil’s birth. In this sanskaar all the family members along with learned Acharya and other invites perform Yajyen and together choose a pious name from Vedas, attributing all good sanskaars on the child, in the Yajyen.
6. NISHKRAMAN SANSKAAR
This sanskaar is performed after one and a half months or four months. In this child is exposed to fresh, pure air outside the house. Mother of the child for the first time comes out of the house with the baby.
7. ANNAPRASHAN SANSKAAR
This sanskaar is performed after 6 months from the day child takes birth. After this pious sanskaar child is offered with solid food comprising khichdi etc. and prior to this sanskaar child is only fed on milk because the intestines of the child are weak and are not capable of digesting any food other than milk before 6 months of age.
8. CHOODAQKARM SANSKAAR- (MUNDAN CEREMONY)
In this sanskaar, all hair on the head of the child, that have been there since he was nourished in mother’s womb are removed by barber while performing holy Yajyen. These hair are removed either in the first year of birth or in the third year. Round about two and a half years of age, child has about 20 teeth in his mouth. Due to growth of teeth, child suffers heaviness and heat in his head, the gums are swollen and he may also suffer loose motions. Owing to all this, child displays irritated nature. Thus to overcome all these problems, his hair are removed. Moreover it is essential to remove the hair from child’s head which he holds since the time he is nurtured in his mother’s womb. The hair are removed while chanting Ved mantras and the whole ceremony is conducted while performing Yajyen.
9.Karnavedha / KARNBHED SANSKAAR
It implies making a hole in the ear. This sanskaar is done in third or fifth year of age. As in the case of previous sanskaars this is also done in Yajyen ceremony. Mantras bless the child with long life, happiness and wealth. This sanskaar leads to controlling of disease of hernia as well. It is applicable to both male and female children.
10. UPNAYAN SANSKAAR
In this sanskaar, child is made to wear sacred thread (jeneu/yajyopaveet). This sanskaar is done in 6-8 years of age and the child is given deeksha of Gaytri mantra/guru mantra and henceforth child is called dwij (one who has been given second birth by the Acharya ). The word dwij implies second. First birth is given to child by parents but as stated above, second birth is assumed to be given to the child by his Acharya while giving deeksha, who upholds the status of spiritual father. After performing the sanskar, the child goes to school to attain education. In ancient times, the child went togurukul after performing this sanskar. Yajyopaveet has 3 threads which educate the child to control rajo, tamo, satogun of the prakriti which has effect of uncontrol of sensesand organs, spreads anger, pride, laziness, etc.
11. VEDARAMBH /Vidyarambha SANSKAAR
This sanskaar is more or less like upnayan sanskaar and may be performed along with upnayan sanskar. After the performance of Yajyen, complete in all respects, male/female child remain under the control and care of learned Acharya who knows Vedas and has full control on 5 senses, 5 organs and mind. Then the Acharya starts giving preach of 4 Vedas. This preach includes academic education, moral duties to inspire pious deeds, to discharge duties to serve parents, society, all humans and the nation including all spiritualism.
12. SAMAVARTAN SANAKAAR
When male/female child, after strictly following the rules of brahamcharya, complete their education at higher levels, then this sanskaar is performed. It may be compared to the present times CONVOCATION ceremony after passing out from university etc.
13. VIVAHA SANSKAAR
Marriage is a turning point of the life. So it has also not to be started without getting blessings of almighty GOD . This blessing according to eternal philosophy of Vedas is only obtained while performing a holy Yajyen with Ved mantras. Thus this pious Yajyen gives sanskaar to the bride and bridegroom which also helps the couple to obtain a long, happy family life.
Marriage is a religious function. In this religious function, the holy yajna with Ved mantras is performed. The Ved mantras are also recited concerning the future family life of couple which makes pious effects on both hearts.The following custom is performed. The welcome of whole barat and specially of bridegroom in mandap. The best seat is offered to bridegroom by bride, water is given to wash the hands, mouth and feet and to do achmann. System of donation of cow. Bridegroom also gives heartily respect to the bride. The yajna in full respect is performed.Pannigrahn custom is performed when bridegroom takes hand of bride, while reciting Ved mantras.
In Ved mantras, there are promises to be fulfilled like offering whole life by both to each other while doing pious deeds according to Vedas. Then both go around the holy fire of yajna between which holy Ved mantras are recited and offering of ghee and havan samagri is continued in the fire. Then the custom of Shila arohann is done which shows to be firm like astone in the matter of moral duties of family etc. Then the custom of Phere is done. Then Saptpadi i.e., to go together up to seven steps, within the voice of Ved mantras wherein good advices remains. Then other custom are done. Mandap is made in both the houses i.e., in the house of bride and bridegroom too. Then barat i.e., bridegroom and their relatives, friends etc., reaches the house of parents of bride. Four small plates, four small bowls and one bowl of ghee, four small spoons, one big spoon, about one kg pure ghee, the dry twigs of mango tree, four packet of havan samagri, match box, camphor, one hand fan, a big bowl full of water, Yajopavit (sacred thread) turmeric powder, wheat flour, roli (a powder prepared from a mixture of turmeric and lime used to decorate the havan kund and mandap). Mandap comprises of four seats (asans) on ground to be occupied by purohit and otherswho will perform the marriage function, two wooden seats to be occupied by bride and bridegroom, flower garlands, sweets and boiled rice. The said articles are used in the decoration of mandap and to perform the holy Yajyen and to perform the marriage function .
The marriage is a religious function and is performed while doing holy Yajyen with Ved mantras. When barat reaches the residence of bride’s parents, the bride gives pious seat to the bridegroom, water towash the feet, hands, mouth. Water is given for three ACHMAN (intake of water with Ved mantras). In optimum ratio, curd, honey, and ghee (3:1:1) is served to the bridegroom. Cow is donated by the bride’s parents. Pitcher full of fresh water is placed, at the place where holy Yajyen is performed for the marriage.
PANIGRAHAN means bridegroom takes the hand of bride and the Ved mantras are recited. AGNIPARIKRAMA i.e. the couple moves around the burning fire of havan kund in which the AAHUTIS (offerings) are given by Ved mantras. SHILA AROHAN i.e. one stepis put by bride on the hardest stone which means she is educated that she has to carry on the family life with firm mind like a stone. LAJA-HOM means walking around the pious fire. SAPTAPADI - in this process, the couple slowly -slowly takes 7 steps together with Ved mantras. Then couple sees shining sun together. Then the couple sees the DHRUIV and ARUNDHATI stars together. This pious marriage is performed as stated above, while performing a long holy Yajyen while reciting Ved mantras.
14. VANPRASTH SANSKAR
After discharging all moral duties in married life between 25 and 50 years of age, Vedas say to enter Vanprasth ashram. It means one should go towards jungle (lonely place) for deep study of Vedas and practice of ashtang yoga. Vanprasth ashram teaches that one should now keep oneself separate from family life, to devote full life time to worship GOD according to Vedas’ philosophy. At this pious occasion a great holy Yajyen from ved mantras is performed in the presence of society.
15. SANYAAS SANSKAR
Sanyaas is the last stage of life. Sanyaas is attained by a complete ascetic. A sanyaasi is to serve whole of the society, Actually sanyaasi leaves his married life but he is to look after the whole family of the world. sanyaas is taken either at the age of 75 or at any age when he realizes himself a firm ascetic. In sanyaas complete Vedic knowledge and asceticism is the base because he has to spread the true knowledge in the society. A Yajyen is performed in presence of the society and thus the sanyaas is given.
16. ANTYESHTI SANSKAAR
Antyeshti is also a pious sanskaar. When soul goes out from the body and body thus becomes dead then cremation is called antyeshti sanskaar. This is also done while offering aahutis, in burning pyre (chita), of Ved mantras mentioned in 39th chapter of yajurved.