The way Hindu lives ,is wrapped around various rites called Sanskar. The Sanskar is said to be helping for achieving spiritual nourishment, peace of mind and ultimately moksha.
Literally ‘making perfect, purification, cleansing’, derived from the Sanskrit word ‘sanskar‘ meaning ‘to form well, to put together’. Sanskara has come to refer to a ceremony, which is performed as a purification rite for an individual or family. According to Hindu belief, ceremonies are performed at two levels: shrauta and grihya. Shrauta ceremonies are performed on a grand scale, with more than one priest and a large number of people in attendance. Grihya ceremonies are small and private, performed at home with or without a priest. Sanskaras are ‘grihya’.
Sansakar give a spiritual touch to the important events at different stages of a Hindu life—right from pre-birth to post-death.
Sacramental Rites (Sanskar)-
- Punsvan Sanskar (Baby Showers)
The Punsvan Sanskar (Baby Showers) Performed during the period of pregnancy, invoking blessings for Divine protection for his/her bright future. The sanskar is normally performed when the child is in the form of a fetus – three months old in the mother’s womb. However, it can be performed after three months also. A specific herbal preparation energized in the sacrificial fire of yagya is given to the mother to reach the fetus. This special ‘treatment’ performed with chanting of mantras during a yagya strengthens healthy development of the gross (physical), subtle (mental) and astral (conscious) body of the child.
The experiments on the Punsvan sanskar (baby showers) have revealed startling results: the mothers, who were prone to abortion or whose earlier issues were subjected to metabolic system’s deficiencies or to some genetic disorders since birth, have delivered healthy babies after this sanskar. It has now been accepted by the researchers that the charu or purodash (herbal preparation) processed under the vitally charged vapors of yagya affects the cellular and molecular (including genetic) systems.
- Namkaran Sanskar (Naming ceremony)
The ceremony of naming the child – A sacrament for imposing of divinity in newly-born human child. The Namkaran Sanskar (Naming Ceremony) of the child is normally performed on the tenth day after birth, but can be performed within a month or whenever name is given to child. It is also a sacrament for imposition of divinity in a newly born child. During this ceremony, the importance and education is given to parent and other family members that the child should be given the atmosphere where his/her inherent qualities can be awakened and undesirable traces of previous birth can be uprooted. The child should be named in a manner that is meaningful and reflects a noble quality. During Namkaran sanskar parents are encouraged that child is also for society & should be encouraged to be friendly with other family members, neighbor & whole world.
- Annaprashan Sanskar
Administering food to the child for the first time – Sowing the seed of purity in Annamaya-Kosh of the child. Performed at the age of 6 months or when a child starts eating solid food for the first time. The food is offered to Yagya Bhagvan first and then given to the child. The education for eating leftovers of yagya means sacrifice for the animal kingdom and the poor in our society, as mentioned in Geeta. The aim of this sanskara is sowing the seeds of purity in Annamaya Kosh of the child and is performed for healthy growth and strength of the body. It teaches the importance of piousness of Anna. Scriptures say, “Aahar shudhou satvashudhihi” meaning if you eat pious food your mind will be pious. Food is not for the taste but for healthy growth of the mind
- Mundan (Tonsure ceremony)
The Mundan Sanskar (tonsure ceremony) of children – Eradication of beastly tendencies & sowing seeds. It is performed at the age between 1 and 3 years regardless of gender. Nowhere in our scriptures are mentioned the differences between a girl and a boy. In fact, the Vedas say, “Dash putra sama yasya shilvati soota”, meaning a moral girl is equivalent of ten boys. It aims at eradication of beastly tendencies and sowing seeds of cultural consciousness in the child. It is also performed for harmonious titillation of the nerves and proper development of the brain. It is said that birth hair carries undesirable ideas and traits from past birth. So they need to be removed and new ideas full of eminence should be grown in its place. Parents are given education that the success of life is in using our talents, capabilities, and intelligence to benefit the world. Please speak to one of us for performing Mundan Sanskar.
- Vidyarambha Sanskar
To initiate development of mind and install intellectual competence in the child.This sanskar is performed at the age when a child starts initial schooling- generally between 4-6 years. The Vidhyarambha sanskar is indeed the righteous initiation of knowledge. It is performed to initiate development of mind and to instill intellectual competence in a child. School and College teaching may make a child ‘learned’ and help attain material prosperity, but true knowledge comes through the arousal and training of the sentimental core, righteous orientation of thoughts and appraisal and aspiration of the divine purpose of life. Attainment of Vidhya meets these objectives in a natural way.
- Yagyopaveet Sanskar
The sacred thread ceremony – Installation of the principles of Indian culture – taking pledge to lead disciplines, dignified spiritual life. The most important sanskar for teenagers and youth, regardless of gender. It indeed gives “new birth” (dwijatva) to a person. The development of personality coherent with the dignity of human-being begins only after one adopts certain moral values and disciplines of humanity and enlightens his/her mind as well as inner self. The Yagyopaveet sanskar is performed to channelize this development. The initiation of the Gayatri Mantra and experiments of spiritual elevation is associated with this sanskar.
Acharya Sharma eliminated all misconceptions and illusions associated with Yagyopaveet and Gayatri. He revived the methods of performing this sanskar and propagated the universality of Yagyopaveet and Gayatri and made that knowledge available and attainable for all humans, without any discrimination of sex, caste, religion, creed, or social status. He also invoked the discipline of maintaining shikha (hair knot) on head. This shikha is placed at a point, which is very important for positive impact of yoga and meditation. It lies at a special junction of many nerves, which are linked with intellectual processing and memory registration in the brain and is found to have a controlling effect on harmonious functioning of the endocrine system.
- Deeksha Sanskar
- Vivah Sanskar
- Antyeshti Sanskar- (Last Rites)
The cremation of mortal remains – Inculcation of belief
- Shraddh Tarpan Sanskar- (Prayers to the departed soul)
To remember and pay homage to the deceased,
- Janma Divas Sanskar (Birth Day Celebration)
Birthday celebration – A sacrament to contemplate upon the significance of the human life and chalking out plans for future developments and progress. The way birthdays of God Ram and Krishna celebrated – everyone should also celebrate their own birth day with same intensity at any age. The human body is made of 5 elements – water, fire, earth, air & aakash (Ether). On that day – one should pay respect toward these elements and vow to effective utilization and preservation for upcoming generation. This also helps in solving Global worming problem. Along with that, one promise to leave a bad habit and gain a good habit to go toward divinity. If it is followed in every birthday then it is believed that one day human will become almost perfect and very close to Parmatma
- Vivah Divas Sanskar (Marriage Anniversary)
Ceremony to celebrate the day of marriage – Self introspection about one’s marital responsibilities – its attainment and discharge. It is a very important sanskar for today’s world. It is like renewing the marriage – recall the promises and commitment made to each other in front of fire during marriage. During the marriage due to so many steps and tiredness involved – normally the couple couldn’t focus on the teachings and steps of marriage. By this sanskar - the couple can focus on rituals and teachings & do review of marriage life the way Vedic methods explain. There are proper steps & guidelines on responsibility of couples toward each other, and their combined responsibility for society ( saptpadi).