Yagyopaveet Sanskar or Upakarma Sanskar : The sacred thread ceremony is very significant in the life of a Hindu man. This ceremony initiates the child into an intellectual and spiritual journey. The mother gives birth to the child; this is natural birth. However, when the Guru initiates him by giving Gayatri mantra, this prayer for Buddhi is considered a second birth of the child. This Upakarma sanskar ceremony is known also as Upnayan, ‘the sacred vision’ or ‘new vision’, the vision to see things in a proper way and to know ‘wrong’ and ‘right’. Therefore, Upnayan is essential to handle household life.
- Let’s first learn the significance and importance of Upakarma Sanskar.
- Then we will learn about the Puja items.
- We will do Panch Peeth puja.
- We will conclude the Upakarma Sanskar puja with a small Yagna.
STEP 1: Let’s understand Upakarma sanskar
Watch the video to know the significance and importance of this Upakarma sanskar.
STEP 2: Let’s Collect Puja Items for Upakarma sanskar & Learn their Significance
- Moli (red thread)
- Roli (red powder)
- Incense sticks
- Sweets, Fruits
- Curd (Yogurt)
- Clarified butter (Ghee)
- Dry fruits
- Yagyopavit (sacred thread)
STEP 3: Let’s understand Upakarma Sanskar
First we will do the panch peeth puja
Let's follow the video through this step.
STEP 5: Now Let's Perform Havan
We will conclude the Upakarma Sanskar ceramony with a small havan or yagna.
Watch and follow along with the video to perform the havan.
We will conclude Upakarma Sanskar with the aarti or Shanti Path
Let’s do the Shanti Path.
Puja is considered complete after we offer dakshina
Regional Information For Upakarma Sanskar
Upakarma called Veda Upaakarma or Avani Avittam or Jannivarada Hunnime is one of the ancient Vedic rituals practiced to date. The event is conducted once a year, in the month of Shraavana and all the Brahmins follow it. The main activity performed in an Upakarma is the changing of the Yajnopavita (Yagnopavita) or the Holy Thread, Tarpanam to Rishis and Vedarambha. The day and its subsequent day are of great significance to Brahmins.
Upakarma, in Sanskrit, means “going near to and implicitly means to the teacher” and historically, the day was considered auspicious for beginning the Vedic studies.
When is Upakarma Sanskar observed?
Different sects of people have different dates on which Upakarma Sanskar is performed. Traditional learners of Yajurveda observe the Yajur upakarma in the month of Shraavana (August–September), on the full moon day. More particularly, Yajur upakarma is held on the full-moon day that comes before the new-moon day of the month of Sravana (Avani). Rig Vedic Upakarma is observed on the day on sukla paksha Shravan month which has Shravana nakshatra.Rig Vedic brahmins change the sacred thread on the day,whether purnima is there or not.Shukla Yajurvedic bramhins of North India & Orissa do upaakarma in the preveous day if Purnima spans two days(shukla chaturdashi yukta Purnima). Sama Vedic Upakarma is observed on the day after Shravan Amavasyai,Hastha nakshatra such that they do the Gayatri japam on Ganesh Chaturti.
Upakarma Sanskar Variation
According to Nirnaya Sindhu following conditions should be taken care for deciding the date of Upakarma Sanskar
Rigveda Upakarma Sanskar :
Should be done on the day in shraavana where shravana is the star and spans at least from sunrise to mid day.But not in Uttara Ashadha if present during sunrise.
Samaveda Upakarma Sanskar :
Should be done on hasta nakshatra on bhadrapada shuklapaksha
Krishna Yajurveda Upakarma Sanskar :
Taittiriyas & Maitrayanis should do on shravistha, dhanistha,(avittam in Tamil), on shraavana month, whether it falls on purnima yukta Pratipada during sunrise (Telugu- paadyami) or prathama.
Shukla Yajurveda Upakarma Sanskar :
Vajasaneyi Kanvas and Madhyandinas do in purnima day if purnima is present up to evening.But if punima and pratipada both are present on next day(para viddha) they should do on previous day when chaturdashi stays in day and then purnima comes after mid day(purva viddha).Under no condition they should do/avoid doing in krishna paksha pratipat or broadly speaking they should finish upakarma before approach of krishna paksha.but they postpone Upakarma Sanskar to the next day if purnima is having Uttara Ashadha nakshatra.
Atharva Veda Upakarma Sanskar :
They do on the day when purnima lasts during sunrise.(udaya vyapini tithi)
Upakarma Sanskar is usually held on the full moon day of the month of Sravana. The significance of this day is that Lord Vishnu took the form of a horse and restored the Veda that was stolen from Lord Brahma by the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. As lord Vishnu took the form of a horse, this incarnation is called Hayagriva or “horse-head”. After lord Vishnu created lord Brahma, he taught Brahma the all eternal Vedas.
Once lord Brahma had mastered the Vedas, he was filled with pride that he was the only entity that had the knowledge of the all eternal and holy Vedas. Lord Vishnu thought otherwise and created demons Nectar and Kaitabha from two water drops on the lotus that he mounts. He then instructed them to steal the Vedas from Lord Brahma and hide it.
Thus, Lord Brahma was in a fix that he was not able to save the holy and all eternal Vedas from theft and prayed to Lord Vishnu to do the needy. Lord Vishnu took the from of Hayagriva or Hayavadana and restored the all pervading Veda to safety, thus curbing the pride of Brahma. So the day of upakarma is also celebrated as Hayagriva utpatti. As the Vedas were restored on this day, Upakarma Sanskar is performed on this day to mark a new beginning.
Significance of Upakarma Sanskar
The learning of the Vedas begins in the month of Shravan with a Upakarma and is temporarily terminated in Makaram with an Utsarjana ritual, to be restarted in the next Shravan. However, it was found that six months in a year results in a very long period to complete the study of Vedas. In order to overcome this difficulty, Brahmins started skipping the Utsajana ritual and studied Vedas through all the months of the year.
On this day, a Prayachittam is performed on two counts – to pardon the sin of learning Vedas in the prohibited period of the year and a general request to pardon all the sins committed by them during the year. Homams are held and Poonal, the sacred thread, is changed on this day.
The first step is a ‘prayashchita’, A prayer to atone the sins. It says, “For the removal of all my sins and thereby to secure a divine blessing and for qualifing myself to perform the essential duties of Brahmanas as prescribed in the vedas and smritis and adopted by the really good in their conduct I put on this Yagnopavita.
Then a new Yagnopavita is worn. When the thread is worn another mantra is recited which means -“I put on the sacred thread which is highly pure, is inseparable from God, is capable of prolonging life and is the foremost in the accomplishment of a Brahmana. May such pure Yagnopavita bring strength and dignity.”
While removing the old thread, the mantra means -“I throw away the broken dirty old thread, may the new one bring on long life and Brahmana’s brilliance.”
Procedure of Upakarma Sanskar
The procedure of Upakarma Sanskar varies from state to state. However there are two main procedures one followed in the old Carnatic Region and other in the Dravida region.
Carnatic Region procedure is followed in Karnataka, Andhra pradesh, Orissa and parts of Maharashtra. According to the Rig Veda Upakarma Sanskar , first they start with Punyahvaachana followed Saptarshi Pooja, Utsarjana Homa and later by Upakarmaanga Saptarshi pooja, tarpana and homa.
In Yajur Veda Upakarma Sanskar of Karnataka region, the procedure begins with Punyahavaachana, Pahi Trayodasha Homa, utsarjana and then Upakarma. Here they worship nava (nine) Kaanda Rishis who were the pioneers in the veda. Distinct feature of Karnataka’s Upakarma Sanskar is rishi pooja in detail, and utsarjana. The Dravida version of the same does not have them. After Yagnopavita daana, new yagnopavita will worn and later Veda Aarambham is done.
Following the same will be Viraja Homa and Brahma Yagna. In the first year of Upakarma Sanskar, Nandi is also performed. Bachelors or Brahmacharis will perform Agni Kaarya or Samhida Daanam. The prasadam of the day is specially made Satvada hittu made out of all fruits (banana, guava, grapes, custard apple, apple, dry fruits), milk, ghee, til, jaggery, cucumber and rice flour. This is said to be very good for the rishis who are considered to be old and don’t have teeth. Hence this preparation. Also this is done jointly by men who come for the ceremony.
The procedure for the dravida yajurveda Upakarma Sanskar is as follows.
First the Rishi Tharpanam (offering prayers to the ancient Rishis) is read out.
Brahmin bachelors perform ‘Samitha Daanam’ and ‘kamo karshith japam’ after Mahasankalpam.
Thereafter, Kaanda Rishi tharpanam is performed with the help of family priest or elders.
As per the rituals, all the male members should have a light meal at night.
Next day after an early bath, ‘Gayathri Japam’ is read out by everyone. Thereafter, Appam & Idli are served.
Green Gram, Dhal or Kondai Kadalai Sundal are offered as Neivedhyam for the Homam (Fire ritual).
The Homam is performed either in the house or in temples and the Arti is performed after everyone returns home.
Neivedhyam – Payasam, Vada, Gingely seeds, Rice. The other items that are served on this day are Curd Pachadi, Kosumalli Curry, Koottu, Pitlay, buttermilk, soup, rasam, dhal and chips, appalams.
This day is also auspicious as the Brahmins offer libations of water to their ancestors to whom they owe their birth and to the great Rishis to whom they are highly indebted for spiritual knowledge and the Vedas themselves.