Samskaras

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The Sixteen Hindu Samskaras

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……… Man Making is a science. Like a gardener, parents & teachers work on a person so that the best can flower out from him or her. The whole thrust is to help bring about greater awareness & love in the mind, and channelize the interest & energies into positive fields. The whole ‘work’ is on the mind alone, and is comparable to the work of a genetic engineer. The only difference is that while a genetic engineer plays & transforms with the basic structure, a teacher works to manifest the basic inherent beauty, freedom & potential which facilitates to carve out a dynamic, creative, intelligent & magnanimous personality.

……… Interest is a very subjective thing, and has to come out from within. It can never be imposed. Interests are created by impressions & knowledge. That is what ad agencies too do. They create impressions, and this ‘works’ on the mind of the person to bring about the interest in him in the desired field. Once the interest has been manifested we can just sit back and see the person work for his or her field of interest in a dynamic way. While the experts of the advertisement world are generally seen to use this ‘knowledge of impressing minds’ for their selfish & commercial ends, the Vedic Masters used this knowledge to help bring out a positive & dynamic personality. While the former conditions the mind to the extent that the very thinking process of their target crowd is conditioned in their favor, but the Rishis saw to it that the very power to think & question  daringly, independently & creatively grew. Thus we have all our scriptures in the form of question & answers.

……… These deliberate & positive impressions which help create a deep & lasting impressions on the mind of a person - so as to generate interest in him about the Truth & Dharma, help bring out a positive personality and free the mind of its negativities are called ‘Samskaras’. No one while living in the world remains free of the conditionings of his or her environs & teachings, so the question is not whether we can stop all conditionings but to see to it that a person is looked after like a plant and help his or her potentials bloom. To a question whether Samskaras are deliberate positive conditionings, well the answer is that, the objective of the entire exercise is to help a person awake to a state which is free from all conditionings, so while impressions are certainly put effectively & deliberately yet they are the very anti-thesis of what is implied by the word conditionings. This is one of the finest & blessed science, and has been perfected here as an art form too.

……… Samskaras are the turning points of life and need to be celebrated. Celebrations are very important ingredients of Samskaras. They directly or indirectly involve our respected elders, scholars, near & dear ones. Everyone gets together to convey their best wishes & blessings to the person concerned and thus there is social & religious sanction for the act & ceremony. Samskaras are great, time-tested tools in our traditional systems which help carve out a great personality. Apart from scriptural validation, history also proves to us the great effectiveness of these methods. When Vedic Masters had their way, India was on top of the world. The people of the far off land prayed that they will one day see this great land of plenty, prosperity & righteousness.

……… In this section we shall present an introduction to these famous sixteen Samskaras of Hindus which cover the entire life span of a person and take him to the door steps to Truth.

The Sixteen Samskaras

 

 

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1.

Garbhadan

The first coming together of the husband & wife for bringing about conception.

2.

Pumsvan

Ceremony performed when the first signs of conception are seen, and is to be performed when someone desires a male child.

3.

Seemantonayan

A ceremony of parting of the hairs of the expectant mother to keep her spirits high & positive. Special music is arranged for her.

4.

Jatakarma

After the birth of the child, the child is given a secret name, he is given taste of honey & ghee, mother starts the first breast-feeding after chanting of a mantra.

5.

Nama-karana

In this ceremony the child is given a formal name. Performed on the 11th day.

6.

Nishkramana

In this the formal darshan of sun & moon is done for the child.

7.

Annaprashana

This ceremony is performed, when the child is given solid food (anna) for the first time.

8.

Chudakarana

Cuda means the 'lock or tuft of hair' kept after the remaining part is shaved off.

9.

Karna-vedha

Done in 7th or 8th month. Piercing of the ears.  

10.

Upanayan & Vedarambha

The thread ceremony. The child is thereafter authorized to perform all rituals. Studies of Vedas begins with the Guru.

11.

Keshanta

Hairs are cut, guru dakshina is given 

12.

Samavartan

Returning to the house

13.

Vivaha

Marriage ceremony

14.

Vanprastha

As old age approaches, the person retires for a life of tapas & studies.

15.

Sanyas

Before leaving the body a Hinddu sheds all sense of responsibility & relationships to awake & revel in the timeless truth. 

16.

Antyeshthi

The last rites done after the death.

 

 

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