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Garbhadhaan Punsavanam Seemanto jaatkarm cha,
Naamkiiyaa Nishkramane annaashanam wapanakriyaa Karnavedho Brataadesho
Vedaarambhakriyaavidhih Keshaantam snaanmuddaho Vivaahagniparigrahah
Tretaagnishangrahacheti Sanskaaraa Shodasha smritaah
1. Grabhaadhan: Conception
2. Punsavana: Fetus protection
3. Simanta: Satisfying wishes of the
4. Jaat-Karmaa: Child Birth
5. Naamkarma: Naming Child
6. Nishkramana: Taking the child outdoors
7. Annaprashana: Giving the child solid
8. Mundan or Choula: Hair cutting.
9. Karnavedh: Ear piercing
10. Yagyopaveet: Sacred thread
11. Vidhyaarambha: Study of Vedas and Scriptures
12. Samaavartana: Completing education
13. Vivaah: Marriage
14. Sarvasanskaar: Preparing for Renouncing
15. Sanyas (Awasthadhyan): Renouncing
16. Antyeshti: Last rite, or funeral
(Conception) To produce a good child, its mother and father should have
pure thoughts and observe the rules of Shastras. God characterizing parents
are necessary for bringing up a good child in the world.
Brahaspati says that the rite should be performed before the baby begins
to grow and move in the womb. The word Punsvana occurs in Atharvaveda,
where it is used in the literal sense of "giving birth to a male
child:. The word "male means soul. The Punsavana is used for welcoming
the great sould. This is also called "Garbharakshan". Garbharakshana
is performed to assure that the infant is not miscarried.
This ceremony should be performed in the fourht month of pregnancy, in
the fortnight of waxing moon, when the moon is in conjunction with a Nakshatra
that is regarded as "male" or auspicious. A Puja is performed
for purification of the atmosphere and as an offering to God for the peace
of mother and infant, for giving birth to a peaceful and holy child. This
rite is primarily social and festival in nature, intended to keep the
pregnant woman in good spirits. The pregnant woman gets gifts of rice
and fruits from seven ladies. Kumkum is applied on her cheek to keep her
happy so that the child will be affected by her happiness.
At the time of pregnancy, due to harmonic fluctuation / changes, a woman
has to go through the discomfort stage of life, which may cause emotional
imbalance. She should have patience and try to increase her power of moral
understanding. She will have a child reflecting the same kind of thoughts
she had during pregnancy. After becoming a mother, she is responsible
for assuring that her child will be mentally and physically healthy and
vigorous. Ashtabakra and Abhinamy heard stories about truth from their
father when they were in the womb of mother.
A future mother should have good thoughts at all times. She should place
Picture of 'Balgopal' or 'Laddu Gopal' in her home. She should read the
Gita and other scruptures in addition to performing her daily work and
should avoid thrilling books and movies.
During Solar and lunar eclipses, a woman should not use any kind of weapons.
During normal times, she should avoid violent thoughts. Her husband should
help keep her peaceful and cheerful.
Jaat-karma performed on six or after 11 days from the birth of a child,
is for the purification of the house. This is done in order to keep a
child in a clean atmosphere where he may not incur any physical or mental
problems. It is also called Shashthi. Goddess Shashthi is the protector
of children. Jaat-karma is followed with Grah Puja, Homa.
(Naming) Soemtime Jaatkarma and Naamkarma are performed together. This
ceremonyu is performed to give a sacred name to the child, assigned according
to the 212 divisions of 27 Nakshatra and the position of the moon at the
time of child's birth. An appropriate name is given to the child according
to the star of birth, and the first letter of the name is taken from the
(Taking the child out of the house) This ceremony is performed on or after
40 days, but some scruptures allow it at the time of naming ceremony.
The child must be blessed with the holy water and Surya Darshan, with
the prayer, "salutation to you, Oh divine Sun, who has hundreds of
rays and who dispels darkness, may you bring the brightness in the life
of the child".
(Making a child eat cooked food for the first time) Most of the Smrities
prescribe it the sixth month from birth, when the child first develops
teeth. Anna is considered as one of the main reasons to make a person
commence the good or bad things. The body is made of chemicals, therfor,
the kinds of chemical, we put in our bodies will bring out their effect.
Sweet porridge or rice pudding can be given to the chiled if parents are
desirous of nourishment, holy luster, swiftness, or splendor. One of them
with curd, honey and ghee is given it to the child while reciting Prasad
Also known as 'Mundan'. The first time cutting of hair on the child's
head. Chura means the lock of tuft of hair, kept on the head when the
remaining part is shaved (i.e. the Shikha). The ceremony is to be performed
on an auspicious day after the age of one year. This ceremony is performed
for the development of power better understanding, and for long life.
The hair must be disposed of at holy places where no one can find them.
(Piercing the child's ear lobes). With the commencement of Surya Puja;
the father should first address the right ear of the child with the mantra
"Oh God may we hear bliss with our ears", performed so that
child may listen to good things and to have a good education.
Yagyopaveet (Sacred Thread)
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 ceremony is known
also as Upnayan, 'the sacred vision' or 'new vision', the vision to se
things in a proper way and to know 'wrong' and 'right'. Therefore, Upnayan
is essential to handle household life.
'Yagyopaveet' (sacred thread) indicates that the child
is qualified to perform all the traditional Vedic rites including Pitra
Kriya and Tarpan for his forefathers. Yagyopaveet symbolizes three formes
of one supreme being, Satoguna Brahma (the creator), Rajoguna Vishnu (the
sustained) and Rajoguna Shiva (the destroyer). The knot is called Brahma-Knot,
the Lord who controls these three faces of nature. It also symbolizes
the three duties for three debts.
(i) Pitra: Debt of parents and ancestors,
(ii) Manushya: Debt of society and humanity,
(iii) Dev: Debt of Nature and God.
The twist in the thread symbolizes strength and honesty.
Gayatri Mantra is given to the child who promises to lead a good human
life as per the rules of Dharmashastra.
O! God Fiver of birth and life, the dispeller of ignorance,
and bestower of light, we meditate upon thee. O creator of ours! The most
worthy and acceptable almighty, nay you inspire and lead our mind and
Gayatri Mantra is simple prayer to the Sun God to brighten the intellect.
The sun represents the creator of the Earth, God. Just as we bathe our
body to keep clean every day, so must we bathe our mind with the Gayatri
prayer, to keep our mind ever pure, ever inspired. Gayatri Mantra is so
powerful that it can destory all negative forces.
The ceremony has six parts: -
Puja: worshipping the Gods,
Shiksha: teaching the morality and duties
Bhiksha: begging as a renounced Brahmchari
of Gurukula. Teacher's teaching has made him renounced minded that he
has accepted a life of Vairagee,
Diksha: giving the most sacred Gayatri
Mantra to the child, and
Blessings: child is bless by all Gods,
Goddesses, ancestors, and elders
(Commencement of learning of the alphabet) On the third or fifth year,
when Choula is performed, this important ceremony can take place. the
Brahman or teacher should start teaching the first lesson after worshipping
Saraswati, the Goddess of learning.
(Taking the ceremonial bath after finishing Vedic study and returning
from the teacher's house) After learning the rules of life he returns
home from his Teacher's Ashram. When he completes his education about
and religion the law of life, his first Ashram Brahmacharya is complete.
He is now eligible to enter into the householder stage, and considered
a qualified man to get married.
Vivah (the marriage)
Vedic Hindu marriage is viewed as sacramental, which is a lifelong commitment
of one wife and one husband. It is the strongest bond between a man and
a woman, which takes place in the presence of their parents, relatives,
and friends. This an errevocable commitment for a lifetime.
For a Hindu, marriage is the only way to continue the
family, and thereby repay, his debt to his ancestors. The most important
thing is that all the Hindu God and Goddesses are also united in this.
Marriage is for spiritual growth and a way of learning many things in
life through experiece. In other words, it is a perfect way of following
the holy law of the Creator. There are eight ways of getting married.
1. Brahmaa: Kanyadan performed by holy
2. Daiva: Kanyadan by God-fearing parents
3. Aarsha: Kanyadan by parents with
five other gifts
4. Prajaapatya: Kanyadan by honor and
5. Asur: Love Marriage
6. Gandharv: Marrying for money
7. Raakshas: Forceful abduction of a
8. Paishaach: Intercourse in asleep,
Steps to follow for the ceremony: -
Vaag-daan, Tilak & Sagun (Engagement):
It is a commitment by the bride's parents to complete the marriage of
a future date acceptance by the parents of bridegroom.
Ganesh, Navagrah Puja and 'Chura' Sait or Shantipath:
Lord Ganesh is worshipped for success of the ceremony. Chura is given
by the brides' maternal uncle Mama as a blessing and well wishing for
her married life. Offering Chunni to the bride to signify that from this
time onwards she is the breater of the respect fo the groom's family.
Sehra and Badhu Grahaagaman: Groom's
dressing with Sehra and Garland and proceeding to the bride's house.
Milani: A warm welcome and greeting
of the groom's parents by bride's parents and other close family members
with garlands and gifts mostly cash. Aarati offered to the groom.
Jaimala: Formal acceptance of each other
by bride and bridegroom with garlands.
Madhupark: Reception of bridegroom by
bride's father with yogurt and honey.
Sarva Dev Poojan: Lord Ganesh, nine
planets, sixteen Matrikas, sixty-four Yoginies, seven ghee Matrikas are
Varuna, Main Kalash, Sun and Kula Devatas are invited and worshipped.
In their presence Kanyadan is performed.
Kanyadan: (giving away of dauther)
Paanigrahan: (Taking the hand of the
bride) Seven sentences are pronounced by both.
Gathbandhan: (Sacred Union of two souls)
Homa and Laja Hom: (Baked rice grains
into the fire) Establishing the fire and offering of Samagri into the
fire. In the first four rounds graings are offered in the fire by the
bride and bridegroom which are given to her by her brother. That signifies
that she is leaing her family to join husband's family.
Parikrama: Mostly when all the rituals
i.e. Ashmarohan (Shilarohan), feras, gathagan and Saptpadi are performed
together they take seven rounds around the fire. If all of these are performed
separately they take the only four rounds. First four rounds are dedicated
for four aims of life i.e. Dharma (righteiousness to follow the rules
of religion, duty, morality and spirituality) Artha (wealth for livelihood,
sharing with poor and misfortuante, to work hard and to earn money with
right means) Kaam (love, physical and mental support and satisfaction,
dedication between husband and wife throughout life Moksha (liberation
from this world of suffering by abiding the law of household life).
Saptpadi (Main part of the wedding ceremony):
1. In your grief, I shall fill your heart with courage and strength. In
your happiness, I shall rejoice, and I promise you that I will please
you always with sweet words and take care of the family and children.
2. We promise that we shall discharge all responsibilities of the household
3. You shall be the only person to whom I shall love and respect as my
life partner. I will love you with single-minded devotion.
4. I will decorate your life.
5. I will share both in your joys and sorrows. Your love will make me
trust and honor you. I will carry out your wishes.
6. In all acts of righteousness, in every form of enjoyment and divine
acts, we promise that we shall partcipate.
7. As per God and Holy Scriptures, I have become yours. Whatever promises
we gave, we have spoken in pure mind. We will be truthful to each other
in all things. We will love, respect and honor each other and our marriage
will be forever and ever.
Hridaya Sparsha: Groom touches the shoulder of bride.
Sindur, Mangalsutra, Suhag, symbolizing her as a married woman and joining
of the groom's family.
Blessings: Bride and bridegroom are blessed and congratulated
by all the participants.
Shanti Path: May there be peace in the heavely region.
May there be peacein the atmosphere. May peace reign on the Earth. May
the water be soothein and plants be the source of peace to all. May all
the enlightened persons bring peace to us. May the Bedas spread peace
throughout the Universe. May all other objects give us peace and may peace
even bring peace to all. May that peace come to us. Om Shanti! Shanti!
Sarvasanskar & Sanyas
This ceremony is performed at the age of 50, in osme cases at the age
of 60. With the commencement of his ceremony, a man completes his Grahastha
Dharma and enters inot Vanprastha Ashram (forest hermit). Ganesh Puja
havan and Gayatri Yajna is performed. The Priest gives the new uniform
and the rules are explained. Yajaman should agree to follow the rules
of Banprastha life. There are 17 rules for a Vanaprasthi.
1. No attachments with wife and children.
2. Take bath three times a day and remain peaceful all times.
3. Be satisfied with simplest food.
4. Eat fresh food, which keep mind and body pure.
5. Use cheapest clothing just to cover the body.
6. Accept the heat in summer and cold in winter.
7. Do not do any hair dressing or unreal show.
8. Love in forest or in most simple way.
9. Sleep on a simplest bed or on the floor.
10. Think before consuming the things where from they are, and by which
mean they came.
11. Stay away from violence and the food earned by violent means.
12. Follow the system of sacrifice, Full Moon day fasting, and other montly
13. Become weak by acceptance of hard penance.
14. Weak body should start shaking with hard penance.
15. Always keep the Lord in the mind.
16. To become a Sanyasi one should perform Prajapatya Yajna and the eight
kinds of Shradh before death.
ANTYESTI (the Last Rite):
Sabhaar: Professor G. C. Asnani
1. By and large, Hindus adopt "Cremation", i.e. burning at some
specified place. Christians bury the body under belief that on the "Day
of Judgement", the dead body will be brought to life and given judgement
whether the person will go to eternal Heaven or to eternal Hell.
2. Hindus believe that the dead body is like a piece of cloth or dress
which has been given up; that dead body is not going to be revived. There
is no particular Day of Judgement: there is no eternal Heaven and no eternal
Hell: Left to itself, the dead body will decompose and pollute the environment.
It has to be disposed of in a manner which has following ingredients:
(b) Hygienic principles of life.
(c) Socially acceptable and beneficial system.
3. Keeping these principles in view, Hindus give ceremonial bath (cleaning)
to the dead body, wrap the body in clean cloth or dress, put garlands
and sprinkle scents and respectfully take the body to the cremation ground
in the company of relatives and friends. Very close and sensitive relatives
who cannot stand the sight of confining the body to flames do not accompany
the body to the cremation ground. On the way, the accompanying persons
chant the slogan: "God is the companion of the departed one. He will
take care of the person".
4. At the cremation ground, some ceremonies are performed with the help
of professional family priests and the body is respectfully placed on
the fire place. Fire is ignited among holy chantings and prayers, bowing
down before fire. Fire is worshipped as a manifestation of God to whom
the body is given as the last offering of the human birth.
5. Those who have been to the cremation ground are advised to take bath
and change their clothes before getting back to normal work. This is a
part of hygiene. In the process of touching the dead body or being close
to it, the person might be tainted by harmful bacteria, etc. Also, in
the cremation ground, we have dead bodies who are afflicted by various
types of diseases or the bodies which have undergone decomposition due
to delay in cremation. Fire and Water are the cleaning and purifying Agents
6. Ashes (bones) are respectfully collected from the cremation place after
3 days and immersed in holy places at suitable times, with appropriate
7. There are ceremonies for 12 to 13 days, Garud Puran Path, Sapindi,
Pind Dan, Kriya Shiv Puja, Narayan Bali for the peaceful journey of the
departed soul and with chanting of God's Names and singing of holy songs
to create an atmosphere of soft and soothing adjustment of family members
and friends to the new situation with loss of their close relative/friend.
8. There are monthly and annual ceremonies with memories of respect, affection
and prayers for the welfare of the departed person.
9. Hindus believe that broadly an individual is composed of:
(a) Soul never gets destroyed: It is immortal. It witnesses birth and
death in various bodies.
(b) Subtle Body accompanies the Soul, birth after birth, till subtle body
gets completely purified and soul merges into the total Universal Consciousness.
This subtle body goes out of the gross body, in company of the soul at
the time of "death". This (soul + subtle body) takes rebirth
of a type depending on the actions of the individual. A person with good
record of actions in the past takes birth in a beautiful, healthy human
body, in the family of pious and prosperous persons. A person with record
of evil and cruel actions in the past takes birth in one of 84,00,000
types of bodies, including animals, insects, etc. In each body, the person
learns to do good in its own capacity and progresses upward to take birth
again in human body, learns lessons of Nature and lives a life of nobleness,
to be one with God, the Universal Consciousness.
10. Hindus avoid converting the whole or major part of our land surface
on the earth into a wide graveyard and to dump one dead body over the
other at one place. Cremation as the best method of disposal of a dead
body, with due respect, honour and affection.
Main Methods of Disposal of Dead Body:
1. Bhoo Samadhi (burial underground)
2. Jala Samadhi (water burial)
3. Agni Dah (cremation)
Apart from the above three exposures of body for being comsumed by vultures
and other birds or beasts, being preserved in caves, and mummifying are
the three methods which have been used since the ancient times.
To bury a holy body (according to Shastras) one should go to the east
or north of the village, dig a pit about eight feet deep, then water thereon
thrice, spread the Darbha grass on the bottom of the pit, Deck the dead
body with garlands, sandalwood paste and salt, deposit the body in the
it with prayer, and put a water pot next to the body while reciting the
What the state of things was before the composition of the Rigved cannot
be said with certainity. There is no general agreement as to the age of
Rigved and of the ruins found at Mohenjodaro and Harappa. Some scholars
refer to complete burials. The excavation at Lauriya Nandgarh has brought
to light supposed Vedic burial pounds in which, has been found a small
golden plaque bearing the figure of a nude female, the Earth Goddess,
The main steps to be followed are as,
1. Bhumi Shuddhi: Purifying place with sesame seeds, Shaligram, Tulasi,
Gangajal and Kusha.
2. Kshor Karma: Eldest son with shaved hair. Place on the Yagyopaveet
3. Earthee (casket): Under the open sky.
4. Deep Daan: Lighting a lamp near the head of the decesed.
5. Bhuumi Shuddhi: Keeping the floor clean.
6. Shav Sthapan: Deceased's head should be facing to the North.
7. Snan: Sprinkling the holy water.
8. Alankar: Offering kumkum, sandle wood paste, basil leaves, gold, Ganga
9. Pind Daan: Offering anna balls with sesame seed and Gangajal.
FIRST PIND: The first Pind is given in the hand of the
deceased at the place of death by the name of Pret, to please the Devas
of that place.
SECOND PIND: At the door of the place of death, the second
pInd should be offered by the name Paanth to avoid the disturbance caused
by the Bhoots and Prets.
The wife then takes four rounds with a coconut in her hand, followed by
the four hush carriers. The son first to follow her.
THIRD PIND: Half way to crematorium the third Pind should
be offered to avoid the disturbances coming from Pishach, Yakshas, Khechars
and Devils. At the crematorium the dead body should have his head facing
north. After doing a small havan in crematorium, O fire God, you are in
the five elements and preserver of the world, may you take this soul to
FOURTH PIND AND FIFTH: After keeping the dead body on
the cremation pyre two Pinds should be offered by the name of the deceased,
one in the pyre by the name of Bhoot, Rudra daivato and another by the
name of Sadhak in the hand.
PANCHAK: If a body is being cremated in the Pnachak (last
five Nakshatras in the almanac) another four pieces of grass must be kept
beside the dead body. Holding a fire lamp in his hand, the son should
walk around the fire and light the pyre.
FOOD: Food is not cooked at home between death and cremation,
that can be brought from outside. However, that depends upon individuals
situation. After cremation all the faily members should take bath and
home cooked food must be offered to a cow. This system is repeated for
SUTAK NIVRITTI: Condolence should be observed for nine
nights, hence tenth day is Sutak Nirvitti day. On that day Shiva Puja,
Pipal Puja, is considered.
SAPINDI: (on the twelfth day) Pagadi is another important
ceremony. By that the rights are transefered to the son and he then onwards
performs the ceremony till the 12th day, with 52 Pinds.
CHAUTHA: (collection of ashes): aslo known as Marka,
Parchawani, and Rasma Pagari. Usually performed on or after the third
day of the death. The eldest son slong with the hush carrier declares
they have cremated the body and therfore are responsible for the good
deeds on his behalf. Eldest son or the next of the kin is declared for
being responsible in all the financial and other business matters of the
deceased. Eldest son is declared the successor. There is a Kriya for thirteen
days with daily mourning, Pind-dan, ten days Sutak observance, eleventh
day Narayan Bali, twelfth day Dwadashah, and the final part on thirteenth
day known as Uthawala and Brahman Bhojan. However, in modern days, lack
of time, people are completing everthing in one day.
KRIYA: Three Sodashies (52 Pinds)
1st, At the place of death,
2nd, At the door,
3rd, Half the way to the crematorium,
4th & 5th, At the pyre before lighting the pyre,
6th, On the third day at the time of the ashes collection and
10th to 16th, Pinds of ten days given from the first day of funeral rites
for each day.
MADHYAM PINDS: (On the eleventh day 11 Pindas and 5 for
Sapindi) 1. Vishnu, 2. Shiva, 3. Yama, 4. Chandrama, 5. Agni, 6. Kaavya,
7. Kaal, 8. Rudra, 9. Purush Parameshwar, 10. Preta, 11. Vishnu, 12. Brahma,
13. Vishnu, 14. Shiva, 15. Yama, 16. Deceased.
UTTAM SHODASHI: Twelve Pinds for twelve months, and fifteenth
day (Pakshik), one and half month (tripaakshik), five and a half months
(nyun shanmaashik), and eleven and half month's (nyunabdhik). These sexteen
Pinds are offered to the deceased. Also 4 Pinds for Sapindi, 3 for Pret
and one for 1 Adhik mas if that come within one year after death.
CHILD DEATH: Under the age of 27 months a child must
be buried under the ground. Milk is donated in the name of the cild. However,
if a child is deaad in the womb, no rituals are performed.
The more Vasana one has while living mind about the material things, more
they need for proper way of Antyesti.
SANYASI: A Sanyasi (one who has renounced) needs no Pinds
Dan Kriyas. This rite is already performed for him at the time of renouncement
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