[The] Soul residing within body is an eternal, immortal, indestructible matter. It is the body which perishes, is subjected to death and decay and finally burnt in the flames of pyre. But soul abandons the body on death and enters another body according to previous lives’ deeds (karmas).
Atharvaveda mantra 7/6/67/1 and 5/1/1/2 say about rebirth. The mantras further say that if a person does pious deeds according to Ved, shastras and holy books, then he gets again human life with all happiness to continue worship. Geeta shloka 13/8 also enumerates birth-death, old- age, disease as sources of sorrow. Yog shastra sutra 2/9 too states death to be the biggest cause of sufferings and distress. However, with the grace of GOD, man has taken birth to mitigate and finally remove all sufferings and distress.
There is no doubt that Vedas are the most ancient holy texts on the earth in which GOD Himself has explained the secrets of all universal matters, worldly/spiritual such as responsibility- actions/ deeds, science, worship etc. to man. Since the beginning of earth Aryans have been knowing the date of process of creation of universe and this fact has even been hinted in Yajurveda mantra 15/65. Accordingly, the age of present earth dates back to approximately 1 arab 96 crores 8 lakh 53000 years.
At the beginning of each creation, the knowledge of 4 Vedas emanates from GOD and is originated in the heart of 4 rishis. (Rigveda mantra 10/109/1 and 10/181/1 refers). This is the reason that GOD has been called as first guru of rishis (as per Yog shastra sutra 1/26) and after that rishis and munis give the knowledge of Vedas to human beings. For that matter Vedas knowledge is eternal which emanates directly from GOD and it is most important for human beings to do deep study of Vedas.
Just as father does everything which is in the best interest of his children, similarly GOD is father to whole world and He does the best for the welfare of mankind selflessly by creating universe and providing all material to live upon. In fact it is for the welfare of mankind that GOD has given the eternal knowledge of 4 Vedas to whole mankind.
Moreover, GOD has given the knowledge of 16 sanskaars in Vedas to remove innumerable sufferings/sorrows of humans in the form of old age diseases, birth death and so on. Since these sanskaars have been elaborated in Vedas, therefore study of Vedas is imperative to know about these sanskaars. 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 erased and 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 of Vedas 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 knowledge of Vedas on one to all participating in ceremony i.e. children, young and elderly people for a long happy life etc.
However due to lack of knowledge of Vedas and thus under the influence of most of the saints of present times, who are against the Vedas, the public has deviated from true path and abandoned performance of these sanskaars, study and listening of Vedas and practice of ashtang yoga and consequently put a question mark over the bright future of people all over the world which was made bright by performing the sanskaars. Yajyen is indispensable for the performance of each of the 16 sanskaars which may be elaborated as under:
1. GARBHADHAN SANSKAAR
Each person attains birth according to his/her previous lives’ deeds and accordingly suffers sorrows or enjoys happiness. Vedas are accepted by all ancient rishis as self -proof i.e. if the matter is mentioned in Vedas, that all is true and needs no other proof therefore Vedas prove the fact that if sanskaars are done at right time, this pious act liquidates the sorrows which have to be suffered based on the previous birth’s deeds and hence sanskaars lead to building of a new phase of life, devoid of sorrows. On the same lines, garbhadhan sanskaar brightens the future of the child that is to take birth.
For example during this sanskaar, there is a prayer in the shape of mantras addressed to GOD that O GOD all the sins done by me till date may kindly be liquidated. I repent for all the sins done by me till date. In the same manner there are so many prayers which are the best and most helpful to remove the ill effect of sins from the lives of the sin doers. No doubt that mere prayer will not finish all the sins but performing Yajyen in the sanskaar in the rightist way and in the presence of Acharya who knows Vedas minimizes sins (about 800) as per Saamveda mantra 495 and regular Yajyen, listening to Vedas preach and practice of yoga philosophy as per Vedas sure kills all the sins and the aspirant gets salvation but if we do not perform any sanskaar and thus we are lacking the knowledge of Vedas, then no doubt our future is dark.
In this sanskaar, the Acharya (learned guru of Vedas ), 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 offers aahuti 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 Ramayana and Tulsikrit Ramayana 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 who were warrior, gentle, GOD- fearing, good charactered and with other several good qualities and were known as gems of society.
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 accompanied by offerings to the holy fire. 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. 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. 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.
10. UPNAYAN SANSKAAR
In this sanskaar, male/female 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 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 includesacademic 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 also 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. There must not be any child marriage. The minimum age of the marriage of a boy must be 25 years and that of girl 18 years. There are 8 types of marriages:
Method of Mandap and Marriage
Marriage period can be divided into three parts child marriage, adolescent marriage and marriage at mature age. Child marriage which relates to marriage at the age earlier to the age of adolescence and should never be performed.
Hindu religion is based on eternal philosophy of Vedas and this philosophy is well briefed in six shastras and Manusmriti etc., written by this rishis who were philosophers of Vedas, did practice of ashtang yoga, realized God and Ved mantras within their heart. Those ancient rishis were like Manu, Atri, Kambadh, Matang, Patanjali, Vashisth Vyas Muni, and dignitaries like Shri Ram, Shri Krishna, Mata Sita, brahamcharini Gargi who was Guru of king Janak and so may other multimillion ancient rishis and Raj rishis. In between there came a time, i.e., about 5000 years ago and thereafter started following smritis and shastras and now a days India mostly depends on the present saints and present holy books written between 3000 years time. So there are three types of periods:
eternal– based on Vedas, middle period– based on smritis and shastras/karam kand and present period– which we are observing, whatsoever is going on, i.e., mostly against the Vedas and smritis.
However, according to the eternal philosophy of Vedas, child marriage is not permitted. The age of marriage of boy is plus 25, 33 and 44 years up to which one has to be complete in Brahmacharya and of girl’s the age is above 18 years. In middle period and present period, the custom of child marriage against Vedas started. Reason may be any, which has created a huge loss of humanity. In Manusmriti shlok 3/21, eight types of marriages have been stated, but of eight last two are prohibited:
1. Brahm Vivah (marriage) — It is self decided marriage by girl. In this girl is married while performing holy yajna with the best learned boy searched by parents or herself and no dowry.
2. Dev Vivah — in this marriage holy yajna is performed and to perform the yajna, number of learned boys are also invited. And in this marriage some good articles, clothes etc., are donated whereas in above stated Braham marriage nothing is donated.
3. Aarsh Vivah — in this marriage the father of bridegroom takes nothing and marriage is performed in holy yajna.
4. Prajapatya Vivah — in a holy yajna, learned person and parents do marriage and advice both (boy and the girl) to continue their family life religiously. In this marriage all the married learned persons give blessings to newly married couple.
5. Asur Vivah — while performing holy yajna marriage is performed and the parents of girl give some dowry to bridegroom. It is not blessed by learned persons due to the involvement of dowry system, etc.
6. Gandharv Vivah — where there is no Yaj and presence of any other person except girl and the boy. Both agreed to marry and continue family life.
7. Rakshas Vivah — when a girl is forcefully taken and marriage is done, it is also not admitted by learned persons and is not religious.
8. Paishach Vivah — in a lonely place if a girl is met while sleeping or she is mad etc., and someone outrages her modesty. It is also not admitted by learned persons and is not religious.
These marriages are according to Manusmriti shlok 3/21.
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. It is performed by a learned person who knows Vedas. 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 a stone 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. The mandap, is already made in the house of bridegroom. It is mostly made of bamboos or sticks etc., duly decorated. In the middle of the mandap, a Yagya kund is placed in which pious fire is generated wherein Yaj is done offering aahuti of ghee and havan samagri etc.
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 others who 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, this is all in short please.
During the Vedic period there was no child marriage. Due to the lack of knowledge of Vedas, the child marriage started. Vedas only say to do marriage in young stage. 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 bridegroom touches the heart of the bride. 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, sanyaas does not mean that he is sitting idle. He is not meant only to say that he has left the world. 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. It is very lengthy procedure and therefore cannot be mentioned here.
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 yajurveda.
THESE SANSKAARS ARE VERY LENGTHY AND CANNOT BE EXPLAINED HERE IN DETAIL. I WILL TRY TO WRITE A SEPARATE BOOK ON THE SAME.