Realizing the importance of transforming phase within one’s life, certain traditions and customs are still performed in the present era. The transition from child to a youngster and then adult are best explained through the “Upanayanam Samskara” or “Janeu ceremony”. Literally Upanayan consists of two words, ‘Upa’- near and ‘nayan’- eye or inner vision; so this is a process of gaining inner vision through the guidance and learning of Guru. Initially this process or sanskar began after realizing the importance of learning and cultivating the passion for gaining knowledge from the Guru.
Depending upon the varied religions and castes, different ages have been allotted for performing this ceremony yet the main motive behind this is to highlight the commitments made by one towards his studies or learning, by avoiding any kind of distractions.
Significance of Upanayanam:
It is believed that every being is born the same and they further create themselves through karmas, so this process is similar to a second birth i.e. ‘dvij’, where one realizes the importance of their life and attains a motive. It also marks the beginning of a new life for the child as he attains the first most important lesson from his father or Guru, learning to recite Gayatri mantra. So here the child is believed to grasp the meaning and crux of the mantra, rather than parrot learning, and imbibing the positive vibrations while chanting it.
Significance of thread:
The pious thread used in the sanskar ceremony is made up of nine fibres, which are Omkar, Agni (deity of fire), Nag (serpent), Som (moon), Pitar (ancestors), Prajapati (deity of procreation), Vayu (air), Yama (deity of death) and Vishvadevata (deity of the universe).
Usually the three strands thread is used, that holds varied relevance:
- Three strands refer to the ultimate Trinity- Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh
- Also to the Tridevis- Mahasaraswati, Mahalakshmi and Mahakali
- Three states- wakefulness, dream and deep sleep
- Three qualities – sattva, rajas and tamas
- Related to past, present and future
- The three dimensions-Heaven, Earth and nether regions
- The debt of one’s teacher, parents and scholars
- Relation with ida, pingala and susumna nadi, through which the ‘kundalini’ (hidden) energy manifests as prana and consciousness
Relevance in present scenario:
“He who sees all creatures in himself, himself in all creatures, does not show abhorrence to any one; knowing all beings to be one’s own-self and seeing the unity of man-kind, how can there be for him delusions, sufferings and sorrows”. These lines from the Upanishads sums up all and provide a direction to the being in this material illusionary world.
This ceremony aims at providing the attributes of love, compassion, benevolence, discipline and valuing human relationships. In the modern education, the light of values and morals is diminishing so to preserve the brightness of moral values, it’s necessary. The wearer of this sacred thread also learns the main goal of his existence and keeps himself engrossed on the path of divinity, avoiding disturbances and turbulence.
Contributed By: Meenakshi Ahuja