Samskaras / Rites of Passage
Samskara literally translates to impression. Samskara ceremonies are purificatory procedures which mark a transition or significant event in a person's life. Samskaras are designed to make a formative impression on an individual and community by uplifting their spiritual and social consciousness.
Vivaha samskara / wedding ceremony
The wedding ceremony is considered one of the most essential samskaras wherein husband and wife commit to one another in living a balanced life focused on dharma.
There are many variants to the traditional wedding be they North or South Indian styles and their sub-varients. With immense experience, each ceremony will be tailored specifically to the needs of the bride and groom after a thorough discussion with all of the family members involved.
The five essential features of the Vedic marriage are:
- The engagement ceremony
- Formal bestowal of the bride on the groom
- Ceremonial honoring of the groom by the bestower
- Taking of the bride's hand by the groom
- The rite of the seven steps
SImantonnayana / parting of mother's hair
At this point the mother is now clearly showing her pregnancy and is somewhat akin to a baby shower. Done on the 4th, 6th, or 8th month of a pregnancy, the mother's hair is parted with a porcupine quill to symbolize the removal of negative energy and mantras of blessing are chanting by the father along with a homa. This ceremony also facilitates the coming together of family and community to support the future mother and her child.
SOSyantI-homa / SAFE DELIVERY CEREMONY
This ceremony is performed a few days before the expected birth to ensure the safe delivery of the child.
JAta-karma / birth ceremony
At the time of the child's birth, but before the cutting of their umbilical cord, this brief ceremony is observed by the father as a way to first greet the child and offer blessings and prayers to the Lord.
NiSkrAmaNa / Taking the child out for the first time
Traditionally observed on the 3rd lunar day of the 3rd waxing moon, the child is taken out of the home for the first time to officially present them to the deity in the temple. This can also be done whenever the child is healthy enough to go out.
PauSTika-Karma / Ceremony for Continued health of child
In order to ensure the health of a child, this ceremony is performed every month during their 1st year.
Anna-prASana / First grains ceremony
In order to wean the child away from the mother's milk and introduce a greater variety of foods into their diet, the child is fed grains for the first time. A ceremony is held to celebrate this occasion on the 6th or 8th month of a male child or on the 5th or 7th month of a female child.
Putra-mUrdhAbhighrANa / Smelling the child's head
After anna-prasana, or whenever the father returns from a long journey, the father smells his child's head for the first time so as to bless the child, it is also done in connection with the anna-prasana ceremony as an extra paternal blessing.
CUDa-KaraNa / Hair-cutting ceremony
Performed during the child's 1st, 3rd, or 5th year consisting of blessing and shaving the childs head.
Vidyaramba / beginning of education
Performed before the child begin's their formal education, this ceremony often in connection to a Hayagriva or Sarasvati Puja.
Upanayanam / Donning of the Sacred Thread
During this ceremony a boy is initiated into the study and practice of Veda, thereby bringing him closer to God. He is awarded a sacred thread and the gayatri mantra with the Vedic bija “om.” Thus, this mantra allows the boy to study and chant other Veda and perform yajña. Facilitated by the priest, this ceremony is usually performed by the father to his son. This is observed between the child's 8th and 16th year.