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Vedic Astrology » SAMSKARAS

SAMSKARAS

SAMSKARAS:

The Vedic understanding is that every aspect of life is sacred. That is why each significant stage, from conception to cremation OR from womb to tomb, is celebrated as a reminder that life is a gift from God which should be duly respected and lived according to His wishes.

The nearest English word for samskara is sacrament, related to the phrase 'rite of passage’.

Although the number of samskaras prescribed by various scriptures varies, there are sixteen that are a consensus among scholars.

These 16 samskaras are:

Pre-natal Samskaras:

  1. 1.Garbhadhana - Conception 
  2. 2.Pumsavana - Fetus protection
  3. 3.Seemanta - Parting of the hair of the wife

Samskaras of Childhood:

  1. 4.Jata Karma or welcoming a new soul
  2. 5.Naamakarana or Naming ceremony
  3. 6.Niskramana or First coming out of house
  4. 7.Annaprashana or First feeding of grain to the child
  5. 8.Chudakarana or Tonsure
  6. 9.Karnavedha or Ear boring

Pre-marriage Samskaras:

  1. 10.Vidya arambha or starting of education
  2. 11.Upanayana or Thread ceremony
  3. 12.Samavartana or holy bath signifying completion of educations

Vivaha Samskara – Marriage

  1. 13.Vivaha or Marriage

Post-marriage Samskaras:

  1. 14.Vanaprastha (Preparation for renunciation)
  2. 15.Sannyasa (Renunciation)
  3. 16.Anthyeshti - Cremation

16 Samskaras in brief:

1. Garbhadhana (Conception)

This samskara is performed by parents and consists of fervent prayer for a child in order to fulfill the obligation to continue the human race.

2. Pumsavana (Fetus protection)

This samskara is performed during the third or fourth month of pregnancy. A priest recites Vedic hymns to invoke divine qualities in the child.

3. Simantonnayana (Parting of the hair of the wife)

This samskara is similar to a baby shower, and is, performed during the 6th or 8th month, some say 7thmonth of pregnancy when prayers are offered to God for the healthy physical and mental growth of the child.

4. Jatakarma (Child birth)

Mantras are recited for a healthy and long life of the child at his birth.

5. Namakaran (Naming the child)

The name for the baby is selected such that its meaning can inspire the child to follow the path of righteousness.

6. Nishkramana (Taking the child outdoors for the first time)

This samskara is performed in the fourth month after birth when the child is moved outside the house.

7. Annaprasana (Giving solid food)

In the sixth, seventh or eighth month child is given solid food.

8. Mundan (Hair cutting)

This is performed during the first or third year of age when the child's hair is removed by shaving.

9. Karnavedha (Ear piercing)

This samskara is performed in the third or fifth year.

10. Vedarambha (Study of Vedas)

This samskara is performed at the time of Upanayana or within one year. The Guru teaches the Gayatri Mantra.

11. Upanayana (Sacred thread ceremony)

This introduces the male child to a teacher in order to receive education and marking the entry of the child to Brahmacharya.

12. Samavartana (Returning home after completion of education)

This samskara is performed at the age of about 25 years.

13. Vivaha (Marriage)

14. Vanaprastha (Preparation for renunciation)

This samskara is performed at the age of 50 to celebrate the departure from the householder stage to the Vanaprastha stage when the person begins to engage in spiritual activities.

15. Sannyasa (Renunciation)

This samskara is performed after Vanaprastha.

16. Antyesthi (Cremation)

This is the final samskara performed after death by his or her descendents.

1.Garbhadan (Conception or Sacrament of Impregnation )

There are 2 schools of thoughts regarding this ceremony.

  • Purification of the mother – to make her eligible to conceive the baby through the spiritual cleansing of the womb – Kshetra Samskara
  • Purification of the seed – Beeja Samskara

We can call it the conception ceremony. There are certain Do’s and Don’ts during the ‘Ritu’ period of the woman, which are of great psychological significance. The propitious day and time are fixed astrologically for Garbhadhana and the ritual follows a set pattern. The mantras uttered in this samskaras are essentially prayers offered to God to help the bride conceive a good son. The mantras make use of occasional metaphors of joint action. They can be freely translated thus:

May we produce strong and long lived sons as fire is produced by friction, may he be well behaved. We are part of God and we shall produce god sons to liberate our ancestors. May we beget shining, wealthy children.  May we donate liberally to the needy and attain moksha. May God make us fit for conception. Let the evil spirit flee from you. Let your child be free from defects like lameness, deafness, etc. be you like the divine Kamadhenu, etc.

Procreation is a compulsory duty enjoined on the Hindu to repay his ancestral debt, except when either or both the partners are functionally unfit.

'Garbha' means womb. 'Dan' means donation. In this sacrament the man places his seed in a woman.

The Gruhyasutras and Smrutis advocate special conditions and observances for this, to ensure healthy and intelligent progeny. Procreation of children was regarded as necessary for paying off debts to the forefathers.

Another reason for having progeny is given in the Taittiriya Upanishad. When the student ends his Vedic studies, he requests permission to leave from his teacher (see Samskara 14). The teacher then blesses him with some advice which he should imbibe for life. One of the commands is:

“Prajaatantu ma vyavyachchhetsee hi..” (Shikshavali, Anuvak 11.11)

“Do not terminate one’s lineage – let it continue (by having children)”.

The astrological considerations are twofold:

First we examine the Horoscopes of the prospective parents to determine their Karma with respect to children, that is, whether they have got sufficient Purva Punya to beget children and if the prevailing times are favorable for having offspring.

Secondly, we help in choosing an auspicious time for planting the seed, which carries the soul in to the womb of the mother. This process requires detailed knowledge for the prospective mother’s monthly cycle, that is, when her menses begin and end. The astrologer then determines if that particular cycle has the possibility of conception, if so he then chooses the date and time for performing the Garbhadhana Samskara, the purificatory sacrament of planting the seed according to religious principles.

This Samskara ensures that conception, instead of being an accident, should be a pre-planned affair at an auspicious time with religious purity when a husband and wife meet for a definite object of getting good progeny. This Samskara is said to remove all the impurities related to conception and reproductive system of female so as to ensure the birth of a lucky, healthy and religious child.

Muhurtha for Conception:

TIME:

Conception should be done between fourth and sixteenth night from the day of menstruation. Conception on even nights (i.e., 4th, 6th, 8th, 12th, 14th, 16th nights) is said to give male child and conception on odd nights from menstruation is said to give female child. Conceptions on 8th, 9th, 10th, 12th, 14, 15th and 16th nights from the day of menstruation are specifically considered auspicious.

NAKSHATRAS:

Best nakshatras for conception are: All fixed nakshatras (i.e., Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapada and Rohini), Mrigashira, Anuraha, Hasta, Swati, Shravana, Dhanishta and Shatbhisha.

Nakshatras to be specifically avoided are : all aggressive Nakshatras (i.e. Poorvaphalguni, Poorvashada, Poorvabhadrapad, Bharani and Magha), all Teekshna Nakshatras (ie, Moola, Jyestha, Ardra and Ashlesha), Revati and Kritika. Other Nakshatras are medium.

THITHIS:

1/2/3/5/7/10/12/13 Thithis are good. Rikta Thithis (4/9/14) 6/8/11, Amavasya and Poornima should be avoided. One should also avoid Bhadra Thithi.

DAYS:

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday is good. Monday is medium.

Lagna:

Conception Lagna should have benefic planets in Kendras and Trikonas and malefic planets in 3/6/11 houses. Lagna should be aspected by male planets (Sun, Mars & Jupiter) and Moon should be placed in odd Navamsha.

Proper Chandra & Tara Bala Shuddhi for both Male and Female should be done.

Note: The first coitus should be done on benefic days, benefic Thithis, benefic Nakshatras, avoiding first 3 hours of the night in cheerful mood, friendly disposition and good consciousness.  

2.PUMSAVANA (Protection of the fetus):

Pumsavana means samskara performed with the objective of getting a male progeny and to prevent abortions. After the conception was ascertained, the child in the womb was consecrated by the Samskara named Pumsavana. Pumsavana was generally understood “that rite through which a male child was produced.” Vedic hymns recited on this occasion mention Puman or Putra (a male child) and favor the birth of son. The word Pumsavana is rendered into English by “a rite quickening a male child.” पुमान्प्रसूयतॆयेनकर्मणातत्पुंसवनम् As per Grihyasũtra (The Grihya Sutras as their name suggests deal with domestic rituals such as conception, birth, initiation (upanayanam), marriage, death etc.).  The Pumsavana Samskara was performed in the third or fourth month of pregnancy or even later on the day when the moon was on a male constellation particularly. The pregnant woman was required to fast on that day. After bath she put on new cloths. Then in the night few drops of the milk or juice of the banyan tree was poured in to the right nostril of the women with verses beginning with “Hinraņyagarbha” etc. According to some Gruhyasũtras, if the father desired that his son should be Viryavan or virile, he should place a dish of water on the lap of the mother and touching her stomach reciting the verse सवनम्स्पन्दतेशिशौ. The times of performance ranged from the second to the eighth month of pregnancy. It was due to the fact that that the symptoms of conception became visible in the case of different woman in different months. In the case of woman who have already given birth to children it should be performed in the fourth, sixth or even in the eighth month of pregnancy. In the first conception, the symptoms show themselves earlier than in the others. That is why later periods are prescribed in the second case.

सीमन्तॊन्नयनंप्रथमेगर्भेचतुर्थेमासि
ब्राह्मणानांभोजयित्वाआशिषॊवाचयित्वा. The significance of the Samskara consisted in its main features. It should be performed when the moon was on a male constellation. This time was regarded as favorable for producing a male issue. Inserting the juice of the banyan tree was a device meant for preventing abortion and ensuring the birth of a male child. In the opinion of Sushruta the Banayan tree has got the properties of removing all kinds of troubles during pregnancy e.g., excess of bile, burning etc.

One should insert three or four drops of juice in the right nostril of the pregnant woman for the birth of a son. She should not spit the juice out. Insertion of medicine into nostrils is a common thing in the Hindu systems of treatment. Therefore, it’s evident that the ritual prescribing it was undoubtedly founded on the medical experience of the people. Putting a dish of water on the lap was a symbolical performance. A pot full of water denoted life and spirit in the taking every care by the expectant mother, so that the fetus should be healthy and strong in the womb and abortion may not take place.

Lord of Month of Pregnancy: (Astrologically all the planets become the Lord of month during pregnancy)

The lord of month of pregnancy should be strong in transit (by placement in exaltation sign, own sign, friend’s sign or strong navamsha). Lords of various months of conception are

First month – Venus

Second month – Mars

Third month – Jupiter

Fourth month – Sun

Firth month – Moon

Sixth month – Saturn

Seventh month – Mercury

Eight month – Lord of conception Lagna

Ninth month – Moon

Tenth month – Sun

Nakshtras:

Mrigashira, Pushya, Moola, Shravana, Punarvasu, Hasta and all fixed Nakshatras (ie Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini) are considered good.

Thithis: 1/2/3/5/7/10/11/13 thithis of both dark and bright half ie both Shukla & Krishna Paksha

Days: Male days ie Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

Lagna: Lagnas and navamshas of male signs (ie 1/3/5/7/9/11 signs) with benefics in kendras and Trikonas (1/4/7/10/5/9 houses) and malefic in 3/6/11 houses are considered auspicious.

Proper Chandra & Tara Shuddhi for the pregnant woman is an important requirement.

3.SEEMANTA (Parting of the hair of the wife):

This is performed at the 6th or 8th month of pregnancy. The mind and intellect (essentially, the subtle personality) of the baby is supposed to develop around this time. Our Shastras clearly acknowledged the fact that

  • A person’s superiority is not based on the physical body, but by the Viveka-Shakti
  • Moksha has to be attained by the mind alone and so the mind should be fit for Shastra Vicahara, atma Jnana and so, the Samskara is performed right at the time of formation of this faculty.

It is also a symbolic ritual where the husband makes a boundary in the head of the wife by parting the hair, Seema – Boundary, Antha – End and so, the limiting line is called SEEMANTHA – making or parting of the hair in the head.

The purpose of this ritual can be seen from various angles:

  • The mind is formed at this time and can be influenced by the subtle forces around – especially negative forces – like Yakshas, Rakshasas, etc. the prayers recited during the ritual act as an armor.
  • These prayers invoke Mahalakshmi in the Seemanta, line (so kumkum is applied there)
  • The husband asks Mahalakshmi to ward off all evils and make the child pure and give prosperity
  • Certain warnings were also given to the pregnant mother – do’s and don’ts for a careful conduct of life, movements are restricted, noble and pious thoughts are imparted
  • Husband also takes the responsibility and offers to do everything for her, including dressing her hair (symbolically to show that he will do whatever she needs)

There is controversy about the above three pre-natal samskaras, that is, whether these samskaras are “Kshetra Samskaras” (Samskaras of reproductive system of female) or whether these are “Garbha Samskara” (Samskaras of child in the womb). Thos who support the former view prescribe that conception, Pumsavana and Seemanta samskaras should be performed at the time of first pregnancy only because the Kshetra or the reproductive system of female will need these samskara only once. Those who support the latter view prescribe performance of these samskaras at each pregnancy.

Nakshtras:

Mrigashira, Pushya, Moola, SHravana, Punarvasu, Hasta and all fixed Nakshatras (ie Uttaraphalguni, Utttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini) are considered good.

Thithis: 1/2/3/5/7/10/11/13 thithis of both dark and bright half ie both Shukla & Krishna Paksha

Days: Male days ie Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday

Lagna: Lagnas and navamshas of male signs (ie 1/3/5/7/9/11 signs) with benefics in kendras and Trikonas (1/4/7/10/5/9 houses) and malefic in 3/6/11 houses are considered auspicious.

Proper Chandra & Tara Shuddhi for the pregnant woman is an important requirement.

4.Jāta-karma — Saṁskāra of Birth

This ceremony is supposed to be performed before the umbilical cord is cut (i.e. Before separating the child from the mother) and as such needs no muhurtha.  Only when this samskara is not performed at the time of “Nabhi-Bandhana” (cutting naval-chord) the need for choosing the Muhurta will arise and in that case it is generally performed with Naamakarana Samskara (name giving ceremony).

The usual preliminaries are done together with the sanctification rite for purifying the house and the occupants. The other main features of this sacrament are:

  1.  1.Production of Intelligence: In this the father feeds the new born child honey and ghee with his ‘anamika finger’ while praying that the child will be intelligent and wise.
  2. 2.Longevity: the child is stroked with the recitation of the Vatsapri hymn and a fire ceremony is done while praying for long-life.
  3. 3.Strength, valour and fame: the baby is blessed to be as firm & strong as a stone, as sharp as an axe (to overcome enemies) and as incorruptible and as popular as gold. The child is handed over to the mother to suckle with a prayer for protection for both the mother and child.

5.NAMAKARANA SAMSKARA: (Name giving ceremony)

If Jaata Karma is not performed in time it should be performed with Namakarana.

Both Jata Krama and Namakarana should be perforemed on 11th or 12th day of birth or according to family traditions. If this is done then no specific Muhurtha is needed.

If the above two samskaras are not performed in time, following considerations are necessary for choosing a proper Muhurtha.

Nakshtras:

NAKSHATRAS:

All fixed Nakshatras (ie, Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapada and Rohini), all moveable Nakshatras (Swati, Purnarvasu, Shravana, Dhanishta and Shatabisha), all friendly Nakshatras(Mrigashira, Revati, Chitra and Anuradha) and all short Nakshatras (ie Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya and Abhijit) are considered good for both Jaatakarma and Namakarana.

THITHIS:

1/2/3/5/7/10/12/13 Thithis are good.

To be avoided: Vyatipaat, Baidhriti, Bhadra, Sankratnti day and Rikta Thithis (4/9/14) 6/8/11,

DAYS:

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are good.

Lagna:

Lagnas and navamshas of 2/5/8/11/3/6/7/9 rashis, aspected or occupied by benefics, un-aspected by malefic are considered good.

Proper Chndra & Tara Bala has to be ensured.

Five types of names are to be given to the child.

First name relating to family deity (Kula – Devata)

Second name according to the deity of the month in which the birth took place.

For

 Margasheersha – Krishna

Pushya – Anantha

Magha – Achyuta

Vaishaka – Janardhana

Jyestha – Upendra

Ashada – Yajna PUrusha

Shravana – Vasudeva

Bhadrapada – Hari

Ashiwna – Yogisha

Kartika – Pundarikaksha are the deities of the month

Third name according to the nakshatra quarter in which the child is born

Fourth name is popular name, ie the name by which a person will be known. For males the name should have two or four words and the name of females should consist of three or five words. The name should be easy to pronounce, pleasant to hear, should differentiate between sexes and should have good meaning. The name of female child should not be given after a nakshatra, river, tree, bird, mountain, serpant and should not be ferocious.

Fifth name is family name or nick name.

Generally mother and child are given bath at the time of name giving ceremony. If name giving ceremony is delayed due to unavoidable reasons then ‘Sootika Snana’ (mother taking bath to get rid of the impurities related to child birth) can be performed in a properly chosen muhurta taking following factors into consideration:

All fixed stars (ie Uttrashada, Uttaraphalguni, Uttarabhadrapada and Rohini), rigishhira, Revai, Anuradha, Ashiwini, Hasta and Swati stars and Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday are the best for ‘Sootika Snana’.

Poorvaphalguni, Poorvashada, Poorvabhadrapada, Ashlesha, Jyeshta and Danishta stars and Monday and Friday are medium. Remaining stars and days should be avoided. One should avoid Rikta Tithis 6, 8 and 12th Thithis.

Proper Chandra and Tara Shuddhi for the female should be done.

6.Niskramana Samskara:

This Samskara is related to the time when the child first comes out of house in the open. The time for performance of this samskara varies from 12th days to the fourth month after birth. It is a common practice to perform this samskara with name giving ceremony. If it is not performed at that time it can be done in 3rd or 4th month after birth avoiding Tuesday, Saturday, Rikta Thithis(4/9/14 tithis), Bhadra, Amavasya(new moon day) and malefic yogas. Shravana, Mrigashira, Hasta, Anuradha, Pushya, Punarvasu, Ashwini, Revati and Dhanishta stars are considered auspicious. As it is the first journey of child all considerations relating to Muhurta for journey are also applicable here.

Some other sub-ceremonies

Craddiling or Dola-arohana: It is to be performed on 10th, 12th,16th,18th, or 32nd day from birth or on a benefic day (i.e, Wednesday, Monday, Thursday, and Friday) in fixed nakshatras (i.e., Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapada and Rohini ), friendly nakshatras (i.e., Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra and Anuradha) and in short nakshatras (i.e., Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya, Abhjit).

Five nakshatras ahead and seven nakshatras behind from the nakshatras occupied by Sun are considered auspicious.

“Shasthi - Pujana”

This is performed on 6th day after birth to please Durga (6th out of ‘Nava-Durgas’ is Katyayani) for the well-being of the child.

7. Annaprashana or First feeding of child:

This samskara is related to the time when the child is to be given solid food apart from the mother’s milk. This emphasizes the importance of proper health care and nutrition of the child.

Time for performance: In the 6th, 8th or 10th month for the male child and 5th, 7th, 9th or 11th month for the female child.

Nakshatras: All fixed (i.e. Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini), all movable nakshatras (i.e. Swati, Punarvasu, Shravana, Dhanisth and Shatbhisha), all friendly nakshatras (i.e., Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra Anuradha), all short nakshatras (i.e. Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya and Abhijit) are considered auspicious.

Tithis: Avoiding Rikta tithis (4/9/14 tithis) Nanda tithis (1/6/11 tithis) Ashatmi, Amavashya and Dwadashi (8/12/30th tithis) all other tithis are good. In other words 2/3/5/7/10/13/15 tithis are good.

Days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are auspicious for Annaprasna.

Lagna: Avoid Aries, Scorpio and Pisces as lagna. Also avoid lagna of eight rashi from natal moon sign. All other lagnas with benefics in 1/3/4/5/7/9 houses, malefics in 3/6/11 houses are considered auspicious. There should be no planet in the 10thhouse and Moon should not be placed in 1/6/8 houses.

Proper Chandra and Tara Shuddhi for the child is necessary.

‘Bhumi-Upaveshana’ (First seating on earth)

This is related to the time when the child is first seated on earth. This is performed in 5th month after birth when Mars is strong in transit, avoiding Rikta tithis (4/9/14 tithis) and malefic days, in fixed nakshatras (i.e. Uttarafalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini), short nakshatras (i.e. Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya, Abhijit), Mrigshira,  Anuradha and jyestha nakshatras. Lord Varaha (an incarnation of lord Vishnu) and mother Earth are worshipped and a cotton thread is tied around the waist of the child and he is seated on the earth. This samskara is also called Kati-Sootra-dharana (I.e., wearing cotton thread around the waist). A number of articles cloths, books, tools, pens, toys etc. are put before child and whichever of these articles he picks up, that is supposed to decide the means through which he will earn his childhood.

Note: For all the samskaras upto this point (i.e., Annaprasanna) there is no need to consider combustion of Jupiter and Venus, Bala and Vriddha avasthas of Jupiter and Venus, Jupiter in Leo, Dakshinayana (Southern course Sun), Kshaya Masa and Adhika Masa. That is even when these malefic yogas are there, samskaras up to Annaprasana can be performed, but in all samskaras after Annaprasana the above malefic combinations should be avoided.

8. Karna-Vedha (Ear boring)

Karna Vedha or ear boring is done to facilitate wearing of ornaments. Moreover Karna-Vedha is said to prevent the child from disease relating to intestines and from swelling of testicles.                   

Shankopari ca karnonte

tayaktva yatnena sevaneem

 Vyatyasaadva shiraam

vidhyed antravruddhi nivruttaye

Time: Karna Vedha should be done either on 10th, 12th, or in 6th, 7th, or 8th month or in odd years (3rd, 5th etc.) from child birth (Now a days generally done with Chudakarana or Upanayana).

Nakshatras: All friendly nakshatras (i.e., Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra Anuradha), all short nakshatras (i.e. Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya and Abhijit), Shravana, Dhanistha and Punarvasa nakshtras are considered good.

Days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Tithis: All tithis except Rikta tithis (4/9/14 tithis) and Amavasya (new-moon-day)

To be Avoided: Khara-masa (i.e. Sun in 9/12 rashis), Tithi Kashya , Harishayana ( From Ashada Shukla  11 to Kartika Shukla  11) Janma masa(Lunar month of birth), Janma Tara and even years (2nd, 4th etc.) should be avoided.

Lagna: Karnavedha lagna should have benefics in Kendras, Trikonas, 3rd and 11th houses, malefic in 3/6/11 houses with 8th house not occupied by any planet. The lagna sign should preferably belong to Jupiter planet or Venus (i.e. 2/7/9/12 rashis) with Jupiter in lagna,

Proper Chandra and Tara Shuddhi for the child is necessary requirement like it is in all cases.

For male child Karma-Vedha should start with right ear first and then left ear. For female child it starts with left ears first and then right ear.

9. Chudakarana or Tonsure

This is also called ‘Choula’, ‘Mundana’ etc. The basic aim of this samskara is to cut the hair for the first time for getting pleasant personality, good fortune and long life.

paushtika dhirghamanushyam

shucirupam virajanam

 kesha shamashru nakhaadinaam

kartanam samprasadanam

After cutting, the hair are either mixed with cow-dung and buried in ‘Goshala’ (a place where cows, buffaloes and other such animals are kept) or are thrown in river as these hairs are prone to ‘Abhichara’ or black magic by any person with ill will. A small bunch of hair is left at the Centre of the head and is called ‘Shikha’.”At the Centre of the head, there is a very sensitive place and if a person is hit at that place it can cause immediate death. Shikha is kept at that place to act as a protective guard.” – Sushrutha”.

mastakabya-antaroparishtaath

 shirasambadi-sannipato

 romavarto adipati

stastrapi sado maranam-sushruta

Time:”Mundana” is considered auspicious in 3rd or 5thyear, but it can also be performed in 7th year or with upnayana samskara. Some learned also consider Chudakarana  or Mundana in first year as auspicious. Even years (2nd, 4th, 6thetc.) should be avoided.

Chudakarana of eldest son or daughter should not be done when Sun is in Taurus. If mother is having pregnancy of more than five months then mundana of a child of less than five years age should not be done.

For Chudakarana Solar months of Makara, Kumbha, Mesha, Vrishabha and Mithuna are considered auspicious.

Nakshatras: All movable nakshatras (i.e. Swati, Punarvasu, Shravana, Dhanistha and Shatbhisha) all short nakshatras (Hasta, Ashwini and Pushya), Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra and Jyeshta nakshatras are considered auspicious.

Tithis: 2/3/5/7/10/11/13tithis are auspicious.

Days: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday are considered good.

Lagna:  Avoid lagna of Janma Rashi and 8thrashi from Janma Rashi. Take lagnas and navamshas belonging to benefic planets with benefics in Kendras and Trikonas(1/4/7/10/5/9 houses) and malefics in 3/6/11 houses. There should be no planet in 8th house.

Proper Chandra and Tara Shuddhi is necessary:  With more importance here is given to Chandra Shuddhi.

The tithis, nakshatras etc. prescribed for Chudakarana are also auspicious for hair cutting, shaving and nail cutting. But there is no need of muhurta for these things for persons engaged in government service, for models, actors, actresses and the like and on special occasions like marriage, Yagna, death of relatives, on coming out of prison and with permission of King or Brahmina.

EDUCATIONAL SAMSKARAS:

10.  Akshararambha (Introducing the child to alphabets)

‘Akshara’ literally means one not liable to depletion or depreciation and as such becomes a medium through which if knowledge is transferred it becomes immortal. To introduce the child to these ‘Aksharas’(alphabets) is there for an important samskara. After worshipping Lord Ganesha, Guru, Saraswati and family Deity the child is introduced to alpha-bets. The Guru (teacher of preceptor) sits facing the east and the child sits facing the west.

Ultimately Guru is presented with clothes, ornaments and such other articles and he blesses the child.

Time:Akshararambha can be done in 5th year and in Uttarayana.

Nakshatras:All short nakshatras(Hasta,Ashwini, Pushya and Abhijit).Swati,Punarvasu,Shravana,Reavati,Chitra,Anuradha and Jyeshta nakshatras are considered auspicious.

Tithis:2/3/5/6/10/11/12 tithis.

Days:Monday,Wednesday,Thursday and Friday.

Lagnas:Lagnas of 2/3/6/9/12 rashis(i.e., Lagnas of benefics leaving movable rashis) with benefics strongly placed in 7thor 10th house and 8th housed not having any planet.

Proper Chandra and Tara Shuddhi is an important requirement.

11. Upanayana Samskara or Thread Ceremony

It is also called “Yagyopavita Samkara”. In this Samskara the bachelor is given “Gayatri Upadesha”(A mantra which is considered one of the most auspicious mantra for the individual) by the acharya(Preceptor) and the Guru or Acharya teaches the bachelor about ‘Vedas’ and also about the behavioral code of conduct and disciplines of “Bramacharya-Ashrama”(bachelorhood). After Upanayana the person is called ‘dwija’ or reborn. He is said to have taken rebirth from the womb of Acharya as a responsible and disciplined member of the society. After this Samskara a person wears a sacred thread. It contains 3 threads reminding the person that he has to pay his three debts i.e.

  1. Pitri Rina(debt of parents
  2. Rishi Rina(debt of those who gavehim knowledge) and
  3. Deva Rina(debt of God).

Three more threads are contained which show the ‘pravaras’ relating to a particular ‘Kula’ or family. This Samskara also signifies new phase of life as a student.

Time: Counting  the age from birth or from conception, the age prescribed in 5th or 8th year for Brahmins;6th or 11th year for Kshatriyas and 8th or 12th year for ‘Vaishyas’. The maximum age limit is 16 years for Brahmin, 22 years for Kshatriyas and 24 years for Vaishyas.

Solar months of Makara, Kumbha, Meena, Mesha, Vrishabha, and Mithuna  avoiding Harishayana (i.e. the period from Ashada Shukla 11 to Kartika Shukla 11) are considered good. Upnayana of eldest son should not be done when Sun is in Taurus. Sun in Gemini is good only for Kshatriyas and Vaishyas. Solar month of Chaitra (Sun in Pisces) is very auspicious in Upnayana.

Nakshatras: All fixed nakshatras (i.e. Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini), all friendly nakshatras (i.e. Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra, Anuradha), all short nakshatras, (i.e. Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya and Abhijit) and all movable nakshatras (i.e. Swati, Punarvasu, Shravana, Dhanisth and Shatbhisha) are considered auspicious. Punarvasu is not considered favorable for Brahmins.

Nakshatras for various Veda branches or Shakhas :

For ‘Rig-vedis’ Mrighshira, Ardra, Ashlesha, Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Moola, Poorvafalguni, Poorvashada and Poorvabhadrapad are auspicious.

For ‘Yajur-vedis’ Revati, Hasta, Anuradha,Mrigshira, Punarvasu, Pushya, Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini are considered auspicious.

For ‘Saam-vedis’ Ashwini, Dhanistha, Pushya, Hasta, Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad, Ardra and Shravana are considered auspicious.

For ‘Atharva-vedis’ Mrigshira, Revati, Hasta, Ashwini, Dhanistha, Pushya, Anuradha and Punarvasu nakshatras are considered auspicious.

Tithis:2/3/5/10/11/12 tithis of bright half and 2/3/5 tithis of dark half are considered auspicious for Upnayana samskara.  Avoid Ashada Shukla -10, Jyestha Shukla -2, Pausa Shukla -11, Magha Shukla -12 and sankranti day. All Rikta tithis (4/9/14) and Galgraha tithis (13/14/15/30/1/4/7/8/9) are avoided.

Days: All days except Tuesday and Saturday are good. For Saamvedis even Tuesday is auspicious.

Part of the day: Divide the length of the day in three parts. Upnayana is considered auspicious in first part of the day and in-auspicious in third part of the day.

Lagna: In Upnayana Lagna, benefics placed in Kendra and Trikonas and Malefics placed in 3/6/11 houses are considered good.

Avoid Jupiter, Venus, Moon and Lagna Lord in 6th or 8th house, avoid Venus and Moon in 12th house and avoid malefics in 5th or 8th house.

Full Moon, exalted or in its own house is considered very auspicious in Lagna.

Upnayana Lagna and moon should be in the navamsha of Mercury, Jupiter, or Venus. Moon in its own navamsha is not considered auspicious except when it is placed in 4th quarter of Shravana or Punarvasu nakshatras.

Moreover Jupiter, Venus, Moon should not be conjoined with malefics.

Importance of ‘Varna Swami’ and ‘Shakha Swami’

Varna Swamis are: Jupiter and Venus for Brahmins; Sun and Mars for Kshatriyas; Moon for Vaishyas, Mercury for Shudras and Satum for out-casts. In Upnayana, days and lagnas belonging to the Varna-Swami are considered auspicious. Moreover strength of Varna Swami should be ensured. Like for Brahmins – Thursday and Friday; lagnas of 2/7/9/12 rashis are good as these belong to Varna Swamis and similarly strength of Jupiter and Venus at the time of Upnayana is necessary.

Shakha-Swamis are: For Rig-Vedis Jupiter, for Yajurvedis-Venus: for Saamvedis-Mars and Atharva-Vedis-Mercury. Strong ‘Shakha-Swamis’, day of ‘Shakha-Swami’ and lagna of ‘Shakha-Swami’ are considered auspicious in Upnayana. Moreover the ‘Shakha-Swami’ should be strong in transit at the time of Upnayana. Like for ‘Yajur-vedis’ strong Venus in transit. Friday and Lagnas 2/7 rashis are considered auspicious in Upnayana.

Strength of Moon and Jupiter

From natal Moon, Jupiter placed in 2/5/7/9/11 houses is considered strong and Jupiter placed in 4/8/12 houses is considered weak. Other positions are medium. Strength of Jupiter is an important consideration in Upnayana. Strength by way of placement in exaltation, own sign, friend’s sign and strength in navamsha should also be considered. Moreover if Jupiter is strong in Ashtakavarga, it will remove many of its weaknesses.

Moon is considered strong when it is placed in 3/6/10/11/1/7 houses from natal moon position. It is worse if placed in 4/8/12 places from natal moon. Strength by way of placement in own sign, exaltation, friend’s sign, exaltation or own navamsha and strength in Ashtakavarga should be considered. Proper Chandra and Guru ‘Shuddhi’ as explained above is necessary requirement in Upnayana.

Special: Solar Chaitra (i.e. Sun in Pisces) and Janma Nakshatras (i.e. birth constellation) are specially considered auspicious in Upanayana.

Vedaramba (Starting learning of Vedas)

This samskara is performed when a person stars learning Vedas. It can be performed with Upanayana or separately depending upon the age at which Upnayana samskara is performed.

Nakshatras:All fixed nakshatras (i.e. Uttaraphalguni, Uttarashada, Uttarabhadrapad and Rohini), all movable nakshatras (i.e. Swati, Punarvasu, Shravana, Dhanisth and Shatbhisha), all short nakshatras (i.e. Hasta, Ashwini, Pushya, Abhijit), all friendly nakshatras (i.e Mrigshira, Revati, Chitra, Anuradha), and Ardra are considered auspicious.

Moreover for learning specific Veda the nakshatras recommended for Upnayana of that specific vedic branch or ‘Shakha’ are considered auspicious.

Tithis: 2/3/5/6/10/11/12 tithis.

Days: Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

Lagna: Lagna should have benefics in kendras and Trikonas and malefics in 3/6/11 houses, 8th house should not have any planet.

Proper Chandra and/or Tara ‘Shudhi’ is an important requirement

Keshanta Samskara or First Shaving:

This samskara is also called Go-dhana (donating a cow). This samskara is performed at the age of sixteen years and is indicative of entry in to adulthood. After shaving, the hair is disposed off in the same manner in which it is done at the time of Chudakarana samskara. On this occasion a cow is donated to the Guru (preceptor).

Keshantha samskara can be performed in the same nakashatras, tithis, days and lagnas as are recommended for Chudakarana samskaras.

12. Samavartana samskara or returning home after completing education:  

Samavartana means return of student to his home from ‘Gurukula’ (Guru’s place) after completing education. This samskara is indicative of completion of education and bachelorhood and is like a ‘No-objection certificate’ for marriage. In this samskara the student after taking bath and giving ‘Guru-Dakshina’ (preceptor’s fees) is introduced to all materialistic articles, and all the symbols of bramacharya (bachelorhood) are disposed off in water.

Now a day’s people do not perform these samskaras at proper time and in proper manner prescribed. Even where these samskaras are performed it is done just to complete the formality without understanding the real meaning and purpose behind the samskaras (like performing Upnayana just a day before marriage).

13. Vivaha Samskara – Marriage

Vivaha or Marriage

Marriage is considered as one of the most important samskaras and is itself considered as a YAJNA without which a person cannot get fulfillment in Dharma or right conduct; Artha or financial condition, Kama or sexual fulfillment and Moksha or final salvation.

Marriage is the only means through which one can pay one’s Pitru-rina (debt of parents) by giving birth to children and bringing them up. Marriage is considered necessary not only for sexual satisfaction but more importantly for progeny, for promoting higher human values of self control and self sacrifice, for proper development of personality and for preventing corruption in personal life.

Types of Marriages:

In Hindu “Dharma Shastras” eight kinds of marriages are given which are explained below:

  1. 1.PAISHACHA VIVAHA – fraudulent rape of a girl when she is sleeping or unconscious is called Paishacha. It is most condembable type of marriage.
  1. 2.RAKSHASA VIVAHA – Forced kidnapping of a girl against her wishes and against the wishes of her raltives is called Rakshasa vivaha. This type of marriage also lacks natural attraction male and female and is not condered good.

A modeified verson of ‘Rakshasa’ is ‘Harana’. In Harana, the girl is kidnapped with her consent while her relieves are not willing. In Mahabharata kidnapping of Rukmini and Subhadra are examples of this type. According to Manu this type of marriage is permissible for Kshatriyas.

  1. 3.GANDHARVA VIVAHA – Modern name of this is love-marriage. When a male and female get physically attracted towards each other ang get married with consent it is called ‘Gandharva’. The main deciding factor in this type of marriage is physical attraction and hence stability of such marriages is doubtful. Moreover, this type of marriage is devoid of religious rites.
  1. 4.AASURA ViVAHA – Marrying a girl after paying money to the father or relatives of the girl is called ‘Aasura’, this is equivalent to selling of girl and hence condembable. According to ‘Baudhayana Dharma Sutra: “A person who sells her daughter for money commits a great sin and destroys the ‘Punya’ or good deeds of seven generations before and after him”.
  1. 5.PRAJAPATYA VIVAHA  - In this type the male requests to the female’s father and expresses his wish to get in a time bound agreement with this daughter for giving birth to children and for bringgin them up so as to pay their debt towards ‘Prajapati’ (Lord of Creation).
  1. 6.ARSHA VIVAHA – Femal’s father after getting one or two ‘cow donations’ (Godhana) from male permitting him to get married with his daughter is called ‘Arsha’. The cow donations are taken for performance of yajna. In this type also something is taken in consdiration for marriage but that is not the price of the girl.
  1. 7.DAIVA VIVAHA- In this type the father of the girl donates the girl to the Purohita who has performed ‘Yajna’ for him. The girl is given as ‘Dakshina’. This is not popular now-a-days.
  1. 8.BRHAMA VIVAHA – This is the most popular form in which  the bride’s father invites the bridegroom at this place and gets his daughter married with the bridegroom with religious ceremonies and without accepting anything from the bridegroom. It is in this case only it is pure ‘Kanya Dhana’ (donating the daughter).

Note:  Out of the above eight types, ‘Brahma’ and ‘Gandharva’ are more popular now-a-days.

Muhurtha for Marriage:

The choice of proper time for marriage is a complex process.

It can be discussed in five stages:

Step-1. Ten malefic combinations to be avoided in marriage

Step-2. Other Doshas or malefic conbinations which should be avoided as far as possible

Step-3. Months, days, nakshatras, thithigs, lagnas and lagna shuddhi for marriage

Step-4. Tri-bala Shuddhi or ensuring the transit strength of Su, Mo and Ju

Step-5. Miscelleaneoius considerations

Post-Marriage Samskaras:

14. Vanaprastha (Preparation for renunciation):

The Vedic culture gives us the understanding that every individual should go through these

Ashrama Dharma as given below:

  • First 25 years – Brahmacarya Ashrama (Student life)
  • Second 25 years – Grihasta Ashrama (Married life)
  • Third 25 years – Vanaprastha Ashrama (Retired life)
  • Last 25 years – Sannyasa Ashrama (Renounced life)

The first two parts of our life is the preparation for the last two parts of our life.

As per the four Purusharthas – Dharma, Artha, Kama and Moksha and the goal of life is to attain Moksha from this mortal world and live eternally in the Spiritual World with God.

In this phase of life, the individual retires from his occupational duties and prepares himself for the Moksha.

15. Sannyasa (Renunciation):

To be comfortable in this world, we have to work hard like It is very difficult to study, earn, get wealth, marry, raise children, etc, at the same to leave everything is also takes lot of hard work.

It is very difficult to Renounce.

  • The way on e has to work hard to create something, one has to work equally hard to let go of it.
  • The maximum hard work is in sannyasa ashram, for the aim of sannyasa is to try to go inside and see the effulgent Supreme Spirit that remains hidden there behind a veil.
  • A Sannyasi leaves his family & relatives because he gets involved in the biggest family (which is the whole world)
  • The second aim of sannyasa is to be involved in the welfare of all people in the external world.
  • He no longer lives his life either for himself nor for his small family, he accepts the duty of serving God and the entire world throughout his life without any ambiguity

16. Anthyeshti  Cremation:

In Hindu Religion death is not treated as the end of life rather it is treated as a moment when the ‘Atma’ or ‘Soul’ after leaving the present body will start its journey either for reincarnation in some new form or for ‘moksha’ (final emancipation). This is the reason behind the samskaras after death. To give ‘Gati’ (motion) to the departed soul, ‘Gati-kriya’ (process of putting in motion) or cremation is done.

Cremation is of two types:

  1. When dead body is available
  2. When dead body is not available

When dead body is available, there is no need to choose a Muhurtha for cremation. Only when a body is to be cremated in nakshatra panchaka (i.e. in 2nd half of Dhanishta, Shatabisha, Pubba, Uttara and Revati) proper Panchaka shanti is to be done.

When dead body is unavailable, this will happen in cases of unnatural deaths where dead body is either destroyed or is untraceable. In such cases cremation of ‘Puttala’ (Effigy) made of ‘Kusha’ (a kind of grass) Palasha and Rice flour, etc is done.