Monday, April 10, 2017

Shodas Sanskar (16 rituals)

Shodas Sanskar (16 rituals)

Homosapien is one of the most complex animal species on Earth. To build a cultured society of mankind, many leaders had introduce practices of human resource development. When some events occur, they question 'why'; And then find out the answer from 'because'. This why-because chain has evolved the human races and their subgroups. Watching at the attacks over life, he created religion/faith out of fears and out of illusions. From the primitive stage, he moved to worship nature on the face of earth, then moved towards sky. With expansion of mind, his observations expanded. But the inexplicable things of life remained out of his reach as "acts of God". From Nature to Spirit and Spirit to God, to protect the Self, he created faith, that became the religion of his group. And to bring law and order into the society, codes of conduct were introduced through religion, mainly for the human resource development in an organised way. 

Hinduism believes in the theory of rebirth. It believes that human life is the best amongst all the creatures on Earth, gives freedom to each individual to select his path of life that can upscale his life in next birth. Nobody has scientifically proved theory of rebirth, but when people see the differences of growth, thinking and progress of the children of one parents, they start believing in the theory of karma (actions), the past, the present and the future. We say that nothing destroys but changing forms, then what happens after the death? The physical body offered to the fire or earth, merges into the five basic elements of the nature but where does the driver of the body goes? It is the mystery of life. Hinduism believes that the driver further travels with the subtle body composed of mind, intelligence, chit and ego. Different faiths in the world also named it as: sacred body, genuine body, diamond body, bliss body, light body, rainbow body, immortal body, etc. It is the vehicle of the Soul/Jeeva to travel further into new birth. The Soul in the illusion of being finite (Jeeva), travels a journey of births and rebirths till the Soul free itself from all sanskaras and desires connected with the gross, subtle and mental worlds. The Soul transcends and become Self realised in "Swaroop gyana", merge into the ocean of infinite Shiva.

When the Jeeva (Soul with subtle body) enters into the human world, he passes through a long journey of life from the conception to the death; pre birth, birth, infancy, childhood (early-middle-late), adolescence, adulthood (earli-midlife-mature-late), death & dying. Each small life form of a part of a greater whole of human world. It is a journey of a seed to become plant, then a tree and then death. But many seeds unorganised, if grow together without care, they will form a jungle. But if developed through organised planting, nurtured, weeded, pruned, guided, it becomes garden. Garden, guarded with a fence, fence of the religion.

To avoid making a jungle of humans, and to develop the human resource into a beautiful garden (Vrindavan); Hinduism put a fence of religion to guard them, planted a theory of shodas sanskar, the 16 rituals to make the individual upright before he/she enters into the mainstream.

Shodas Sanskaras are: 
1. Garbhadhan: conception, to bear progeny 
2. Pusavana: fetus protection, for intellectual and mental development of the baby in womb
3. Simantonayan: 7th month, satisfying cravings of mother, baby shower, mother starts teaching the child in the womb
4. Jatakarma: child birth, done for healthy and long life of the child
5. Namkarana: 11th day, naming the infant, so that the name inspire the child to walk on path of righteousness 
6. Nishkraman: 4th month, taking the child outdoor, invoke blessings of nature
7. Annaprashan: 6-8 months, teething period, feeding cereal, solid food
8. Mundan : 1st or 3rd year, removal of hair to strengthen head and brain of the child
9. Karnavedh: 3rd or 5th year, piercing ear to improve brain power
10. Yagyopaveet/Upnayana: 5th or 7th year, tie sacred thread, introduction of a child to the teacher/Guru
11. Vidhyarambha: 5th or 7th year, immediately after Upnayana or after a year, start study.
12. Samavartana: 26th year, returning home after studies, entry into the society. 
13. Vivah: marriage 
14. Vanprashtha: 51st year, retire from household activities and engage in spiritual activities.
15. Sanyas: renunciation.
16. Antyesthi: cremation, dead body offered to fire.

These sanskars are events of building cultured individuals that forms the society. If all families in the Country follow the same tradition, it will form a society of greater harmony. What an objective! But greed governed their minds, the society instead working for the development of all humans, restricted it's efforts for limited groups and established a system of caste based discrimination by birth. For placing them well by birth, for controlling resources, for better living style, people started cheating each other; the vices grew in the society that disrupted its law and order. The Sanskars became rituals and sometimes become expensive activities that common men couldn't afford. Those didn't perform sanskara, feared of a bad life after death. That fear made them depressive. Poverty, fear, depression, pushed them to follow the path of bad virtues and bad habits. And while fighting within, some of them changed their faith. And once they exited, there was no return. In which class to enter? Higher castes didn't accept them socially. Only option left was to join Shudra. Why should they return from the society of equals to a society of unequal?

What a great objective our forefathers initiated while introducing Shodas Sanskar to build a happy healthy and righteous Hindu society! But what we did with meanness of our mind? Created a society of unequal; disunited we had put the society under the rule of invaders and cheaters for centuries. Our harmonious orchestra had been destroyed.

Independence of India has raised the hope again. New generation of India is on development mode, are working for the juice and better quality of life in present life. They don't see much juice in the life after death. In the journey of 'sab ka saath, sab ka vikas', can't we the Indians, return on the righteousness path of a society of equals? Sanskaras are for building of better and harmonious society.

"Harmony of lyrics and music create a beautiful symphony of life". Let us walk together, feel the heartbeats together, and understand the unspoken words together. 

10 April 2017


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