Facets of the Yajneopavit Sanskar


Facets of the Yajneopavit Sanskar
(A Kashmiri Tradition)


When we turn the pages of the Vedas, we come across the sacred Shabda--VedaMata Gayatri, in all the four Vedas, viz.
Rigveda,Yajurveda,Samveda and Atharveda.


Because of the importance of AUM/ OM, prefixed and suffixed with the Gayatri Mantra, it becomes a Kavacham for the person, who gets initiated into the Gayatri Mantra. it is known as the Mekhala in Kashmiri tradition. Though Mekhala means a belt, a girdle, and is of Kusha' darbha grass at the time of the Yagneopavit ceremony, but it takes the form of 'Aitya pan' in Kashmiri tradition, after the fitst Sandhya by the initiated boy at the sacred river--say Vitasta in Kashmir.
It symbolises purity, celibacy austerity, discipline and scriptural studies. Aitya Pan is also a Dori of the cotton, which helps the initiated to put up the Snaan Pat/Shraan Pat/underwear in the proper manner.

Rishis are of course, the Mantra drishtas/seers,who see the reality through meditation,Yoga, japam and Sadhana. Their mind is known as the Aarsha-Manah--the intuitive faculty of the Rishi, where the Rishi is in his /her supramental consciousness, to see the Absolute reality, who is Nirakara, but adored as Saakara through Bhakti. That is why, the Rishi has seen the Gayatri Devi, in the form of the Divine Mother--Veda Mata/the mother source of all the four Vedas.

Dhyana Shloka of the Gayatri Mata runs as:

Muktha vidhruma hema neela davalachayair
mukhaistrieekshanai,Yuktam ndu nibadha ratna makutam
tattvatma varnatmikam,
Gayatreem varadabhayanusakasam

shubram kapalam gunam,
Chakram sankham atharavinda yugalam

hasthair vahantheem bhaje.

I adore that Divine Mither Gayatri who has five faces of the color of pearl, coral, gold , blue and white, and has got three eyes, on her five face. She has a crown adorned with the crescent of the moon, She is of the true self of Varnaatmika--the sound structure of the Immutable words, which suggest the Tattvas--thatness of the universal consciousness. She has the Varda an axe, white skull, musical string/ a rope, holy wheel, conch and two lotuses in her ten hands.

This is the SaakaraMudra and Vigraha of the Divine Mother Gayatri,who verily, represents the Five Tattvas--

  • Prithvi/Earth,
  • Vayu/Air,
  • Agni/Fire,
  • Jalam/water and
  • Akasha/Space or ether.

The moon crescent on her head symbolizes the waxing and waning of the moon, representing the Shukla and krishna Pakshas/fortnight, associated with the lunar Tithis/dates. The five colors represent austerity, a symbol like white pearls, strength of coral, purity of gold, eternity of blue sky, truthfulness of white color. The fifteen eyes represent the Panchadashakshari Mantra, which is not different from the Gayatri Mantra, The diamonds adorning her is her majestic look, and is the presiding deity of the Varna--the immutable phoneme.

The VedaMata Gayatri is not different from the Advaita of the Vedanta, which speaks the eternity of the Atman/supreme spirit. In her ten hands she holds,Varda and Abhaya Mudras--speaks of her Sattvik form, Ankusha/goad to control the senses, an affirmation of the Brahmacharya/ austerity, Shubhram is the musical creativity of the Samveda, Chakram is the time in duration, Shankham,ever ready to cope with any situation, Lotus is for the Yoga, thus the moment of the Gayatri goes on and on. This is the fact that the Gayatri Mantra is found in all the four Vedas.

The Gayatri Mantra runs as:

Om bhur Bhuvah svah
Tat savitur Varenyam
Bhargo devasya Dhi Mahi
Dhi yo Yonah Prachodayat.

ॐ भूर्भुवःस्वः
तत्सवितुर्वरेण्यं
भर्गो देवस्यधीमहि
धियो यो नः प्रचोदयात्

This gayatri Mantra is a prayer for improving the one pointed concentration and evolving intellect in the three realms of Bhu/mundane/physical, bhuvah related to the upper regions, which inclues the space and eternity and Svah--the unfathomable realms of the Absolute, which is Sat Chit Aananda.

Devgun before one day is recommended by our great Rishi--Laughakshi, to infuse the Divine qualities in a would be initiated with the attributes of truthfulness, valor, strength, humanity, transparency, the concept of Rishi rinam, Pitri rinam nd Devarinam, duties towards the self, Guru and the community is focused on this great Parva/Divgoan in Kashmiri.

Maas Chai Phopha Chai is just a celebration. Maas Abeed is recommended so that Mausi is Maa Jaisi, and she wants to give Biksha at the first moment, because one's own mother would get tears because of her over attachment,as the boy is going to seek alms in the Gurukulam, hence evolved this Prathaa/tradition. This is only in the Kashmiri Pandit heritage.

Nairyawan Kharuin---- this is to put the balancing effects, between the father and mother, parental uncle and aunt, grand father and grand mother and any woman in the family to adhere to the sacred duty of a grand promise to give Biksha to the child. This Nairyawan also suggests that the initaiated boy would marry after his Gurukulam education, and would go for the Grihastha Ahran like them,to contribute to the glory of the family in existence.

Samidha1000, during Homa, and that too of mulbery. Why? Since mulbery tree is associated in every Bhirava place, known as the Iha-Rashtradipati, hence to sanctify the Yajneopavit Homa with the blessings of the Iharashtradipti,the 1000 branches of the size of two palms is offered to the Agni devata.1000 represent the Gayatri Sahsranama.Sahsranama Homa is the integral part of the havana system in the Kashmiri Pandit families. it is also a symbol of Sahsraara Chakra in Yoga.

Vyug--is Yoga, Mandalik in essence. This is the sacred geometry of the Rigveda, because Rigveda consists of the Ten Mandalas,hence Ten circles to be drawn around the main dot with four quadrants, nearthe Yagnya Mandapam, with ten different colors. The Mekhli Mahraza is asked to stand as a witness that he has taken the Shapath/vow to be celebate and respectful to the teacher, Gurukulam and his associated, while asking for the Biksha.

Rattan Tsong is made of rice attana,given a deepak shape ,filled with ghee and offered the Arti to the Brahmachari,after the Yajneopavit is over.Prikrama around the Vyug by the ladies, is a proper dedication to the Vedic way of life.

There are 24 syllables--Aksharas in the Gayatri Mantra.Since the Gayatri is of 24 syllables, the meter is recognized as the Gayatri Chhanda, Many Mantra in the Vedas are of the Gayatri Chhanda/meter. In the Agamic tradition of Kashmir, it is said to be the Samputa of the Gayatri Mantra.

*Dr. Chaman Lal Raina
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Comments
dear chamanji my worry grows when i see our age old customs and rituals are getting diluted and dis respected. we are more interested in show off than real purpose.we have started chotha for our dead , cooking meat and wine on mehndi rat.you spend huge wealth on yoniya function but without any respect for it. next day people remove it. we have lost respect for our spiritual aspect of life and are deeply sunk in the mire of materialism. i feel it is due duty of people like you to think about it.
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