Garbhadan (Conception). ‘Garbha’ means womb. ‘Dan’ means donation. In this the man places his seed in a woman. Husband should instill three or four drops of durva juice in the right nostril of the pregnant woman. She should not spit out the juice. This ceremony is now not celebrated separately ,but is celebrated on the day of the wedding itself.
Fulla mallap. Fulla mallp (Pumsavana and Simantonayana ) are only performed during the woman’s first issue. It is performed in the fifth, seventh and ninth month of pregnancy.In Konkani this is known as “Fulla mallap”.
Barso (Namkaran / Name-giving). “Graha Shanti” is performed on 11th day following the birth of the child to purify the new born baby, the mother and the family. This is called as “Shant karap” in Konkani.”Panchagavya Prashan” symbolizes end of “soyer” which prohibits the family from performing any religious ritual or entering the temple in the “Janana ashouch” period,11 days following the birth of the child, ie “soyer”in Konkani.
Based on the arrangement of the constellations at birth, the child is named on 12th after baby’s birth In the Daivajnas, the child is frequently named after Kuldevta, (eg Rayu, Kamakshi, Shanta ,Vimlesh) new born child’s deceased grandparents , sacred place or river ( Ganga,Kaveri,Kashi), saint, etc., as a constant reminder of the sacred values for which that name represents.
“Shashti Puja” is a ritual that is performed on the 6th day following the birth, goddess “Shasti” is worshipped on the day.It is believed that Shashti or “Satti” as she is called in Konkani protects the new born from the evil, diseases etc. This is called as “Satti karap” in Konkani. However this ritual is seldom performed nowadays.
Dantollyo ( Annaprashan /First feeding). Feeding the child with solid food is the next important samskara. For a son this is done in even months – the 6th, 8th, 10th or 12th months. For a daughter this is done in odd months – 5th, 7th or 9th months.
Javal Kadap (Chudakarma). This samskara involves shaving the head (of a son) in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 5th year, or when initiating him with the janve (Upanayan)
Kan topap( Karnavedh /Piercing the earlobes). The child’s ear lobes are pierced either on the 12th or 16th day; or 6th, 7th or 8thmonth; or 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th or 9th year. For a boy, the right earlobe is pierced first and for a girl, the left. For boys today, this samskara is only prevalent in some families.
Munj ( Upanayan (Yadnyopavit) /Sacred thread initiation) At the age of eight the son is initiated by the acharya with the sacred thread, known as janve or yadnyopavit. Amongst all the foregoing samskaras this is regarded as supreme. It is the dawn of a new life, hence dvija – twice born. The child enters studentship and a life of perfect discipline which involves brahmacharya (celibacy). He leaves the guardianship of his parents to be looked after by the acharya. Upa means ‘near.’ Nayan means ‘to take (him) to,’ i.e. to take the son to the teacher. Like the parents, the acharya will mold the student with love and patience into a man of character. He will inculcate in him the invaluable knowledge of the Vedas. This is the second meaning of Upanayan. Among all the cultural systems of the world, none have advocated such a lofty and stringent ideal for studentship than this Hindu samskara. Today, it is obviously not feasible to stay at the acharya’s house. Whereas boys wear one janve householders could wear two; one for himself and one for his wife. The three strings of the janve denote the three gunas – sattva (reality), rajas(passion), and tamas (darkness). They also remind the wearer that he has to pay offthe three debts he owes to the seers, ancestors and gods. The three strings are tiedby a knot known as the “brahmaganth” which symbolizes Brahma (creator), Vishnu(sustainer) and Shiva (leveller).One important significance of wearing the janve is that the wearer would be constantly aware of the different deities which the threads represented. Therefore, he would be vigilant prior to any action not in accordance with the Dharma Shastras. Daivajnas have the right of wearing a gold janve.
Traditionally following vedic vidhi are performed during mauji bandhan:
|| Oam BhurBhoovaha Swaha Tatsaviturvarenyaam Bhargo Devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo naha prachodayat ||
Om – is also called Pranav. It is an indicator of God. Om is chanted at the beginning of every Mantra. Om consists of an association of 3 letters A Au ma which refer to “A” – Bramha (Aapti/Utpatti – Origin/birth/generation), “U” Vishnu (Utkarsha – Prosperity), “M” – Mahesh (Nash – Destruction).
BhurBhoovaha Swaha – Indicator of Swarga (Heaven), Mrutyu Lok (Earth), Patal (Yam Lok – Hell). This part of the Gayatri Mantra indicates that all our efforts must direct towards to betterment of the Mankind.
Tatsaviturvarenyaam Bhargo Devasya dhimahi dhiyo yo naha prachodayat – We pray to & respect the enormous power of Sun, which gives us encouragement & motivation.
Gayatri Mantra is called the ‘ Mother of Vedas’ or Vedamata.
Sodmunj ( Samavartan / End of Studentship)
This samskara is performed at the end of the brahmacharya phase – the end of studentship. ‘Sama vartan’ meant ‘returning home from the house of the acharya. ‘This involves a ritual sacrificial bath known as Awabhruth Snan. It is sacrificial because it marks the end of the long observance of brahmacharya. It is a ritual bath because it symbolizes the crossing of the ocean of learning by the student – hence Vidyasnaatak – one who has crossed the ocean of learning. In Sanskrit literature, learning is compared to an ocean. Before the bath, the student has to obtain permission from the acharya to end his studentship and give him guru-dakshina – tuition fees. Permission is necessary because it certifies the student as a person fit in learning, habit and character for married life. Obviously the student is not in a position to pay fees. One Sutra describes the debt of the teacher as unpayable, “Even the earth containing the seven continents is not sufficient for the guru-dakshina.” But the formality is required courtesy and the acharya says, “My child, enough with money. I am satisfied with thy merits.”
Lagna / Vivaha
This is the most important of all the Daivajna Samskaras. By marriage an individual is able to achieve the four purusharths (endeavors) of life: dharma (righteousness), artha (wealth), kama (desire) and moksha (salvation). He is also able to pay off ancestral debt by having children. Procreation for children is also a primary purpose of marriage.
The Marriage Ceremony
Devkarya (Performed on the day before marriage)
The devakarya ceremony consists of the following rituals:
A creamy paste of turmeric and coconut oil is smeared over the bride’s body with mango leaves. This is known as “halad lavap” in Konkani and haridralepan in Sanskrit. Presents and blessings are offered to both bride and groom by their relatives, in the form of gold,money,clothing,fruits etc. This is called as “Kelvan” or “Aher” in Konkani.
Vaknischay (Or called as Nischay Tambul by Kanara Daivajnas)
This ceremony is performed for confirming the alliance.
The bride perfoms puja of Gauri Hara-in the form of a coconut, by offering uncooked rice to the deity (the Gauri hara may be installed in a “supp”,or “panchapatra”).
Simant Pujan (Welcoming the bridegroom)
The bridegroom is welcomed at the entrance of the bride’s house or marriage hall. Five “suvasinis” perform the “aarti” of the bridegroom and is welcomed by the bride’s parents by gifting him a coconut. A “Shakun Divo” (lamp) is held by bride’s parents to show him the way,and the bridegroom is lead to the “savvo” by holding his hand. The bride’s parents perform “simant puja”, the priest chants the mantras.
Madhu Parka Pujan (Offering honey)
The parents of the bride welcome the bridegroom and gives him honey, yoghurt and ghee (clarified butter). They offer him another “janve” and also some gold ornaments.
Antarpat dharan,Vadhuvar nirikshan,Akshataropan
As the vivaha muhurt approaches(which is usually in the noon/abhijit muhurt or can be in the evening also/ Goraja muhurt), the bride is escorted by her Mama (maternal uncle) to the vivaha mantap, where bride and bridegroom are made to stand on rice heaps beneath which “swastika” is drawn with kumkum. The bride and the bridegroom are not allowed to have eye contact with each other, they are separated by a white cloth known as “Antaha Pata” (or Antar Pat in Konkani , a swasti chinha is drawn with kumkum on it). The priests chant the “Mangalashtakas”. At the end of the each mangalashtaka the relatives shower “Akshsata” ,(uncooked flawless rice colored with kumkum and haldi/symbolizes flawlessness) on the couple. The bride and the bridegroom place garlands over each other under the marriage canopy (mandap). The couple also places “Ovlla mall” over each other.
Kanyadan (Offering of the bride’s hand), Sutraveshtan , Kankanbandhan
The parents of the bride offer her hand to the bridegroom and request him to accept their daughter as his wife. The bridegroom accepts the bride as his wife and presents her with clothing and jewellery. The maiden Gotra of the bride is changed. Swarnabhisek i.e. after putting a little gold coin (called as “putali” in Konkani) in water and sprinkling it on the bride and groom. Sutraveshtan is winding of thread soaked in milk around the neck to the waist of the bride and the groom five times, by the priest signifying the marriage bond with love and fidelity, Kankanbandhan is tying of the piece of Haldi with Kumkum, astragranthibandhan is the tying of knots to the ends of the Upavastra of the bride and the groom.
Vaivahik Homa (Invoking the sacred fire)
The sacred fire is invoked and offerings are poured into it. Agni (fire) represents the mouth of Lord Vishnu and symbolizes illumination of the mind, knowledge and happiness and Lord Vishnu serves as a divine witness. This fire is usually lit by bridegroom’s elder sister, the bride’s parents felicitate her by offering her “vastra”,coconut etc. Thsi is called as “Bhoumann karap” in Konkani.
Shilarohan (Stepping on the stone)
The bride places her right foot on a stone( Gandha Shanni). The bridegroom tells her to be as firm as the stone in his house so that they are able to face problems with ease.
Laja Homa (Offering parched rice into sacred fire)
Four offerings are made to the sacred fire. The brother of the bride places parched rice (Lhayo) into the bride’s hands, half of which is meant to fall into the bridegroom’s hands. Mantras are chanted. The bride prays to Yama, the God of Death, that he grants long life, health, happiness and prosperity to the bridegroom. Brides brother now gifts her the silver toe rings called as “vedde” in Konkani. The bride’s brother is felicitated by bridegrooms parents by offering him “vastra”, coconut, “viddo”, “janve” etc. The bride’s maternal uncle/mama, gifts her a a necklace which traditionally consists of a pendant with goddess “Lakshmi” on it.This is called as “Bhovya Aver” in Konkani.
Saptapadi (The seven steps)
The bride and the bridegroom take seven steps around the sacred fire. At each step they invoke the blessings of God. At each step the bride is supposed to step on a rice heap arranged on a “Mhanai” or “Patt” (wooden Platform). At the end of the seventh step the groom has to pull the brides toe over the rice heaps. As the couple walk the seven steps they pledge the following seven vows:
Agni Parikrama (Circumambulation of sacred fire)
The bride and the bridegroom move around the sacred fire four times. On the first three rounds the bride leads the bridegroom and on the fourth the bridegroom leads the bride. Before each round an offering is made.
Mangalasutra bandhan (Blessing the bride)
Mangalsutrabandhan is tying of Mangalsutra of black beads with golden bead (muhurta mani) and coral beads (povlle)round the neck of the bride, vastragranthibandhan is the tying of knots to the ends of the Upavastra of the bride and the groom.
The bridegroom blesses the bride by putting kumkum (vermillion powder) at the parting of her hair or on her forehead and by giving her a mangalsutra Daivajna women wear following soubhagya Chinhas
Surya Darshan (Looking at the sun)
The bridegroom accepts the bride as his wife in the presence of the sun deity. If the marriage is performed at night, he tells her to look at the Dhruva star (star of steadfastness) and at the star of Arundhati (star of devotion). The bridegroom tells her to be firm in her love and duty, and to be devoted to him like Arundhati was towage Vashishtha. The bride tells the bridegroom that she will follow their example and remain devoted.
Hruday Sparsh (Touching of hearts)
The bridegroom and bride touch each other’s hearts. The bride tells the bridegroom,” I touch thy heart unto mine. God has given thee as my husband. May thy heart be mine now. When I talk to thee, please listen to me with perfect attention.” The bridegroom repeats the vow to the bride.
Annaprashan (Feeding the bridegroom)
The bride feeds (usually a banana) the bridegroom and tells him, “By feeding you this sweet food shall bind thy heart with the thread of truth and sincerity and love. My heart will be thine and thy heart will be mine forever.”
Lamps made of rice flour are lit on dehusked coconuts, and are offered to five women from bride’s maiden family side, and five to women from her new family at the hands of the bride.
Griha Pravesh (Gharbharaoni in Konkani), Lakshmi Pujan and Namakaran
These rituals are performed after returning home with the bride. When the bride enters her husband’s house as a married woman her mother-in-law places a bowl of rice at the entrance of the house called “Humbro” .The bride is then supposed to kick the rice with her right foot in the house.
These rituals are performed to welcome the newly wed couple. The couple is welcomed by performing Aarti, number of other pujas are performed, and the maiden name of the bride is changed by her husband (namkaran). The husband performs some puja, and writes the new name of his wife on a plate filled with sugar with a gold ornament. The sugar is then distributed among the relatives . It is customary to name the new bride after bridegroom’s deceased grandmother, or the family deity. As a custom the name of the bride is now followed by the honorific title “bai” eg Lakshmibai, Shantabai, Rukminibai,etc A ritual called as “Gandh chapke” is also performed, the bride puts sandal wood paste to the chest of bridegroom’s parents , ensuring them that she will abide by their family rules, customs ,and always keep the family happy.
Maran saunskar/ Antyesthi (Death rites)
Antyeshti is the final samskara in a Daivajna’s life. Yajur Veda regards vivaha as the sixteenth samskara while Rig Veda considers antyeshti. Though performed after the death of a person by his relatives, it is of importance because the value of the next world is higher than that of the present. The first ritual after death is to place a few tulsi leaves, a few drops of water and gold in the mouth of the dead person. It is then laid on the floor which has been purified by applying the sacred cow dung. The old clothes are removed. The body is then covered with one piece of a new, It is then laid on a bier made of bamboo canes tied with jute strings. The body is decorated with flowers, tulsi, bhasma, gandha etc The family members then take the body to the cremation pyre, all the while chanting the Lord’s name. After the body is laid on the funeral pyre, ghee is poured over it and the fire kindled by the nearest relative. Sesame seeds are also sprinkled onto the fire as a form of puja(Tellanjali/Teelahuti are offered to a stone called as “ashma”.). The fire lighted in the vivaha ceremony was later, by tradition, taken to the house and kept kindled in an altar throughout life. This signified that married life was to be lived through life’s vicissitudes, together. When one of the spouse died, the agni (fire) was taken in an earthen pot to the crematorium, where it was used to light the pyre. This symbolized the end of vivaha and the beginning of agni (antyeshti) samskara. various mantras are chanted and ahutis are given to different gods. By cremation, the body’s five basic components – known as panch bhuts – prithvi(earth), jal (water), tej (fire), vayu (wind) and akash (space) are returned to those of the universe, thus maintaining the cosmic equilibrium. All the samskaras are spiritually oriented. However, some directly benefit the environment in one way or another.
After cremation, the ashes and residual bones (asthi) are collected in an urn. The urn is then taken to a sacred places such as Gokarna,Harvalle,Narsoba vadi,Gangapur or to the sacred confluenc e of the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati in Allahabad, known as the Triveni Sangam. During the ritual priest utters Vedic mantras and performs the final rites for the salvation of the deceased. The ashes are then sprinkled into the river.
Sutak (Ashauch) – Impurity
This is a period of ten to thirteen days during which the nearest family members do not perform their personal daily religious rituals such as puja, arti . Their personal puja is given to a friend to perform on their behalf. The family members cannot visit the mandir for darshan. On the third, ninth, eleventh, twelfth day, shraddhas are performed to repay pitru (ancestral) debt. The general Hindu belief is that as soon as the soul leaves the body, it adopts food balls made from cooked rice or jav and water – to the growing limbs, either day-to-day or all ten together on the tenth day. It is believed that, upto this day, the deceased still continues his relation with this world. Therefore the deceased is termed preta, which means one who has departed, but who has not yet reached the other world. On the eleventh day, Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra and Yama are invoked, with Vishnu asthe special witness. In their presence the deceased is offered pindas. On the twelfth day the departed soul is given away to the other world, where he then resides with his forefathers. As soon as he reaches the other world he is released from his preta body. after 11thday the relatives are then freed from the sutak and can then perform their daily puja. For more info.
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