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#Upakarma is the day a student of the Vedas renews their commitment to learning. The actual day of the Upakarma differs for the four branches of the Veda.
Yajurveda #upakarma - Is done on Dhanishta nakshatra (avittam) in Shravana month.
Sama Veda - Shravana Nakshatra in the Shravana month
Rig Veda - Hasta Nakshatra/Shukla Tritiya in Bhadrapada. This will invariably fall a day before #GaneshChaturthi
This is the day Vishnu assumed the #Hayagriva (horse head) form to recover the Vedas that were stolen by Madhu and Kaitabha. They were stolen by Madhu and Kaitabha on the bidding of Vishnu, in order to teach Brahma the Creator, a lesson in humility. #Upakarma
Vishnu, the source of all knowledge, had granted this to Brahma, who after mastering it, yielded to abandonment of humility! This #Upakarma day is a reminder that even Creator himself is not immune to the vice of arrogance, even greatest of knowledge doesn't stay if arrogant!
In the Gurukula tradition, Veda study ceases in Magha (Jan-Feb), resuming on this day. This recess is formalised in an utsarjana (cessation) ceremony. Waxing half/Shkula Paksha of each lunar month is for revision/reflection. #Upakarma
The Krishna Paksha is for study of other allied parts of Vedanga- Shiksha, Chandas, vyakarana, nirukta, Kalpa and jyotisha.
Only six months were spent in Veda learning, meaning the time taken to complete the study was way too long, so utsarjana was slowly skipped #Upakarma
That is why the the #upakarma begins with a prayaschitta for all the sins of omission and commission in the previous year. There is also a prayaschitta for skipping the utsarjana cooling off period, which let's admit, IS an infarction.
The beginning of the ritual is a 108-time repetition of कामोकार्षीत मन्युरकार्षीत नमो नम: (I atone for sins of lust and anger, the root of all sin) #Upakarma
The main dhaarana mantra: यज्ञोपवीतं परमं पवित्रं प्रजा पतेर्यत्सहजं पुरस्तात्
आयुष्यमग्रयं प्रतिमुंञ्च शुभ्रं। यज्ञोपवितम् बलमस्तुतेज:।।
"This Yagyopaveeta, most sacred, through Prajapati in the beginning, giving Long Life, worn as White Thread, Strengthens & gives splendour"
The Kandarshi Tarpanam, is a Tarpanam to the Rishis who have given shape to each "kaandam" or section of the Vedas.
That is the student's way of recognition that we are what we are, because of who our forefathers and founding Rishis were! #upakarma
It is also why the self-location during the Sankalpa is slightly more detailed than normal - with respect to this Earth out of all the worlds in all Universes, Jambudweepa out the 7 islands listed, Bhaaratavarsha out of the 9 varshas listed, and within that the Bharata Khanda
The Gayatri Japam the next day, is a recognition of this renewal of vigour to study, where the student recites the Gayatri 1008 times. #upakarma
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