Monday, September 21, 2020

Brahmopadesha Samskaara (Initiation Into Supreme Truth)

Original Kannada article: Tarodi Suresha

English Rendering: Padmini Shrinivasan

Brahmopadesha is an important ritual for a male child. It is an essential Samskaara to cleanse and sanctify the mind, with the purpose of attaining oneness with Parabrahman (Supreme Lord) and culture one into a Satpurusha (virtuous person). As per Sriranga Mahaaguru's words-"To be blessed with a Satsantaana (spiritually worthy progeny) through marriage, one has to be a Satpurusha first". Nowadays pomp and show are rampant and Brahmopadesha, performed in a slipshod manner, is considered merely as a license to get married. The word 'Upanayana' means taking the Jeeva (soul) close to Paratatwa (Supreme Truth), for which a Guru (preceptor) is sought. It is known as Brahmopadesha as the preaching includes Gaayatri Mantra, the gateway to spiritual knowledge (Brahma-vidya), along with its expansion as the Vedas.

In this ritual, a new lease of life is imparted after nullifying the past, by the Guru who instructs Gaayatri Mantra. A yogic consciousness is instilled too.  He imparts the eligibility to meditate on the Effulgent Light (Paranjyoti) illuminating Mother Gaayatri. With a backdrop of certain restrictions, all those treading on a salvation-seeking path, are eligible to perform this ritual. If the father happens to be a Jnaani (one who has experienced the Divine Light), then it is the most superior choice, as his blood relationship as well as his divine association, are all beneficial. Even if other rituals related to Brahmopadesham are performed by others, tradition dictates that the preaching part (Brahmopadesha) should be performed by a Jnaani only. Only a Brahmavittama (one possessing transcendental knowledge) and one experienced in Praana-vidyaa (knowledge of the vital life force) and meditating constantly on Parabrahman qualifies to perform the Upadesha. The Effulgent Divine power flows as sound through his speech. It is recited into the right ear of the disciple after embracing him. The right age at which it is to be performed is decided based on time epochs at which a spiritual awakening occurs in his body quite naturally. Sriranga Mahaaguru used to say that the latent serpent power (Kundalini Shakti) within him is awakened easily at that age and the journey towards self-realisation thus bears fruit quickly. Scriptures warn that, one is bound to go down in the spiritual path, if the opportunity is missed.

The various phases of the ritual consist in: wearing the sacred thread (Yajnopaveetham), feasting on bland food with a companion celibate (Kumara bhojana), adorning new clothes, tying a Mounji grass-girdle (Mounji-dhaarana), wearing (a piece of) deer-skin (Ajina dhaarana), the central theme of the Samskaara viz. BrahmopadeshaAchaarya-Vatu (teacher-student) agreement and fire oblations. Each procedure, inherently embedded with a perspective of Jnaana-Vijnaana (Supreme Source and its manifestations) conforms to its true objective. For example, the principles and different steps of the entire creation are reflected in the preparation of the sacred thread. Wearing it signifies the course of the vital breath (Praana-gati). The mysteries shrouding the mobility of the soul (Jeeva sanchaara) are also inherent in it. Remembering its meaningful purpose while touching it, imparts longevity, strength and virtuosity. Surmounting the various rungs of the spiritual stairway is implicit in their own language.

Contact with the girdle made out of Mounji grass (grass-rope tied around the waist) brings restraint. In yogic parlance, 'Uddeeyana' is a detention around waist (during meditation). This grass-girdle is helpful as a reminder of that yogic state. So is the holding of the Palaasha-Danda (Branch of Bastard Teak) and wearing the deer-skin. These materials appease the deities and enliven mundane as well as spiritual lives with their blessings. Subsequent to the Upanayana Samskaara, the student is expected to delve into concepts related to transcendental and immanent Truth. He should not skip Sandhyaavandana (Prayers offered at the transition times in a day). He should chant the "Brahma Gaayatri" and must observe restraint over his senses.

Salutations once again, to the Rshis, who designed this Samskaara capable of catapulting one from the physical to the transcendental domain.

Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.