Samāvartana

From Hindupedia, the Hindu Encyclopedia

By Swami Harshananda

Sometimes transliterated as: Samavartana, SamAvartana, Samaavartana


Samāvartana literally means ‘return’.

Definition of Samāvartana

Samāvartana means returning from the house of the teacher to one’s own house after duly completing Vedic studies. Since a ceremonial bath was a necessary part of it, it was also known as snāna and āplavana.[1]

Rewards of Samāvartana

After this rite, the brahmacāri came to be known as a snātaka.[2] He was now free to marry a suitable girl and settle down as a gṛhastha or householder.

Rituals of Samāvartana

  • For the samāvartana rite, an auspicious day had to be fixed.
  • Permission of the guru or preceptor had to be sought after offering him suitable dakṣiṇā.[3]
  • He should then take the ceremonial bath by taking water from eight vessels full of water kept in the eight directions, chanting the prescribed mantras.
  • After bath, he has to cast off his old outfit completely and put on new clothes more comfortable and suitable for a householder’s life.
  • He could also accept ornaments, turban, umbrella, shoes, flower garlands and everything which had been forbidden till now.
  • Dressed in his new attire, the snātaka was expected to go to an assembly of the learned and prove his competence as a scholar.
  • A snātaka commanded great respect and there was a strict code of conduct prescribed for him.

Samāvartana of Present Times

In the modern days, the rite of samāvartana is observed just before marriage, as a formal ritual shorn of its meaning and seriousness as Kāśiyātrā.


References

  1. Āplavana means both of which mean bathing.
  2. Snātaka means one who has undergone the ceremonial bathing.
  3. Dakṣiṇā means gifts.
  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore