Jāyamānō ha vai, tribhir ṛṇaiḥ ṛṇvān jāyatē
Upanayanaṃ as a Saṃskāra is considered as the most important ritual in a traditional family. It is the ritual which is meant to change the perception towards life. It starts a new routine, which is meant to imbibe Anuṣṭhānaṃ/ an action done for inner purification, Obedience towards teacher and Learning. This Saṃskāra can also be seen as taking dīkṣā/action which reminds the goal until it is achieved. In the tradition, it is understood that a person takes birth along with three duties/ obligations towards our ancestors, our teachers, and our gods. These are fulfilled by giving birth to the next generation, making them well versed in the traditional studies and performing rituals according to Dharma śāstraṃ respectively. In a broader sense, every individual is supposed to find his own goal of his life by fulfilling these duties. In this context, Upanayanaṃ is a ritualistic instrument which is used to fulfil parents duties towards their ancestors and students duties towards teachers. Upanayanaṃ plays a vital role in shaping his mind toward realization.
The term 'Upanayanaṃ' is derived from the root verb 'Niiñ- Prāpaṇē', which generally means 'to send'. Here the prefix 'upa' is added by which it derives the meaning 'Going near to'. Whom does he go near to, He is going to start learning 'tradition' from his teacher. So going near to the teacher is 'Upanayanaṃ'.
Choosing an Ācārya/ Teacher
Tamasō vā eṣa tamaḥ praviśati, yamavidvānupanayatē
As the main purpose of upanayanaṃ is to make the pupil knowledgable and wise by following an idealistic routine in a gurukulaṃ. Choosing a good teacher for his traditional training is very essential. If the teacher is ignorant, he might not make a scholar out of his student. Almost every gṛhyasūtraṃ suggested some qualities of the idealistic teacher.
- Characteristics of a teacher
Vēdaikaniṣṭaṃ dharmajñaṃ kulīnaṃ śrōtriyaṃ śuciṃ| Svaśākhāyāṃ anālasyaṃ vipraṃ kartāraṃ īpsitaṃ||
In a traditional background, a student is sent to a gurukulaṃ to acquire Vedic knowledge. He is expected to stay with his teacher for about a decade. The pupil - after returning to the real world - uses the knowledge he acquired not only for a living but to mould his life. The teacher is having a greater responsibility to mould the student's mind and also to act as a father whenever needed. A person with greater maturity, training and decency only can make this possible. So to guide the family, to chose an ideal teacher gṛhya sūtraṃ explains his qualities. The teacher who is going to perform upanayanaṃ is expected to have a profound belief on the concepts taught in the Vedic tradition. A person who is born in a decent family is expected to know the essence of our philosophy and he might have healthy habits. These qualities are essential for a teacher.
The gospel of Ācāraḥ
Why upanayanaṃ not required for others
- Ṛṣi, Generally compiler of traditional works.
- bhāratīya saṃskāramulu p:158