Talk:Samāvartana

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By Swami Harshananda

samāvartana (‘return’)

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 (both of which mean bathing).

After this rite, the brahmacāri came to be known as a snātaka (one who has undergone the ceremonial bathing). He was now free to marry a suitable girl and settle down as a gṛhastha or householder.

For the samāvartana rite, an auspicious day had to be fixed. Permission of the guru (preceptor) had to be sought after offering him suitable dakṣiṇā (gifts).

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 this 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 so on, all of 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.

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.

See also SNĀTAKA.


References

  • The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore

OLD CONTENT

samāvartana (‘return’) 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 (both of which mean bathing). After this rite, the brahmacāri came to be known as a snātaka (one who has undergone the ceremonial bathing). He was now free to marry a suitable girl and settle down as a gṛhastha or householder. For the samāvartana rite, an auspi¬cious day had to be fixed. Permission of the guru (preceptor) had to be sought after offering him suitable dakṣiṇā (gifts). 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 this bath, he has to cast off his old outfit completely and put on new clothes more comfortable and suitable for a house¬holder’s life. He could also accept orna¬ments, turban, umbrella, shoes, flower- garlands and so on, all of 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. 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. See also SNĀTAKA.