By Swami Harshananda
Aupaniṣada-vrata literally means ‘Vow related to the study of the Upaniṣad’.
They are the vratas that precede the study of the different sections of the Vedas. The aupaniṣada-vrata precedes the study of the Upaniṣad part of the Vedas. At the beginning of each of these vratas there has to be a separate upanayana ceremony involving the wearing of the new yajñopavīta (sacred thread), new deer-skin and new girdle. The vrata lasts for one year.
Failure to observe these vratas or lapses during their performance had to be expiated with appropriate prāyaścittas specially prescribed. The observance of these vratas seems to have been gradually given up.
- Gautama Dharmasutras 8.15
- Sāñkhāyana Grhyasutras 2.11-12
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore