The moment this wonderful annual function Avani Avittam comes to our mind, some of us may think that this occasion is just for change of poonal.
Is it so? While it is true to some extent, it doesn’t end up there.
This beautiful occasion has several rites.
A particular one has powerful mantras for shedding of all sins and making a new beginning.
It also involves the renewal of our pledges to keep our Vedic duties, in addition to one’s individual
Veda Adhyayana, towards society and humanity at large.
Perhaps that could be one of the reasons for celebrating it together, Samashti, at a common place like river bed, community hall, temple premises etc.
Rites involved in the Upakarma:1. Kamokarsheet Japam:
2. Brahma Yagnam
3. Maha Sankalpam
4. Yajnopaveeta dharanam
5. Khandarishi tharpanam
6. Khandarishi Homam (includes Veda reciting)
7. Acharya Sambhavana
Kamokarsheet Japam:It is a wonderful prayer cum japam. The repetition of this mantra, at least 108 times, with related Sankalpa is to remind oneself that it is lust & anger that are the root cause of all sins. One should always be careful and vigilant.
Khandarishi tharpanam:Here we offer tharpanam to seek the blessings of Maharishis who are the sources for various Khandas of Vedas. Ancestors also are invoked here to seek their blessings.
For Kaamokarsheeth Japam:
Ganapati Dyanam :
Om Shuklambaradharam Vishnum Shashi varnam chaturbhujam Prasannavadanam dyayetha, sarva vignobha upashanthaye -
Om boohu, Om bhuvaha,Om bhuvasuvah, Om mahahah, Om janaha Om tapaha, Oghum satyam, Om tatsa vithurvarenyam, Bhargo devasya dhimahih, dheeyo yonah prachodayathu, Om apaha, jyothi rasa, amrutam brahma, bhurbhuva suvarom
"Mamopatha Samastha, duritha kshaya dwara, Shri Parameswara preethyartham shubhey shobhaney muhurthey, adhya brahmana dvithiya pararthey shwetha varaha kalpey, vaivaswatha manvantharey, ashtavighum shathi thamey, kaliyugey, prathamey padhey, jambu dwipey, bhaaratha varshey, bharata khandey, meroho dakshiney parshvey shakapthey, asmin, varthamaney, vyavaharikey, prabhava dhinanam, shashtyaha, samvatsaranam madhyey Nandana naama samvatsarey, Dakshinayaney, Greeshma rithou, Kataka maasey, shukla pakshey, Chaturdashyam (upto 11.00 a.m.) OR/ Pournamaasyaam Shubha thithou, Saumya vaasara yukthaayaam, Uttarashadhaa nakshatra yukthayaam, Preethi nama yoga, Vanijai karana yuktayaam, yevanguna, viseshana vishistayam, asyam vartamanayam, Chaturdashyam (OR)/Pournamaasyaam shuba thithau.
Mamo patha samastha, duridha kshaya dvara, sri parameswara prithyartham, thaishyam paurna maasyam, adhyayot sarjana akarana, prayaschitartham, samvatsara prayaschitartham, ashtothara sahasra sankhyaya (1008 times ) or ashtothara shatha sankya (108 times) " Kamokaarishitha manyura karishitha namo namaha" ithi maha mantra japam karishyey."
Now say 1008 times - " Kamokarishitha manyura karishitha namo namaha."
Take out the darbhai from the fingers and throw it in the northern direction after reciting kamokarishi mantra 1008 times. Then remove the pavitram, untie it and place it also in the northern direction. Then do the Achamaniyam say " Sarvam brahmarpanam asthu" and pour little water in front of you.
This sankalpam should be followed by Maadyanikam and Brahma Yagnam.
Gayatri Japa Sankalpam
Keshava, Narayana,Madhava, Govinda, Vishno, Madhusudhana, Trivikrama, Vamana, Sridhara, Rishikesha, Padmanabha,Damodara
Wear the grass Pavitram on the right hand ring finger, place 4 darbhais under folded feet as asanam, 4 darbhais to be folded around the ring finger. Then start :
Om Shuklambharadharam Vishnum Shashi varnam chaturbhujam, Prasanavadanam dhyayetha, sarva vignobha upashanthaye.
Om boohu, Om bhuvaha, Om bhuvasuvah, Om mahahah, Om janaha, Om tapaha, Oghum satyam, Om tatsa Vithurvarenyam, bhargho devasya dhimahih, dheeyo yonah prachodayathu. Om apaha, jyothi rasaha, amrutham brahma, bhur bhuva suvarom…om
Mamopata samastha duritha kshaya dwara, Sri Parameswara preethyartham shubey, shobhaney muhurthey, adhya brahmana, dwithiya pararthey, shwetha varaha kalpey, vaivaswatha manvanhtarey, ashtavighum shathi tamey, kaliyugey, prathamey paadhey, jambu dwipey, bhaaratha varshey, bharatha khandey, meroho, dakshiney paarshvey, shakaapthey, asmin varthamaney, Vyavaharikey, prabhavadhinam, shashtyaha, samvatsaraanam madhyey, -------------- Naama Samvatsarey, Dakshinaayaney, Greeshma rithou, Kataka maasey, Krishnapakshey, Pournamaasyaam, Shubha thithou, -------- vaasara yukthayaam, -------------- nakshatra yukthaayaam*, --------- nama yoga, -----------karana yuktayaam, Evam guna visheshana vishishtayaam, asyaam Pournamaasyaam shubha thithou. Mamopata samastha duritha kshaya dwara, Sri Parameswara preethyartham midhyaditha prayaschithartham, dosha vatsu, apathaniya prayaschithartham, samvatsara prayaschithartham, ashtothara sahasra sankhyaya (1008 times) or ashtothara shata (108)sankhyaya gayatri mahamantra japam karishyey.
Now follow steps of Sandhya Vandanam starting from:
"Pranavasya rishi brahma,
devi-gayatri chandaha …Paramatma devatah."
Pranayamam 10 times…
.' Om boohoo, Om bhuvaha….. amrutham brahma, bhur bhuva suvarom…om
Then Gayatri Aavahana...
"Aayaditya anuvaagasya, vama deva rishi…………nichrut gayatri chandaha, savita devata"
Say Gayatri Mantra 1008 times:
"Om Bhurbhuvasuvah, tatsa vithur varenyam, bhargo devasya dheemahi, dheeyo yo nah prachodayat"..
After Gayatri mantram, once again Pranayamam:
"Om bhoohu………. amrutham brahma, bhur bhuva suvarom…om"
Then do Gayatri Upasthanam...
"Uttamey Shikarey devi, bhumyam parvata moordhini. Braahmaney bhyo anugnyanam gacha devi yetha sukham".
Untie Pavitram, put it on the right side. Do Aachamaniyam and then pour water in front of you saying :
"Om tat sat brahmarpanam asthu"
Say your Abhvadaye...
Prostrate and exit.
Yagnopavitha Dharana Mantram
Ganapati Dhyanam ……..
"Om boohu…………bhur bhuvah suvarom."
Mamopata Samastha duritha Kshaya dwara, Sri Parameshwar preethyartham, Shaudha smarta vihita, sadachara nityakarma anushtana, yogyatha sidhyartham, brahma tejo abhivridyartham. Yagnopavitha dharanam karishyey. Yagnopavitha dharana mahamantrasya ( touch forehead) para brahma rishi, (touch nose) Tristup chandaha (touch chest) paramatma devata. (Namaste) Yagnopavitha dharaney viniyogaha
Take the poonal in your hands. Knot on top of right hand, left hand holding other end of poonal with fingers touching the panja patram. Then say…..
Yagnopavitham paramam pavithram, prajapathey, yat sahajam purastat. 'Aayushyam agriyam, prathimunja shubram yagnopavitham balam asthu tejaha…Om.
Now wear the New Poonal. Repeat this mantra in case of Grihasthan wearing triple or double poonals.
Then do achamaniyam. Then say….
"Upavitham bhinatanthum, jeernam kashmala dooshitham. Visrujami, na hi brahma varcho dirghayurastu mey."
Now take out your old poonal and throw it in Northern direction. Then do achamaniyam and exit.
Gayathri means "A mantra that protects those who recite it ".
'Tatsaviturvarenyam - Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi- Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat' is the gayathri mantra .
While chanting , it is prefixed by 'om' ( pranava ) and 'bhur bhuvaswah' ( vyahriti )
The meaning of the mantra is ' I meditate on sun with tejas or divine strength of the lord who activates our intellect '. This means ' I meditate on the Supreme lord in the orbit of the sun who activates our intellect.'
Gayathri mantra consists of five sections as under Gayatri Mantra chanting
Bhur Bhuva Suvah
Bhargo Devasya Dhimahi
Dhiyo Yo Naha Prachodayat
Each section should be uttered in one breath. There must be gap between sections.
Gayathri is considered to be mother of all mantras and is said to be equivalent to vedas . It is addressed to " para brahman " residing in the sun. In other words we meditate on para brahman residing in sun through Gayatri . God ( Para Brahman ) is both male and female . The soft and kind qualities are praised as female .Through Gayatri , we invoke soft and kind qualities of Para Brahman . Gayatri mantra is universal . In other words it is chanted not only by humans but also by Devas.
According to Chandayoga Upanishad , meditation through Gayatri at sunrise and sunset helps one to acquire benefits from "Aditya " - namely
lustrous and health preserving of the body and mind ,
light body ,
high intellect with grasping power ,
high intuition ,
improved blood circulation and many other qualities .
Studies by the Sabha also point to the above .During chanting , blood pressure comes down .ECG studies indicate improved absorption of cosmic or pranic energy .In the language of pranic or Reiki healers , this means better resistance against ailments .This aspect has been discussed in the book " Sandhyavandanam " , published in 1995 by the sabha. The essential feature of Sandhyavandanam is meditation through Gayatri Mantra.
Gayatri Japam or meditation through Gayatri Mantra has a unique place in vedic tradition.The benefits are immense .It helps one to acquire high personality , high mental quality , etc .The following episode may be of interest ;
Akbar was ruling India . Birbal was his minister .Akbar and Birbal would often travel incognito to collect first hand information about the various happenings within the country.On one occasion , they noticed a brahmin going begging from house to house .Akbar pointed this out to Birbal .Birbal noticed the beggar and kept quiet. after reaching home he sent word for the brahmin to meet him.
When the brahmin called on Birbal , Birbal said , " Oh ! Brahmin - You collect your daily earnings through begging from me every day . In lieu of begging please chant Gayatri Japam during the three sandhya periods 108 times everyday." The brahmin agreed and after collecting the money from Birbal , started chanting Gayatri Mantra. after a few days , he thought , why not increase the chanting to 1008 times , since he had a lot of time. Very soon , people started giving him charity in the form of food and cash . In this way the brahmin stopped going to Birbal's house for begging . His daily meditation earnt him the power to acquire knowledge , acquire an attractive personality and soon he transformed into a good expounder of knowledge. More and more people started coming to him and he became a well known personality . Birbal also heard about him . One day Birbal visited the brahmin and asked him as to why he had stopped coming to his house . The brahmin profusely thanked Birbal for for putting him on the right path by guiding him at the right time.One day Birbal mentioned to Akbar that a saintly person had come to town and Akbar promptly invited the person and honoured him.Birbal then asked Akbar whether he remembered this saintly person but akbar could not recollect. Birbal then reminded Akbar about the brahmin beggar episode . Akbar after hearing this exclaimed " Oh ! what a change " . This episode appears in the Akbar Nama and brings out the virtue and greatness of the Gayatri Mantra.
Meaning of “Brahmin”
The word Brahmana (hereinafter "Brahmin") means the God, one who knows God, one who has the knowledge of God, one who has the knowledge of Vedas, an intellectual, a priest, a teacher, a professor, a person belonging to Brahmin caste, a superior person, a text related to Vedas, and so on.
Most of the practicing Brahmins adhere to the principles such as acceptance of the Vedas with reverence; recognition of the fact that the means or ways to salvation and realization of the truth are diverse; God is one, but has innumerable names and forms to chant and worship due to our varied perceptions, cultures and languages; that a Brahmin works for the welfare of the entire society and so on. Daily practices of Brahmins include sandhyavandana (prayers to Gayatri and Sun God), prayer to ishtadaiva or ilavelpu (personal God), yoga, non-violence, vegetarianism etc. Everything in the daily life of a Brahmin is a ritual.
Traditional Brahmin accepts Vedas as apaurusheyam (not man-made), but revealed truths and of eternal validity or relevance and hence the Vedas are considered Srutis that which have been heard and are the paramount source of Brahmin traditions and is believed to be divine. These Srutis include not only the four Vedas (the Rigveda, the Yajurveda, the Samaveda and the Atharvaveda), but also their respective Brahmanas. Brahmins also give tremendous importance to purity of body and mind and hence attach importance to ritual baths and cleanliness.
Major Brahmin Castes: Major Brahmin castes in the Indian Continent include Chitpavana Brahmins, Daivajna Brahmins, Deshastha Brahmins, Dhima Brahmins, Gouda Saraswat Brahmins, Havyaka Brahmins, Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins, Iyers, Kandavara Brahmins, Karade Brahmins, Karhada Brahmins, Kayastha Brahmins, Khandelwal Brahmins, Kota Brahmins, Konkanastha Brahmins, Koteshwara Brahmins, Nagar Brahmins, Namboothiri Brahmins, Niyogi Brahmins, Padia Brahmins, Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins, Saklapuri Brahmins, Sanketi Brahmins, Saraswat Brahmins, Shivalli Brahmins, Smarta Brahmins, Sthanika Brahmins, Thenkalai Iyengars, Tuluva Brahmins, Vadagalai Iyengars, Vaidiki Brahmins and Vaishnava Brahmins.
Brahmins in the Indian Continent are divided into two major groups: Panch Gaur and Panch Dravida. Panch Gaur (the five classes of Northern India) group constitutes: 1) Saraswata, 2) Kanyakubja, 3) Gaudra, 4) Utkala, and 5) Maithila. In addition, for the purpose of giving an account of Northern Brahmins each of the provinces must be considered separately, such as, North Western Provinces, Gandhar, Punjab, Kashmir, Sindh, Rajputana, Kurukshetra, Oudh, Cetral India, Trihoot, South Bihar, Orissa, Bengal, Assam etc. Panch Dravida (the five classes of Southern India) group constitutes: 1) Andhra, 2) Dravida (Tamil and Kerala), 3) Karnataka, 4) Maharashtra, 5) Gujarat.
Various Brahmin Communities15 (Note: The following list does not represent all the Brahmin castes of the Indian Continent)
1) Andhra Brahmins
i) Niyogi Brahmins
ii) Vaidiki Brahmins
2) Chitpavana Brahmins
3) Daivajna Brahmins
4) Deshastha Brahmins
5) Dhima Brahmins
6) Gaur Brahmins
7) Gouda SaraswatBrahmins
8) Havyaka Brahmins
9) Hoysala Karnataka Brahmins: The Hoysala Karnatakas are Smarta Brahmins living in the State of Karnataka in the Indian Union. Many eminent scholars, musicians, philosophers, generals and religious pontiffs belong to this community. (Read more here)
11) Kandavara Brahmins
12) Karade Brahmins
13) Karhada Brahmins
14) Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmins
15) Kayastha Brahmins
16) Khandelwal Brahmins
17) Konkanastha Brahmins
18) Kota Brahmins
19) Koteshwara Brahmins
20) Nagar Brahmins
21) Namboothiri Brahmins
22) Padia Brahmins
23) Rajapur Saraswat Brahmins
24) Saklapuri Brahmins
25) Sanketi Brahmins
26) Saraswat Brahmins
a) The Chitrapur Saraswat Brahmins
b) Kashmiri Saraswat Brahmins or Kashmiri Pandits
c) Rajapur/Balawalikar Saraswat Brahmins
d) Haryana Saraswat Brahmins
27) Shivalli Brahmins
28) Smarta Brahmins
29) Sthanika Brahmins
30) Tuluva Brahmins
Gothras and Pravaras
'The word gotra denotes the progeny (of a sage) beginning with the son's son. When a person says ' I am Kashypasa-gotra' he means that he traces his descent from the ancient sage Kashyapa by unbroken male descent.
According to the Baudhâyanas'rauta-sûtra Vishvâmitra, Jamadagni, Bharadvâja, Gautama, Atri, Vasishtha, Kashyapa and Agastya are 8 sages; the progeny of these eight sages is declared to be gotras.
There are two kinds of pravaras,
1) sishya-prasishya-rishi-parampara, and
Gotrapravaras can be ekarsheya, dwarsheya, triarsheya, pancharsheya, saptarsheya, and up to 19 rishis.
List of Brahmin Gotras
The following is a partial list of gotras found in the Brahmin community of Hindus:
Maudgalya (Moudgil, Mudgal)
Suryadhwaja: Lakhi (Mehrishi), Soral, Binju
Angirasa, Gairola (i.e. Sarola brahmin) Bruhaspatya (i.e. bruhaspati), Bharadwaja, Upreti
Rathitara: Baaryhaspatya, Angirasa, Rathitara
Vadula: Bhargava, Vaitahavya, Saavedasa
Srivatsa: Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavaana, Aurva, Jaamadagni
Salankayana: Viswaamitra, Aghamarshana, Devarata
Shatamarshana: Angirasa, Powrukutsa,Traasatasya
Atreyasa: Atreyasa, Aarchanaasa, Syaavatsyasa
Kalabodhana: Viswaamitra, Agamarshana, Kalabodhana
Kalaboudha: Viswaamitra, Agamarshana, Kalaboudha
Kalabhavasa: Viswaamitra, AAgamarshana, Kalabhavasa
Viswamitra: Viswamitra, Devarata, Owtala
Kaama kaayana Viswaamitra: one who has conquered lust: Vaishwaamitra, Devasravasa, Daivatharasa
Kaundinyasa (Kaundinya): Vashista, Maitraavaruna, Kaundinya
Haritasa/Harita/Haritsa: Angirasa, Ambarisha, Yuvanasva
Gautamasa: Angirasa, Aayasyasa, Gautama
gautamasa 7 sages; gautama, ayasya, ousishya, oushaja, kankshvadana, bhriguridhdha, vaamadava:krishna yajurveda tiettereeya saakha
Angirasa, Bharmyasva, Mowdgalya
Tarkshya, Bharmyasva, Mowdgalya
Angirasa, Dhavya, Mowdgalya
Sandilya (4 Variations)
Brahma, Daksha_Kaamadhenu, Bhrigu_Srivatsa_Khyati, Bhargav_Nandini, Kashyap_Diti_Bali, Kashyap_Aditi_Surya_Bhishma, Naidhruva, Asitha_Videhi, Sandeya/Sanatana/Sanandana/Sanaka/Sanasujata, Bharadvaj, Yamdagni
Kasyapasa, Aavatsaara, Daivala
Kasyapasa, Aavatsaara, Sandilya
Kasyapasa, Daivala, Asitha
Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Dev, Naidruva(Naitruva), Marichi, Rebha, Raibha, Shandila, Shaandilya
Kanva (2 Variations)
Parashara: Vashista, Saaktya, Parashara
Gargya/Garga (2 Variations)
Angirasa, Sainya, Gaargya
Bhadarayana: Angirasa,Paarshadaswa, Raatitara
Kasyapa (3 Variations)
Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Dev, Marichi, Daivala,
Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Dev, Marichi, Naidruva(Naitruva),
Kasyapa, Aavatsaara, Dev, Naidruva(Naitruva), Marichi, Rebha, Raibha, Sandila, Saandilya
Sankriti (2 Variations)
Angirasa, Pouru, kutsya
Gautamasa: Aangeerasa, ayasya, gowtama
AgniVaiwaswatha: Angirasa, Brahaspthayasa, Bharadwaja, Srukva, Agnivaiwaswathasa
Vishwamitra, Shraumita, Kaamakayana, Devatarasa, Devaraata, Panchashraya
Kapisa: Angirasa,Baruhaspataya,bharadwagasa,Vandana,Matavachasa, Ethi Pancha rushi.
Kutchasa: Harita, Ambarisha, Yuvanaswa, Mahandatha, Dharba, Pingala
Rauksaayana:Angiras, Mandhana, Madhuvachasa
Jamadagni: Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavaana, Aurava, Jaamadagneya
Bhargava: (2 variations)
Bhargava: Bhargava, Tvashta,Vishvarupa
Bhargava: Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavaana, Aurva, Jaamadagni
Vatsa: Orva,Bhardwaj,Bhargava, Chyavana, Aapnavan, Devgan ,Gori
Mohiyals : Munjhals,Dutt,Bali, Bakshi, Punj, Chibber,Lau,Mehta,Mohan
Jaabaali : Bhargava, Vaithahavya, Raivasa - Thrayarisheya, pravaranvitha
parthivasa : Bhargava, vynavya, parthivedi