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Re: questions on upakarma

From: Mani Varadarajan (mani_at_alum.calberkeley.org)
Date: Thu Aug 17 2000 - 11:38:45 PDT

Kasturi Varadarajan writes:
> 1. Given that the upakarma marks the beginning of the learning of
>    the veda every year, why does someone do it even when he is
>    not learning the veda? For example, why would a man who has
>    completed the learning of the veda do it?

Dear Kasturi,

A man who has completed learning his Veda still needs to pay homage
to the rishis who bequeathed the Veda to him. So he must still do  
the tarpaNam to the kANDa-rishis.  However, he does not need to
do the 'vEdArambham', i.e., ceremonially learning the first four 
Rks of the Yajur Veda, for example. He is only required to do extra 
gAyatrI japam on that day. 

>From what I have heard, in the 'good old days', gRhasthas would have
already finished learning their Veda in its entireity before getting
married. So they would stop doing the vEdArambham once they finished
their studies and only do gAyatrI japam in its place on the upAkarma
day.

Also, presumably if one is a 'vEda-vit', one is doing pravacana and
instructing disciples in the Veda. So one can participate in the
homa as an acharya.

> 2. The purpose of the Kamokarshit japa is to atone for not having
>    stopped the learning of the veda in the month of jan/feb. 
>    But "kamo'karshit manyurakarshit" itself means (roughly) 
>    "desire did it, anger did it". How does the meaning of the
>    mantra fit in with the purpose behind its use in avani avittam?

The meaning of the mantra should be understood as, "I failed to do
my duty (the utsarjana) because of my shortcomings; i.e., it is purely
my succumbing to emotions such as lust and anger that caused me
to do it. It's not that my failure was the 'correct' thing to do.
It was a result of my frailty."

Hope this explains,
Mani


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