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Yajur UpAkarmA - Significance - Part II

Vijay_Srinivasan_at_praxair.com
Date: Fri Aug 15 1997 - 12:52:12 PDT

Dear Prapatti Group Members:

Thanks to Shri Sadagopan for settling the date of Upakarma.  According to
Sri Vaishnava Sampradayam 18th Aug is more appropriate.  Pittsburgh SV
temple has it on the same day. Thanks also for his great help in reaching
the Samkalpams and other relevant info. on the Upakarma to all those
interested.

Yesterday, we saw the need for performing the KAmokArsheeth -
ManyurakArsheeth japam. It is done with a sense of contrition.  Who else
but Vasudeva can bear the burden of our acts of omissions and commissions
with regard to shastras. Sastramayena Sthira Pradeepena - Dayadevi lights
the lamp of shastras so that the Jiva can guide its way to its home in the
absolute.

After the KAmokArsheeth Japam, we  proceed to perform the UpAkarma
function.  It is done (as Shri Sadagopan has pointed out) after
MAdhyAnhikam (but before Ijya-ArAdhanam (?), and there is some variation
here as per Shri Sadagopan, but all methods are fine).  The main purpose of
the UpAkarma function is to offer prayers and express our gratitude to
those rishis who gave us the Vedas - the rishis through whom the vedic
mantras were revealed.  These rishis are known as "KAnda Rishis".  There
are different  rishis for the different Vedas.  We are expected to worship
those rishis who belong to our ShAkha (one of Yajur, Rik, Samam etc.).
Yajur Veda consists of 4 KAndams.  These are known as (1) PrAjApatya KAndam
(2) Sowmya KAndam (3) Agneya KAndam and (4) Vaishvadeva KAndam.  These
kAndams are named after those rishis who first taught the vedas  Viz.
Prajapati, Soma, Agni and Vishvehdeva.   Subsequently we also offer our
prayers to Upanishads SAmhiti, Yagnyki, and VAruni and finally to Swayambhu
and Sadasaspati, through whom the Yajur Veda came down to us.

The Samkalpam is mainly taken for performing the UpAkarma Homam.  Then we
say Tad Angam Snanmaham Karishye, Tadangam Yagnyopaveetha DhAranam
Karishye, Tadangam KhAndarishi Tarpanam Karishye - which implies that all
other activities like Snanam, Yagnyopaveetha DhAranam, Tarpanam etc., are
only performed as an 'Angam' to the UpAkarma Homam (which is the Angi).

In the UpAkarma Homam as well as in the Tarpanam, the offerings are made to
the "KhAnda rishis".  In fact this tarpanam is so important that it is
included as part of our Nitya karmAnushtanam.  There are other minor points
that are worth noting:

(1) Brahmacharis should wear Mounji, Ajinam and Dandam after they wear the
poonool.  There are separate mantras for them.

(2)It is said that: PurAtanan Parityajya which implies that you should wear
a new set of Veshti and Uttariyam before the tarpanam and Homam.

(3) It is also said that: KAndarishi tarpana kAle Puna: SnAthvA Ardhra
Vastra Eva tat kuryAth.  i.e before performing the kAndarishi tarpanam you
should once again take a dip in the water and do it with wet clothes.

(4) The rishi tarpanam is done with the poonool in the Niveetha position
(like a garland) and the water along with rice and Til should leave the
root of the small finger.

(5) In some sampradayam you fast on the upAkarma day or at least fast till
the end.

(6) In some trdition a general pitru tarpanam is also done.

The posting is getting long and if there are any clarifications I will try
to address them.

Vijayaraghavan