Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Preserving the little threads of culture
We attended the thread ceremony of my cousin's son yesterday. The child was all of seven and was looking very resplendent in his traditional attire. It brought back memories when we had celebrated our sons' thread ceremonies. It was celebrated just as they completed their seven years.
Upanayanam as it's called has a sense of deep beauty and significance attached to it. In Sanskrit "upa"- near and "nayanam"- eye. So bringing the Ultimate Truth in sight is what this term means. The child learns the secrets of life through sacred mantras. According to Indian philosophy a Brahmin has to undergo this Upanayanam ceremony.
This also signifies the formal entrance of the child into student life. (Of course, the child today starts schooling at as early as two and a half years of age!) In olden times, the parents would hand over the child after this ceremony to the care of the Gurus who would then take them under their wings and teach them the greater knowledge of life.
There is this particular aspect in this ceremony where the mother puts the child on her lap and feeds him beaten rice with curd and jaggery. This is a very touching moment as this signifies that this would be the last meal that a mother would feed her little one before he leaves with his Guru. The father then places the child on his lap and whispers the sacred Gayatri Mantra into his son's ears. As a parent these beautiful moments will be cherished and remembered. Every religion has its very own practices which keep us rooted to our culture.
In today's world where technology has entrenched firmly in our day to day lifestyle, I feel as parents it is our duty to preserve and pass on our age old practices and culture no matter what era we live in. These are after all the anchors of our very existence and identity.