In Sanskrit Upakarma means the beginning. It is a Vedic ritual practiced by the Brahmins mostly in the southern part of India. Upakarma is observed once every year during the Shravana month.
The Upakarma is an auspicious day when the Brahmins change their Yajnapavit or their Upanayana thread with the accompaniment of the chanting of the mantras or the Srauta rituals.
This is followed by the entire Rig, Yajur and the Sama Vedic Brahmins. The next day of this observance is noted as Gayatri Japa Sankalpam. However, the procedure of this changing of the Yajna Pavit differs vastly from Rig and Yajur Vedic Brahmins to the Sama Vedic Brahmins.
Thus the Sama Veda Upakarma is completely different in procedure than the other two. The Sama Veda Upakarma in 2019 will be observed on Sep 1st, Sunday.
The Sama Veda Upakarma or the Sama Veda Avani Avittam is followed by all the Sama Vedic Brahmins in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh.
Procedure of the Sama Veda Upakarma
As mentioned earlier, the procedure of the Sama Veda Upakarma vastly differs from those of the Rig and the Yajur Veda Upakarma. This procedure is always followed on the Hastha Nakshatra of the Kanya Masa and consists of the following 10 steps. Chronologically the 10 steps are mentioned below –
- The Panchagavya sammelanam
- The Snana Mahasankalpam
- The Brahmayagnam
- The Punyaham
- The Rishipooja(Uthsarjan Karma)
- The Deva,rishi, Pithru Tharpanam (264+12)
- The Ghata Poojai
- The Yagnopaveethadhaaranam
- The Vedarambam
- The Kankanadharanam
These are the 10 extensive steps needed to be followed as per the scriptures, but since people are now scattered over various parts of the world, it has become extremely difficult to find a guru and complete all the procedures with complete diligence. The above mentioned steps are lengthy to the extreme and requires proper pronunciation, thus the entire procedure is shortened these days to the following steps –
- The Snana maha Samkalpam
- The Brahma Yagnam
- The Yagnopaveetha dharanam
The Snana maha Samkalpam
For the Maha Samkalpam, one should do Achaman and wear the Pavithram. Do Shuklam baradharam, Om bhoo and then the Maha samkalpam. After the chanting of the Maha samkalpam mantra which begins as Apavithra pavithro vaa sarvaavasthaam gathopi vaa , ya smareth pundari kaksham, sabahyanthara suchi , manasam vaachikam paapam , karmanaa
Samuparjitham, sri Rama smaranenaiva vyopahathi na samsaya .Sree rama Rama rama; the devotee should have a bath again, wear a fresh set of clothes, put on their mandatory caste marks, perform the daily rituals and then do the Brahma Yagna.
The Brahma Yagnam
To perform the The Brahma Yagnam, one must perform the achaman and then face the eastern direction. Facing the eastern direction, the devotees do a Shuklam baradaram….” Followed by pranayamam “om Bhoo…”. The mantras are chanted and then the devotee should wash their hands with water and chant the mantra beginning with – Vidhyudasi paapmanam vidhya me paapmanam amruthath Sathya mupaime; And then chant Om Bhorbavassuva. After this, the devotee should sprinkle some waterround of his head and recite Sathyam Thapa sradhayam juhomi. He should then fold his hands in prayer and repeat thrice the mantra beginning with – Om namo brahmane namosthwagnaye. After this the Deva Tarpanam is done with the tip of the finger. After that the Rishi Tarpanam is done twice by wearing the Yajna Pavit like a garland across the neck and pour water through the little finger and utter the mantra beginning with – Krishna dwaipayanaya ye rishaya thaan rishin tharpayami. Now the Yajna Pavit should be worn in the proper manner and water should be poured from the tip of the fingersand the following mantra should be chanted, which begins as – Rig vedam tharpayami
The Yagnopaveetha dharanam
The poonal should be worn during this and should be held with both hands.then achaman should be done, and taking off the old poonal it should be broken off one by one and then achaman should be done again. The Gayathri Japam should be done now by the devotee and the ceremony is finished with the Abhivaadaye and then complete with Kayena vacha.