Saturday, 22nd September 2018

vidyArambham

WHAT?

" विद्यारम्भम्   vidyArambham " means beginning of studies for a child.  The child starts learning to write and read the sanskrit alphabets.  In these days, the other languages and subjects are also included.

The other names for vidyArambham are:-

1.  अक्षरारम्भ  aksharArambha

2.  अक्षरस्वीकरण aksharasveekaraNa

3.  अक्षरलॆखन  aksharalEkhana

4.  अक्षराभ्यासम् aksharAbhyAsam

WHEN?

Sage MarkanDeya quoted in the Smriti ChandrikA, vidyArambha:

प्राप्ते तु पञ्चमे वर्शे अप्रसुप्ते जनार्दने ।

षष्ठीं प्रतिपदं चैव वर्जयित्वा तथाऽष्टमीम ॥

तिक्तां पञ्चदशीं चैव सौरभ्ॐअदिने तथा ।

एवं सुनिश्चिते काले विद्यारम्भं तु कारयेत ॥

 

"vidyArambham samskAram " is performed for the child in the fifth year in the uttarAyaNa period. The following days are to be rejected and then a proper date and time has to be selected for the ceremony.

1. shashTi
2. prathama
3. aShTami
4. rikta tithi (shoonya tithis)
5. the parva (amAvAsya and pourNami)
6. shani vAra (saturday)
7. bhauma vAra (tuesday)
 

WHO?

1.  A teacher is invited home for this pupose. He teaches the child to write and read.

2. The father can also do this for this child.  He makes his child sit on his lap and makes him write the alphabets.

WHERE?

1.  The best place for doing the vidyArambam is the home where a teacher or a priest is invited home and duly honoured.

2.  Nowadays, vidyArambham ceremony is being conducted by priests in temples on "vijayadashami" day.  One can contact the temple for this purpose.

 

HOW?

The smRutis or the gruhyasootrAs do not contain any mention of this samskArA.   So this samskArA cannot be theoretically classified as a smArta karmA.  It seems that this ceremony has evolved as a samskArA in the post sootrA periods as prior to that the learning of the vEdAs might have been the beginning of studies. So for reasons that vidyArambham is actually considered very important and a ganapati havan or a hOmA for the family gods are offered by some traditions on that day; and for the practical purpose of maintaining the flow of the childhood samskArA list, vidyArambham is classified under smArta karmA.

 

PROCEDURE:-

Sage MarkanDeya quoted in the Smriti ChandrikA, vidyArambha:

पूजयित्वा हरिं लक्ष्मीं देवीं चैव सरस्वतीम ।

स्वविद्यासूत्रकारांश्च स्वां विद्यां च विशेषत: ॥

एतेशामेव देवानां नाम्ना तु जुहुयाद्दृतम ।

दक्षिणाभिर्द्विजेन्द्राणां कर्तव्यं चात्र पूजनम ॥

प्राङ्ग्मुखो गुरुरासीनो वारुणाभिमुखं शिशुम ।

अध्यापयेत्तु प्रथमं द्विजाशीर्भिस्सुपूजितम ॥

 

1.  The child is given a bath and dressed neatly.

2.  An AchAryA/priest is requested and invited to teach the child.

3.  BrahmaNAs/Priests are invited to conduct a hOmA to the family gods or dieties. 

3.  Lord VishnNu, Goddess Lakshmi and Saraswati are worshipped.

4.  Respects are paid to ones own branch of vEdA and the sootrakArAs. 

5.  An Ajya bhAga homA (sacrifice with ghee in fire) is made in the name of the above Gods/Goddesses.

6.  BrahmaNAs are given dakshinA and their blessings are taken for the ceremony.  

7.  The teacher/AchAryA sits facing east and child sits facing West.  

8.  Saffron or rice or wheat is scattered on a silver tray and the child is given a golden pen ( a golden ring is used instead).  The teacher holds the hand of the child and makes him write the alphabets "Om ओम् ॐ" or "Om ganeshaya nama:", etc.  on the scattered saffron or rice.

6.  Then the teacher makes the child read what is written thrice.

7.  The child then salutes the teacher and offers him gifts, in those days it would be a turban made of cloth..

8.  The priest is duly honoured with gifts..  All others present also bless the child.