” kEshAnta केशान्त ” is another vrata performed at the arrival of youth. The ceremony is performed at the age of 16. The first shaving of the beard and moustaches were performed religiously. After this the young man is expected to live a life of strict continence for an year or more before he goes for samAvartanam/snAnam, the next samskArA. kEshAnta is also called gOdAna samskArA गोदानम् or gOdAnakarman गोदानकर्मण because the student gifts his AchArya with a cow.
The kEshAnta samskArA is one of the 4 vratas followed by the rig and sAma vEdis. But it is performed separately by the yajur vedis. It indicates that the boy has almost finished his studies of one veda.
The kEshanta samskArA is performed in the 16th year.
Procedure according to AshvalAyana gruhya sootram of the rig vEdis, adhyaya 1, kaNDikA 18
सू३. केशशब्दे तु श्मश्रुशब्दान्कारयेत्.
The mantras for kEshAnta are the same used in the chaula/chUdAkaraNa ceremony. Instead of the word “kEsha केश” the word “shmashru श्मश्रु ” meaning beard/moustache is to be used.
सू४. श्मश्रूणीहोन्दति .
Then they moisten his beard
सू५. शुन्घि शिरो मुखं मास्यायु: प्रमॊशीरिति. The next mantra meaning “Purify his head and his face but dont take his life away” is uttered.
सू६. केशश्मश्रुलोमनखान्युदक्संस्थानि कुर्विति संप्रेष्यति.
After cutting the hair, beard, moustache and nails are all arranged.
(According to the pAraskara gRuhyasootra of the shukla yajur veda, all the hairs should be hidden alongwith cow dung into a cow stable or thrown away in a small pond or in the vicinity of water.)
सू७. आप्लुत्य वाग्यत: स्थित्वा ऽह:शेषमाचार्यसकाशे वाचं विसृजेत वरं ददामीति.
The boy should then have a bath. Then later in the day he should go unto his teacher and offer him a gift.
सू८. गोमिथुनं दक्षिणा A cow or a pair of cows is the sacrificial gift.
The AchArya then instructs the student on the vows or observances he has to keep for one year.