” vEdArAmbham वेदारम्भं ” means commencing the vEdic studies. Once the upanayanam is performed, the student stays in his preceptor’s house or in a vEda pATashALa. He performs sandhyAvandanam and samidAdhAnam daily. He also performs brahma yagyam by reciting the sAvitree mantra daily. But for the commencement of the vEdic mantrAs, he has to wait until his preceptor chooses an auspicious day. The usual practice is to start the vedic lessons on the adhyAyOpAkarmA day otherwise called the upAkarmA day.
vEdArambham has been mentioned as a samskArA only by Sage vyAsa.
vyAsa smRuti 1.24 says:-
पुण्येऽह्नि गुर्वनुज्ञात: कृतमन्त्राहुतिक्रिय:
puNyE ahni gurvanugyAta: kRutamantrAhutikriya:
smRutva OmkArancha gAyatreemArabhed vEdamAdita: .
On an auspicious day, after having obtained the permission of his preceptor, he should give oblations into the sacred fire (agni) with mantras and commence the study of the vEdAs by reciting the OmkAra followed by the gAyatree.
But it has been a practice to start the vEdic lessons on the upakarmA/adhyAyOpAkarmA day. the upAkarmA is an annual ritual performed for the beginning of the new semester of vEdic lessons. For the newly initiated child it will be the “prathamOpAkarmA प्रथमोपाकर्मा “. Please read related article under upAkarmA under nityakarmA section for more info.
vEdArambam is performed once the child has been initiated with the yagyOpaveeta. He starts his vedic lessons under a Guru/AchArya who has qualified to teach by a veda pAThashAlA.
The students’ AcharyA or a guru conducts the prathamOpAkarmA. (first upAkarmA) A general procedure is given below:-
- snAnam, sandhyAvandhanam.
- vapanam/chaulam, snAnam, mAdhyAhnikam, brahma yagyam.
- yagyOpaveeta dhAraNam.
- maunjee, ajina, daNDa dhAraNam.
- Rushi/devaTA/pitRu tarpaNam.
- adhyayana hOmam with Ajya bhAga Ahutis.
- vEdArambham (The AchArya teaches the first verses form the vEdAs.
- The student must learn vedic lessons pertaining to his own shaakhaa namely yajus, rig, saama or atharva first and then seek permission to learn the other vedas and angas.
Sage kaatyayana extols the greatness of upaakarma and utsarjana performed annually:
‘Pratyabdam yadupaakarma sotsargam vidhivad-dwijai: |
Kriyate chandasaam tena punaraapyaayanam param |
Ayaatayaamaishchandobhiryat karma kriyate dvijai: |
Kreedamaanairapi sadaa tateshaam siddhikaaranam |
When the braahmana performs upaakarmaa and utsarjana every year and in the systematic manner, the vedas get rejuvenated and become complete. Any karma done by braahmanas with such energized vedas, even though done playfully yields successful results.