The term “Upakarma” originates from Sanskrit, where “Upa” signifies “before” and “Karma” denotes an action. Therefore, Upakarma refers to an action performed prior to commencing Vedic studies. It’s also linked to the proximity to Upanishads (Vedas). Specifically, on this day, Brahmins, Kshatriyas, and Vysyas change their sacred thread, Yagnopaveetham.
Upakarma also signifies a beginning or Aarambha in Sanskrit. It symbolizes the initiation of the study of Vedas and Upanishads, which was traditionally mandatory for Brahmins. Eligibility for studying these texts was granted only after the Upanayanam ceremony, which involved initiation into the Gayathri Manthra. Even today, Upakarma is observed to mark the symbolic change of the sacred thread, signifying the start of Vedic studies.
The Significance of Upakarma:
The Sravana month, coinciding with the Chaturmasa period of sacred austerities, is a significant time for Upakarma. In the past, people limited Vedic study to six months, beginning on this day and lasting until Pushya. This practice has evolved, and Vedas are now studied throughout the year.
Traditionally, during the rainy Chaturmasa season, travel was avoided due to inadequate transportation. People settled in one place for four months, dedicating themselves to Vedic study. Swamijis continue this tradition by staying in one place for austerity, study, and reflection during this period.
Additionally, Upakarma aligns with Hayagreeva Jayanthi, commemorating Lord Hayagreeva, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, revered as the Supreme God of knowledge. He restored the lost Vedas to the Universe and was born as Hayagreeva on this day. This connection honors the deity of Vedas and knowledge, and it’s a day to initiate Vedic script study.
Changing the Yagnopaveetham on Upakarma signifies that Vedic scripts cannot be learned without the Upanayanam ceremony.
When upakarma need to be perform on 2023
- Rig Veda Upakarma coincides with Sravana Nakshatra during Sravana Masa which means 29th August 2023 Rigvedam Upakarma.
- Yajur Veda Upakarma is on the full moon day of Sravana Masa which means 30th August 2023 Yajurvedam Upakarma.
- Sama Veda Upakarma aligns with Hastha Nakshatra during Bhadrapada Masa 17th September 2023 Samavedam Upakarma.
- In case of eclipses, Sun transits (Sankramana), or Adhika masa (extra month), timing adjustments might occur.
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