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Samsakaara of Upanayanam/YajnyoPaveetam/Mekhalaa

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The title above contains two words, the SamskAra and YajnyoPavetam. We will take each word and understand its meaning and the significance for us.

However, before we do that it will add to go through a digression on some of
the elementary understanding of Indian cosmogony vis-à-vis individual
living being.

Digression I: The tradition posits three bodies for the living beings, still in
the state of MAyA. These three bodies are “Sthula SharIra” (Gross body),
“Sukhshama SharIra” (Subtle body) and the “KArna SharIra” (causal body).
The “Sthula sharIra” is the external physical body, with which we all are
familiar, which is used for the physical activities. The “Sukhshama ShrIra”
on the other is the triplet of the “Manas-Budhi-AhankAra” or MindIntellect-ego.
The whole physical body is mapped on to this triplet so as to
allow both the understanding and activity in-and-of the external world. Most
of us are aware of its presence to some extent. The “KArna SharIra” or
causal body is the composite of the “SamskAra”. It called “KArna” because
it is these SamskAras, which root cause of the rebirth of the triplet of the
“manas-budhi-ahankAra”. In our traditional understanding, the “samskAras
along with the triplet of “manas-budhi-ahankAra” takes appropriate body,
appropriate according to the “samskAra”. Thus, there are two types of
“dehAnta” (death) of living beings. The death of ordinary individual in
which only the body dies, while the“samskAras” along with the triplet of
“manas-budhi-ahankAra” continue to live. Then there is the death of a
realized yogi, in which case along with the body the samskAra along with
the manas-budhi-ahankAr also dies. The later death is of one who has
achieved the Moxsha. KArna SharIra accumulates the samskAras both from
the formal and from our daily actions and the desires. Thus within the
parlance of the above description it is imperative to initiate accumulation of
good samskAra for future. And the role of the formalized SamskAra is to do
just that.

Samsakaara:
The word “SamskAra” is the conjunction of (Sam+sKAara). “Sam” is to
“Equilibrate” and “sKAra” means “with form”, “to make well”, that is a
“good form which equilibrates” i.e., “good action which brings equilibrium
in life”. The Sanskrit dictionary gives the following additional meanings.
(Putting together, forming well, making perfect, accomplishment,
embellishment, adornment, purification, cleansing, making ready)
SanskAra, the “equilibrating form” get built out of all the activities one
undertakes in a daily life, including meditation, prayers. However, there are
times in one’s life when dis-equilibrium seems to be the norm. At these
times, we do not know what to do and the society around us does not know
how to treat us. These times seem to be common to us all and are points of
transition from one stage in life to another. For such times the sages devised
specific rites of passage to help bring back equilibrium to our life. These
rites of passage get encapsulated in ceremonies, which provide us and the
society guidance and anchor for the transition to the next stage of life. Thus,
SamsakAra may be understood as “introduction to the right thought or
activity at a given stage in life”.
Samsakaara also refers to the culture of rites and practices, which emphasize
the importance of higher thoughts, and reveals their impact on our daily life.
Samsakaara provides a growing child with a sense of belonging to a culture
and its traditions. This personal identification is critical for the child in
overcoming difficult and trying periods as he/she goes through the life.
Samsakaara thus provides general guidance towards a happy life in which
spiritual aspects form a part of living.
Vedic & Aagamic Rushis have designed specific SamskAra for every
transitional stage of life in order to provide for the person going through the
transition a sense of support, belonging, anchor and guidance. Samsakaara
act like signboards on the path of an individual’s journey and supplies
him/her with guidance, mental vigor and righteousness at every important
crossroad of life.
Eternal is called “Brahaman/Aatman” and external world and physical life
of a human being is just one manifestation. Birth and death are only two
important transition stages. Ever-existing Aatman manifesting as Jeeva
continues to the path of self discovery in this play of hide and seek. The one
who hides is also the one who seeks. This is the reason why in Hinduism we
have Samsakara to signify events, which are beyond the limits of this life
cycle. Samsakara begin prior to birth and continue beyond the cremation of
the body following death.
Following is the brief list of Samsakara in Hindu tradition along with a brief
description. Only the Upanayanam Samsakaara is given in some detail.

• Garbhadhana (conception of a child): Married couple performs this
rite before the conception of a child. The whole idea of this ritual is to
remind the married couple that the child to be conceived needs the
right kind of environment, which can only be built by loving and
conscientious parents.

• Punsavana (Protection of the fetus): This SamskAra is performed
during the third or fourth month of pregnancy.

• Simantonnayana (Well-being of the Pregnant mother):In ritualistic
aspect and on a physical plane, this ritual has certain similarities with
the baby shower. It is performed during the seventh month of the
pregnancy.

• Jaatakarma (child birth):The Jaatakarma Samskaara is for the
occasion of celebrating the arrival of the new born baby.

• Naamakarana (naming the child): This is the ritual for giving a name
to the new born baby. In Hinduism names are not just some proper
nouns without any meaning.

• Annaprashana (feeding the child solid food): In the sixth, seventh or
eighth month after the birth when teeth begin appearing, the child is
fed solid food.

• Mundan/Zarakaasai (cutting hair): This is performed during the
third year of age when the child’s hair is removed by shaving.

• Deva Guna This peculiarly Kashmiri samskara is primarily matrika
pujan. The matrika i.e mothers are the axhsharas (commonly vowels
and consonants) and charachetrizes the Chkreeshwari pujan.

• Upanayanam (Sacred thread ceremony): (See below for details) *
• Vedaarambha (Commencement of formal education):
• Snaatakatwa (Getting formal Degree from institution of learning).
• Vivaah (Marriage)
• Sraada (rituals after leaving the body, passing away)
o Pitri Sraadha (Ritual for all the ancestral pitris)
Out of all these Samskaras we will focus on the Mekhala
(Girdle)/Upanayanam.

Digression II: There is an overarching concept called “Dharma” in our
tradition. The “Dharma” has many hues of meaning. It does not mean
religion, even though it encompasses it, it does not mean morality, even
though it encompasses it, it does not mean ethics, even though it
encompasses it. It has to be tasted and experienced by living in a society,
which is steeped in it. The word arises out of the conjunction of the dhar +
ma. The dhar means to support, to sustain (like dharti) that which supports,
which sustains; and “ma” implies “mother” and ‘measure”. Thus Dharma is
that which supports you like a mother but also is the measure of your finite
existence.

In Hindu society, the ideal life span of an individual is supposed to be 100
years. These hundred years are divided in to four equal parts of 25 years
each. The ideal form way of living, during each of these 25 years of period is
Aashrama (place or state in which an effort is performed). An ideal way of
living is to pass through each of these four stages and act according to the
“dharma” of each of these stages. These four stages are called as (1)
BrhmachArya Aashrama (school) (2) Gruhasta Aashrama (House hold)(3)
VAnaprastha Aashrama (Social Activism period) (4) SanyAsa Aashrama
(Devotional period).

* Upanayanam (Sacred thread ceremony): The other two names for this
ceremony are MekhalAa and Yajnyopaveetam. The “Upanayanam”, (Lit.
Upa+Nayanam) = Bringing Near the Eyes. Eyes here are the symbol of
seeing, implying bringing near to inner seeing or guidance. The
Yajnyopaveetam = Yajnya + upavit = Purified by yajnya or Worn at yajnya.
The last name MekhalAa means Girdle the round boundary reminding us of
the limits within which to function and limits not to be transgressed.
The ceremony is the initiation of a child into the pursuit of both the physical
and spiritual knowledge. This ceremony symbolizes the second birth of the
child (called Dvija). The first birth is in the realm of physical world and the
second birth in the realm of knowledge, physical as well as Spiritual. In
particular, birth to the realm of Spiritual world. This was formally done by
handing over the child to his chosen Guru at the end of ceremony.
This initiation by Guru, entailed various ritualistic functions carried out
during Yajnya, performed at a predetermined auspicious time. The student
wears saffron garments, the girdle, the sacred thread (“Yajnyopavita”), a
deerskin, and a staff. During Yajnya, Guru through Gayatri Mantra of the
Savitr (i.e. Sun, but the implied meaning is that SUN which is source of
inner Light of Recognition, i.e. Aatman which is identical with Brahman.)
initiates the student in the life of BrahamaCaarya Ashram. “Brahmani
charitam iti BrahmachArya, meaning whose follows to understand Brahman
is the BrahmachArya.(The BrahamaCcarya = Brahmana + Caarya. i.e. the
study of the Brahman, i.e. the study of the Nature of Existent.)

Then ritual of mounting the stone by pupil, symbolically reminds the pupil
to be firm as a stone. The most important part of this ceremony is the
wearing of the sacred thread accompanied by the recitation and teaching of
the Gayatri Mantra to Savita. The sacred fire is kindled after the formal
teachings of the Gayatri mantra, and the student goes around for alms to
inculcate humility. MhaRisi Vaisvamitra gave this Maha-Mantra to us.
The thread is a constant reminder of our vow of commitment to our goal of
seeking the eternal while following our BrahamaCaarya dharmAa. That
being the constant effort of understanding and realizing the Brahman while
living within the prescribed values and rules laid down according to our
dharma.

The mystery of the spiritual knowledge is represented by the famed Gayatri
mantra. The word Gayatri is derived from the root gai, which means “to
sing”, and Gaya is a “song”. The word Gayatri then means a song with
three components. The word gauh in Sanskrit means Earth (like the Greek
{Gaia}), ray of light or wisdom, and cow, and this word is in itself derived
in the Nirukta from the root ga, which means “to go”. A song also goes in
the sense that it marks time and it has becoming within its being. The
Gayatri has 24 syllables, and each set of 8 is supposed to represent a foot. So
the Gayatri is the “three-footed song”, “three-footed ray of light”, or the
“three-footed cow”. This light-hearted name is to suggest that {insight}
needs to be added to the symbolism and literal meaning of the mantra for it
to become “four-footed” vehicle of wisdom and subtle knowledge. The
mantra is stated as follows:

AUM bhUr bhuvaha svAha
Tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dhimahee
Dhiyo yonaha prachodayAata

In the Rikh Samhita, only the last three lines are there, the first line is
padded in to this at present without changing the main content of the last
three lines.
The first line of the mantra means as follows:

• AUM is the invocation of the Brahman, or Ganesha or the Sat-ChitAananda.
It is the Shabada BRAHMAN, the undifferentiated,
primordial root of Knowledge expressed and un-expressed.

• BhUr: implies gross, earthiness, physical world which an individual
experiences in the wakeful state, hence also the “waking state”,
indicating at the gross existent.

• Bhuvah: it means subtle existent, of fire, which is experienced by the
mind-intellect indicating subtle in the external but sukhshama sharira
as experiment.

• SvAha: Refers to the causal, which gives rise to the gross and the
subtle, to that which is free of the gross and the subtle. This is
reference to Karna SharIra in humans, it refers to Susupti (deep sleep
state) as the state of existence as experient.
The first verse expresses the cosmology of reality as an experient, in which
highest state is AUM, which is beyond the ordinary experience of duality,
and the triplets of Gross body, Subtle body and the Causal body as ordinary
living being, It also refers to existence in the speech aspect as Para,
PashyAnti, MadhyamikA and the VaikherI . Thus first verse reminds us the
ultimate reality of the “AUM”/BRAHMAN/ParmaSivA etc, which brings
forth the other triplets from within and then absorbes it in to within.
The Second line of the mantra means as follows:

• Tat = That, this “That” is not indicative of the something there in
space but the thatness of the existence as in “Tatva” and talks of “that
Savitur”

• Savitur is Sun the giver of light; the Sun here is the symbolic
representation of the giver of the inner light, which is the Aatmana.
That light, which brings forth the meaning and the understanding of
that you do not know and do not understand but then make you say
“ah” when you do understand. Which suddenly illumines not only the
intellect but is the source of all understanding. (Tat Savitur refers to
that Sun, which does the illumination, so it is not restricted to “SUN”
only as it is that too eventually but to that which is the all knowledge
itself “embodied knowledge, “svatha”.

• Varenyam: It means, the effulgent, full of brightness, referring to
divine light, which is the very source of all manifestation. This light
should not be confused with the ordinary light, It is the light of
knowledge, in the sense it brings forth understanding and removes the
darkness of ignorance.
Thus the verse indicates to that “SUN” which is bright and effulgent and
source of all illumination, which as “Sabda Brahman” is AUM, and which
ultimate reality is called “BRAHMAN” and as the crux of individual is
called “Atmana”. All these three categories refer to the same reality in
different contexts. These two Salokas together can be equivalently
interpreted as, that splendid magnificence of Savitur, that Sun which
permeates the three Lokas, is assuredly the BRAHMAN. (These three Lokas
are,

• Jagruta Loka: Waking state i.e. the state in which the external
world is available to us,

• Swapana Loka: Dream state, in which the dream world is
available to us but the external world is not existent in it,

• Susupti: Deep sleep state, where neither the external world nor the
dream world is available to us). This is the state of Ananda with
out the awareness, “NAA JnyAnAmi”

The words of the third verse have following meanings and implications:
• Bhargo: It is the conjunction of the “Bhar” + “Go”. The “Bhar”
means to fill and the “Go” means the rays of light. “Bhargo” hence
means filling with the rays of light.

• Devasya: “Devasya”, is the declination of the “Deva” meaning “of
Deva”

• DheemahI: It comes out of “Dhee+mahI”. Dhee means perceive,
think, wish desire and mahI also means great world which includes
earth and beyond earth. “DheemahI” would hence imply desiring all
the transcendence and the immanance..
The verse would imply that fill me with my desire of the earth and the
effulgent Light of Divine. May he illumine our mind and fill us with our
desires. The prayer and desire for the illumination of the minds, is the
realization of that Divine self.
The meaning of the last verse is as follows:

• Dhiyo yonaha: It is the conjuction of “ Dhiyo + yo + nah” Dhiyo is
intellect, yo is who and nah means our

• PrachodayAata: requesting to inspire, may inspire, urging to inspire.
The verse means “who may inspire our intellect”. This who is again that
same Savitur, to whose whole of this gaya-trayi mantra is addressing.
The totality of the mantra starts with declaring AUM as the ultimate
transcendent reality from which arises the gross, subtle, and causal, or as
speech from which arises Pashyanti, vAc, MadhyamikA vAc and the
vaikhari vAc. Which comprises the whole material universe.Then it points
to that ultimate reality as the source of all inner light, and pray for filling
the individual with that light, hence revealing the ultimate from which it
as individual arises.

The Atharvaveda 13.1.10 compares the Gayatri to a calf. The
Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (5.14.6-7) explains the three feet of the Gayatri:
the first foot represents the three-fold division of the world as described
above; the second foot represents the three-fold knowledge of the Vedas; the
third foot represents the three vital breaths (pranas). But this knowledge,
represented as a progressively deeper involution from the outer to the inner,
is merely the background in which the fourth foot can be seen representing
the cause and the meaning of the universe. This fourth foot is really not the
fourth, but contains the three earlier ones. From Avastha or Loka point of
view it is the Turiya Avastha, from the Prana point of view it is the AUM and
from the Veda point of view it is the BRAHMAN.
The ceremony introduces the child (both girls and boys) to a teacher in order
to receive education. This samskaara marks the entry of the child into the
BrahmacAarya Ashrama, the first of the four stages in life. This samskaara
is usually performed at around fifth to eighth year of age, when the child is
invested with a sacred thread (consisting of three strands) to be worn around
the neck and waist. In case of girls, most of the time the thread is worn
around the neck only.
Yajnyopaveet is symbolic of the initiation, of a householder into performing
his threefold duties. These duties are towards the household, to his Devas,
and to his Pitras – hence the three strands with brahmagranthi, or divine knot
and three ways of wearing it. It is worn over the right shoulder to performing
duty of a gruhasti. It is woren over the left shoulder and around the neck
only while performing the duty towards towards the other two. The three
strands also are the representation of the three-footed “go” which ties us, and
from which we come out through this initiation by finding the “fourth”, whi
is the TuryA avastha of the transcendent.
The three threads symbolize three specific debts that every Hindu has to
repay.
The first debt: It is owed to the Supreme Being, which one can repay by
making an attempt for self-realization. In essence it also means
understanding and realizing the very truth that the same birth-less, deathless,
ever-existing Brahman is present in every being of this universe. To a
Hindu, the service of the Eeshwara means service to all mankind, regardless
of caste, color or creed. Reverence to all forms of life, including plants and
animals and protection of the environment are important parts of the first
debt. As means to self-realization a Hindu is also encouraged to practice
truthfulness, self-control, purity of thought, and a pleasant and respectful
attitude towards every other individual. Respect and reverence to teachers
and parents are given very high importance in conjunction to this debt.
The second debt: The second thread, which symbolizes the second debt, is
to the sages, saints and self-enlightened individuals who have realized the
truths in Vedas. Preserving and enriching the cultural heritage that is handed
down through each generation can pay this debt. To preserve and enrich the
cultural heritage, an individual should learn and practice the philosophical
and universal themes of the Hindu way of life. To accomplish this goal,
every Hindu is encouraged to organize events to spread the ocean of
knowledge present in Hinduism, to donate to organizations that are involved
in teaching people about the principles of Dharma and to practice the
philosophical teachings of Vedas in daily life.
The third debt: The third thread, symbolizing the third debt is to our
ancestors. It is paid during one’s life. The repayment of this debt includes
raising one’s family in accordance with the universal teachings of Hinduism.
Since proper education is essential for success in raising a family, a major
part of the debt consists of providing the children with adequate formal
education on arts and science.
The summary of the Vedic knowledge, which a BrahamaCaarya is urged to
follow and vows to follow, is given below:
There exists an a-priori existent (called variously Brahman, Vishnu, Shiva,
Shakti), that even though one expresses itself as many bound by localization
and temporality/causality. Only through knowing this oneness of a-priori
extence, can we realize the true nature of existent in identity with particular.
This knowledge is essential to know Brahman. Knowledge is possible
because of the equivalences (bandhu) between the outer and the inner. These
bandhu are described in the Vedas, the Agamas, and other books. To follow
this there are the requirements of the personal commitment and presence of
appropriate SamAja.

• On the personal note the regular practices of yoga, meditation,
service, ritual, and science are the prescribed efforts to discover
Knowledge.

• The second requirement of the existence of Samaj or association is
necessary to promote this knowledge and its discovery among people.
The Samaj has as its primary principle the seeking of this supreme
knowledge along with the practices and disciplines necessary to bring
it about. Membership in the Samaj is based upon personal dedication
to the knowledge, its realization and its propagation. The members of
the Samaj should meet regularly for meditation, and discussion.
Who has the right of initiation for the upanayanam?
There is quite a bit of miss understanding about who has the right to the
samsakAra of mekhala. The recent history of Hindus in India and Kashmiri
Hindus in particular has cast a lot of erosion about the memories of the
tradition. This has occurred mainly because of destruction of our institutions
of learning and the pressures from the Islam to refuse the traditional arts of
Hindus. In this process we have lost the understanding of philosophies,
learning, celebrations, and the purpose of the celebration. Because of the
traditions of the recent past questions are raised that girls should not be
given yajnyopaveetam. In this section, we want to address that issue. We
will give a general rational argument in favor of giving this samskAra to
girls. We will also point to a large class of scriptural evidence in favor of
this. Thus, we will seek the evidence about this as follows.
.
• First of all the ceremony is the commemoration of the transition from
the careless childhood to the life of a student. This celebration, as
pointed out earlier, announces to, and prepares the child for, the
transition that is about to take place at the end of the ceremony. To
that extent every child, inducted in to the learning should have this
ceremony.

• The other side of the same celebration is the preparing the family and
the society supporting the learning process to make them aware of
another of its members making the transition, and they should be
ready and willing to support the young initiate to succeed in the
transition. The celebration must help transition in the attitude of the
society, for showing more respect towards the young student, who has
undertaken the responsibility. For this reason also all those who under
take the education process (both the secular and the higher), should be
initiated in to this SamskAra.

These two considerations alone, not invoking tradition and the
scriptures, justify giving this samsakAra to all who undertake
learning. In our families that mean both boys and girls are
eligible for this ceremony.
Scriptural traditions:
The Aashrama associated with the period of studies is brahmachArya
aashrama, as stated earlier in this article. And, as opposed to the popular
notion of the brahmachArya, it only means the study of the reality/existent
etc… Thus the evidence of about who is eligible for the samskAra, we can
have the following types of evidence. Either, we will find explicit
recommendations for who gets the ceremony or the indirect
recommendations by finding who all got initiated in to the brahmachArya
aasharma. Fortunately, we have both types of scriptural evidences available,
which urges that right to this ceremony for both the boys and girls. The
evidence comes from four Vedas, texts of Dharma-AdhikAra-Nirnaya
Shastras and the Smruti. I have not looked in to the PurAnas, but that is not
necessary. Even the evidence from the Smruti is not necessary. However, all
of these make clear the right of samsakAra for both the boys and girls.
The very term Patni defines the special connection of wife with her
husbands yajynya.

Evidence from Manu Smruti: (Manu II.66), i.e. chapter 2 verse 66
Manu Smruti, titled sacred law to be followed by the people says,
quote “This whole series of ceremonies (includes Upa-nayanam etc.)
must be performed for female members also in order to sanctify the
body, at the proper time and in proper order” end quote. The chapter
has already described the upanayanam ceremony in it.
The Yama Smriti writers of 8th century AD Yama admits the
prevalence of Yajnyopaveetam ceremony for girls in earlier age, as
given below.

Puraakalpae tu naareeNaam MaunjeebandhanamiSyatae |
Adhyaapanam cha vedaanaam saavitrivachanam tatha||
Pitaa pitRuvya bhraata vaa naenaamdhyaapayaetparaa: |
svagRuhae chaeiva kanyaayaa bhaeixshacharyaa
vidheeyatae ||

Evidence from the Vedas:
Atharva Veda: The mandla X1 Sukta 5 verse 18 of Atharva Veda
extols the Vedic student called brahmachArin. In verse 18 of that
chapter it says,
“brahmcharyaeNa kanyaa yuvaanam vindatae patim
Anadvaan brahmachaaryenaashvo ghaasam jigaeershti”
Which means, “by becoming a Vedic student (i.e. after taking gayatee
initiation) a wins a young husband etc etc…”. This is the indirect
evidence of the desirability of performing this samskAra to the girls.
Other Vedic evidence: From here we get explicit examples of the
famous rushikAs (i,e famous women who were given this samsakAra.
There in Taitriya Brahmana book2, chapter 3 verse 10, verse 1, verse
3 talks pf how Sita (not of RamAyana) and the Saavitrii were well
versed in three Vedas. In the satpatha brahmana Maitriya has been
extolled as the great vedAntin. And she was married to yajnyavAlkya.
Then in Mahaabharata, shanti parva “Sulabha” born in famous
Kheshatriya family has become astute Pandita of the ShAstrAs. The
large numbers of references are available from different scriptural
sources (in particular Vedas and the Mahabharata) supporting the
Upanayana samskAra to women. It is not within the scope of this
write up to give all of these. However, I will give a list of some of the
important women, most of who were married, and initiated in to the
samskAra. These are, “GhoshA, godhA, VIshvavArA, ApAlA,
Upnishd, Nishad, Juhoo, Aditi (Agastya’s sister), SaramA, RomashA,
LopamudrA, YamI, ShashvatI, ShrI, LAxshA, MedhA etc. etc…”
Satpatha Brahmana X1.4 & XI.5 gives the initiation proceadure for
this Samskaara.

At some stage, for reasons not completely understood, the practice of
educating the girls fell out of favor in the Hindu society. Whatever the
reason may have been for not educating girls, these reasons are not
applicable today. Today both the boys and girls get educated. Moreover, it is
also true that the celebrations of one kind or the other kind is still used to
initiate in the education process. This celebration could be the Mekhala
ceremony itself. It would revive the cultural symbols and also develop good
SamsakAras in the individual as a good daughter/Son, provide the
perspective of right and wrong, provide an anchor of belonging, and overall
review the cultural consciousness.

In India the revival started, with the movement started by Shri Dayanand
Saraswati, during his Arya Samaj movement. Shri BAla GangAdhara in
Maharashtra followed it. In addition, the GAyatrI ShaktI Peeth, movement,
with its head quarters in HaridwAr, started some time ago. They encourage
performing this samskAra to the girls. Among Kashmiris too, several
families have realized the importance of this event and have performed the
samskAra for the girls. This is yet another way to review the cultural
tradition of the community.

24 Shaktis of the Gayatri:
In Kashmir the boy is initiated into the MAHA GAYATRI MANTRA, by
the family preceptor.
THE SCRIPTURES SPEAK OF THE 24 SHAKTIS OF THE GAYATRI
These are: Chatur vimshati keshu Evam namasu Dvadam Eva tu Vaidikani
Tatha Anyani Sheshani Tantrikani Su (The twelve Names of the Gayatri
are Vedic and the rest twelve are the Agamic (Tantric) in nature.)
The Vedic names are: Adyashakti, Brahmi, Vaishnavi, Shambhavi,
Vedamata, Devamata, Vishvamata, Ritambara, Mandakini, Ajapa, Ridhi,
and Siddhi
The Agamic (Tantric) names are: Savitri, Saraswat, Lakshmi, Durga,
Kundalini,Pranagni, Bhavani, Bhuvneshvari, Annapurna,Mahamaya,
Payasvini and Tripura.
These are the 24 shaktees, with which a Kashmiri Pandit boy is initiated
even after migration or in Diaspora.

AUM SHANTI: SHANTI: SHANTI:
PostScript;
It has come to my understanding that Mekhala was symbolized by the what
Kashmiri’s call Aate-pan. It used to have three threads for children. It
symbolized to stay within the Aachaara prescribed b the three Veda’s. There
are/were other subtleties in the cermoney like Samvartana.
BY RAVINDER NATH KOUL

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