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Hindu Samskaras

Hindu Samskaras are rites of passage in one's life, and virtually every world culture has such ceremonies. Rites of passage are ceremonies that mark important events in the life of an individual.

A Baptism, a wedding, a Bar Mitzvah, a Confirmation, and a funeral are all examples of rites of passage.

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Such important events generally include pre birth ceremonies, birth ceremonies, life ceremonies, death ceremonies and even after life ceremonies.

In Sanskrit the word samskara literally means, “making perfect” or “refining,” and so a samskara is a ceremony of refinement, which is to say, refining or raising an individual beyond his or her mere physical existence and marking a higher spiritual existence. Samskaras bind an individual into his or her social group.

By Whitney Wilke through Professor Rev. Dr. James Kenneth Powell II, opensourcebuddhism.org  This very clear explanation of what a rite of passage is and the roles these play in three major traditions. We hear of the jatakarma and initiation of the unknowing child to Krishna belief, through the sacred thread and caste/social obligation to the death rituals and final rite of passage.

Stage of Life

In Hinduism, as with most religious cultures, samskaras are sacred ceremonies performed with the help of a priest and in the presence of family and friends. Traditionally there are twelve samskara, but some later traditions raise this number to sixteen. In practice, however, there are only about eight samskaras that are regularly performed. This number varies from family to family and from region to region.

Occasionally, one will endure and a significant segment of society will recognize it as a legitimate spiritual path or celebration. Eventually, the larger society may lend its approval to this. Of course, contemporary views of what are socially defined as religion, denomination, or sect may also change in the future. In these cases, future editions may well include religions, denominations and sects that are not presently included.

With regard to any particular festival, the guiding principle is how broadly the different segments of that religion accept the festival. The festivals noted in Multi Faith Calendar are annual events that people celebrate once during the course of a solar or lunar year.

Other cycles of time are also important: the new or full moon, a season, a week day (for example, the Jewish Shabbat or the Friday prayers in a mosque), or a daily cycle (such as the Eucharist for traditional Christian communities). While these cycles are less obvious, they are as important to the faithful as annual festivals.

By scientific discoveries, many mysteries of life have been solved and man's control over his environment has immensely increased. At the source of life, man is even experiencing mystic touch of the invincible. This fact will keep alive the religious sentiments in mankind.

Though the magic hold of religion in some fields of life will be loosened, human heart will not part with that sanctity which is imparted by religious sanction. The consecration of life will never cease. Similarly, the fact that life is an art and it requires conscious and planned efforts for its cultivation and refinement will never die out.  Food customs, the social or religious regulations surrounding the preparation, serving, and eating of food and drink.

Samskaras

Find out the most Auspicious Day / Time / Date for Important Occasions
Mahurat is a moment or time most auspicious for a particular occasion or commencement of an activity, and is calculated on the basis of many variables like nature of concerned activity, horoscope of the person who has to perform the activity, planetary position, lunar day, 'Nakshatra' during the period it is to be performed.

Mahurat is the best planetary position to start an endeavor. During Good Mahurat one should commence the activity for which Mahurat is referred to:-

1: Garbhandhan Samsakara - Baby in mother's womb - after 3 months 28 day
2: Jatakarma (Determing the sex of unborn baby)
3: Namakaran - (Naming of the baby after Birth) - 10th day
4: Manchakavarohan (Laying on Baby Cot) - 12th day
5: Palakavahoran - (Laying in a Cradle) - 12th day
6. Dugdhapan - (Feeding Cow's milk) - 31st day
7. Suryavaloka - (Exposing to Sunlight) - 45 days
8. Bhoomyupaveshan - (Laying on the floor- 5 mths
9. Annaprasha - (First solid feeding - usually Rice) - 6 months
10. Karnavedha (First time Ear piercing with black thread)
11. Chaula - (Head Tonsure - Removal of Hair ) - 3 years
12. Akshararambha (Learning of the First alphabet) - 5 years
13. Upanayan - (Thread Ceremony) - 8 years
14. Vidyarambh - (Commencing Education) - 9 years
15. Vivaha - (Marriage) - or Relationship
16. Garbhadharana (Consummation) - first Sex.
17. Dahana (Cremation after death)

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