Janeu Ceremony holds high significance in Hinduism. It is one of the major sanskars amongst the 16 mentioned in the Hindu Dharmashastras. A janeu is a white colored, sacred thread made of three streams of threads, that is worn from the left shoulder towards the right side. This ceremony is known as Upanayana Sanskar in Sanatan Dharma, where upanayana signifies moving closer to God, while in Sanskrit, it is called Yagyopavita Sanskar. Yagyopavita is a blended word of yagya and upavita, which means getting the right to perform yagya/havan (fire sacrifice). Without completing this ritual; praying, studying, doing puja, business, etc. are said to be meaningless.
The Hindu Shastras state that after performing the Upanayana Ceremony, a child’s sins from his previous lives are cleansed. Consequently, it was believed that the child is reborn after this ceremony as only after completing this ritual does the child become religiously pious. In ancient times, a child was educated only after this was done, as it was believed that the Janeu Ceremony is crucial for the child’s growth and gaining knowledge.
The Right Time for Upanayana Ceremony
Generally, the Upanayana Ceremony is commemorated when a child moves from his adolescence to youth. According to the Dharmashastras, a Brahmin child must complete the ritual before completing 07 years of age, a Kshatriya before 11 years, and a Vaishya child must have the ceremony before he is 13 years old. More importantly, the ritual must be done before the child is of marrying age in any case.
- Auspicious Time for Upanayana Sanskar: Beginning from the Magh month, this ceremony can be solemnised for the next six month of the Hindu Panchang. The first, fourth, seventh, eighth, ninth, thirteenth, fourteenth, amavasya, or purnima of the month are auspicious dates for this ritual. For the days of the week, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday are said to be promising. Sunday is moderately suitable for the same while Monday is very less so. On the contrary, Tuesdays and Saturdays are avoided as they are both considered inauspicious days.
- Auspicious Muhurat for Janeu Ceremony: The constellations Hasta, Chitra, Swati, Pushya, Dhanishta, Ashwini, Mrigashira, Punarvasu, Shravana, and Revati are auspicious for this ceremony. On the other hand, another rule says that this ceremony can be culminated under any constellation except, Bharani, Kritika, Magha, Vishakha, Jyeshtha, and Shatabhisha.
Importance of The Upanayana Sanskar
Every ritual has a certain significance in the Hindu culture, because each has a hidden meaning behind it; whether religious, scientific, or astrological. Similarly, the Upanayana Ceremony has a certain meaning behind it as well, which is not only religious, scientific, and astrological, but medical as well. Let’s take a look at these meanings:
When we consider the Upanayana Ceremony from the Religious perspective, it directly connects to Brahma, Vishnu, and Mahesh. The three threads of the janeu are said to be the symbol of Trideva. According to the Manusmriti, Brahma is the Creator of the Universe, while Vishnu is the Nurturer, with Lord Shiva being the Destroyer. This is why the Janeu is a sacred thread which must not be desecrated. In case it gets unholy due to any reason, then it should be immediately changed ritualistically.
In a similar manner, the Yagyopavita is said to be the manifestation of Goddess Gayatri. Hence, the wearer should chant one mala (rosary) of the Gayatri Mantra daily. Like the Gayatri Mantra has 3 parts, the Yagyopavita has three streams of threads as well. Each weave has 3 threads. The upavita is created with each part of the Gayatri Mantra.
The importance of the right ear has been described in the scriptures as well. Lord Aditya, Vasu, Rudra, Vayu, Agni, Dharma, Ved, Aap, Som and Surya resides in this ear, which is why even touching it with the right hand offers rigorous results. Five knot are made on the janeu thread, which symbolizes Brahma, Dharma, Kaam, Ardha and Moksha as well as five yagyas, senses and karma.
Janeu Ceremony in Other Religions
Janeu Ceremony isn’t celebrated in Hinduism but commemorated in other religions as well.
- This ceremony is conducted before circumambulating the Kaaba in Mecca in Islam religion.
- If observed carefully, a thin upanayana thread can be seen across the ancient statue of Lord Buddha in Sarnath.
- In Jainism as well, this ceremony is observed.
- Believers of Parsi also follow this sanskar.
- In Sikhism, this ceremony is known as “Amrit Sanchar”.
- In Christianity, this ceremony is termed as Baptism.
The ceremony of Upanayana is considered important from a medical point of view for a child. As per medical science, a nerve travels back in the back of a human being, which starts from the right shoulder till waistline. This nerve is critical in nature. Hence, in case if it remains constricted, the person doesn’t get involved in sensual activities or aggressive and Janeu enables the nerve to remain in that state only. This is why anyone wearing a janeu is said to be pious and develops humanitarian qualities.
According to a study, anyone adorning this sacred thread gets rid of Blood Pressure and Heart related diseases. This thread maintains blood flow in the body. As it passes through the heart, therefore the possibility of any heart related disease rising becomes low. Also, during urination, when we wrap the janeu around the right ear, it forms a pressure around the intestines, which is why one doesn’t feel constipated.
There are nine planets in astrology and affects the lives of a native in different ways. In the Janeu, there are nine single threads which symbolises the nine planets. It is believed in astrology that anyone wearing this thread gains blessings of the Navagrahas. Along with that, the white coloured thread signifies Venus planet, which denotes beauty, calm, comforts and luxuries and skills. Also, the yagyopavit is coloured yellow, which is connected to Jupiter. Jupiter signifies intelligence, religion, teacher and good acts.
Rituals to Follow When Conducting Janeu Ceremony
- A yagya is organized for this ceremony.
- The child along with his family must take part in this ceremony.
- As per the rituals, janeu is worn from the left shoulder till right wrist diagonally.
- At the time of ceremony, non-stitched clothes are worn.
- A stick is taken in the hand during the ceremony.
- A yellow-coloured cloth is wrapped around the neck.
- After the mundan, a tuft is kept.
- A Khadau is worn.
- During this ceremony, a lion cloth is worn.
- The sacred thread is coloured in yellow colour.
- After offering donation to the Guru, this thread is worn.
This is How The Ceremony Is Conducted
- On the day of Janeu ceremony, the child shaves off his head.
- After bath, a mixture of sandalwood-saffron is applied on his head and he is made to wear the janeu.
- Then the havana is organized and all gods are worshipped. Then the child is semi-clothed and made to sit in the ceremony with a garland around his neck.
- Then, the gods and evoked while chanting Gayatri Mantra 10 times and he is asked to promise to adhere to the fasts and vows.
- Then he is made to sit with kids of his own age and fed the Churma.
- The he is bathed, and the teacher, father or elder brother chants the Gayatri Mantra and tells him, “Now you’ve become a brahmin / आज से तू अब ब्राह्मण हुआ”.
- Then he holds a stick, and asks for alms and charity.
- Then after dinner in the evening, he takes the stick and leaves the house while saying, “I am leaving for Kashi for studying / मैं पढ़ने के लिए काशी जा रहा हूँ”.
- Later on, he is caught and brought back with the intention of marriage.
- After this, the child is considered as a Brahmin.
यज्ञोपवीतं परमं पवित्रं प्रजापतेर्यत्सहजं पुरस्तात्।
आयुष्यमग्रं प्रतिमुंच शुभ्रं यज्ञोपवीतं बलमस्तु तेजः।।
yajñopavītaṃ paramaṃ pavitraṃ prajāpateryatsahajaṃ purastāt।
āyuṣyamagraṃ pratimuṃca śubhraṃ yajñopavītaṃ balamastu tejaḥ।।
Important Things To Remember
- Janeu ceremony is necessary before going ahead with any auspicious act.
- It is also significant before the marriage.
- It is mandatory to wrap the janeu around the right ear while urinating or excreting.
- Change the janeu if any thread is broken or the time exceeds 6 months.
- This thread must be changed after the death.
- Wrap it around the neck and wash it. In case you take it off, then repent and change it.
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