Mundan Ceremony: Mundan Sanskar & Auspicious Rituals

Of all the Sanskars which are a part of the Hindu religion, Mundan is considered an important one. Also known as the Tonsure Ceremony, the child’s head is shaved for the first time after its birth as the hair which grows on its head after birth is considered impure. Mythological facts state that the mundan ceremony is performed to free the child from the sins and negativity of his past life.This article sheds light on this auspicious ritual and explain its importance along with listing down the procedures which should be followed during this ritual.

Appropriate Time To Carry Out The Mundan Ceremony

Mundan ceremony should be specifically performed a year after the child is born. It can be extended till the third birthday of the child. It is believed that the mental development of the child depends on the Mundan Sanskar ceremony. The sooner it is performed the better it is for the child. Therefore the Tonsure ceremony should be completed before the child turns three years old.

Special Importance of Mundan Sanskar

After venturing through various yonis (passages), a human being is born. The hair grown  on a child’s head after its birth symbolizes the negativity of its past life. Mundan ceremony is performed to give the child a vice free life where he it is not under the influence of any negativity pertaining to its previous life’s. The Mundan ceremony will not only help in getting rid of the negativity but also in developing good human values. If a child is born in a human yoni, then good values should be incorporated within him. The occasion should be organized specifically in a religious place so that the child gets introduced to a divine environment. There are respective rules which should be followed while commemorating this ceremony.

Rules to Observe While Solemnizing Mundan Ceremony

  • Mastak Lepan (Application of a sacred mixture on the child’s head)

A mixture of water, milk and ghee is applied on the child’s head. In Hindu religion, cow is given the status of the mother (mata) and considered to be a very generous and harmless animal. The special mixture is initially applied on the child’s hair so that the child can attain the qualities attributed by the holy mother Cow. Products like milk, curd and ghee are known to be very nurturing and as the child’s hair is washed with these products, the family members pray for the child to be blessed with qualities which are possessed by the cow. It is done so that the child’s mind progresses in a desirable and ethical manner. During Mundan Sanskar, first the parents should take the child in their lap and apply the mixture made of milk, curd and ghee on his head. Also the following mantra must be chanted by the parents as they pray for a bright future and mental development of the child.

“ॐ सवित्रा प्रसूता दैव्या, आप उदंतु ते तनूम। दीर्घायुत्वाय वर्चसे “..पार.गृ.सू.2.1.1

“oṃ savitrā prasūtā daivyā, āpa udaṃtu te tanūma। dīrghāyutvāya varcase “..pāra.gṛ.sū.2.1.1

  • Trishika Bandhan

The human brain is considered a miracle in itself. It is divided into three parts namely, the constructing center, nurturing center and controlling center. These three centres are attributed to Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva respectively. The child’s hair is also divided into three parts and all the three parts are tied with kalawas made of kush (green grass). The partition of hair is done in such a way that the first bunch is tied at the extreme front of the head and the other two bunches are tied to the left and right of the head. At first, the right bunch of hair which is also known as Brahma Granthi, is tied with kalawa while chanting

ॐ ब्रह्मजज्ञानं प्रथमं पुरस्ताद विसीमतः सुरुचो वेनआवः। सबुधन्या उपमा अस्यविष्ठा, सतश्च योनिमसतश्च विवः “..1.3.3.

“oṃ brahmajajñānaṃ prathamaṃ purastāda visīmataḥ suruco venaāvaḥ.

sabudhanyā upamā asyaviṣṭhā, sataśca yonimasataśca vivaḥ”…1.3.3.

In the same manner, the left bunch of hair is tied with the sacred thread. While doing this, Lord Vishnu should be evoked so that the constructive center of the brain can develop with his blessings. During this time, chant the mantra

ॐ इदं विष्णुविर्चक्रमे, त्रेधा निदधे पदम्। समूढमस्य पाश्वसुरे स्वाहा। “….5.1.5

“oṃ idaṃ viṣṇuvircakrame, tredhā nidadhe padam। samūḍhamasya pāśvasure svāhā।“…5.1.5

In the same way, the front bunch of hair should be tied on  and this time,everyone should pray to Lord Shiva. It is done in order to keep the child’s mind away from negativity so that no demonic powers can colonize the child’s mind. During this time, mantra chanted should be:

ॐ नमस्ते मन्यव, उतो तइषवे नमः। बाहुभ्यामुत ते नमः।”…1.6.1

“oṃ namaste manyava, uto taiṣave namaḥ। bāhubhyāmuta te namaḥ।”….1.6.1

  • Churra Pujan

A special knife or razor, which is used for religious purposes only, should be used for conducting the mundan ceremony. Old knives or scissors should not be used for Mundan ceremony. A proper razor which has the right amount of sharpness should be used. In the ancient times, the pandits who used to conduct the ceremony only performed it, but nowadays, barbers are hired to complete the task. It is important to buy a new razor or knife for the Mundan ceremony. A paste of mud should be applied on the tool first and then washed with hot water. Then the tool should be placed on the puja plate. After that, tie the thread on the knife and offer it flowers, diya, akshat or rice and incense stick while worshipping. Special prayers are offered to the tool for it to imbibe the strength of the mantras while praying. Parents should chant

ॐ यत क्षुरेण मज्जयता सुपेशसा, वप्ता वपति केशान।छिन्धि शिरो मस्यायुः प्रमोषीः। “…पा.गृ.सृ.2.1.17

“oṃ yata kṣureṇa majjayatā supeśasā, vaptā vapati keśāna।chindhi śiro masyāyuḥ pramoṣīḥ।…pā.gṛ.sṛ.2.1.17

  • Trishika Kartan

After dividing the child’s hair into three parts, divine powers are invoked so that the child attains protection against any bad habit or negative influence. Just like the unnecessary weeds of the jungle are extremely important to be removed, in the same way it is important to shave the first ever grown hair on the child’s head after its birth. The hair of the child is divided into three parts, namely Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra Granthi. It is important to cut the Brahma Granthi Kartan so that there are no feelings of revenge, bitterness, anger and revenge in the child’s mind. In the same manner, during the Vishnu and Shiva Kartan, it is prayed that the child’s brain gets enough nutrition and no negative energy can obstruct its path of spirituality. The priest who performs the ritual only cuts the three granthis (chunks) of hair while chanting the necessary mantras. The people present there should wish the elimination of negative energies and implantation of positive energies in the child’s brain.

While chopping the Brahma Granthi, following mantra must be chanted:

“ॐ येनावपत सविता क्षुरेण, सोमस्य राज्ञो वरुणस्य विद्वान्। तेन ब्राह्मणो वपतेदमस्य,गोमानश्वानयमस्तु प्रजावान। “…अथर्व.

“oṃ yenāvapata savitā kṣureṇa, somasya rājño varuṇasya vidvān। tena brāhmaṇo vapatedamasya,gomānaśvānayamastu prajāvāna। “…atharva.

Following mantra must be chanted while chopping the Vishnu Granthi,

“ॐ येन धाताबृहस्पते, अग्नेरिन्द्रस्य चायुषेवपत। तेन त आयुषे वपामि, सुश्लोक्याय स्वस्तये।…आश्र्व.गृ.सू.1.17.12.

“oṃ yena dhātābṛhaspate, agnerindrasya cāyuṣevapata। tena ta āyuṣe vapāmi, suślokyāya svastaye।”…āśrva.gṛ.sū.1.17.12.

Similarly, chant the below mantra when chopping the Rudra Granthi

“ॐ येन भूयश्च रात्र्यां, ज्योक च पश्याति सूर्यम। तेन त आयुषे वपामि, सुश्लोक्याय स्वस्तये।…आश्र्व.गृ.सू.1.17.12.

“oṃ yena bhūyaśca rātryāṃ, jyoka ca paśyāti sūryama। tena ta āyuṣe vapāmi, suślokyāya svastaye।”…āśrva.gṛ.sū.1.17.12.

  • Nava Vastra Pujan (Worshipping New Clothes)

Nava Vastra Pujan is the child’s embracement of a new life after the Mundan ceremony is being performed. When a snake sheds its old skin, it  leaves its old life behind. The child’s hair is also shaved for the same purpose only, so that it leaves its past life behind and that is why the child is made to wear new clothes as it steps into a new life. The new clothes of the child are kept in a pallette and Akshat and flowers are offered while chanting

ॐ तस्माद यज्ञात्सर्वहुत, ऋच चः समानि जज्ञिरे। छन्दा सि जज्ञिरे तस्माद, यजुस्तस्मादजायत “…31.7

“oṃ tasmāda yajñātsarvahuta, ṛca caḥ samāni jajñire। chandā si jajñire tasmāda, yajustasmādajāyata”….31.7

After the Nava Vastra Pujan, a special offering is made in the sacred fire while chanting Gayatri Mantra. During the havan, five offerings are made from the mixture of kheer (sweetened rice pudding) and dry fruits and the following mantra is chanted.

“ॐ भूभुर्वः स्वः। अग्नि आयू षि पवस आ सुवोर्जमिषं च नः। आरे बाधस्वदुच्छुना स्वाहा। इदं अगन्ये इदं न मम …19.37, 35.16

“oṃ bhūbhurvaḥ svaḥ। agni āyū ṣi pavasa ā suvorjamiṣaṃ ca naḥ। āre bādhasvaducchunā svāhā। idaṃ aganye idaṃ na mama…19.37, 35.16

The child is finally given new clothes to wear which concludes the Mundan Sanskar.

  • Mundan Ceremony

After the special offering is performed, the mother is asked to take the child away from that place as the Mundan ceremony cannot be completed in the place where yagya is performed. A nearby place is selected where the child sits on the mother’s lap and the Mundan ceremony is completed. The mother should try to distract the child while the barber or priest cuts his hair. Gayatri Mantra should be chanted during this time. The people present at the ceremony should pray for a flourishing life for the child. During this time,

ॐ येन पूषा बृहस्पतेः, वयोरिन्द्रस्य चावपत। तेन ते वपामि ब्रह्मणा, जीवतवे जीवनाय, दीर्घायुष्टवाय वर्चसे।…मं.ब्रा.1.6.7

“oṃ yena pūṣā bṛhaspateḥ, vayorindrasya cāvapata। tena te vapāmi brahmaṇā, jīvatave jīvanāya, dīrghāyuṣṭavāya varcase। “..maṃ.brā.1.6.7

should be chanted. Later, the chopped hair of the child should be disposed off by mixing them with cow dung or flour.

  • Shikha Pujan

During the ceremony, the uncut hair of the child which have been growing since the time of its birth is cut for the first time and the top of its head is left untouched for a tuft or shikha to grow. Just like it is important for Muslims to perform sunnat, for Sikhs to keep their hair uncut and preserve it with a turban, in the same spirit it is imperative in Hinduism for all the Hindus to preserve a Shikha or Tuft. A holy oath for the preservation of Tuft is taken during the Mundan Sanskar ceremony only. The point from which the Tuft will grow is worshipped with roli and rice by the parents of the child undergoing the ceremony. Chant the mantra during this time

ॐ चिद्रूपिणि महामाये, दिव्यतेजः समन्विते। तिष्ठ देवि शिखामध्ये, तेजोवृद्धिं कुरुष्व में। “ (सं.प्र.)

“oṃ cidrūpiṇi mahāmāye, divyatejaḥ samanvite। tiṣṭha devi śikhāmadhye, tejovṛddhiṃ kuruṣva meṃ। “(saṃ.pra.)

  • Swastik Lekhan

After the Mundan ceremony, either the priest or an elderly member of the family makes the sacred symbol of Swastika on the shaved head of the child with sandalwood or roli while chanting

ॐ स्वस्ति न इन्द्रो वृद्धश्रवाः।स्वस्ति नः पूषा विश्ववेदाः।स्वस्ति नस्तार्क्ष्योअरिष्टनेमिः।स्वस्ति नो बृहस्पतिर्दधातु ॥”..25.19

oṃ svasti na indro vṛddhaśravāḥ।svasti naḥ pūṣā viśvavedāḥ।svasti nastārkṣyoariṣṭanemiḥ।svasti no bṛhaspatirdadhātu ॥”…25.19 

During this process, the family members present in the ceremony pray for the prosperity, happiness, purity and the presence of focus in the life of the child. The Mundan ceremony officially gets concluded after the successful completion of Swastik Lekhan.

We hope that this article on Mundan ceremony will be beneficial for you.


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