a child falls ill the parents take special care of it. How wrong
would it be to neglect a sick child? If there is anything worse
it is not to perform the upanayana of one's son at the proper age
and fail to impart him the Gayatri mantra. This rite is for his
Atmic uplift as well as for the good of the world. It is sheer
vanity that the "thread ceremony" is nowadays performed
like a mini-wedding. This is one reason why it gets postponed
since the parents have to find enough money to
"celebrate" it on a lavish scale. Delaying this
samskara for such reasons must be condemned in the severest terms
in the Matha are ready to do anything [to help parents to perform
the upanayana of their children at the proper age]. We arrange
"mass upanayana" ceremonies. A number of other
religious organisations also have similar arrangements. The
Gayatri is common to all. Mass upanayana is conducted for boys
belonging to boys belonging to different denominations, Smarta,
Vaisnava, Madhva, etc, and is being done fairly satisfactorily.
This practice must grow with more and more participants.
parents think that such mass ceremonies are meant for people
without means. But, at the same time, they do not perform the
upanayana of their children on their own at the right time. In
this samskara the importance of which is hard to exaggerate,
there is no question of some being able to spend more on it than
some others or some being able to afford the expense more than
others. Money or property has nothing to do with it. It is sad
that in upanayana rite considerations that are not relevant to it
are brought in with the result that the samskara that is at the
heart of the Vedic tradition is emptied of all its meaning.
is the duty of parents to make sure that, after they are invested
with the sacred thread their sons chant the Gayatri everyday
without fail. Some boys discontinue chanting this mantra the very
first day after the upanayana ceremony. Parents must see to it
that they don't. They must also make sure that the children
perform the sandhyavandana without being distracted by cricket
matches, cinema, party meetings, etc. I am not sure how far my
urging is going to help, considering nowadays that parents
nowadays are themselves more interested in clubs, films, meetings
and the races than in matters concerning the Self. If there is
any realisation on their part that their own lives have been
lived in vain, they may perhaps want their children to do better.
But will the boys listen to them? In all likelihood they will
turn back to tell their parents: "why do you ask us to
perform sandhyavandana and recite the Gayatri? What about you?"
this unfortunate situation, if I am wasting your time by speaking
about such matters, it is because I have a duty to remind you of
your responsibility with regard to your children's Atmic
do not know whether you will do what I ask you to do, nor do I
know how you will do it. I will have to carry out the duty
imposed on me by the Matha. The Matha bids me to see it that the
upanayana of children is performed when they are of the right
age, all those children who are entitled to learn the Vedas.
Further, the Matha also bids me to see to it that, once the boys
are invested with the sacred thread, they perform the
sandhyavandana without fail everyday and that they learn to chant
the Vedas at least one hour a day.
"Hindu Dharma" is a book
which contains English translation of certain invaluable and
engrossing speeches of Sri Sri Sri Chandrasekharendra Saraswathi MahaSwamiji (at
various times during the years 1907 to 1994).
For a general background, please see here