College girls prepare to don sacred thread

Pushing for change


The Kanpur-based Vidyamandir College, which has received ‘A’ grade among all Girls’ Colleges in UP, will soon be holding an upanayan samsakara ceremony in which as many as 11 girls would be provided the ‘sacred thread’ amidst chanting of vedic hymns and mantras.
Speaking to Deccan Herald from Kanpur, college principal Dr Asharani Rai said that the ceremony would be held in  October on the occasion of the college’s 25th year.

Incidentally Rai, a senior office bearer of the local unit of the Arya Samaj, is said to be the only woman in Kanpur, who performs the functions of a priest at religious ceremonies. “I have also been wearing the janoi for the past 30 years,” she said. “The decision to wear the sacred thread has been taken by the girls...no one has forced them...once they made up their mind,” Rai said. “The consent of the parents of the girls is mandatory before the upanayana samskara,” she added.

According to Rai, the object of the samskara is to make sure that the girls are able to discharge their responsibilities to their family and society in accordance with Hindu religion. The girls are taught about vedic education and apprised about their social and familial responsibilities.

The college has in the past 13 years performed the upanayana samskara of as many as 25 girls, she said adding that all the girls have been fulfilling their duties. A teacher of the college, Preeti Shukla has performed the function of the priest at the last rites, Rai said.

The thread giving ceremony is performed in the eighth, eleventh and twelfth years of the male child calculated from the date of conception, for the first three Varnas (Brahman eighth year, Kshatriya eleventh year and Vaisya twelfth year) respectively.  According to Hindu mythology, this ceremony gives the child a second birth and entitles him to study the vedas and participate in vedic functions.  In essence, the child commences his journey on the road to spiritual life, after the ceremony.

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