Some moments in life are so filled with emotion that it’s impossible to supress the tears – whether of joy or of sadness. The birth of a child, a first haircut, a wedding – they are all pivotal events in a person’s life. In Hinduism, we celebrate these pivotal events - samskaras – with big fanfare. There are 16 of these samsakaras – the first of which starts with conception and the last of which is the death ritual. Together, they mark the stages of a complete human life – a truly beautiful concept.
The 10th Samskara is the Vidyarambha – performed to mark the beginning of a child’s formal education (vidya means “knowledge” and aarambham means “beginning”). The child traces akshara (letters) in either the sand or a tray of rice grains (or with gold – if you’re wealthy!) – meant to invoke Saraswati Devi – the Goddess of Knowledge.
I know each family performs the Vidyarambha differently (some when the child is 2 or 3 years, others when the child is 5, and still others perfom some aspect of this ceremony annually on the Vijaydashami day of the Navratri celebrations), but I thought there was no better time to do this than my son’s official First Day of School: today he starts in his primary class at his wonderful montessori school.
My Vidyarambham “ceremony” was a bit more modern – I had my son trace the word “OM” with Do-a-Dot markers on a template I prepared. (I got this idea from his Montessori toddler class – where they do this with the English alphabet – it encourages pre-writing skills since children who can’t hold a pencil yet are really “writing” with the dots).
So this morning, amidst the tears and the pictures, I spent a quiet moment with my son – where he “wrote” and recited OM, and I blessed him with a kiss. And so he embarks on the journey of knowledge…
(If you are so inclined, you can download our “OM” template here.)
|Both comments and pings are currently closed.|