Significance of 16 Sanskar in Hinduism

Significance of 16 Sanskar in Hinduism

Sanskar is a series of sacraments that goes way back to the Vedic times or even before. Sanskar is the rites that guide a human being's life into the world of spirituality. While the person is following all the sacraments, the person also feels a connection with God and gets a chance to interact. Sanskar helps achieve the spiritual connection with God and attain Salvation or Moksha in life. And thus, sanskar act as a turning point of life in the life of Hindu people. 

According to the Hindu tradition, there are 16 Sanskar that directly or indirectly help maintain harmony and peace in life. They are the foundation of Hindu life and mark the different stages of a person's journey. 

What are the 16 Sanskar? 

 The 16 Sanskar of Hinduism followed with great devotion is – Garbhadhan, Punvasana, Simantonava, Jata-karma, Naamkaran, Nishkramana, Annaprashana, Mundan Karnvedh, Upanayana, Vedarambh, Samavartana, Vivaha, Vanprastha, Sanyasa, and Antyeshti. 

  • Foundation Sanskar 

The first or Garbhadhan Sanskara is birth, and the last is death. In between, there are ceremonies for naming a child, coming of age, marriage, and cremation. The rites that are followed where the family asks for the blessings of the long life of the baby and his healthy growth is the Garbhadhan sanskar. The mother and the father should have a pure set of thoughts and follow the rituals correctly to produce and nurture the baby. A positive environment will induce good qualities in the baby. 

The second sanskar is the Punvasana Sanskar, performed when the mother is pregnant for 3 or 4 months. It is achieved when the first signs of the conception are visible to ask for the blessings to remove any negative presence from the house. 

After 7 months, Simantonava Sanskar is performed. The Puja conducted during this sanskar offers prayer and bestows positivity in the life of the devotee's family. This ensures the physical and mental growth of the family and the proper nurturing of the baby. 

  • Cornerstone Dharma 

Jaat-karma performed after a week of the birth of the baby, which is also called to be the Birth ritual. The Puja conducted during the sanskar cleanses the atmosphere and any impure substance consumed by the baby, which ensures the baby's health and blesses him for optimistic growth. 

Naamkaran Sanskar is performed after 10 days from the baby's birth with the recitation of specific mantras, which induces goodwill in the baby. The Puja conducted also bless the baby with the name or trait associated with the meaning of the name in the baby. 

Nishkramana Sanskar is the next ceremony performed after 40 days of the birth when the baby is taken outdoors for the first time. Annaprashana Sanskar is a ritual that plays an essential role as the baby is fed solid food for the first time, which often includes rice as an ingredient. The Puja is generally conducted after 6 months of the birth of a baby. 

  • Spiritual Birth 

Chudakarna or Mundan Sanskar is the hair cutting ceremony is performed after the age of 1 year of the baby. This is a very auspicious day for the devotee's family as the family is blessed with power and better understanding. Karnvedh, or the Ear-piercing Sanskaar puja, is started with the Surya Puja, with the father addressing the mantra in the ear of the baby. Upanayana or Yagnopaveet Sanskar, the Janeu wearing ceremony, is performed after 5 years. The ceremony is also called the Spiritual Birth of the child as a Hindu person. 

  • Embodiment of Hinduism 

Vedarambh Sanskar is the Sanskar that teaches the child about the Vedas and the Upanishads in 'Gurukul' or 'Pathshala'. This is the beginning of understanding for the child about the Hindu Dharma and the Dos and Don'ts to live a better lifestyle. After this, the teachings were given to the child. After this, Sanskar remained with them for the rest of their lives. Samavartana Sanskari is the end of education and starts their venture. Vivaha is the sanskar where the person creates a new family by taking the blessings of God and family to lead a harmonious life. 

  • Path to Moksha 

Vanprastha Sanskar is performed at the age of 50 or sometimes even 60. This ceremony marks when the person completes the Grihastha Dharma and enters Vanprastha Ashram. The Sanyasa Sanskar is the next ceremony where a Sanyasi renounces the world to lead a life and perform meditation. Antyeshti Sanskar is the last rite which is also known as the Antim-Sanskar. It is the ritual of funeral, where the family asks for the blessings to bestow on the soul of the person. 

The essence of 16 Sanskar in Hinduism 

Sanskar plays a very crucial role in Hinduism. These rites guide people in every step of life where the person socially recognizes the passage of life. From the birth of the baby to the person's death, the individual can attain Moksha or Salvation. These rites help to understand the real meaning of life and how one should live in the materialistic world without getting affected. 

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