By Swami Harshananda
Vedārambha literally means ‘beginning the first study of the Vedas’.
Definition of Vedārambha Ceremony
In the most ancient days, the study of the Vedas was commenced just after the upanayāna ceremony. However, as the study of the Vedas was relegated to the background due to the rise of the non-Vedic literature and its study, a new sanskāra or sacrament called Vedārambha was introduced after upanayāna and before samāvartana. This was to be done if the brahmacārin wished to study the Vedas also.
Rituals of the Vedārambha
This simple ceremony consisted of the following steps:
- Ābhyudayikaśrāddha or Nandīśrāddha
- Establishing the laukikāgni
- Offerings of ghee into the fire
- Gifts to the officiating brāhmaṇa
Pattern of the Offerings
- Deity Bhu and Agni Antarikṣa and Vāyu Dyaus and Surya or Āditya Diśah and Candra or Soma.
- Two offerings of ghee were made to the deities.
- This was followed by homa to Brahman, Chandas and Prajāpati as also dakṣiṇā and dāna to the officiating priest.
- Then commenced the teaching of the Vedas.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore