Matha Gitananda Ashram
TRADITIONAL HINDU MONASTERY
Some of the main samskaras, Hindu sacraments, are performed in the Sri Lalitha Maha Tripurasundari Temple. In Hinduism the samskaras accompany the main steps of existence. The consecration of these moments through a rite originates from the deep religiousness, which is innate in the Hindu devotees; the repetition of these customs determines the conservation, from one generation to the next, of the power of the most ancient traditions.
The traditional rite of the Hindu marriage, vivaha, is celebrated in the temple by ministers of cult legally authorized by the State. The rite is performed in a particularly auspicious moment, astrologically calculated. The ritual is very complex and rich of symbolism. In front of the fire the spouses and their families make offers, chant mantra and perform rituals of mutual acceptance.
During the peak time of the ritual, the ceremony of the Saptapadi takes place: the spouses take seven steps; at every step they seal the intent of their union, chanting Vedic verses: “With God as our guide we take: the first step to nourish each other; the second one to grow together in strength…..”
During pregnancy, samskaras are celebrated to guarantee a happy course of the pregnancy and the good health of the mother and the baby during the pre-natal period. At the third month of gestation there is the ceremony called “of the bracelets”: all the girlfriends and the women of the family bring presents to the future mother like fruit and new dresses, and especially the typical bracelets worn by Indian women. The ceremony takes place to the sound of the “Vina”, very old stringed instrument, whose notes do not only give peace and harmony to the mother, but their echo in her womb reach the baby, producing a positive influence on its development. From that moment, every movement of the mother will make the bracelets tinkle, maintaining a continuous resonant communication with the baby.
SAMSKARAS FOR INFANCY
One of the main samskara conferred during childhood is the one of the annaprasana. At the age of six months, the baby is taken to the temple and is given his first solid food made sacred, rice mixed with cereals and cooked with one ingredient from each of the six tastes (bitter, salty, sweet, and so on). The ritual helps the transition from the mother food to a harmonious process of growth rich of good qualities.
MUNDANA o CUDAKARANA
The first shaving called mundana (cudakarana), ritual celebrated at the 1st or 3rd month of life of the baby, during an auspicious astrological moment. It is an important samskara that gives positive influences to the life of the baby, helping longevity, good health and happiness.
This is the samskara which begins the formal education of the baby. At about the age of five, the child is guided to draw on a layer of rice and other cereals his first written letter, sacred syllable OM.