Sunday, July 1, 2018

Abhay's Upanayana

Even since I began my blogging journey in 2010, "Onestoryaday: Reliving childhood" has been an integral part of my life. What began as my little DIY project on the wonderful books I read to my then four year old, grew into a creative outlet for me to escape into, a sounding board for my parental musings, and unknowingly became a treasure trove of Abhay's childhood memories! So it's only natural for Onestorayday to be a part of many of Abhay's milestones in his growing-up  years and was thus became one of the highlights during his Upanayana-Brahmopadesha ceremony that we performed a couple of weeks ago.  

Abhay's upanayana would most certainly rank as a major milestone for him as well as for us, as his parents and in many ways symbolizes his transition from childhood to early youth or "Brahmacharya" phase, as its traditionally known. Also known as the "Indian Bat Mitzwa" Upanayana celebrates the coming of age for a young boy from the cosseted company of his parents into a path of strict discipline and learning.

While it may be easy to question the relevance and practicality of certain Hindu samskaras like Upanayana, in today's age and times, there is no denying the fact that these cultural elements are what makes us unique and as practicing Hindus, it is incumbent on us to understand and derive their true essence and find ways and means to adapt the same into present circumstances. 

Performing Sandhya-vandana twice a day is a spiritual activity that allows the Bramhmachari to have his own "one-on-one" with the Almighty, a time to calm and ease the restless mind into focusing all his senses into chanting for the well-being of nature, one's mind, body and soul. Needless to say, for today's high pressured, distracted and device-obsessed young minds,  a spiritual activity like Sandhyavandana  may be their only solace!

While marking the momentous role of the father in passing the knowledge of Brahmopadesha to his young son, the Upanayana ceremony also incorporates many small and beautiful rituals that allows the mother to reflect on how her little one is not so little anymore and is ready to embark on the path of learning and take on the world!   I thoroughly enjoyed planning, organizing (along with the rest of the family) hosting and participating  in Abhay's Upanayana ceremony. So much so that I wish I could do the same for my daughter!! :-)  

Well, no event of ours is complete without return gifts, and no prizes for guessing  the return gifts for children  - books of course! We picked out Pratham publications for all children between the age groups  one to fourteen and as always I was the most excited one distributing books to the kids!   

Another event planned around Abhay's Brahmopadesham Upanayana ceremony was the release of a small compilation of some of my select blogposts on "Onestoryaday" through a book titled "Onestoryaday Reliving childhood". Since most of my blogposts revolve around my reading adventures with Abhay and Abhay's  growing up quirks, we hit upon an idea that there could not be better place or time than Abhay's Upanayana ceremony, to bring about a small compendium of some of our memorable reading experiences! Of course, an idea can remain just an idea if not for the people behind its execution.   I thank my husband, my kindred spirit, in as much as it's his blog as its mine, who managed to find time amidst his overloaded work schedule to structure a 600-post-blog into a readable book format. My good friend Deepa Balakrishnan, who promptly and generously agreed to write a beautiful foreword that captures the very sentiment behind the blog Onestoryaday. My parents, my biggest cheerleaders, for their constant support, encouragement and whole-hearted involvement  in sponsoring the publication of the book "Onestoryaday Reliving childhood".  Manjushri Printers, Ujjire, for their professional work and service in printing the books in no time. Last but not the least, my faithful readers who take the trouble of clicking on the link or regularly look up and like my posts and leave comments/words of encouragement...would not have come this far ...without you all !! Thank you!

Anyway, seeing Abhay wear the Janivara or the sacred thread, don the traditional attire, applying the traditional Bhasma or holy ash, chant the Gayathri Mantra and perform Sandhyavandana, I can't help but notice that our little boy is all grown up! On this occasion, I found  a book that offers an everyday perspective on Hinduism. "A little book for The Hindu Child" by Dr. Shyamala Vatsa seeks to simplify Hindu concepts to a level that children can comprehend. As we began reading the book, it is interesting to note that the author traverses through Hindu religious philosophy via certain basic questions on religion (Why do you need religion?), Hindusim (What is Hindusim?) God ( What is your relationship with God?) mind (What are our minds made up o?), soul (what is soul?), goal (How can you reach your goal?) and destination in life ( How do you decide what is right and what is not?), etc and attempts to relate the same to the present context in an age appropriate manner.  The book is a work in progress for us, as we've decided to go one chapter a day so as to dwell,  soak in and mull on each chapter a day so as to understand what it means to be a Hindu. So all the best to Abhay on his path to taking up Sandhyavandana and the Smartha tradition.


  1. Beautifully written as always.
    You also chose to aptly relate to a book A little book for the Hindu Child.I enjoyed reading your blog as we thoroughly involved and be part of Achhu's upanayanam

    1. Thank you appa...for all the involvement and for being the publisher of the book!

  2. Nice it is. Happy to receive the book and we are enjoying it. Though we read your blog online, holding a book in the had certainly gives a different feeling.... Congratulations and also our best wishes to Abhay on his new journey.

  3. Thank you Bhanu and Jayanth for your encouragiing words. SO glad that you are enjoying the book :-)

  4. Congratulations Divya.. Have always enjoyed reading your blog. Exciting to see your book venture. Good luck and can't wait to read your future blogs.