image source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iyer
Pumsavanam is nowadays combined with Seemantonnayanam and Valaikappu. Timing of this
ritual shall be as per convenience; but ritual must be performed. Naandi sraadham is essential.
Jatakarma, Aayushyahomam etc.
Jatakarma should be performed by the father of the child as soon as child is born; a lot of
danams should be given. Nowadays Jatakarma is performed on 11th day along with
Punyahavachanam (purification ceremony) and Namakaranam. Do not miss these very
important purificatory samskaras. Remember that if the child’s father is not available in time,
the child’s grandfather or other elder can perform this. Annaprasanam is performed by some
people separately. Aayushyahomam should be performed for the child at the end of one year.
This should not be missed or postponed unnecessarily. Under unavoidable circumstances it
should be performed as soon as possible.
VERY IMPORTANT: All Vedic rituals – Jatakarma, Aayushyahomam, upanayanam, vivaham,
apara kriyas, sraadham etc. - should preferably be performed in accordance with Sutram of
your birth and under guidance of suitable Vaidika well versed in that Sutram. Note that if you
are Rig Vedi or Sama Vedi or follower of Bodhayana Sutra, your mantras and procedures are
different from those of the more common Aapasthamba Sutra. Even Sandhyavandana mantras are different.
First hair cut etc. should be performed at a time and place as per family practice.
Upanayanam for male child should be performed on completion of 6 years, i.e. in 7th year or as soon as possible thereafter; but not beyond 16 years. There is no rule in Sastra saying that it should not be performed in even year of age or for brothers together. This is erroneous
impression spread by some. Do not postpone upanayanam for any such reasons. Upanayanam is a Vaidika ritual. Importance should be given for Vaidikam and not loukikam. Sikha is now
mostly gone. At least the balance requirements should be preserved. The child should be made to perform Sandhyavandanam thrice a day and Samidaadhaanam twice a day. Performing
upanayanam for the child at great expense and effort and neglecting his Sandhyavandanam
and Samidaadhaanam is disgracing our Vedas and tradition. Children should be trained to get
up early in the morning and study their lessons rather than late at night, which has unfortunately become common these days.Upakarma, popularly called Avani Avittam, should be performed properly with homam on the appointed day, by taking leave from the office. Thinking that wearing upavitam is alone necessary is again serious offence. Remember that upakarma, properly performed, is itself no substitute for study of Veda, which is compulsory for you. Learn at least some basic Vedic portions from Veda of your Saakha (Rik, Yajur, Sama or Atharva); for example, Purusha Suktam, Sri Rudram, Chamakam, Durga Suktam, Sri Suktam, Medha Suktam, Bhagya Suktam etc.
Vivaham is the most important samskara in human life. It is very unfortunate that the Vaidika rituals that we now follow are a very pale shadow of what the Sastras have laid down and what was observed even a hundred years ago. For instance, a minimum of five days of Oupasanam has given way to one time. First, Nischayatartham, as celebrated now with great pomp, has no place in the Sastras. As in olden days, it is a very small function between the parents of the bride and the groom. To bring the boy and the girl together and to celebrate the betrothal on a large scale is nothing but travesty of the spirit of Vivaham. While celebrating Nischayatartham and Vivaham, one should remember the advice of Maha Periyaval of Kanchi that even if one has the money, he should never waste on ostentation, as it is a social evil, corrupting the lesser endowed people.
During Vratam observed on the day previous to the marriage, some people do not perform Naandi Sraadham properly. They proffer excuses to say that it is not in their family tradition; it is not the practice in their particular area; it was not auspicious on an earlier occasion; after doing it during upanayanam, there is no need for it during vivaham etc. This is all totally wrong and unacceptable. Sastras are very, very clear in specifying that Naandi Sraadham should be performed properly on many auspicious occasions including upanayanam, vivaham,seemanthonnayanam etc. This is a simple ritual to please one’s ancestors and take their blessings. What is there in it for raising an objection? Do not the parents of the bride and the groom take the blessings of their living parents? What is the difference? Parents of both sides should perform this with sraddha by offering dhoti, good dakshina etc. to at least 9 vaidikas on this occasion.
It goes without saying that the groom should pronounce all mantras and perform all tantras as instructed by the Guru during marriage with great diligence. Visitors should be less noisy.
Everyone should maintain the sanctity of the occasion with alacrity. Socialising is less important than vaidika rituals.