SIXTEEN SANSKAAR (Solah Sanskar)



The Sanskrit word “Samskara” is the origin of Sanskaar which signifies the cultural heritage in Hindu religion.
The 16 Sanskaar are teachings for Hindu’s to live their life spiritually from pre-birth till post death. It is a process which needs to be followed by Hindus to preserve their culture and religion. Sanskaar help a Hindu to achieve “Moksh” and get away from the sins. Sanskaar is spiritual nourishment to the child for a peaceful mind and soul.

These sixteen Sanskaar are as follows:-

GARBHADHAN
This is the first sanskaar, started from the pre-birth of child. It is prayer for the well being of child. This sanskaar is performed by the father of child.
PUNSAVANA
This sanskaar is listed as the second sanskaar .This is prayer for the desire of a male child. This sanskaar is limited to the family. It is performed around the third or the fourth month of pregnancy. This sanskaar is performed for welcoming the great soul.

SIMINTONNAYANA 
Last three months is crucial of pregnancy and this performed during the seventh month. In this sanskaar, only women are invited and they give desired food and blessings to the expected mother. A pregnant woman should have positive thinking and peaceful mind, a child reflects exactly her mother’s thinking. 
JATAKARMA
On the sixth or eleventh day grah puja is performed in this sanskaar as it cleans the atmosphere in the house and the child will not get any physical or mental problem.

NAMAKARANA
The Namakaran sanskaar can be performed on the tenth or eleventh day with the recitation of Mantras. The child is decided according to the 212 divisions of 27 Nakshatras and the position of the moon at the time of child's birth.

NISHKRAMANA
This Sanskaar is performed to give respect to the Panchmahabhut-Sun, Moon, Fire, Wind and earth. This Sanskaar is performed when child is taken out of the home for the first time. This Sanskaar enhance the child’s age and physical and mental growth. 
ANNAPRASHANA
This Sanskaar is very important as the child gets the solid food in his mouth first time. Anna is considered as one of the main reason to make a person commence the good and bad things.
CHUDKARAM
The Chudakaram Sanskaar is performed on auspicious day after the age of one year. On this sanskaar shaving of head is done and a chura is left (lock of tuft hair) on the head. And Bhramins chant the Mantras for a healthy and long life of the child.
KARNVEDH
The father feeds honey to the child and pierces the baby’s ear. Then butter is applied to the wound. This is done for both male and female child. This is performed on the fifth or seventh year of child.

UPANAYANA
This Sanskaar changes the life of a child, spiritual birth of a child. After the mother father, The Guru plays the most important part in child’s life. In this Sanskaar the child goes near to the Guru and learns the lessons of life. At the age of six or nine, the child gets through with this Sanskaar.
VEDARAMBHA
At the age of eight years the child enters the path of spiritual life. The child studies the Vedas and performs the Vedic functions.
SAMAVARTANA
This Sanskaar allows the child to enter in the Grasth Ashram with the permission of his Guru. This phase of life starts after completing the studies of Vedas. The guru teaches the child about the Grasth Ashram also.
VIVAHA
This is another ashram for the individual, called the Grath Ashram. In this he enters with his wife after doing vivah. Vivah is performed by walking around the Agni and chanting the Mantras by priest. This Sanskaar gives duties to the individual of taking care of his family and children.
 VANPRASTHA
Man retires himself from his family and all other activities and stays in Vaan.
SANYASA
A Sanyasi renounces the world and leads a life of study and meditation by living on alms.     
ANTYESHTI
This sanskaar is performed after the death of an individual. The tulsi leaf, small piece of gold and drops of ganga water are put in the mouth of the person on death bed.  The eldest son performs all the duties of this Sanskaar like chanting mantras. The dead body is washed, wrapped in the white cloth.