Samskar's - the rites or practices enshrined in vedic tradition

 Samskar's - the rites or practices enshrined in vedic tradition
Hindu samskaras are the rites or practices enshrined and ordained in Hindu scriptures to guide an individual toward a proper sense of duty and obligation during the various stages of life. Hindu samskars have been formulated by ancient sages based upon their own intuitive knowledge, experiences, and beliefs relating to the nature of human life.

Samskars create a religious atmosphere conducive to the maintenance of virtuous tendencies.

In Hindu dharma, the birth of a child is considered a religious activity. Samskaras begin prior to birth and end with the cremation of the body following death.

The number of samskaras prescribed in various scriptures vary from eleven to forty, some of the most significant samskars are :
  1. garbhadhana (conception)
  2. jatakarma (child birth)
  3. namakarana (naming a child)
  4. annaprasana (giving the child solid food)
  5. mundan (shaving the head)
  6. upanayana (sacred thread ceremony)
  7. vivaaha (marriage)
  8. anthyeshti (cremation)
Several Hindu samskars or scripture based rites are associated with birth of a child.

These samskars include:
  • Garbhadana (conception) : or fervent prayer for a child in order to fulfill the parental obligation to continue the human race.
  • Punsavana (fetus protection) : Performed during the third or fourth month of pregnancy and prior to consciousness of fetus, to invoke divine qualities in the child.
  • Simantonnayana (satisfying the craving of the pregnant mother) : similar to baby shower, performed during the seventh month of pregnency, prayers offered for to God for healthy physical and mental growth of a child
  • Jatakarma (child birth) : welcomes the child into the family; mantras are recited for a healthy and long life. Samskar is performed to create a pleasant atmosphere for both the newly born child and mother.
  • Namakarna (Naming the child) : "Naming" according to scriptural procedures Nishkarmana (taking the child outdoors for the first time)  performed four months after birth.
  • Annaprasana (giving the child first solid food): Performed in the seventh or eight month after birth. There are detail instruction regarding what food to give etc., in scriptures (Grihyasutra)
  • The naming of a child is one of the most fundamental Hindu "samskars" or scripture based rites.
  • The name is selected such that its meaning can inspire the child to follow the path of righteousness. The name given to newborn babies are generally suggestive of divine qualities of the vedic deities.
A common practice among Hindus is to name their children after the names of sages, saints, holy persons, deities, and the names of the incarnation of God. It is believed that by repeatedly calling such names one is reminded of the Lord.

Hindus generally cremate their dead. the body of the departed is given a bath and dressed in fresh clothes. Fragrant sandlewood paste is applied to the corpse, which is then decorated with flowers and garlands, followed by a small amount of gold dust sprinkled on different parts of the head and face. After some purificatory scriptural chants and worship rituals, the body is placed on the funeral pyre facing either north or south.

A close relative of the departed lights some kindling and walks around the pyre chanting a prayer for the well being of the departed soul. Then he lights the funeral pyre after touching the mouth of the departed with kindling.

In larger cities bodies are cremated in modern crematoria. The ashes are later put in a holy river or sea.

The body of a Hindu saint is not usually cremated but put in a grave or buried in water.

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