Completion of 60 years

  • By Jnana Prabodhini
  • September 2001
  • 15960 views

The Ceremony  

Convener : Our father Shri  /our mother Shrimati (mention the relation with the person to be felicitated) is completing sixty years of age today. We venerate him/her. We request Shri./ Kumari to conduct the Shashtyabdi rites.

Priest :

Be it so. I will be happy to conduct the rites for Shri / Shrimati 

Please follow me, and say –

Priest and the participants :

Harih : Om
Om
Om

Priest : It is the custom to worship Ganapati at the time of the commencement of any ceremony.

Priest and the Participants : in Sanskrit

Priest : O Ganapati, leader of the heroes, learned among the learned, you are the protector of our Mantras. Come with all your powers and reside here.

Priest : ( To the couple )

Please take some water from the glass with the spoon in your right palm and sip it. This gesture symbolizes purification. It is called ‘Aachaman.’ Sip three times with the three names of God. Let the water pass away from your palm when you chant the fourth name. It is called releasing the ‘Udak’ and it symbolizes the commencement of the ceremony.

Priest, the couple and the participants :

Om. Keshava Namah:  (Achaman)
Om. Narayana Namah:
Om. Madhava Namah:
Om. Govind Namah:  (Udak)

Priest : ( To the person being felicitated )
Please make a ring of the Darbha grass and water it in the third finger of the right hand. Do deep breathing (pranayam) and meditate upon God for a minute.

Let us make a declaration (Sankalpa) of the sacrament.

Declaration of the Sacrament

Priest and the couple :

On this earth, in country called , in the city/town/village called , here, in the year called, in the month of                , in the  half of the lunar month, on (date), on day, under the star constellation called

I perform the rites on the completion of sixty years of my life, and take up the pursuit of righteous life and self-realization.

Priest : Sprinkle water on yourself and your wife / husband.

Priest, the couple and the participants : in Sanskrit

Priest : The person may be impure, pure or in whatever state-if he remembers God, he is pure inside out.

Now we purify the material we have brought for the ceremony.

Priest, the couple and the participants :   Rig Veda 7:56:12
        
Priest : O deities, you are pious and glorious. May these offerings we have brought for you be purified. O deities, you sanctify our life with your blessed touch. (You have taught us that) Great people achieve noble goals by noble means.

Calling the day auspicious

Priest and the person being felicitated:  in Sanskrit

I, am performing the sacraments on the completion of my sixty years. Please say that this day is auspicious for the same.

Priest and the participants :  

Sure, this day is auspicious.

Priest and the person :

I, am performing the sacrament on the completion of my sixty years. Please say that you bless me on this occasion.

Priest and the participants :

Certainly, we give you good wishes on this occasion.

Priest and the person :

I, am performing the sacrament on the completion of sixty years of my life. Please say that the sacrament will be perfomed successfully.

Priest and the participants :

Sure, the sacrament will be performed successfully.

Remembering one’s forefathers

Priest and the couple :

Priest : I gratefully remember my maternal and paternal grandparents and my grandparents also. May they bless me on this occasion.

Worshipping the deities

Priest : Let us first worship Varuna – the god of water. Water is life. Hence Varuna is the life-giver. We venerate him. ( An urn filled with water symbolizes Varuna. The couple worships the urn.)

Priest and the couple :

We venerate Varuna and offer him sandal-paste and flowers.

We salute Varuna and offer him this nourishing sacrificial food.

Priest and the couple :

May Varuna be pleased and give us long life.

Priest, the couple and the participants :   Yajur Ved 34:58

Priest : O Brahman, you are the controller of the world. Please listen to our prayers. Blessed are those whom you protect with your prowess. We together invite you in this sacrament and sing your glory.

Venerating the sage Markandeya

( A betelnut is kept on rice grains representing Markandeya.)

Priest : Let us now worship the sage Markandeya. He was destined to have a short life. However, he did a hard penance and Lord Shiv, Vishnu and the seven revered sages were pleased with him. They gave him a very long life. ( He would live to see the earth seven times deluged i.e. Saptakalpanta.)

Priest and the couple :

Priest : O Markandeya, give us a long, prosperous and fruitful life. Now we worship the sage Markandeya.

Priest and the couple :

We venerate Markandeya and offer flowers and sandalwood paste to him.

We bow before Markandeya, offer incense to him, and enkindle oil lamp in front of him.

We revere Markandeya, and offer him the sacrificial food.

Vedic hymns about long life

Priest and the participants :     Rig Ved 10. 161. 4

May Agni – the fire-god, Indra – the god of rains, Savita – the god of light, and Brihaspati – the god of knowledge, be pleased with our prayers and give you a life of hundred years. With ever increasing glory, you enjoy hundred autumns and hundred springs. Yajurveda says –

Priest and the participants :

Let us live for hundred years.

Let us enjoy life for hundred years.

Let us speak out noble thoughts for hundred years.

Let us lead a proud, vigorous life for hundred years.

Entering Vanaprashta

The person who wishes to enter Vanaprashta : ( To the priest )

I know that our Hindu tradition conceives four life stages with a graduated course of duties calculated to lead an individual step by step towards realization of the Supreme spiritual life. I have observed the duties of the Grihasthashrama with the best of my ability and understanding and now, with my wife I wish to enter the Vanaprasthasrama. Please enlighten me regarding the duties and way of life in Vanaprastha.

The Priest : Vana is forest and Prasthan is leaving for. In olden days people used to leave their household and go to forest to lead a quiet life, serving people and pursuing knowledge and self-realization.Vanaprastha in the modern context means handing over the family responsibilities to one’s son or daughter and leading a socially useful life while pursuing spiritual goals. It also means controlling the natural desires and leading a chaste life.
Manusmriti says –

Priest, the couple and the participants :    Manu 6.1

Priest : After passing the stages of Brahmacharyashrama – the studenthood, and Garhasthya – the life of householder, one should exercise control on one’s natural desires and lead a chaste life.

Priest, the couple and the Participants :    Manu 6.2          

Priest : When the family responsibilities and duties are fulfilled and when age shows its signs on one’s body, one should retire to forest.

Priest, the couple and the participants :    Manu 6.3

Priest : Leaving everything behind, limiting one’s intake to very simple things, one should go to the forest. His wife may stay with the son or may accompany him.

 Manusmriti also speaks about the duties of the Vanaprastha.

Priest, the couple and the participants :    Manu 6.8

Piest : One should learn noble thoughts in Vanaprastha and act accordingly. Mind and sense organs should be under one’s control. Friendly help should be offered to all who need it.
One must love all and expect nothing from them.

Priest, the couple and the participants :    Manu 6.272

Priest : One should study Vedas and Upanishads for the knowledge of the self and the Supreme self. One should do penance in a number of ways.Thus, the life of the Vanaprastha is the pursuit of knowledge and self.

The person : I am grateful to you for helping us understand the life and duties of the Vanaprastha.

Priest : Now please hand over the household duties to your son.

 ( The couple and their son stand up.)

The Person :

My dear son, I am entering the Vanaprastha. I hand over the duties of our household to you. You, with your loving wife, will take my place,  make our family name  known to the world  by your good deeds.We bless you.

The Son :

My dear father, me dear mother, rest assured. I humbly accept  the household duties  from you.  I will do everything  to add glory to our family name. Please let your blessings be with me. ( He bows before his parents and they bless him.)

Sacrifice on completing 60 or more years
( The sacrificial fire is enkindled and the couple entering Vanaprastha offers the oblations of ghee to the fire.)

Priest, the couple and the participants :

   To what is this consecrated?
   To which deity is this consecrated?
   Of what number is that deity ?
   This is given to God who bears the
   universe from all sides.
   May this be consecrated to the
   Supreme Mind.
   May this be given to goddess Aditi
   who knows the minds of all.
   May this be given to the great
   Aditi.
   May this be given to Aditi who
   blesses us all.
   May this be consecrated to
   Saraswati – the goddess of
   knowledge.
   May this be consecrated to
   Saraswati who purifies us.
   May this be given to the great
   Saraswati.
   This is for the god Pooshan who
   nourishes us.
   This is for Pooshan who graces us.
   This is for Pooshan who gives us
   noble thoughts.
   This given to god Twashta who
   removes all the obstacles from the
   path of the aspirants.
   This is given to god Twashta who
   is the Supreme self.
   This is given to god Twashta who
   manifests himself in all forms.
   This is consecrated to the master
   of the world.
   This is consecrated to the Lord.
   This is offered to the creator.
   May our life be consecrated to God.

 May Pran – Apana – Vyana – Udana – and Samana – the five types of pranic energy residing in respiratory system, excretory system, circulatory system, larynx and body organs be consecrated to the fire.

May our sight, hearing, tongue, mind and soul be consecrated to this sacred fire.

May our self be consecrated to the Supreme self by this sacrifice.

May our radiance be consecrated to the Supreme radiance.

May the best in us be offered to god.

May this sacrifice itself be sacrificed in the name of god.

May this be given to one.

May this be given to two.
This is for the hundred.
This is for one manifest in a hundred forms.
May this be consecrated to Divine will.

May this be consecrated to the luminous place wherein God resides.

Priest and the couple :

Priest : If there are any shortcomings in this sacrifice, may this holy fire named Swishtakrit forgive me. The fire which duly receives the oblations, one who brings the desired result, one who gives the fruit of earnest effort, may be pleased with these offerings. This belongs to the holy fire called Swishtakrit and not to me.

Priest and the Participants :

Om Tat Sat  Brahman is the only Reality.
Om Tat Sat  Brahman is the only Reality.
Om Tat Sat  Brahman is the only Reality.

( In the end, the younger people bow down and venerate the couple, friends give good wishes and greet the couple ; sweets are distributed and the ceremony ends.)

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