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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Deity Worship > Upakarma Procedure

Upakarma Procedure


(1) Do morning nitya-kriyas including sandhya-vandanam as one would do on any other day.


(2) kamo'karsit manyur akarsit japam:

(first time upakarmins  skip this)


(a) acamanam

(b) pranayama

(c) sankalpa:


taisyam paurnamasyam adhyaya-utsarjana-akarana-prayascitta-artham astottara-sahasra (1008) [or astottara-sata (108)] sankhyaya "kamo'karsit manyur akarsit" maha-mantra-japam karisye.


(e) Do japam of "kamo'karsit manyur akarsit" 1008 or 108 times as one has resolved.


(f) acamanam



(4) Preparing for the upakarma.


Seated facing east, wearing a pavitram perform acamanam, pranayama, and sankalpa.


    sravanyam paurnamasyam adhyaya-upakarma karisye,

    tad angam kandarsi-tarpanam karisye,

    tad angam yajnopavita-dharanam karisye,

    tad angam snanam karisye.


    [ Brahmacaris add: tad angataya maunji-ajina-danda-dharanani karisye ]


    (a) Bathe once again (at least manasika snanam)

    (b)Put on a new yajnopavitam with appropriate mantras.

    (c) Brahmacaris should the appropriate mantras for the darbha belt, deer skin, and danda and wear them (see Sat Kriya Sara Dipika)


    (d) acamanam


(5) Nava kanda Rsi tarpanam


    (a) acamanam

    (b) Facing north, walk knee-deep into a river or pool of fresh water if possible. Otherwise stand where you are, but your clothes should be wet.

    (c) For each of the following, offer a mixture of (uncooked) rice, sesame seeds, and water, as you say 'tarpayami'. Each line should be said three times. Preferably, someone should help by pouring the water as you release the rice and sesame, as this makes it easier.


        Wear the yajnopavitam as a necklace (nivitam). For the first seven, cup both your hands together, having the yajnopavitam's knots resting in your palms and with the threads going between your thumb and forefinger of each hand. The water should be released along with the sesame and rice off the tips of both hands This is known as rsi tirtham.


        (i) prajapatim  kandarsim tarpayami

       (ii) somam kandarsim tarpayami

       (iii) agnim kandarsim tarpayami

       (iv) visvan devan kandarsim tarpayami

       (v) samhitir devata upanisadas tarpayami

       (vi) yajnikir devata upanisadas tarpayami

      (vii) varunir  devata upanisadas tarpayami


        Now, still nivitam, the water mixture should be released towards you, off the palms away from the fingertips. Typically this is done by pointing the fingers straight up, keeping the sides of the hands together. This is known as brahma-tirtham.


     (viii) brahmanagm svayambhuvam tarpayami


        Now the water should be poured as deva-tirtham. This means that the water mixture should be poured off the lengths of the little finger.


(ix) sadasaspatim tarpayami

(x) rg-vedam tarpayami

(xi) yajur-vedam tarpayami

(xii) sama-vedam tarpayami

(xiii) atharvana-vedam tarpayami

(xiv) itihasam tarpayami

(xv) puranam tarpayami

(xvi) kalpam tarpayami



    (e) Return to upavitam, i.e., your thread in its normal position. Finish with acamanam and change into dry clothes.


(6) Traditionally there is now a upakarma homa, where the rsis and devatas mentioned above are once again saluted using the sacred fire. The there is vedarambha, where the first four anuvakas of the yajur veda samhita are taught to the students. This is followed by jayadi homam.

         At minimum, it is recommended that you recite one anuvaka from your veda on this day. The Purusa Sukta suffices, for example.


[ It is often erroneously thought that upakarma is primarily the   changing  the yajnopavitam. This cannot be further from the truth. Changing the thread happens very often, whenever a significant vedic rite is performed. Upakarma, however, is a rededication of oneself to the study of one's Veda, along with salutations to the rsis who perceived and revealed the Vedic mantras to the world. This is the significance of the nava-kandarsi tarpanam and the anuvaka recitation.]



(a) On the Upakarma day, complete fasting is observed at night and a small meal is eaten during the day. This meal typically consists of idli or something similar, but excludes rice. Please also remember that you are not supposed to eat anything until the end of the ceremony. 

(b) The mantra for the kamo'karsit japam is "kamo'karsit manyur akarsit".


(c) sankalpa details:


    The following is said for any major sankalpa (maha-sankalpa).


    After acarya vandanam and visvaksena dhyanam:


       hari om tat sat

       shri govinda govinda govinda


        asya shri-bhagavato maha-purusasya

        visnor ajnaya pravartamanasya

        adya brahmane dvitiyaparardhe



        kali-yuge prathama-pade




        meror daksine parsve







        _______________ vasara

        _____________nakshatra yuktayam



       evam guna-visesana visisthayam,

       asyam subha-tithau


     shri shri guru-gauranga prityartham


(-followed by the particular ceremony)



(d) Procedure for wearing the yajnopavitam:

    (1) Sit squatting (kukkuttasanam) facing east. acamanam.

    (2) pranayamam.

    (3) sankalpam



    (4) Put one yajnopavitam on at a time. To do this, hold the yajnopavitam with both hands, with your right palm facing up over your head, and your left palm facing the ground. The top of the knot should be on your right palm and should be facing right. Then say  this mantra, while holding the sacred thread this way:



brahma rsih

tristup chandah

trayividya devata

yajnopavita dharane viniyogah


om yajnopavitam paramam pavitram

prajapater yat sahajam purastat(e) |

ayusyam agryam pratimunca subhram

yajnopavitam balam astu tejah ||


        Now wear the yajnopavitam and perform acamanam again.


          Then remove the old yajnopavita and discard them after chanting-


        upavitam chinnantu

        jirnam kasmala-dusitam |

        visrjami punar brahman

        varco dirghayur astu me ||