Upanayanam is the Samskara or the ceremonial rite in which the young Brahmin boy is invested with the sacred thread and initiated into Gayatri Mantra.
After the Upanayanam is performed, the boy – as young Brahmachari, becomes eligible to study the Vedas. As this ceremony signifies a ‘spiritual rebirth’, the boy becomes a Dvija or a “Twice Born” after the Upanayanam is performed. Etymologically speaking, the word means, taking (NAYANAM) near (UPA) to Vedas. In the ancient days…when the scripturally disciplined modes of conduct were strictly followed, the father took his son near the Gayathri Mantra, and there after near a Guru and left him under his care and tutelage soon after the Upanayanam was performed. The Guru took him near the Vedas (i.e.taught him to chant them in the traditional way) which in turn ultimately took him near God. Thus, the ceremony opens for the young Brahmachari, a succession of gates, leading to the ultimate goal of human existence – the realisation of God.
The Gayathri Mantra
Literally, Gayathri Mantra protects him who chants it. She is the ‘supreme’ of all the mantras, and when chanted with devotion and single pointed concentration and purity, takes the chanter to the ultimate bliss – the knowledge of the Supreme Truth, called the Brahman.
I am particularly happy the ceremony went off fine!