Tuesday, 31 July 2012


Upakarma, in Sanskrit, means "beginning" and historically, the day was considered auspicious for beginning the Vedic studies. It is an important festival for all brahmins who have gone through their Upanayana Ceremony.(Initiation).

Rig Veda Upakarma is observed on the day of Shravan Poornima. Brahmins who are the followers of Rig Veda change the sacred thread on the day. In 2012, the date is August 2.
For followers of Yajur Veda it is on August 1.


The significance of this day is that Lord Vishnu took the form of a horse and restored the Veda that was stolen from Lord Brahma by the demons Madhu and Kaitabha. As lord Vishnu took the form of a horse, this incarnation is called Hayagriva or "horse-head". After lord Vishnu created lord Brahma, he taught Brahma all the eternal Vedas. Once lord Brahma had mastered the Vedas, he was filled with ego that he was the only entity that had the knowledge of the all eternal and holy Vedas. Lord Vishnu thought otherwise and created demons Madhu and Kaitabha from two water drops on the lotus that he mounts. He then instructed them to steal the Vedas from Lord Brahma and hide it. Thus, Lord Brahma was in a fix that he was not able to save the holy and all eternal Vedas from theft and prayed to Lord Vishnu to do the needy. Lord Vishnu took the from of Hayagriva or Hayavadana and restored the all pervading Veda to safety,.thus curbing the pride of Brahma. So the day of Upakarma is also celebrated as Hayagriva utpatti. As the Vedas were restored on this day, Upakarma is performed on this day to mark a new beginning.

The main activity performed in an Upakarma is restarting the study of the Veda. As a consequence of this commencement of study, teachers and students of the Veda also change of the Yajnopavita (Yagnopavitta,Janivara) or the Holy Thread and make offerings (Tarpanam) to Rishis who are the seers of the hymns of the Veda.The day and its subsequent day are of great significance to all followers of the Vedas.


Boys and Men of the house need to do abhyanjan (oil head bath) early in the morning.

If men of the house go to temple to do the Upakarma, then below are some of the things to be taken:
Panchavala,Panchapathre,Udharane, Agarbathi,mangalarathi bathi, karpoora, halagarathi, 2 gejje vasthra, panchamrutha, Janivara, one pair of sodalu, beetal leaves, beetal nuts, fruits and coconut for neivedya.

The prasadam of the day is specially made Satvada hittu made out of all fruits (banana, guava, grapes, custard apple, apple, dry fruits), milk, ghee, til, jaggery, grated cocunut and rice flour. This is said to be very good for the rishis who are considered to be old and don't have teeth. Hence this preparation. Also this is done jointly by men who come for the ceremony.

Some sweet like obattu/payasa should be prepared marking the festival. Othu Shavige and haayigadabu is also prepared on this day. People who perform Upakarma needs to have phalahara in the night.