What Are the Sacraments of Adulthood?

Lesson of the Day
From The Master Course by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami

The most important sacrament of adulthood is the vivaha samskara, or marriage rite, preceded by a pledge of betrothal. A boy’s or girl’s coming of age is also consecrated through special ceremony in the home. Aum.

As puberty dawns, the ritu kala home-ceremony acknowledges a girl’s first menses, and the keshanta kala celebrates a boy’s first beard-shaving. New clothing and jewelry fit for royalty are presented to and worn by the youth, who is joyously welcomed into the young adult community. Girls receive their first sari, boys their first razor. Chastity is vowed until marriage. The next sacrament is the betrothal ceremony, called nishchitartha or vagdana, in which a man and woman are declared formally engaged by their parents with the exchange of jewelry and other gifts. Based on this commitment, they and their families begin planning a shared future. In the marriage sacrament, or vivaha, seven steps before God and Gods and tying the wedding pendant consecrate the union of husband and wife. This sacrament is performed before the homa fire in a wedding hall or temple and is occasioned by elaborate celebration. The Grihya Sutras pronounce, “One step for strength, two steps for vitality, three steps for prosperity, four steps for happiness, five steps for cattle, six steps for seasons, seven steps for friendship. To me be devoted.” Aum Namah Sivaya.
Lesson 248 from Living with Siva
The World as Our Teacher

The Hindu also wants to improve conditions in the world, in the physical world. We do not look upon all that happens to us as unreal. That is a misconception. It is real. Life is real. It is through life that we progress. Life is the means provided by the Primordial God for finding Reality. True, it is maya. But it is maya in the form of mind, in the form of form. Maya, or form, or mind, is created for a purpose, to help man evolve, not to bind him in illusion. The Hindu understands this. We want to help humanity, and simultaneously we know that we may well return in another physical body. So we are working not only for ourselves, but for our loved ones, not only now, but in the future as well. We are improving the world for future generations in which we will play a part.

Through our knowledge of reincarnation, we have a great love and understanding for every human being, for they have been our mothers, our fathers, our sons and daughters, our grandparents and companions in many past lives, or perhaps will be in a future incarnation. This expanded knowledge of the interrelatedness of humanity brings with it a deepened appreciation, helping us to understand why it is that some people seem so close to us though we hardly know them and others are strangers or even enemies after years of close association. To the Hindu, everyone younger is his brother or sister. Everyone older is his mother or father, and he maintains a deep respect for others. We have this knowledge by having lived through many hundreds of lives on this planet and having been associated with many thousands of people. We know that in our current pattern in this life we often attract those to us whom we have been with in past lives. So we have a great joy and happiness in meeting them again and a deep knowledge of our relationships, our psychic relationships, with them in past lives.

The Hindu believes in the law of karma, the ability to earn one’s rewards as well as punishments. All this we can do ourselves with the help of our Gods and our personal relationship with our Ishta Devata, the individual God that we have chosen, or rather that God who has chosen to love, guide and protect us through an incarnation. …PLEASE CLICK HERE TO READ MORE