If you are a Hindu male who is above 25 years from Nepal, we bet that you have done Bratabandha. Regarding this ritual, there are several questions that one might ask, like what is Bratabandha and why is it done and sorts like this.
Don’t worry as in this article we have compiled 12 of these frequently asked questions and answered them. Are you curious as to see if we have answered the question that you have been wondering about? Let’s get straight to the answers then.
1. What is a Bratabandha?
Bratabanda or Upanayana is a process, which signifies that a boy is ready for further education. In the olden period of time, males used to go abroad or Banaras after their Bratabandha to attain more knowledge with the base being Veda that was written Sanskrit.
2. What is the best age to do BrataBandha?
The best age for bratabanda as specified by Dharma shastra are the odd years, like 1st, 3rd, 5th years of the male. These are said to be the perfect age to carry out the ritual.
However as the tradition for the ceremony has diversified as per ethnic group, hence this is no longer universal in modern times. For Brahmins, the perfect age is 8th year, for Chhetri on 11th and as for Baisya 12th year is seen as the perfect age.
And if this prime age exceeds, Brahmin can do it within the 16th year, Chettri within the 22nd, and Baishya within the 22nd year.
3. Why are the mentioned ages the best ones?
This is because of the understanding that the child is well-groomed and mature enough to follow the education of Vedas and the ancient scriptures and their teachings.
These ages are, as you may have guessed, in between childhood and adulthood due to which child is old enough to study and grasp the education system. Another reason for the specified age being the is because, in the olden days, one had to be old enough to travel far as there were only a few gurukuls- the place of formal education in that time.
4. Why is it done?
Bratabandha is done to signify that the child is old enough to learn about shastras and Vedas. It is also done to pray to the gods and is considered to be the right passage for a man.
5. How long does it last?
The whole process usually lasts for a whole day on average but if you want to complete this festival quickly, this can be done as quickly as in 5-6 hrs. However, if you want to do the whole process including the smallest of rituals, it can last up to 3 days
6. How is it done in a generic way?
The process of Bratabandha is a long one regardless of what you do. As long as you don’t skip the required steps, it will take at the very least two days. However, there is a short way to complete this ceremony of Bratabandha.
Although it is not recommended, you can call a GuruJi to do a small puja where he chants a mantra and shaves a part of the boy’s hair. In this way, the process is completed but this way of conducted Bratabandha is only meant for emergencies.
We have made a separate article where we explain this process in detail. If you are interested to know the whole process, follow our link here.
7. What religious and cultural significance does it have?
Bratabandha has its facts associated with the ancient pattern of enabling the child for further education. Following Upanayana (another term for Bratabandha), the child would dive into the depth of The Vedas. There he begins his journey to Gurukul, where he serves his teacher and Ashram, learning and growing till the end of his education.
All of this is done to turn him into a student with this ritual as his base for education. Having done the Chudakarma and Upanayana, the boy starts his journey as a sage of simple living and knowledge of Veda. The teacher then grooms him till he becomes mature.
So in a sense, it is basically taken as the form of building the child into a responsible and knowledgeable adult.
8. What are the materials required to do Bratabandha?
There are a lot of materials that you require to complete the whole process of Bratabandha and the list is rather a long list. So instead of answering this question here, we have provided a complete list of the required materials for Bratabandha in this list here.
9. How much does it cost?
Bratabandha as a general is an expensive ceremony as the base minimum cost is around 30,000 Nrs. This amount should barely cover every expense including the fee for the Guruji and the fees for the puja and a small party to those included. Do note that this is the best-case scenario and Bratabandha usually costs a few thousand more.
10. Where is the best place to do the Bratabandha?
The best place is naturally in the mandirs that have historical relations with the Gurukuls of the olden days but since that is not possible for most of us, it can be done in any major temples around your local area.
If you have a big open space in your home, you can do it there with some rituals. A pandit guru is a guide for the day. At home, a big enough space should be measured and allocated for the Yagya, where most of the ritual takes place.
11. What are the myths behind Bratabandha?
Ancient history for the structuring of Bratabandha that highlighted its importance is said to be from how the students of royal families followed the traditions of this ceremony.
The prince’s education started after Upanayana, after having the ritual ceremonies they left their home to live with the saints and learn the Vedas and the rule of life. Through the years, they learned how to be a responsible and knowledgeable person, so when they returned back home, they would be a changed individual, who can take responsibility for their father’s kingdom.
The tradition remained the same even for commoners as well. They lived in gurukul and gained education and returned back home as responsible people, fulfilling the duties of their life as per their family’s tradition. In gurukul, the students lived in harmony and befriended each other without discrimination. We can find those stories even today in the ancient scriptures.
Bratabanda is for shaving the hair, highlighting the Tuppi (tail-like hair) at the back of the head, and wearing Janai on the shoulders has more mythical stories associated with it. The reason for this is because these three things are done for the first time during this process of Bratabandha.
The sacred thread was used by the sages from the Satya Yuga to defend themselves against the monsters and conquered them with the Mantras. Meanwhile, the tail behind the head (Tuppi) is believed to serve as the connection of the human mind and soul to the spiritual guide of the world.
All the beliefs in these historical mythologies associated with the Yuga have made it to our modern generations. This is why we follow this tradition with a grand Puja and a celebration.
12. What are the Sanskars related to BrataBandha?
There are 4 Sanskars related to Bratabandha. They are:
In ancient times, Veda reading was the basis of education, which started out after bratabandha of the brahmin boys. But gradually, the pattern changed and it was less practiced and eventually, it was cut off from mainstream education.
Vedarambha is the starting of the basic education, which is the starting of the vast knowledge of Veda with the mul mantra (Vedmata) “Gayatri”. Upanayana is considered to commence after granting this mantra to the child. The mantra is given with some transformation with it for the Kumar child, according to their ethnic group, as Brahmin, Chhetri, or Vaisya.
This Sanskar is the process of graduation from the education that the child will be ready to get following the attainment of the Gayatri mantra on the day of bratabanda. Then returning back after the completion, he will have two choices, either to be a Brahmacharya and stay at Gurukul and devote his life to learning and teaching or get back home and live a married life and have a family and the responsibility that comes along with it. Completion of education made them wise sage.
The first karma of shaving the head of a young boy is called the Chuda Sanskar. It is the most important form of following the Sanskar that enables a child to be fit for Upanayana or Bratabandha. A child is not let to shave his head until his Chuda karma is complete. So this Sanskar cleanses him from any bad karma that he might have done in his lifetime or the life before this one. That is the belief.
Upanaya- Bratabanda Sanskar
In this Sanskar “Brata” means rule based on Veda and “Banda” means a tie to that rule
During ancient times, Bratabandha was done to make the boy a complete student for the start of his education. This process is taken as his graduation to get into Gurukul or any education even to this day.
With this, we cover some of the common questions that people have about Bratabandha. If you have any question that is not in this list, be sure to comment down below and we will do our best to answer your queries in a future post.
If you want to know more about Nepali rituals however you can check our article on Everything you need to know about Nwaran.