by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Upakarma procedure

The Rig and Yajur Upakarma is to be performed on 20th August, while the Sama Upakarma on 07 September of 2013.  The purpose of these Upakarmas is to purify the Brhman which resides within ourselves.  This ritual of purifying the Brhman or Atman is not something unique to Hinduism alone.  Almost every religion has a procedure for such purification.  The Christians observe Lent and the Muslims observer Ramadan; the Jews observe the ‘Days of Awe’ from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur.

A complete Upakarma consists of the following: (How do you like the Sanskrit headings?)
  1. ப்ராத: ஸந்த்யா (प्रात: सन्ध्या)
  2. ஸமிதாதானம் (समिदाधानम्)
  3. வபநம் (वभनम्)
  4. ஸ்நானம் (स्नानम्)
  5. காமோகார்ஷீத் ஜபம் (कामोकार्षीत् जप:)
    1. For Sama Veda replaced by பஞ்சகவ்ய சம்மேளனம் (पञ्चगव्य सम्मेळ्न्)
  6. மாத்யான்நிகம் (माध्याह्निकम्)
  7. ப்ரஹ்மயக்யம் (ब्रह्मयग्यम्)
  8. மஹாஸங்கல்பம் (महासंकल्प:)
  9. ஸ்நானம் (स्नानम्)
  10. யஜ்ஞோபவீததாரணம் (यङ्ग्योपवीत-धारणम्)
  11. மௌஞ்ஜீ, க்ருஷ்ணாஜிநம், பலாஸதண்டம் தாரணம் (मोन्जी-मजिनं दण्डं धारणम्)
  12. காண்ட-ரிஷி-தர்ப்பணம் (काण्ड-ऋषि-तर्पणम्)
    1. For Sama Veda replaced by ரிஷி பூஜை -உத்ஸ ர்ஜன கர்மா & தேவ, ரிஷி, பித்ரு தர்ப்பணம் (ऋषि पूजा - उथ्सर्जन कर्मा & देव-ऋषि-पितृ तर्पणम् )
    2. For Rg Veda replaced by Savithyadhi தர்ப்பணம் (तर्पणम् )
  13. ஸ்ராவண ஹோமம் (श्रावण होम:)
  14. வேதாரம்பம் (वॆदारम्भ:)
  15. ஜயாதி ஹோமம் - உபஸ்தானம் (जयादि होम: - उपस्थानम्)
  16. ஆசார்ய ஸம்பாவனை (आचार्य संभावना)
Of them, serials 2, 3, and 9 (ஸமிதாதானம், வபநம் - haircut & shave, மௌஞ்ஜீ, க்ருஷ்ணாஜிநம், பலாஸதண்டம் தாரணம்) are for Brahmacharis.

Serial 7 (ஸ்நானம்) is instead performed as a mantra snanam.

Usually in the printed papers, serials 13 and 15 (ஸ்ராவண ஹோமம் and ஜயாதி ஹோமம் - உபஸ்தானம்) are omitted as they cannot be performed without the presence of the Guru.

For Sama Veda: 5(1) பஞ்சகவ்ய சம்மேளனம் and 10(1) the elaborate ரிஷி பூஜை & தேவ, ரிஷி, பித்ரு தர்ப்பணம் is *not* included, for the simple reason பஞ்சகவ்யம் & எருக்க இலை [Calotropis gigantea (Crown Flower or Giant Milkweed) leaves] may not be readily available.

If you do download the scanned paper from here, you can deposit a sambhavanai by adding mad.madrasi to your Google+ circles.

Jokes apart, printed papers for Upakarma have been available for half a century or more.  Here is a snap of one such paper in my collection from 1988.


Check out the latest version - free download at:

Downloads page


For your reference:
Gayathri Japam general procedure
Upakarma general procedure


  1. K..Viswanath19/08/2013, 20:42

    Dear Sir,
    Brahman or Atman is ever pure.I t is only the jeevatma which is identifying with body mind complex that gives false identification makes us feel impure.Nature of brahman or atman is SAT CHIT ANANDA.HENCE PURITY IS ALREADY with in us. Only we have to uncover false identification with sadhana upasana and dhyana. Rituals such as UPAKARMA are meant to

    offer puja and devotion to our ancient RISHI,S AND RISHII PATNI,S to show our reverence to them and solicit for their grace to lead us in the path virtue.

  2. Krishnan.Vadhyar20/08/2013, 05:57

    Have you ever read the 'MahaSankalpam' with its meaning?

  3. Gopal Krishnan20/08/2013, 17:11

    Problem is many of us do this without knowing the meaning and many Vathyar around india are there only to take money and run to the next venue and sorry you must be a different person 100%

  4. IF one has truly realized oneself or has become one with brahman, one does not need to do anything - one can in fact drink alcohol, smoke... that is IF one is at the level of nish kamya karma - BUT BUT BUT - most of us are nowhere close. There are those who talk big philosophy... but one who is realized seldom talks...

    So, for the ones far down the path of brahman - these rituals...

    Ashtanga marga... Yamam, Niyamam, Pranayamam, Pratyaharanam...

    If you repeatedly practice, hopefully, there will come a time when one has an ah ha moment and gets to the next level.

    Using an analogy - If one were a prodigy - say a Srinivasa Ramanujam, one doesn't need to learn maths one class at at time. Or take business - say a Bill Gates or Steve Jobs - one does not need to go to college, start working at the bottom, work one's way up one level at a time... But most of us have to follow that path... And until we become CEO, we need to chug along hoping someday we'll get there to being CEO.

  5. Krishnan.Vadhyar20/08/2013, 22:00

    I repeat Have you ever read the 'MahaSankalpam' with its meaning?

  6. Krishnan.Vadhyar20/08/2013, 22:07

    I am not in support or against but it is easy to be dismissive and very hard to accept. I am 84 and not need money but give things back.But take the boy mad.madrasi in his 30+ is a boy to me worked 2 days to make this happen without expecting much.Last year same blog same scan did not do well this year was ahit. But look how many added him in Gplus? befoe this 24 including me now you can check.

  7. This is a very useful post. One can only appreciate the hard work gone behind the same. My request only is to update the post with the "step-by-step" procedure for anyone to follow this at home and a print out.

    For instance, there are certain rituals which has to be done with the Pavithram worn. Some follows once the yagnobaveetham to be worn in the opposite direction.

    The already great work only requires a small bit of compiling those tiny steps, and what comes after what. Thank you.

  8. I don't know why most of us (I mean salaried class) expect a very high standards only from priests and vadhyars. If America expects the same standards from our Indian IT folks( including myself) most of us will have to run away. If all of us are authentic and perfect then India will be far different. My 2 cents

  9. Guess it is always easy to expect 'more' from others than oneself. Or point out 'faults' in others, than realise our own. As for myself, I felt like doing it, did it, will do it. As simple as that. Cheers, have a nice weekend and Merry X'mas.

  10. If you do download the scanned paper from here, you can deposit a sambhavanai by adding mad.madrasi to your Google+ circles.
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