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This ritual is performed at the time when a child gets tooth, i.e. 6-7 months of age. After this rite, the child starts feeding food. On this day, the first morsel (piece of food) is fed by the mother in the mouth of a baby by placing food in a silver vessel.
Significance of Sanskar: When the child has been given food in addition to drinks, milk and other liquor items etc., then that is started with a yagya environment in the form of a ceremonial ritual which is called as the Annaprashana Sanskar. It is said that when a child gets the tooth, it indicated that he/she is eligible of feeding extra edible food. Accordingly, the food processing is done around 6 months of age. Food is deeply related to the body. Humans’ most of the time is utilized in the management of dietary appetites. It is appropriate to understand its importance and and try to make it a good practice, everyday. This is what happens in the Annaprashana Sanskar as well. Good start means - half success. The first mantra of the 40th chapter of Yarujudeva, i.e. तेन त्यक्तेन भुंजीथा says have food with renunciation. Our tradition reveals that: as soon as food comes to the plate, the parts of ant, dog etc should be put aside, followed by doing Panchabali. Before eating food, sacrifice the food to God or offer it in fire.
Sacred Sacraments (Puja Vidhi) of Annaprashan Sanskar
The main four customs of Annaprashan Sanskar
1- Patra Pujan
2- Anna Sanskar
3- Special sacrifice (Vishesh Aahuti)
4- Kheer Prashan
· The bowl and spoon used for the preparation of the Annaprashan.
· Get a silver tea spoon for Prasad-Bhoga.
· Kheer, Honey, Ghee, Tulsi and Gangajal. These five things that are made in different vessels should be kept ready.
All food items collected in the vessel - (Kheer, Sahad (honey), Ghee, Tulsi, Gangajal).
Akshat-Pushp (flowers for Puja). Mantra (मन्त्र) that should be recited at the time of Akshat -Pushp- ॐ हिरण्मयेन पात्रेण सत्यस्यापिहितं मुखम्। तत्त्वं पूषन्नपावृणु सत्यधर्माय दृष्टये॥
Parents should chant this mantra and make Swastika from chandan, roli outside the divine vessel- bowl.
Offer Flowers and rice. Imagine that divinity is being established in the sacred bowl with the influence of the holy environment, which will protect the food kept for the child.
Parents should take some rice and vermillion in their hands and follow the recited mantra along with the Brahmin for the child’s longevity.
Take Kheer's bowl in both the hands and chant this mantra for the next ritual:
ॐ कुसंस्काराः दूरीभूयासुः। (अन्न के पूर्व कुसंस्कारों का निवारण करते हैं।) मन्त्र- ॐ पयः पृथिव्यां पयऽओषधीषु पयो दिव्यन्तरिक्षे पयोधाः।पयस्वतीः प्रदिशः सन्तु मह्यम्॥
For Annaprashan, mix all the things properly one by one in the vessel while reciting the Mantras.
Pour Kheer in the vessel. Put some of the Kheera aside for baby and rest for 5 divine sacrifices in the yagna (hawan).
Imagine that this food is going to shower blessings, happiness and wealth onto the child. Take the respective bowl in both the hands and concentrate to godheads.
Honey (मधु ):
ॐ मधु वाता ऽ ऋतायते मधु क्षरन्ति सिन्धवः। माध्वीर्नः सन्त्वोषधीः॥ ॐ मधु नक्तमुतोषसो मधुमत्पार्थिव * रजः। मधु द्यौरस्तु नः पिता॥ ॐ मधुमान्नो वनस्पतिर्मधुमाँ२ अस्तु सूर्यः। माध्वीर्गावो भवन्तु नः॥
Mix a little honey inside the kheer vessel. Imagine that this honey is mixing the quality of being sweet inside the child and simultaneously generating the attributes of kindness, patience and having a sympathetic nature in future.
ॐ घृतं घृतपावानः पिबत वसां वसापावानः। पिबतान्तरिक्षस्य हविरसि स्वाहा। दिशः प्रदिशऽआदिशो विदिशऽद्दिशो दिग्भ्यःस्वाहा॥
Put some ghee in the vessel, mix it well whilst reciting mantra. This ghee will ease the stomach and remove the dullness. This mixed substance will relieve the rudeness, bad-manners and insolence from the child and bring in the traits of affection, fertility, goodness overall.
ॐ याऽ ओषधीः पूर्वा जाता देवेभ्यस्त्रियुगं पुरा। मनै नु बभ्रूणामह* शतं धामानि सप्त च॥
Put the pieces of Tulsi in the vessel while quoting this mantra. This medicine is not only for the physical growth, yet helpful in suppressing spiritual and mental problems as well . This mantra also renders child to be more dedicated towards God and his divine powers.
ॐ पञ्च नद्यः सरस्वतीमपि यन्ति सस्रोतसः। सरस्वती तु पञ्चधा सो देशेभवत्सरित्॥
Add some drops of Gangajal in the bowl and mix it. Splitting holy Gangajal in the bowl for the ritualistic purposes vanishes all the sins and spreads virtuous enrichment to the food.
ॐ अन्नपतेन्नस्य नो देह्यनमीवस्य शुष्मिणः। प्रप्रदातारं तारिषऽऊर्जं नो धेहि द्विपदे चतुष्पदे॥
Proffer a little bit
of Kheer with a spoon to the child while chanting mantra. It is to be assumed
that the sacrificial kheer is virtuous and will pave the way for the child's
physical health, mental balance, ideological excellence and characteristic
authenticity. After completing these spiritual customs, bless the baby with
good health and wealth.