Today is Avani Avitam (Shravana Poornima) and its Upakarma for people belonging to Yajur Vedha. Rg and Sama Vedhis will be having their upakarmas subsequently.
While performing the Upakarma how many of us try to understand the significance of the Upakarma and various aspects of Upakarma?
I was really glad when my dear brother Anand questioned me about one important part of the Upakarma ie Kamokarsheet Japam
If we can observe carefully, the actual process of Upakarma starts with Kamokarsheet japam. Many of us just like that take it easy and do the Kamokarsheet Japam (though prescribed count is minimum 1008, most of the people do 108, 28 or even 11)
On the upakarma day, a Praayaschittam (expiation) is performed on two counts - to pardon the sin of learning Vedas in the prohibited period of the year and a special request to pardon all the sins committed by them during the year. With this sankalpam we perform the Kamokarsheet japam.
We need to understand the very essence of the whole Karmic formula of Hinduism (or rather the human race ) lies in this Kamokarsheet Japam. Thats the reason its kept as a part of our Nitya Sandhyavandham and a special japam is suggested on the Upakarma day.
What is the purpose of doing this japam 1008 or 108 times?
Its not only a chant, but a great prayer or declaration to contemplate.
As part of our life in this world, knowingly or unknowlingly, voluntarily or invluntarily we commit sins. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction. And this is the basic law for Karma and because of this, we all are bound by Karma. Kamokarsheet is a confession for all the sins committed by us during the year prodded by Kama and Manyu, avarice and anger.
The Kamokarsheet Japam is orginally from the Mahanarayana Upanishad.
In the mantra Kamoekarsheet Manyurakarsheet’ Namo nama:" - both Desire (Kama) and Anger (Manyu) are raised to a special status and salutations is given to them. Even gods are bound to these qualities.
‘Kamokarsheet’ in Sanskrit means ‘those acts that are out of desire’.‘Manyurakarsheet’ means “those acts that are committed out of anger”.
It reminds us of all our sins and make us understand that it is lust & anger that are the root cause of all our misdeeds, thus reminding us to be careful and vigilant.
An incident from the life our Gurunathar Seshadri Swamigal proves the importance of Kamokarsheet Japam for spiritual aspirants.
During his younger days at Kanchipuram, Swamigal was always engrossed in continuous and vigorous Japa and prayers.
Many great scholars at Kanchipuram were always surprised to see the small boy sitting in the corner of the temple and murmuring something.
Once, they all decided to question the boy and get an idea about what he is doing all these days.
They all went to Swamigal and called him.
"Oh Boy ! What are you doing" - they asked Swamigal
An immediate reply came:
" I need to get rid of my Karma ; So Iam doing Japam for that"
The scholars never expected such a mature reply from a small boy.
"What are you chanting for this purpose?"
Swamigal again gave an astounding reply :
"Kamokarsheet namo namah: Kamokarsheet
kamah karoti naaham karomi
kamah karta naham karta
kamah kaarayitaa naham kaarayita;
Esha the kaama kaamaaya swaha:
Manyurakaarsheet namo namah: Manyuh akaarsheet
manyuh karoti naham karomi
manyuh karta naham karta
manyuh kaarayita naham kaarayita;
Esha the manyo manyave swaha:"
Ive completed half my target, Iam yet to complete few more to get rid of my Karma.
He then explained the significance of the statement and also its actual meaning.
"Desire performed the act. Desire did the act. Desire is doing the act, not I (Self). Desire is the agent not I. Desire causes the doer to act not I. O Desire, fascinating in form, let this oblation be offered to thee, Hail!
Anger performed the act. Anger did the act. Anger is doing the act; not I. Anger is the agent; not I. Anger causes the doer to act; not I. O Anger, let this oblation be offered to thee. Hail! "
The small boy suggested the veteran scholars
"Dear Sirs, even you people start chanting this; Only this can kill karma. And without getting rid of Karma how can you qualify for Moksha (salvation) ?"
"Kaamah Karoti Naaham Karomi ; Kamoekarsheet Manyurakaarsheet’ Namonama:"