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Some does Brahmopadesham to their kids at very early age and some in the middle and some just before marriage. But why is this mandatory before marriage? What if it’s not done at all?

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But why is this mandatory before marriage? What if it’s not done at all?

As P. V. Kane explains in History of Dharmaśāstra, commentators of dharma śāstras concluded that upanayana being one of the principal saṃskāras, unless it's done, a brāhmaṇa doesn't become eligible for vivāha (marriage).

It is to be noted that in modern times most of the saṃskāras (except garbhādhāna, upanayana and vivāha) have fallen into oblivion and are hardly ever performed even by brāhmaṇas in the manner and at the times prescribed by the smṛtis. Owing to the rapid rise in the marriageable age of brāhmaṇa girls, even the saṃskāra of garbhādhāna is falling into abeyance. Nāmakaraṇa, annaprāśana are performed in a popular way but without Vedic mantras or without calling a priest to officiate.

In most cases caula is performed on the day of the upanayana and samāvartana is also performed a few days after upanayana. Jātakarma and annaprāśana are performed on the same day in some parts (e.g., in Bengal). It appears that this state of things has continued for centuries. The Smṛtyarthasāra says,

if the saṃskāras (except upanayana) are not performed at the prescribed times, the Vyāhṛtihoma should be offered and then the saṃskāras should be performed (though late). For each saṃskāra that is not performed the penance called pādakṛcchra should be performed (if the nonperformance is due to some difficulty or distress), and for nonperformance of caula the penance is ardha-kṛcchra. If the saṃskāras were knowingly omitted or if there was no distress then the penance is double of this.

...

There being these easy substitutes (pratyāmnāya as they were called) people gradually left off performing the several saṃskāras and concentrated themselves only on upanayana and vivāha. The whole life of a person was so very minutely worked out and overlaid with so much ritual in the gṛhyasūtras and smṛtis that the tendency to neglect and change became insistent and inevitable. This tendency was helped by the accommodating spirit of the brāhmaṇa authors of later smṛtis and digests that were ready to prescribe easier and easier substitutes for non-observance of the elaborate sacraments, pre-natal and post-natal. Haradatta in commenting on Gaut. I. 6 (upanayanam brāhmaṇasya aṣṭame) remarks,

the teacher (Gautama) expounding upanayana first and passing over the saṃskāras like garbhādhāna that precede upanayana in time conveys that upanayana is the principal saṃskāra. Therefore even if the saṃskāras like garbhādhāna did not take place owing to adverseness of fate, upanayana can be performed, but it follows that if upanayana be not performed there is no adhikāra (eligibility) for marriage which follows only after upanayana.

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A very nice explanation is in Tamil translation of "Deivathin Kural", called "Voice of God". There was a consolidated book called "Hindu Dharma" which can be found here in chapters... http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part17/chap8.htm http://www.kamakoti.org/hindudharma/part17/chap6.htm

All from original late Kanchi Maha-Periyava ...Chandrashekarendra Saraswathi's discourses.

As is stated there, The idea is Brahmopadesam needs to be done starting at age 7 and odd number years BEFORE Sexual feelings set-in. One of the infamous and a formidable force in preventing you from achieving Siddhi or Moksha is Sex and the other one is Anger. While union of man and wife is allowed and in certain cases the Husband is considered a Brahmachari- if you follow prescribed routine - and does qualify for Moksha, the Rishis considered Brahmopadesa a preventive measure to Introduce Gayatri to get your Indriyas under control. Moksha is one thing. There are more subtle reasons...Look up for e.g. "Oordhveredham " or Seminal essence that upholds the Life force in the universe in Daily Sandhya Samskar and the following from Nasadaya Sukta..

{ 5 } - तिरश्चीनॊ विततॊ रश्मीरॆषामध: स्विदासी ३ दुपरिस्विदासीत् । रॆतॊधा।आसन्महिमान् ।आसन्त्स्वधा ।आवस्तात् प्रयति: परस्तात् ॥५॥ The cords of the high arm were spread. what was above it then, and what below it? (Nothing was above and below but Purusha. Mighty Purusha is everything, everything is within Him. He is filled in all the directions.) The seminal powers made the mighty forces, free action was here and strength of impulse went upwards in the skies

The Seminal power remains a Power only when Hardened semen raises up and pushes your Soul up - from "Prithvi/Earth" Holding Mooladhara Chakra. When you make the mind of Young ones not drift away and concentrate and control their Animal Nature then you become qualified for Brahma-vidya. The idea is so you can at the least uphold Your world and help Brahma and "Not fall from grace" (the Precise meaning of "Achyutha") and let the powers fall in wrong hands . Of course, the ignorant Animal Nature knows only Bliss and hence will tempt you and bring you down. The Greatest Rishis fall and lose that. Vishwamithra, an example. I don't quite understand the modern "Day before Wedding Brahmopadesa". May be its just a formality to at-least have some effect of Mantras that Vishwamithra set-up. Otherwise, Yagnopaveeda Dharanam is OK for that. Gayathri Mantra, the reason for Brahmopadesam is supposed to Protect you in times of need and Guards you - Only if you mentally or Verbally utter that. A Brahmopadesam is done in whisper to your ears by your father because that is supposed to Transfer his Powers of control to you so you can continue the legacy. As to how that Guards you...Let's take an example. Imagine a Blind life loving one who can only hear sitting in your Brain who wants to protect you and a Bad Deaf one who can see but not hear, who doesn't like the blind and wants to control the Earth and drives you down the bad path. What you see, the deaf sees. What you hear the blind hear. You need to let the blind guide you by uttering something that she understands right? Mantras are such means. This is just an example. So in many Upanishads, there are clear remarks that all your sensory organs are pierced with Evil- except one - Can you guess which one? So, if you keep seeing things that is fed to an entity that wants to hurt you, not necessarily personally you, but to push you towards an overall Value-less majority, then that's how you fall from grace. Hence, the concept of Good and Bad. What you overall consider Good and correct values doesn't remain so if YOU - yes you personally - degenerate and become bad. Brahmins were entrusted with this responsibility of being Good so they can contribute to overall Goodness and other important values which Vedas says Upholds the Earth. Truth, Yagnya, Sacrifice, Askesis etc. Well corruption set in - yes, Evil built out of ignorance of Powerful entities and wickedness of intelligent entities caused the system to degrade over centuries. Brahmopadesam disintegrated and Oops direction changed..So, let me re-iterate there is no benefit for Brahmopadesam in Weddings. Yagnopaveedam is ok. At the least the mantra you utter has some effect - if the blind acknowledges so o speak...Typically, When the meaning is lost - purpose is lost. Then rituals remain result-less "Jata" rituals is my two cents :-)

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  • The references you cited talks about age for Upanayana only. It would be useful if reference is cited for the rest of answer. – Pandya Jul 3 at 2:08

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