Myths of Karnavedha
According to ‘Katyayana Sutra’, this ceremony is performed when the child is at the age of three or five year old. The ‘Katyayana Sutra’ again suggest for doing the "Karnavedha" ceremony at the third or the fifth year of the child. Nowadays, both the "Chudakarma" and the "Karnavedha" are done together.
The ancient people also used to wear different ornaments. So, the origin of "Karnavedha" dates back to many years. According to Sushruta, "Ears of a child should be bored for protection from diseases (in his opinion) and decoration". It is also said that the boring of ears prevents hydrocele and hernia for boy child. It is done in early age to prevent them from appearing in later part of life.
The ‘Katyayana Sutra’ says that the father of the child should perform the "Karnavedha" ceremony, but nothing is said about the person who will bore the ears. As per "Sushruta", a surgeon has to pierce the ears. But "Sripati", a medieval writer prescribes for a professional needle maker or a goldsmith to do the job of piercing. But "Sushruta" seems to be more reasonable in this regard.
Rituals of Karnavedha
On the day of Karnavedha, the mother bathes the child first and dresses him/her fine with new clothes and ornaments. The father of the child performs the ritual and a surgeon or goldsmith does the work of piercing. The needle used for piercing the ear lobes can be made of gold, silver, copper or steel. The ears are pierced by casing with white fibre. The child is placed on the lap of the mother facing towards the east path. The ears are pierced with a needle very calmly in one stroke.
For a boy child the first ear pierced is the right ear and for a girl child the first ear pierced is the left ear. Then oil is applied to the ears with cotton. Then the goldsmith or surgeon puts a wire in the holes of piercing so that it does not fill up. A medicine is applied on the holes so that it does not get rotted and cures in advance. Thus the ceremony comes to an end.
Traditionally it is performed on both boy and girl child. But in the last two centuries, this ritual has been mainly discontinued for male. It is said to help in getting rid of hysteria and other diseases. The earrings are believed to assist in maintaining the flow of electric current in a human body. It is also believed that ear piercing helps in maintaining the constancy in the menstrual cycle of a girl.