(Last Updated on : 23-12-2017)
Karnavedha is one of the sixteen major samskaras which is considered an important ceremony in Hindu traditions
. It is generally performed in the 6th month or 7th month or third year or 5th year or 7th year after birth. It is a ceremony
of piercing the ears or nose of the child among the Hindu
families. It is considered a Vedic rite of passage with symbolic religious consequence.
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
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
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.