“Aksharabhyasa” is one of the auspicious custom followed among Hindus in India. This is the tradition of introducing children to formal education by making them write first letter/alphabet – ‘Akshara’ in Sanskrit. Abhyasa meaning practice. Some also call this tradition as Vidyaarambham which means starting of education. The ritual is performed before children start going to nursery/pre-school or actual start of writing in school – mostly before the age of three. There are many temples of Devi Saraswati – Goddess of knowledge, where such sevas are performed. Below shloka signifies it.
सरस्वति नमस्तुभ्यं वरदे कामरूपिणि ।
विद्यारम्भं करिष्यामि सिद्धिर्भवतु मे सदा ॥
Sarasvati Namastubhyam Varade Kaama-Ruupinni |
Vidyaarambham Karissyaami Siddhir-Bhavatu Me Sadaa ||
1: Salutations to Devi Saraswati, Who is the giver of Boons and fulfiller of Wishes,
2: O Devi, I am beginning my Studies, may success be mine, always.
We also planned Aksharabhyasa for my son at Sringeri Sharada Peetham, where this facility is available and one of the auspicious Saraswati temple in Karnataka. We reached early morning and took one of the temple accommodation to get freshen up. We bought seva ticket and went to temple area where the rituals will be performed in mass, making all the devotees sit in one big premise. Priest will give us a plate of raw rice and Goddess Sharada photo and then preist will chant loudly the Vidyaarambham mantras which should be neatly followed by each of the parent by holding their kid’s hand and make them write those mantra on raw rice. It would start with writing ‘OM’ and then ‘Shree Ganeshaya Namah’ and followed by other mantras. We obediently followed all the said rituals and completed seva with blessings of priest.
This article wouldn’t be complete without describing of Sharada Peetham. Charming and beautiful deity of Goddess Sharada. Temple architecture is mesmerising, entirely built with stone, located on bank of river Tunga. There are thousands of holy fishes on bank of river within hands reach. Fishing is banned here. Walk over the bridge, coastal hill views, clean and greenery surrounding Matha makes your soul feel devine and blessed.
You can find more details at their website http://www.sringeri.net.