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Strictures for Brahmachaaris

For Namboothiri boys, the period between "Upanayanam" and "Samaavarthanam" - around age 6 to 14 - is "Brahmacharyam". On top of the normal taboos observed by Braahmanans in general, many more strictly supervised strictures are imposed on the Brahmachaaris, many of which may sound rather amusing for the present generation.
  1. After Vedam studies till noon, perform "Upastthaanam", carry "Dandu" and go for "Bhiksha" (food got through begging).
  2. "Bhiksha" (such food) may be consumed with the permission of the "Guru".
  3. Eat only out of plantain leaf - end or split piece, but not a middle piece.
  4. The left hand (fingers) should be touching the leaf throughout the period - between the two "Kudikkuneer Veezhthals". Must not remove the hand even for drinking water, which can be poured into the mouth by someone.
  5. Taboo : horse gram, Urad dhal, onion, asafoetida, red chillies, moringa-leaf curry, coconut oil, jaggery-milk mix, pop-rice kept in copper vessel, fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), honey, "Paanakam" with dried ginger, sugarcane juice, "Pappadam", etc.
  6. Avoid everything that has "Asuddhi" (pollution).
  7. Do not talk while eating; if one must, then speak only in Sanskrit.
  8. Should not sleep during the day. If slept accidentally, take bath before "Sandhyaavandanam" and dinner.
  9. No diving into the pond.
  10. Donít climb trees or on elephants. In other words, stay on the ground only.
  11. Do not wear "Mundu" (long cloth / "Dhothi" / "Lunki").
  12. Do not cross the "Desam" without "Dandu" and towel ("Thorth").
  13. The tuft of hair (click: "Kuduma") must be twisted and knotted.
  14. Smear forehead, etc. with ash.
  15. No ornaments are to be worn.
  16. Do not chew pan, nor smoke.
  17. No make-up ("Alankaarams").
  18. Do not look into the mirror.
  19. Do not use eye-liner / mascara.
  20. Do not utter bad words nor scold others.
  21. Should not look at the sun, other than during rituals like "Upastthaanam", wearing new "Poonool" (sacred thread), etc.
  22. Do not bed with others.
  23. Do not look at animals and insects when they are mating; avoid them as enemies.
  24. Do not keep chatting with women.
  25. No dancing, no singing.
  26. Do not make noise nor drum with finger nails.
  27. Do not hang around lazily.
  28. Do not tell lies.
  29. Do not hurt animals.
  30. Avoid anything that the "Aachaaryan" declares as not good.
  31. Except on holidays and local temple festivals, recite the "Vedam".
  32. Masturbation corrupts "Brahmacharyam".
  33. It is during this "Brahmacharyam" that Vedam learning is pursued; Vedam is the basis for all the good that Braahmanans acquire.

| Article No:8.8 | Last update of this article:1st March 2011 |
Article by : P Vinod Bhattathiripad, Polpaya Mana, Thiruthiyad, Kozhikode - 673 004, Tel: 0495-2720522 (R), 94470-60066 (M)
With Inputs from : (1) "Pathompathaam Noottaandile Keralam" - P Bhaskaranunni, (2) "Saankarasmruthi"

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