What is Upaakarma?
Upaakarma is an annual ritual to renew the license for Veda Adhyayana. Veda Adhyayana is one of the Karmaas for the ones who got initiated with Upanayanam.
Adhyayanam(To Learn) and Adhyaapanam (To Teach) of the Shat Karmaas (6 Karmaas) for Brahmins. Veda is split into 4 parts by Veda Vyaasa close to the end of Kaliyuga 5000+ years back. It takes almost 12 years in a continuous fashion to study one part of the Veda. This is not just reciting the Veda Mantra but to understand different methodologies of learning and teaching Veda (Samhita Paatam, Krama Paatam, Gana Paatam, Jata Paatam and etc..). These are technically there for correction mechanisms similar to the parity algorithms built in electronic mediums. Considering this it may take 50 years and beyond to learn all 4 Vedas. Hence a particular Veda is assigned for a lineage to learn and once completed move on to the other Vedas (like major and allied subjects :-)). But it's important for those who are initiated with Upanayanam to learn their primary veda first and then rest and carry this full knowledge and hand it over to future generations. This is the purpose of Upanayanam.
Earlier days the Veda Adhyayayanam happened only in Dakshinayanam (from Shravana lunar month equivalent of Aavani to Thaishya the lunar month equivalent of Thai). This will happen right after the Upakarma that falls mostly in Aavani month. Then approximately 6 months of veda learning, and in Thai the Utsarjana has to happen. This is basically to stop learning the Veda and to start practising Shastra Adhyayana (Vykarana, Smruthi etc..). Two semester pattern. But the practise of doing this was gone almost several centuries back. This was done to speed up the learning of Veda and get all learning parts of veda completed in one's lifetime. An act of it can be understood with Bharadwaja maharshi story (Katradu Kaiyalavu). We can cover this story at a different time. The act of greed caused this as it was mentioned by our elders. Hence they suggested doing the Kamokarishi1008 Japam. This is technically done to say that I missed to do shastra Adhyayanam as I was greedy to learn all parts of Veda during the lifetime.
The Utsarjana got stopped and we do Kamokarshit japan, and to an extent the Adhyayanam is also stopped. There are no prayaschitam for not doing Adhyayanam and hence it's important to do a bit of Veda Adhyayanam at least if we got initiated with Upanayanam and do the Upaakarma each year. It's a prescribed duty to be done without any returns..
Also this way of knowledge was ridiculed and forced to stop by the invaders, but all these were carried back to their nations and did quite a research and brought back to us as their brand. But we have been given a responsibility to learn our bit and it can open clarity on our sanatan dharma’s ancestral past and a glorious future.
Dharmo Rakshathi ithi Rakshathaha!!! Vedo Rakshathi ithi Rakshathaha!!!