Veda Dharma

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vaikhanasa Dharma (Pavitra Utsavam)

Today we will talk about the ceremony called "Pavitra Utsavam" (purification festival) in detail. I have chosen this topic as this is one of the festivals that is least known to the general devotee community. We will also touch upon the ritualistic details little bit in this post. One can find mention of this ritual in any major agamic text and I have used "Vimanarchana Kalpa" by sage marici and "Vaasadhikara" by sage Bhrigu for understanding this ritual.
All Vaikhanasa agamas gave lot of importance to the ritual "Pavitra Utsavam" or "Pavitra Aropanam". The main purpose of the ritual is to remove the effects of lapses in the worship of the Lord. This could be due to defects in mantra, kriya(ritual) or dravya(worship items). Performing this ritual gives benefits equal to that of performance of all sacrifices, bestows prosperity and fulfills the desires of the devotees. No worship will give good results if pavitra aropanam is not performed and will eventually lead to the destruction of the king and the state. Hence all efforts must be made to perform pavitra aropanam. In order to perform this ritual an auspicious time should be fixed as mentioned by the Vaikhanasa agamas by carefully avoiding inappropriate times. Vimanarchana Kalpa specifies months of Ashadha, Sravana or Bhadrapada etc for this ritual. Pavitra Aropanam should be done on the Dwadasi day of the Sukla Paksha. The selection of dwadasi is because of it being Vishnu's tithi. The agamas say that pavitra utsavam should not be done when Sun is in Tula, as Sun being in his debilitated sign is not auspicious. There are other conditions mentioned in the Agamas which should be taken care of while selecting an auspicious time for this ritual.

(Following are the significators for various tithis : 1. Agni 2.Sri 3.Bhargava 4.Yama 5.Soma 6.Guha 7.Bhaskara 8.Durga 9.Matru 10.Vayu 11.Rishis 12. Chakrapani 13. Sankara 14.Brahma 15. Vishnu)

In order to perform the ritual yagasala should be made in the mantapa in front of the main alaya etc and the whole place should be cleansed using cow-dung. The whole place should be decorated using beautiful flower garlands, plantain tree trunks etc. Also thoranas should be tied at all the four gates of the temple. Then a platform should be made of wood for performing the rituals like snapana etc when needed. As mentioned in other posts "Ankuraropanam" should be done the previous day and either sabhyangni or paundarikagni kunda should be made. The main ingredient of the ritual is "Pavitram", which is some kind of a garland made with any of the following materials. The sastras say that sutras made of silk(linen) or gold give best results, whereas sutras made of silver and cotton mediocre and least results respectively. The sutras should be made by brahmin women who are sumangalis and pativratas. If not possible, they should be made by young virgins. In the worst case sutras bought can also be used for this purpose. But sutras spoilt by rats, sutras with strands of hair(due to carelessness of the person who made the sutra), sutras that are not soft or sutras that have become weak should be avoided. The sutras should be purified by darbhas using pancha gavyas(dung, urine, milk, curd and ghee from the cow) by reciting appropriate mantras. Sutras made of 108 threads and that extend till the knees are the best. Sutras made of 54 threads and that extend till the thighs are mediocre whereas sutras made of 27 threads and that extend till the chest are least preferred. The number of knots in the pavitra garland could be 27 or 8 or 12 depending on whom it is being offered to. Also the size of the knots can be of the size of thumb or one inch or even smaller and they should be classified as best, mediocre and least quality.The knots should be tied while Vishnu Sukta is being recited and the pavitrams should be decorated with different perfumes like sandalwood paste, agaru paste etc.
(See the image of the Lord in tirumala wearing "Pavitra" garlands as mentioned above during the annual pavitrotsavam festival)

On the Ekadasi day, the Acharya should get up early in the morning and then do sandhya vandanam. After that, he should do brahma yajna and then should do pranayama and enter the temple after doing pradakshina. He should then sit in front of the Lord and then recite the ashtakshari mantra with devotion and a concentrated mind. He should avoid talking to impure people while doing the same and should then enter the yagasala while praying to the Lord using appropriate mantras. The yajamani along with his wife should then do the Aghara homam in either Paundarika agni or Sabhyagni kunda. In the western side of the mantapa, a heap of rice grains of approximately six dronas or half of that should be formed. Above this heap, darbha grass should be kept while appropriate mantras are recited. After that Kautaka Bandhana should be performed which should be followed by Pavitra Adhivasam ( Keeping the pavitras on the heap of grains). The Kautaka murti should be appropriately worshipped by offering arghya, padya etc. On the Dhanya Peetha ( heap of grains) one should make "Garuda" and then pavitras should be kept over the peetha while appropriate mantras are being recited. New clothes, Akshatas etc should be offered to the pavitras before doing adhivasam.
Fifteen suktas such as rudra suktam, ratri suktam, durga suktam, saraswata suktam, viswajit suktam, dhruva suktam, sri suktam, bhu suktam, vishnu suktam, Godana suktam, atma sukatm etc should then be recited while touching the sutras. If this is not possible then ten suktas should be recited and in the worst case at least five suktas should be recited. Otherwise vishnu sukta should be recited repeatedly and then the Lord Sudarsana should also be worshipped. After this, devatas from the three avaranas should be invited using appropriate mantras. The Kumbha should be kept in the north-east directin and the Lord should be worshiped properly. After this the devas from the three avaranas including Jaya, Vijaya, Indra and Lokapalas etc should be worshiped in the Pradakshina order in their appropriate places. The next step in the ritual is inviting the Ashta devatas (Santam, Garudam, Chakram, Sankham, Nyaksham, Vivaswatam, Mitram and Mahidharam) and worshiping them by offering Arghya, Padya and Mudganna etc. After this the snapana utsava ( Bathing festival) will be done by using water from 108 vessels while appropriate mantras are recited. Also new clothes should be offered and the Lord should be decorated well. The agamas also talk about doing special worship (Visesha Archana) to the Lord. Lord should be worshipped using various flowers and leaves like Bilva, Karaveera, Jajii, Vakula, Kalhara, Asoka, Padma, Kumuda, Nilotpala, Mandara, Dwikarna, Nandyavarta, Punnaga, Vishnukrantam, Tulasi etc. After offering dhoopam, deepam, arghyam and nivedyam etc. pavitrams should be offered to the Lord, Devis and other deities and to the temple premises by reciting appropriate mantras and vishnu sukta. Also two dronas or half of that should be offered to Lord as Bali along with paniyam and achamanam.
After this, the following homas should be done. First homa should be done while reciting Sri, Bhu, Purusha and Vishnu suktams. Ahutis should be made into agni depending on the number of granthis while reciting vaishnavam. After this paramatmika, ashtasiiti and sarva daivatya homas should be done. (The performer or Yajamani can do the above homas in the best, good or ordinary means as mentioned by the agamas) In addition, chaturveda adhyana, singing of devotional songs, devotional dances, recitation of stotras etc. should be done in the evenings. Other procedures related to offering pavitrams to kautuka, utsava, snapana and bali beras should be learnt from the Agamas. Pavitrotsavam and the other visesha archanas should be done either for 9/7/5/3/1 days and brahmanas and vaishnavas should be worshipped and offered food. After that the sutras can be removed and nirmalya should be used to worship Vishwaksena. By performing pavitrotsavam a year's worship becomes fruitful. All desires of devotees shall be fulfilled. Pavitrotsavam will surely guarantee Vishnuloka for the performers.
narayana smaranam.


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