Tuesday, November 15, 2011

What is Pradakshinam and How it should be performed?

What is Pradakshinam and How it should be performed?
Pradakshinam is one of the Shodashopacharas (16 ways of worshipping god). As per puranas, Soothamaharshi narrated the significance of Pradakshinam to Shownakadhi muni's. Let's see the benefits of doing pradakshinam:

PRA - The letter "Pra" removes all fears and worries
DA - The letter "Da" blesses with moksha / renunciation
KSHI- The letter "KSHI" removes all kinds of diseases (Sarva vyadhi nivarana)
NAM - The letter "NAM" blesses with allround prosperity and wealth

There are various methods in doing Pradakshinams:

1. Atma Pradakshina 2. Pada Pradakshina 3. Danda Pradakshina 4. Anga Pradakshina

1. Atma Pradakshina : After completion of vrata or daily pooja, one must do atma pradakshinam while chanting this sacred text:

"Yanikanicha papani janmanthara kruthanicha, tani tani pranashyanthi pradakshina padhe padhe
papoham papa karmaanam papatma paapa sambhavah trahimam krupayaadeva, sharanagatha vatsala"

In this type of pradakshina, we go around ourselves, The significance is that the ego which goes round like a whirlwind must get destroyed, and must get absorbed in Atma. That is Atma Pradakshinam.

2. Pada Pradakshinam: In this type of Pradakshina, devotees walk around the temple.

3. Danda Pradakshinam: In this type of Pradakshina, devotees take a step do Sashtanga Pranama, again take another step and do Sashtanga Pranama (Sa ashta anga meaning Eight parts of the body touching the ground).

4. Hejje Namaskara: In this type of Pradakshina, devotees go around the brindavana forwarding with one foot at a time and at the same time, they do the namaskara for each stride. This seva is generally seen at Mantralaya.

5. Anga Pradakshinam: In this type of pradakshina, devotees lie prostrate and roll around the temple. Generally this pradakshina will be done with wet clothes. This is the most powerful pradakshinam for wish fulfillment. This tradition is practised at Tirumala, Mantralaya and many pilgrim places.

The Pradakshinas must be started from the Dhwajastamba in clockwise direction. While observing this seva, one must walk or roll slowly chanting the lord's name (the deity for whom you are offering the seva). Don't hurry or rush yourself while making pradakshinam. Generally devotees offer a minimum of 3, 9,11, 21 or sometimes 108 pradakshinams depending upon their vow for wish fulfillment. While doing these pradakshinams, one must hold both hands together, as we do Namasthe/Namashkar. While doing pradakshinas, our thoughts should be mainly on God, thus we chant Ashtotra or any short verses on the Deity. It is also advisable to hold Haldi stick (Pasupu kommu) or Betel nut or flowers (When you are making 108 pradakshinas, hold 108 flowers or haldi sticks or any auspicious materials) for easy remembrance of the count. Otherwise our thoughts go around counting the pradakshinams and there is no point in doing such seva. Don't forget to include Dhwajastambha in the pradakshinams. After completion of each pradakshina, make Namaskara holding both hands together near Dhwajasthambha and proceed further. Once you are done with Pradakshinams, enter the temple from the right side of Dhwajasthambha. While exit, use left side of the Dhwajasthambha.

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