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Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Sani Pradosham on November 14, 2009

Dear Members:

You might remember the earlier posting - 2 weeks back in this blog, about the significance of Sani Pradosham....well, we have yet another Sani Pradosham on November 14, 2009. Those who have missed it might read the significance of Sani Pradosham by following this link:

I will continue this post to clarify certain doubts raised by one of our regular readers (I am publishing this as it might be helpful for others who might have similar doubts)...

1) One member had asked about "Whether Lord Dakshinamoorthi can be propitiated during Pradosham?"...My answer is...Why not! Lord Dakshinamoorthi is the Ascetic Form of Lord Shiva. In fact, it is auspicious to chant Shiva Panchaakshari japam silently in Shri Dakshinamoorthi sannidhi in temples during pradosham. That is the method followed by many ardent devotees; they witness the Pradosha Moorthi pooja and THEN go to Lord Dakshinamoorthi Sannidhi and do the japa silently. But, the ideal worship at this time should be on "SOmaskanda Moorthy Form" of Lord Shiva where Lord Skanda sits in between God and Goddess. Lord Shiva should also be worshipped with Goddess Shakti in His Ardhanaari Form (Half His body occupied by Goddess Shakti) during this time. Worship of Lord Dakshinamoorthi should be done "after" witnessing the Pradosha pooja in the temple, or after completing the Pradosha pooja at home. This said, there is no restriction on worshipping Lord Shiva in any other Form at the same time also!

2) He has asked about worship of Crystal Banalingam and about ideal way to worship Lord Shiva daily....

I don't know if he is correct when he is saying "crystal Banalingam"! If the lingam is made of sphatikam (rock crystal - the glass-like crystal), it is not a Baanalingam! Baanalignam - in its original form should be a white stone got from Narmada river. It is auspicious to have such a Baanalingam in pooja. BUT, you should always worship such a Baanalingam with Salagram together - because absolute Shiva Nirmaalyam as will be obtained from a Baanalingam abhishekam is not suitable for normal humans like us with all our failings. So, it is traditional to worship a Saalagram shila of Lord Vishnu also, and then partake the abhishek materials.

If you are not able to follow this (that of maintaining a Saalagramam), you can meditate on Lord /Chandikeshwara (who is in-charge of /Shiva Nirmaalya), request His Permission mentally to partake the Shiva pooja prasaad and then consume the abhishek contents.

This is the right protocol to be followed for Shiva Pooja.

shiva Pooja should always be preceded by Ganesha pooja and ended with respects to Nadikeshwara if you are using a Lingam or Nataraja Form and are doing regular abhishekam.

If such protocols are not followed, it is best to just meditate on /shiva Panchaakshari mantra, Shri Medha Dakshinamoorthi mantra, and Mrityunjaya mantra mentally in the presence of such Divine Forms (Baanalingam or crystal lingam), and then offer simple naivedya which can be consumed after the pooja (again with prayers to Chandikeshwara).

Of course, the best way of worshipping Lord Shiva is in the form of a Shiva Panchaayatana Pooja - where SOnabhadra stone - the Red Stone from Sone river, Baanalingam (White stone) from Narmada river, Saalagram (from Kandaki river in Nepal), Panchaloha sila (or if you are lucky enough with SwarnarEkha stone - which is very very rare obtained from Swarnamukhi river of Sri Kaalahasti), and Sphatika (From Vallam) are used in the pooja. SOna Bhadra represents Lord Vinaayaka; Baanalinga represents Lord Shiva; Panchaloha sila represents Goddess Shakti; Saalagram represents Lord Vishnu, and Sphatika represents Sun God. There are various recommended ways of arranging these 5 natural Holy Stones as per your Ishta Devata; for instance, those who are exclusively devoted to Lord Shiva have Baanalingam in the centre, Sonabhadra in the Southwest with respective to Baanalingam, Panchaloha sila in the Northwest; Saalagram in the Northeast, and Sphatikam in the Southeast with respect to Baanalingam.

When such a Panchaayatana pooja is done, it is customary to avoid the "aavaahana procedure" - but proceed straight to the ShOdasa Upachaaraas (16 rituals to Honour Deities), and then to archana and other procedures. Aavaahana is avoided because, it is assumed that the Divinities exist always in the Panchaayatana set up.

One who has taken this Panchaayatana pooja should perform this till last breath - or have it done by others with good ritual purity and perfect procedure. The Shiva Panchaayatana pooja set should accompany you if you are going out of station, and you should not partake food without finishing the pooja and having darshana of this Panchaayatana set up. So, I request our readers to think whether they can manage such a thing in their life-styles.

It is better to perform normal poojas or visit temples on special occasions rather than try to do advanced spiritual poojas with Divine articles unless you are sure you have the right guidance and are sure of the procedures and protocols. Also, someone has to carry this tradition forward in the family line in the future; if there is no one who is suitable to carry forward this Panchaayatana pooja after your period, you should make arrangements to pass it off to a genuine saadhaka who will take care of this with devotion. Abandoning the Shiva Panchaayatana set without poojas can be a big karmic debt for you . The nuances of this pooja cannot be discussed here further; you should consult learned Shiva Bhaktas who are already doing Shiva Panchaayatana pooja near your place in this regard.

For advanced aspirants, there are various leniencies granted in the procedural doctrines of the Panchaayatana pooja - but initially, it is best to begin with perfect ritual procedures. It won't take much time - even if done with recital of Rudra japam for the abhishekam, it will take hardly half an hour. But, the regularity required in this procedure may not suit every one. This is a life-long commitment and you are bound by the Sacred Agreement of continuing this till your last breath!

I have given these details for initial guidance so that you may at least know what this is.

The best way to worship Lord shiva for a normal person is this:

1) As soon as you get up chant "Om Arunaachaleshwaraaya namah" thrice (immediately on waking up - even before you get off your bed!)

2) After your bath, meditate on Lord Dakshinamoorthi or any form of Lord Shiva and chant Shiva Panchaakshari mantra or whatever mantra you have been initiated into.

3) Recite normal shiva sthothras - like Lingaashtakam, Bilvaashtakam, Shiva Panchaakshari sthothram, Vaidhyanaathaashtakam, etc.

4) Offer simple Naivedhyas and share it with devoted persons.

5) Throughout the day, chant "Hara Hara Shiva Shiva" whenever time permits. Recital in this form of mantra does not involve any special ritual purity taboos (but you should ideally avoid reciting the Panchaakshari form in ritually suspect places).

6) Recite "Hara Hara MahaadEva" 108 times before going to sleep, and sleep with Shiva thoughts.

This is an ideal procedure that will suit everyone.

PS: You might observe Bhairaagis, siddha-tradition followers, etc. who may not observe some of the taboos I have listed here; like they may worship only a single Linga without accompanying /shakti form or /Saalagraama form; they may do Shiva pooja even without taking bath; they may do the pooja after eating food; they may even eat prohibited foods! But, you must understand that the common man is no match for those advanced practitioners.....A common man worships Lord with at least the unconscious desire for well-being....Those advanced practitioners worship Lord out of intrinsic love; they don't care whether what they do is wrong, and if it is wrong, they are willing to face the consequences! So, what they do is right for them. A person who can take responsibility over own actions unconditionally can do ANYTHING.....there is no taboo for such a person. The normal human being is not of that attitude, and so it is best to follow the accepted traditional protocols/ taboos of worship as they are time-tested and hence guarantee stress-free progress into God-Realization.

A normal person who wishes to do pooja to Deities should have both God-Love and God-Fear...Love God as you would love your Father/ Mother; but have the respectful Fear in that you are dealing with someone who is Infinitely Majestic, and so deserves show of respect and protocol! This ideal mixture of God-Love and God-Fear will help you to follow the right procedures automatically.

Hope this posting helps everyone.

Blessed be.


Shreesaurabh said...

Really a Wonderful article pandit ji!

Actually I was not aware of dakshinamoorthy form of Lord Shiva. When I consulted you through a website you had given suggestion to chant his mantra. Your detailed guidance will be very useful for beginner devotees like me!

Thank you very much once again!!! :)

tuty said...

Ive found the information very usefulthat u need to pray for permission to Chnadikeswara before taking the nirmalayam and prasadam.Is there any similar god/godess in the case of Devi/shkati?durga puja?
Thanks in adavance.

Pandit R. DAKSHINA MOORTHI said...

Dear Member Tuty:

For Devi poojas, you can get permission from Chandikeshwari - or in the absence of such a pratishta in the temple, you can receive mental permission from Mantrini Devi (Goddess Shyamala) or Chandikeshwari before taking the nirmaalyam.

However, this is not such a mandatory thing as in permission of chandikeshwara to use Shiva nirmaalya - because Universal Mother is more easily approachable and Her nirmaalya can be taken by Her Children (US) just as we would be more easy in our protocols with our own mother:)

Of course, respecting the parivaara devatas as I mentioned above is still a courtesy that we can adopt.

Blessed be.

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