Dakshinaayana and Aadi Festivals of Tamil Nadu
(Compilation for a discourse in Nashville, TN, USA by N. R. Srinivasan, July 2015)
Dakshinayana Punyakalam, the night of the Devas and the dark part of six months of the year begins on the first day of the month Aadi. It is observed on July 16, 2015 according to Hindu American Panchangam. As usual, confusing and illogical, some temples in USA observed this day on July 17th following astrology Pundits of India. Some communities perform Tarpanam (remembering deceased parents and ancestors) on the day. The sun changes its direction during this period and next six months is the night time of the Gods. Due to this reason, no auspicious events are held in the month. Somehow the Month of Kartika is also considered not auspicious though we celebrate most popular festivals during the month.
Surprisingly this day marks the beginning of many important rituals and festivals for the next six months ending with Bhogi festival before Makara Sankranti which is again the day earmarked for Uttaraayana Punyakala by our Astrologer Pundits though the actual Northern solstice day is on 22 December. Hindus in North India observed June 21 as Summer Solstice day or Dakshinaayana according to their own Astrologer Pundits who seem to be more rationale. Anyhow this has become a famous day of celebration for the whole world as International Yoga Day from this Year on, which our temples can celebrate as Patanjali day like Vyasa Poornima or Dattatreya day. From religious Hindu perspective Dakshinayan as marked in the Panchangams is the Summer Solstice day marking the illusory transition of Sun proceeding Southwards.
Conventional Dakshinayana period from June 21 to December 22 is a period packed with all important Hindu rituals, festivals and spiritually significant days like Guru Purnima, Upakarma, Mahalaya Paksha, Kedara Gowri Vrata, Kartik Purnima, Phalgun Purnima, Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Chaturmasa, Karva-chaut, Dhanurmasa Puja, Dattatreya Jayanti and others. Indian Government wisely and correctly chose the Summer solstice day and June 21 for International Yoga Day, though South Indian Panchangams indicate July 16 as the Day that commences Dakshinayana Punyakala or Pitruyaana.
Tamils observe the first day of Aadi as Aadi Pirappu. It means beginning of the month. The day begins with the making of huge kolams (Rangoli designs) in front of the home. The kolam is drawn on all days of the month. The kolams are bordered with red color – Kaavi. Doorways are decorated with mango leaves. The day begins with pujas and visit to temple. There will be a feast on the day with special South Indian delicacies that include payasam, vadai, poli etc. On the first day of Aadi, married women change the yellow thread in their Mangalsutra or thali. Aadi Sevvais are the Tuesdays in the Tamil month of Aadi and are considered to be highly auspicious. Aadi Vallis or Fridays in the Tamil month of Aadi are also considered auspicious. Aadi Amavasya (this year it falls on August 14, 2015) – New Moon day in Aadi month is dedicated to offering Shraaddha ( anniversary to deceased ancestors) and Tarpan (water oblation) to Pitrus or ancestors. Aadi Pooram (this year it falls on August 16, 2015) is the day dedicated to Aandaal. Aadi Perukku this year (it falls on August 3) is the festival dedicated to River Kaveri and falls on the eighteenth day in the month of Aadi. In the absence of Kaveri they do Kalasa Puja invoking River Kaveri. If there is a river nearby they go to that river and invoke Kaveri Water Spirit (Devi) in it. Aadi Kaartigai (August 8, 2015) is the festival dedicated to Lord Murugan. Thus the whole month of Aadi is sacred to Tamils and ladies are very busy in special worship and also preparation of mouth-watering dishes.
Why the 18th day of Aadi month is celebrated as Aadi Perukku Aadi is overflowing. Aadi month falls during the peak monsoon season and most of the rivers in India will be overflowing during this period. People celebrate this overflow of water by assembling and praying on the river banks. They pray to Gods to keep the rivers always full flowing so that they will have enough water for agriculture. Hindus consider water as Life-sustaining divinity or God. The festival is also known as Pathinettam perukku and is mainly held along the banks of River Cauvery. Today, the festival is held near all water bodies including reservoirs, lakes, beaches and tank invoking Cauvery spirit in these waters. It is considered auspicious to take a dip in the sea and rivers on the Aadi New Moon (Amaavaasya) day.
In the past it was a custom to separate newly-wed couples during the Aadi month by some communities. The bride’s parents used to invite the bride back home. This was because the women who conceived during the Aadi month used to give birth during April – May, the hottest months. In earlier days, when there were no hospitals the infant mortality rate used to be high during the hot months.
Textiles and jewelry shops during the month of Aadi are very busy and crowded. People enjoy festival day shopping.
July 17th is the day on which Sri Jagannath Abhibhrav Utsav is celebrated wherever Jaganntha idols are consecrated. As you all know Bhoodevi is also included in Jagannatha Parivara and so indirectly Tamil Hindus particularly Iyengar Brahmins felt happy as this is the Birthday of Sri Aandal, their favorite female deity who married Lord Ranganatha on Panguni Uttiram day which day is celebrated by some Hindu Temples of America though it is exclusive to Tamil Vaishnavites. Tamils consider Aandaal as an incarnation of Bhoodevi. Panguni Uttiram is the day on which many divine weddings took place. I wonder why American Hindu Tamils do not celebrate this important Tamil festival in Hindu Temples as the Wedding Day of Divines (Deva Kalyanotsava Day) instead of celebrating it as Panguni Uttiram for Aandaal alone? There seems to be no logic and it is all the one time decision guided by the priests at the time of inauguration of temples in America and not fact or need based. Anyhow this day in July is important for all Hindus as Dakshinayana Punyakala and calls for observance as an important ritualistic day as well.
There are many similarities between Sita and Aandaal. Both are Ayonijes or not womb born. Both are compassionate. Both chose to have the Lord as their husbands. Sita was brought up as the daughter of Janaka the king of Mithila and a Karmayogi who bore the responsibility of ruling over a kingdom. Aandaal was brought up as the daughter of Periyaalwaar who was a Paramekanthi. Sita accepted Srirama (In Vibhavavathaara) as the Bharthaa (husband) in Swayamvara with Shivadhanurbhanga (breaking of Siva’s bow) as the Kanyaashulka (dowry). Aandaal chose Lord SriRanganatha (In Archaavathaara, worshipful form) as the Bharthaa in Swayamvara (chosing one’s own husband) with father Periyaalwaar recounting the qualities of the Lord in various Divyadesaas and Aandaal finally opting for Sri Ranganatha.
It is strange the way Tamils name their festivals. They call Makara Sankranti Pongal named after food which needs lot of explanation as to how it is directed to the transit of Sun. All the three famous festivals directed to Aandaal in a year are not named after Aandaal but named after the months and a hymn composed by her which however is corruptly used to direct it to Aandaal or Valli. The first festival is Aadippooram which is the Aandaal Jayanthi Day. The next festival is Koodaarai Vellum which has been corrupted to Koodaarai Valli. I believe by Valli they mean Aaandaal. Saivite Tamils think it is directed to Subhramanya’s wife Valli. Koodaarai Vellum refers to Lord Krishna to whom Aandaal offers her worship by dedicating her 27th hymn in her famous composition Tiruppaavai. It is also a noble gesture of her that she does not want to worship Lord Krishna alone but asks all her girl-friends to hurry up and come with her and enjoy the festivities and share the joy of the company of Lord Krishna. Evidently she should have learnt this comradeship watching the crows sharing food calling all other crows when it locates food. It is customary for Tamil girls to go to river bunds and offer food to crows on the day next to Pongal and to watch birds enjoying food. The third festival again is called Panguni Uttiram named after her Wedding Day which never took place but she got merged with Lord Ranganatha who was Krishna to her as a colorful husband by which name he became popular as a deity. Though the marriage never took place in the traditional way, the entire marriage was enacted in her dream --as brought out in Vaaranamaayiram, the sixth decad of the classic poem, Naacchiar Tirumozhi of Aandaal.
It is worth noticing the sharing and caring values of Tamil girls and comradeship even in the worship of the Lord as well as caring for animals, the lesser fortunate creations of the Lord. It is also worth noticing that only Aandaal enjoys three grand festivals in a year and no other deity enjoys that devotional approach though there are some famous shrines like Venkateshwara to whom Brahmotsavas are conducted annually. I wonder whether any Brahmotsava is conducted to female deities in Hindu Tradition. I believe popularity of Aandaal is due to her composition Tiruppaavai which all religiously devoted Tamil ladies and girls chant which is part of Tiruvoymozhi and Nalaayira Divyaprabhandam of Aazhvaars equivalent of Tamil Veda. As we all know strict orthodoxy of Hindus prohibits ladies from chanting Veda. However they are free to chant Tiruvoymozhi. This is questionable and not understandable. No other saint is raised to that divine status as Aandaal, deified and sanctums provided within temples enjoying the same status as other main deities and the ruling female deity of the presiding deity in Vishnu temples. Even Meera in the North who was equally devoted to Lord Krishna like her is not glorified as Aandaal, who is considered by Tamils as an incarnation of Mother Earth, Bhoodevi. Bhoodevi is a constant companion of Lord Vishnu in all processional assembly sharing equal status with Lakhmi, if not found with the Moolavigraha or the stationary deity in the sanctum. It is strange that no particular day is earmarked for Bhoodevi’s worship in Temple Traditions in spite of her popularity and glorification in Vedas as Mother of all Gods and humans.
I would not like to go here more into the details of Aandaal’s birth and childhood which I have already covered in my earlier discourses on Aandaal and Panguni Uttiram discourses. I have also covered a lot on Dakshinayanam in my discourse on International Yoga day. However I would like to add an Appendix, a very detailed description of Aandaal, and the religious observance and celebration of Thiruvadippooram written by my friend BRG Iyengar, a religious scholar from Bengaluru, Karnataka.
Going through the details of this special Religious Events Day significant to many traditions I feel this could be observed as Bhoodevi’s Day dedicating the worship to Mother Earth for whom our religion has not earmarked any special day. It is also astrologically designated as Dakshinayana Punyakala though this falls on 21 June being the actual day. Hindus in America are quite accustomed to separate actual day from convenient day of observance like the Presidents’ d Day. Even though Puranas do not specify Mother Earth’s Birth Day Varaaha Jayanti Day could be Mother Earth’s day. Of course we have a separate designated Mother’s day in USA for National observance. It is also a significant festival Day in South India. We could also posthumously dedicate this day to Sage Pataanjali who has brought all cultures together like Sanatana Dharma with his Yogasaastra. We could also dedicate this day to all Gurus (all Philosophers birthdays we have left pass-bye without remembering during April--May) as Guru Poornima will soon be coming in this month which we generally do not consider as a Special Religious Day somehow. Thus we will be combining both religious and secular ideas together to make this day a significant worshipful day to suit all traditions and pay our obeisance to Mother Earth to whom there are rarely exclusive temples. I believe Bhuvaneswari temples are of Parvati. There are icons of Mother Earth wherever Jagannatha Temples are there and also one in Bhoodevi Farm of Mysore in Karnataka. Vedas glorify Bhoodevi in Rigveda and Bhoosookta and so she is an important Vedic Deity.
Srimathe Ramanujaya namah
Srimathyai Godayai namah
SriRangaraja harichandana Yogadrushyaam
Saakshaat Kshamaam karunayaa Kamalaavivaanyaam
Today (Monday, 8th august 2005) is Thiruvadippuram (Thiru+Adi+Puram). As the name suggests, it is the sacred day in Aadi month and on Pubba (Puram) nakshatram day. Godai (Aandaal) appeared on this earth this day at Srivilliputtur in Kali 98 (3003BC) Nala Samvatsara Karkataka (Adi) Masa Sukla Paksha Chaturdashi Kujavaara (Tuesday) in Pubba (Poorvaphalguni) Nakshatram (Constellation).
Ashaade poorvapakshe cha chaturdashyaam bhoumavaasare
Madhyaanhe Poorvaphalgunyaam Thulaa lagne shubhe dhiney
Lakshmiaamshaa lokarakshaartham Goda bhoomyaasthathojani II (Prapannaamruthasara)
Neyamudan Thiruppavai paattaaraindum
Neeyuraittha Thaiyoruthingal paamaalai
Anbudaney adiyenukkarul sheyneeye
It is beyond one’s capacity to detail out the greatness of Andal. However, a brief note is herewith presented about this great mystic poet and saint.
Bhoodevi’s incarnation of Aandaal brought greatness to the South.
Digdakshinaapi paripakthrima punyalabdha
Sarvotthara bhavthi Devi thavaavathaaraath
Yathraiva Rangapathinaa bahumaanapoorvam
Nidralunaapi niyatham nihitham kataataakshaaha II
Bhudevi and Neeladevi are listed in the Goshti of Lord’s consorts. Meerabai, Janabai, Sakkubai and others belong to the Bhaktha Goshti. Goda belongs to both the Goshtis. She is considered along with other Alwars.
Being Ayonije Andal is likened to Sri Seetha. Both are Lakshmi Amsha. Both are compassionate. Both chose to have the Lord as the Bharthaa. Seeetha was brought up as the daughter of Janaka the king of Mithila and a karmayogi who bore the responsibility of ruling over a kingdom. Andal was brought up as the daughter of Periyalwar who was a paramekanthi. Seetha accepted Srirama (In Vibhavavathaara) as the Bharthaa in Swayamvara with Shivadhanurbhanga as the kanyaashulka. Andal chose Lord SriRanganatha (In Archaavathaara) as the Bharthaa in Swayamvara (With father Periyalwaar recounting the qualities of the Lord in various Divyadeshaas and Andal finally opting for SriRanganatha) and winning over the Lord with Paamaalai (String of verses) and Poomaalai (Garland of flowers).
Periyalwar would keep telling stories about the exploits and great qualities of the Lord. Being constantly engaged in Bhagavad Kathakaalaksepa, Aandaal developed unflinching interest in and devotion to the Lord.
` Shrutwaa gunaan Mukundasya Goda sarvangasundaree
Thameva premabhaavena pathim mene sulochanaa II
One night when it started raining heavily accompanied by thunder and lightning, Aandaal started worrying that the Lord is alone in the temple and ran up to the temple to provide protection to the Lord. The temple door was closed. She started pounding on the gate and calling out Lord’s name. She got exhausted and sat outside the door and fell asleep. Periyaalwaar who did not find Godai in the house got worried and stated searching for her. He finally found her at the temple door. He hugged her and asked her as to what had happened. Godai expressed her concern for the Lord who was alone in the temple in that inclement weather. Such was her unqualified love for the Lord.
In course of time Periyaalwaar thought of Aandaal’s marriage and broached the subject with her. She firmly told him that she would wed only the Lord and could not think of anyone else. This sentiment is contained in her classic composition “Nacchiar Thirumozhi”.
Vaanidaivaalum avvaanavarku maraiyavar velviyil vahutthavavi
Kaanidaitthirivador naripuhundu kadappadhumoppadum sheyvadoppa
Unidaiyaali shangutthamarku enru unnitthelunda en thadamulaigal
Maanidavarku enru pecchuppadil vaalagillen kanday Manmathane
II 1-5 II
Hearing this, Periyalwar started describing the traits of the Archamurthies of the 108 Divyadeshaas. Whenever he referred to any particular Divyadesha the Lord of that place would appear before Aazhwaar and Aandaal. This was the Swayamvara processs. After seeing all the deities Aandaal mentioned her choice of Lord SriRanganatha. Though Periyalwar was happy about the selection he was worried as how the marriage could take place with an archaamurthy. All the same he advised Godai to win over the Lord by her love and devotion and narrated Bhagavatham episode wherein Rukmini observed Kathyayini vratham to win the hand of SriKrishna.
Godai decided that she would observe similar vratham. She considered Srivilliputtur as Nandagokula, her friends as Gopikanyaas, Vatapatrashayi temple as Brindavana, and Vatapatrashaayi as SriKrishna. She chose Marghazhi masa for her vratham (Lord Krishna has declared in the Gita “Maasaanaam Margasheershoham”). She has brought this out in her wonderful poem “Thiruppavai” comprising 30 paasurams, one for each day of Marghali with the opening verse “Marghali Thingal….” This is dealt with later.
This is considered a classic composition and many commentaries have been on this.
Tattwa, Hitha and Purushaartha have been well brought out in this. Many key aspects of Veda, Upanishad, Bhagavatha and Bhagavadgita are brought out in easy and lucid style in this. The Sharanaagathi tatwa (Which appears in the 18th chapter of Yuddhakanda of Sriramavathara
(Sakrudeva prapannaaya thavasmeethi cha yaachathe
Abhayam sarvabhoothebhyo dadaamyethad vratham mama)
and 18th chapter of Bhagavadgita
Sarvadharmaan parithyajya maamekam sharanam vraja
Aham twaa sarva paapebhyo mokshayishyaami maa shuchaha)
This is propounded in the very first paasuram of Thiruppavai
(….Naraayanane namakke parai tharuvaan….).
SriKrishna says in Gita:
Maarghali Thingal mathi niraindanannalaal…
Thiruppavai has 30 paasurams like the 30 letters in Gayathri (Including Vyaahruthis). Each Paasuram has 8 lines.
Eight is a magic number. There are 8 directions (Dik) with 8 Dikpaalakaas. Prakruthi has 8 bhedaas as mentioned in Gita
Bhoomiraaponalovaayuhu kham mano buddhireva cha
Ahankaram iteeyam mey Bhinnaprakruthirastadhaa
There are 8 yogangaas: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Prathyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, Samadhi.
There are Astaiswaryaas. Devaki is the eighth child of Devaka. Krishna is the 8th garbha of Devaki. Krishna was born on Astami. Lakshmi was the eighth appearance at the time of Samudramathana.
Each paasuram treats with a specific tattwa.
In the 29th Paasuram she declares her love for service to the Lord as more important than Moksha. (…Etthaikkum elel piravikkum unthannodutthomeyaavom unakke naam aal sheyvom matthanam kaamangal maatthu…”.
One notable feature in Thiruppavai is the fact that Godai believed in enjoying the Lord with all other friends. She takes the trouble of going to each house and waking up the ‘Gopi’.This is an important aspect of social togetherness. She also establishes that women in their own right can worship the Lord.
The greatness of Thiruppavai is summed up in the following.
“…….Paathagangal theerkum Paramanadi kaattum
Vedamanaitthukum vitthaahum, Godai tamil
Aiaiyndummaindum ariyaada maanidarai
Vaiyum shumappudum vambu “
Another classic composition of Andal is Naacchiaar Thirumozhi comprising 143 paasurams. In the first decad is Sharanagathi to Manmatha and expression of desire to be with Narayana and explanation of the Vratham she is observing. The sixth decad (Vaaranamaayiram) beautifully describes her dream experience of marriage with Lord SriRanganatha.This is almost like a brief guidebook of marriage customs. In the twelfth decad she exhorts that she should be taken to the different Divyadeshaas. The fourteenth decad describes her God-Experience.
Scholars opine that Andal’s compositions are explanatory commentaries of Dwaya Mantra.
Goda who was thus totally immersed in God would daily watch her father, Sri Vishnuchittar collecting Thulasi and flowers from the garden and making beautiful garland for Vatapatrashayi.
She felt like wearing this garland and standing before a mirror reflected whether she would be acceptable to Vatapatrashayi. After this she would place the garland in its original place. One day Vishnuchittar unexpected came home earlier. He saw Goda wearing the garland meant for God. He was crest-fallen. He began thinking about the great apachara (Disrespect) caused by him in offering used garland to God. He chastised Goda for this indiscreet act and got a promise that she would not repeat this mistake. When Vishnuchittar did not come to the temple as usual with the garland, the priest came to his house and enquired about it. Vishnuchittar related all the events. That same night Vatapatrashayi appeared in Vishnuchittar’s dream and said that He would relish only the garland worn by Goda and bade Alwar to bring the same garland.
Then Alwar realised that Goda who was thought of as his daughter was indeed Sri Laxmi incarnate. He immediately called Goda and sought forgiveness and fondly hugged her. From that day it became a routine to offer the garland worn by Goda to God. Consequently Goda was called “Shoodi koduttha Naacchiar”.
As if rewarding Goda for her unflinching love and devotion, Vatapatrashayi appeared in Vishnuchittar’s dream and said that he would marry Goda and that she should be brought to Srirangam in the jewel-decked palanquin (Sent by him along with full temple honors). The same instructions were given (In dream) to the King and the temple authorities. They all rejoiced at this. The entire route from Srivilliputtur to Srirangam was well decorated. Even as all people were watching, Goda who came to Srirangam temple merged into Lord Ranganatha. Though Vishnuchittar was happy that the lord accepted Goda as his consort, he felt sad that he could not witness the traditional marriage celebrations of his loved daughter. Lord Ranganatha consoled Alwar and bade him go back to SriVilliputtur and continue his Seva at the temple. He then went with Goda (Escorted by Garuda) to Srivilliputtur and granted the vision of the grand marriage of Goda. Appreciating Garuda’s timely service Goda ordained that Garuda would be worshipped along with her and Lord Ranganatha. That is the reason that temples have constructed Sannidhis for Andal-Rangamannar-Garudar.
Tiruppavai (Considered as Dharmopadesha manual and Naachiaar Tirumoli (Considered as Sharanagathisara Grantha) have been described by Sri K. C. Vardachari as under.
“Tiruppavai- The whole tenor of these hymns reveals the beauty, the truth and glory and kindness of God”
“Naachiaar Tirumozhi--This Tirumozhi is a study in rapture--the rapture of contemplation, meditation, concentric and continuous and absorption in the beauty of God”
Blessed are those that celebrate Andal Kalyanam.
Vishnvalaye gruhe vaa-pi Godakalyanamutthamam
Ye sevanthe mahatmana: srimanthasthe sadaa bhuvi II
Goda charithram sumahadvichithram samastha sanmangala purnapatram
Shrunvanthi ye bhakthiyuthaa: patanthi sanmangalaasthe sathatham bhaveyu: II
Swocchita maalikaabandha gandha bandhura jishnave
Vishnuchittathanujayai Godayai nityamangalam
Srimadikshwaku vanshyaanaam kootasthaaya mahaatmanaam
Sarvadaayaarthinaam bhooyaath srirangeshaaya mangalam II
Thiruvadippurathil shehuthuditthaal vaaliye
Thiruppavai muppadum sheppinal valiye
Perialwar pettheduttha penpillay vaaliye
Perumbudur maamunikku pinnaanaal vaaliye
Orunutru narpattu moonruraitthaal vaaliye
Oyararangarke kanniyugandhalitthaal vaaliye
Maruvaarum tirumallivalanaadi vaaliye
Vanpuduvai naharkkodai malar padangal vaaliye II
Srimathyai Vishnuchittharya manonandana hethave
Nandanandana sundaryai Godaayai Nityamangalam II
Emberumanar thiruvadigle sharanam II
Andal Thiruvadigale sharanam II
Shudikodutha Naachiyaar thiruvadigale sharanam II
PeriAlwar Thiruvadigale sharanam II
SriRanganayaki Piratti Thiruvadigale sharanam
SriRanganathaperumal Thiruvadigale sharanam II
In preparing the above note, I owe gratitude to the following:
1. Sree Vaishnava Samhitha by Mahatma Sri Krishna Premi Maharaj
2. Alwars of South India by Sri K.C. Varadachari
3. Thiruppavai Rasaswadini by Sri S. Krishnathathacharya
4. Alwaraugalu by U.Ve.Vidwan Srinivasadesikacharya
5. Nithyanusandhanam by Sri M.B. Srinivasaiyengar
6. Nithyanusandhana by Sri A.N. Srinivasiengar
7. Goda Sthuthi by Dr. N.S. Anantharangacharya
8. Alwargal Vaibhavam by Sri P.B.Annangaracharya
9. Nalayira Divyaprabhandagalu by Sri Nammandavan Shatamanotsava samithi
10. Bruhannityanusandhanam by Ubhayavedantha sabha
11. Andal tiruppavai by Araiyar
12. Tiruppavai by Vid. Baladhanvi S.Rangachar
13. Karnataka prapannamrutha by Varadachary
14. Goda Chatussloki by N.S. AnanthaRangacharya
A MESSAGE ON DAKSHINAYANA FROM SADGURU ISHA
A MESSAGE ON DAKSHINAYANA FROM SADGURU
Dakshinayana is the time when the Sun begins to trace a southward movement in the Earth’s sky in the northern hemisphere of the planet. Dakshinayana is significant in the life of anyone who is doing any kind of yoga. In this phase, your relationship with the planet is very different than what it is in the northern run. Particularly for those of us who are living in the northern hemisphere, it is very significant that the sun is now moving south and the planet is moving in an anticlockwise direction. These together produce a certain impact on the human physiology. All the practices we do have been structured keeping this aspect in mind.
It was during this time of the year that Adiyogi turned south and became a Dakshinamurti – he began to transmit the fundamentals of the yogic science to his first seven disciples, who are now celebrated as the Saptarishis. It was not on a whim that he decided to turn south. He turned south because the sun turned south. The southern run of the sun became significant because this was the first phase of the teaching. This became the saadhana pada where he taught the Saptarishis what they should do. The northern run or Uttaraayana is referred to as the samaadhi paada or kaivalya paada. It is a time for Realization.[This period culminates in Makara Sankrati which is the day Tamils celebrate as Pongal when first crop rice ( as a result of Saadhana) boiled in milk over-flows symbolizing prosperity.]
Dakshinayana – Brahma’s One Night
Vishnu is called Yoga Purusha. Puranas say that Lord Vishnu goes to Yoga Nidra (sleep) during this period. That is why the Ekadasi just before Dakshinayana is referred as Deva-sayana Ekadasi.Vishnu gets up from Yoga Nidra on Kartheeka Shukla Dwadashi called Uttana Dwadasi.
It is believed that Pitrus descend on Earth during Dakshinayana period and wait for their off-springs to perform sacred rituals like Shraaddha. These rituals enable them to attain peace. Hence it is considered as the sacred time to perform Shradaah or Pinda Daana for dead parents and ancestors. Mahaalaya Paksha comes during this period.
Rituals to be performed during Dakshinayana
Chaturmasam--Sravana to Karthika Masa , a period of four months falls during this period. These four months are said to be very dear and pleasing to Lord Vishnu. Hindus generally observe the following rituals during Dakshinayana to please
- Meditate and chant mantras.
- Get up early in the morning and take a dip in Holy River.
- Perform Pitru Tarpana for our forefathers.
- Take Saattvik (vegetarian) food during this period and lead a Saatvik life
- Give charity to the deserving. Perform Anna Dana, Taila Dana, and Vastra Dana.
- Worship Lord Vishnu and recite Vishnu Sahasranaama Sthothram.
- Worship Suryadeva and recite Aaditya Hridayam.
Performing these will be beneficial to body and as soul. Vedic studies are commenced on Upakarma Day during this period after Prayaschitta Homa and Gaayatree Japa. Please also read my detailed discourse on Naraka, The Hell (to be published soon).
Sri Kumara Stuti – Sri Shiva Puranam K. Muralidharan (firstname.lastname@example.org) 2
Adi (Ashadha) Krithika falls on Saturday (08-Aug-2015) which symbolizes victory of good over evil and an occasion to worship Lord Kartikeya. In this connection, I am glad to attach a rare hymn on Lord Kumara taken from Sri Shiva Mahapuranam, Rudra Samhita, Kumara Khanda, and Chapter 6.
We have seen many references to Lord Kartikeya from various purans over the last few years - including the one prescription by Varaha Puranam to pray to Lord Vishnu in the form of Shad-vaktra (6-faced) with the 6 most important names of Lord Kartikeya, underlying the universal truth of Sanatana Dharma that the forms are many but Lord is One. The same Varaha Purana, a Vaishnavite Manual, dismisses perceived differences between Vishnu and Shiva and tags those who harbor such differences as "Adhamas". Though such endeavors may be the past time of wicked dissectionists, they try to keep peeling the onion and end up at naught. It may be wise to leave such wasteful endeavors in the good hands of those who have nothing better to do in life.
The following is a rare hymn on Lord Kartikeya taken from Sri Shiva Puranam, Rudra Samhita, Kumara Khanda, and Chapter 6. The hymn was sung by Vipra (Brahmin) beseeching Lord Kartikeya to protect the Yajna performed by him:
Vipra uvāca - śṛṇu svāmin vaco me'dya kaṣṭaṁ me vinivāraya | sarva-brahmāṇḍa-nāthas tvaṁ ataste śaraṇaṁ gataḥ || 1 ||
Tvāṁ vihāya śaraṇyaṁ kaṁ yāyāṁ śivasuta prabho | sarva-brahmāṇḍa-nāthaṁ hi sarvā'mara-susevitam || 2 ||
Dinabandhur dayāsindhuḥ susevyo bhakta-vatsalaḥ | hari-brahmādi-devaiśca sustutaḥ parameśvaraḥ || 3 |
Pārvatī-nandanaḥ skandaḥ paramekaḥ parantapaḥ | paramātmā ''tmadaḥ svāmī satāṁ ca śaraṇārthinām || 4 ||
Dīnānātha maheśa śaṅkara-suta trailokya-nātha māyā | 'dhīśa samāgato'smi śaraṇaṁ māṁ pāhi vipra-priya | tvaṁ sarvaprabhur ānatākhilavida brahmādi-devaiḥ stutas tvaṁ | māyākṛtir ātma bhaktamugvado rakṣāparo māyikaḥ || 5 ||
Bhakta-prāṇa guṇākaras triguṇato bhinno'si śambhu-priyaḥ | śambhuḥ śambhu-tanuḥ prasanna-mukhadaḥ saccit-svarūpo mahān | sarvajñas tripuraghna-śaṅkara-sutaḥ satprema-vaśyaḥ sadā | ṣaḍvaktraḥ priya sādhur ānata-priyaḥ sarveśvaraḥ śaṅkaraḥ | sādhu-droha-karaghna śaṅkara-guro brahmāṇḍa-nāthaḥ prabhuḥ | sarveṣāṁ-amarādi-sevita-pado māṁ pāhi sevāpriya || 6 ||
Vairi-bhayaṅkara śaṅkara jana-śaraṇasya vande tava pada-padma sukha-karaṇasya | vijñaptiṁ mama karṇe skanda nidhehi nijabhaktiṁ jana cetasi sadā vidhehi || 7 ||
Karoti kiṁ tasya bali vipakṣo dakṣo'pi pakṣobhaya pārśva guptaḥ | kintakṣako 'pyāmiṣa-bhakṣako vā tvaṁ rakṣako yasya sadakṣamānaḥ || 8 ||
Vibudha-gurur api tvāṁ stotumīśo na hi syāt kathaya kathamahaṁ syāṁ manda-buddhir varārcyaḥ | śuciraśucira-nāryo yādṛśas tādṛśo vā pada-kamala-parāgaṁ skanda te prārthayāmi ||9
He sarveśvara bhakta-vatsala kṛpāsindho tvadīyo 'smyahaṁ | bhṛtyaḥ svasya na sevakasya gaṇapasyāgaḥ śataṁ satprabho | bhaktiṁ kvāpi kṛtāṁ manāgapi vibho jānāsi bhṛtyārtihā | tvatto nāstyaparo 'vitā na bhagavan matto naraḥ pāmaraḥ || 10 ||
Kalyāṇakartā kali-kalmaṣaghnaḥ kuberabandhuḥ karuṇārdra-cittaḥ | triṣaṭka-netro rasa-vaktra-śobhī yajñaṁ prapūrṇaṁ kuru me guha tvam || 11 ||
Rakṣakas-tvaṁ-trilokasya śaraṇāgata-vatsalaḥ | yajñakarttā yajñabharttā harase-vighna-kāriṇām || 12 ||
Vighna-vāraṇa-sādhūnāṁ sarga-kāraṇa-sarvataḥ | pūrṇaṁ kuru mameśāna-suta yajñaṁ namo'stu te || 13 ||
Sarva-trātā skanda hi tvaṁ sarva-jñātā tvameva hi | sarveśvaras-tvaṁ īśāno niveśa sakalāvanaḥ
|| 14 ||
Saṅgītajñas-tvamevāsi vedavijñaḥ paraḥ prabhuḥ | sarvas tathā vidhātā tvaṁ devadevaḥ satāṁ gatiḥ || 15 ||
Bhavānī-nandanaḥ śambhu-tanayo vayunaḥ svarāṭ | dhyātā dhyeyaḥ pitṛṇāṁ hi pitā yoniḥ sadātmanām || 16 || ||
Iti śrīśiva mahāpurāṇe rudra-saṁhitāyāṁ kumāra-khaṇḍe vipra-kṛta śrīkumāra stutiḥ sampurnam ||