Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pancha or the number 5 in our life

This number 5 has a special place in Sanatana Dharma. We saw about panchayatana pooja. We know about pancha bhootas or 5 elements, pancha karmendriyas (motor organs - body, eye, ear, nose, mouth), pancha gnanendriyas (sense organs), panchaksharam, pancha tanmatras , pancha upacharas, pancha sankhyopacharam, pancha krutyam etc..

Pancha upacharam or 5 acts of offering to God consists of Gandham, pushpam, arkyam, dhoopam and dheepam. These 5 upacharas represent five elements of nature or pancha bhootaas namely sky, earth, fire, water and air.

Gandham is applying sandal paste to God (Alankaram or decoration). This represents Prithvi or Earth.
Pushpam is offering flowers to God (Archanam). This represents Aakash or Sky.
Arkyam is offering water to God (Abhishekam). This represents Appu or Water.
Dhoopam is showing sambrani or dhoop stick. This represents Vayu or Air.
Dheepam is showing deepaarathanai with camphor. This represents Agni or Fire.

Again these 5 bhootas are related to our 5 senses (shabda - sound, sparsha - touch, roopa - form, rasa - taste and gandha - smell) and sense organs (ear, skin, eye, tongue, nose).

Sky is has only sound and hence related to shabdam or sound.
Air has both sound and touch and is related to sparsha or touch sense.
Fire has sound, touch and  form and is related to roopam or having a form.
Water has sound, touch, form (takes the form of the container) and taste and is related to rasam or having taste. Though we chemically argue water is tasteless, it does have a taste that everyone of us will agree.
Earth has all these - sound, touch, form, taste and smell. Hence it is related to gandham or smell. (We even have a film called mann vasanai :))

We hear with our ears, feel with skin, see with eyes, taste with tongue and smell with nose. So our ear is representation of sky, skin is representation of earth, eye is representation of  fire, tongue is representation of  water and nose is representation of  air.

Panchaksharam is the 5 syllable mantra na ma shi va ya.

Pancha krutyam as we all know is the 5 duties of god namely srushti (create), sthithi (sustain), samharam (destroy), thirothanam (hide) and anugraham (bless).

Pancha sankyopacharam is doing 5 pradakshinams and 5 namaskarams in a temple for 5 continuous days. If we do this, Ambal who is known by the name panchasankyopacharini will be pleased and grant boons to us.

Coming to Pancha tanmatras or 5 state of mind as told in Lalita sahasranamam, it is harshanam, roshanam, soshanam, mohanam, maaranam. Goddess Lalita has 5 flowers in her hand which is known as pancha baanam or 5 arrows. These 5 five flowers symbolize the 5 tanmatras mentioned above.

We have pancha pranas that we say doing nivedanam - prana, apaana, vyaana, udaana and samaana.

The list may go endless. But whichever seemed to be important and likely to say in this posting, I mentioned.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Panchayatana Pooja

Panchayatana pooja - a way to unite with God, is the way of worship established by Aadi Shankara. The deities in this pooja are Ganapathy, Shiva, Parvathi, Vishnu and Surya. Incidentally these deities form the main aaraadhana moorthy under Ganapathyam, Shaivam, Shaaktam, Vaishnavam and Sowram of the shanmatham. The sixth being Kaumaram where Muruga is worshipped as prime deity.

Kanchi paramacharya has told, as seen in Deivathin kural, that one may add a vel (spear in the hands of Muruga) in this panchayatana pooja and worship muruga too to complete shanmatham.

If we see the forms of deities in this pooja, they are all from nature. The material for Ganapathy is found in river sona. Bana lingam for shiva is found in Narmada river. Ambal's swarnamukhi is found in Swarnamukhi river in Andhra. Salagramam for Vishnu as most of us know is found in Gantaki river. The spatika for Surya is found near Vallam in Tanjore, Tamilnadu.

Why this was established is that, we need to go with nature always. We should not deviate from it. Also the minimal requirement for this pooja is water, akshada (rice), dry grapes, vilvam and tulasi. Vilva for Shiva, tulasi for Vishnu, Akshada for Ganapathy, Ambal and Surya. We can perform archanai with these. Even if tulasi or vilva went dry, it is not a problem. Dry grapes can be used for nivedanam. So if one has taken this pooja, he can perform everyday, wherever he goes. It is easy for him to take these small things in a box. With all these in mind Guru Shankara has paved this pooja.