Monday, May 28, 2012

Deepam - Lighting the lamp


Deepam is to remove the darkness from the mind and heart. Light is the symbol of glittering the mind. We have to be purified. We should spread happiness everywhere. The oil deepam signifies the light of knowledge, which dispels the darkness of ignorance. It shines itself and causes the objects around to shine due to its reflection. The fire which is at the middle of the five elements-Earth,Water,Fire,Air,Space-and gives them power and heat is the splendor that is at the middle of the body of all living beings. There are three Sandhyas or the juncture-one at dawn, another in the midday and one at dusk. Since the sun shines brilliantly in the midday, no additional lamp is required. But, at the other two sandhyas, an additional lamp is required.

What do the deepam, Wick, Oil and Light mean?

Deepam is full of symbolism. It means that if you have faith, you'll see God. Here's one of many pointed out by Sathguru Venkataraman: deepam(lamp) = body, wick = Sathguru, oil = faith, light = God.

Cultural Beliefs:

Burning some oil deepam in temple, some may light ghee deepam, some gingerly oil deepam and such, burning those deepam’s actually will generate some positive energy up and touches your body, it gives good vibes and such. More than what it should benefits your prayers, its more beneficial for your own self, and body.
Ghee lamp has more capacity to attract the sattvik vibrations present in the surrounding atmosphere as compared to oil lamp.
The oil lamp can attract the sattvik vibrations spread over a maximum distance of 1 meter while the ghee lamp can attract sattvik vibrations spread over till Swarga Lok (heaven)

The best oil to light up lamp before god is cow ghee. Next comes ordinary oil. “Mahua flower oil” or “ippa oil” might be extraordinary. The benefits of lighting up the deepam  with ghee oil are ultimate. We get ‘ashta aishwarya’ and ‘ashta bhoga’ (great wealth and health)

If we light the lamp with ‘amudham oil’ (in Telugu), castor oil we get fruitful marriage life, and would be able to maintain good relations between wife and husband. 

NOTE: It is said we should never light the lamp with ground nut oil before god.
Before starting our daily prayers, we light the Oil deepam by chanting a shloka:

Subham Karoti Kalyanam, Arogyam Dhana Sampadah, 

Shatru Buddhi Vinashaya Deepa Jyotir Namostute.

‘ I salute the One who is the lamplight that brings auspiciousness; prosperity, good health, abundance of wealth, and the destruction of the intellect’s enemy (6 enemies - Kama, krodha, lobha, moha, mada and matsarya)’.

After lighting the
deepam we chant the following shloka or prayer:

Deepajyothi Parabrahma, Deepajyothi Janardhana, 
Deepo me hara tu paapam, Deepa Jyothir Namostute

I salute the Brahman, the sustainer of the creation, in the form of this light. I salute the Lord, may He destroy afflictions resulting from my omissions and commissions.

Oils to Use:

Deities  and their favorite Oil deepam’s:

  • Shree Mahalakshmi - Cow's Ghee
  • Subramanya/Shreemannarayana - Sesame Oil
  • Ganesha - Coconut Oil
  • Devi Parashakti - Mixture of Ghee, Castor oil, Coconut oil,Ippanune (Oil extracted from a fruit resembling dried grapes),Vepanune (Oil extracted from the Neem Leaves)
  • All the gods  - Sesame Oil
Rahu Ketu's Kalam Deepam:

Every planet in every day has its ruling time. Ravi, Chandra, Kuja, Budha, Guru, Sukra and Sani planets will have its Hoar timings. During the particular planet rules at a particular time. It is otherwise called a 'Hora Time'.
Likewise Rahu’s ruling time is called a Rahukalam. Likewise Ketu also has its own time but it is not in light. No one starts any ventures, or travels or any other matters during this period as Rahu Kalam as it will give negative effects. To nullify the negative effects of Rahu, antecedents quote if lighting a deepam at the point of Rahu Kalam in a Goddess deity temple, the negative effects will be nullified. By lighting a deepa in Rahu kalam, the native will get the blessings of Goddess Kanakadurga.

To guard the negative effects of Rahu kalam, the only one who could effectively nullify the negative effects of Rahu is Lord Maha Ganapati. If we light a deepam at the foot of Lord Maha Ganapati, all negative effects will be nullified. Progress can be seen and things will be fulfilled. The natives who are under the evil influence of Rahu can do so to wipe off the negative effects of Rahu.

Those natives who are suffering with more difficulties due to the effect of evil effects of other plants, the only solution available is to light a lamp at the foot of Maha Ganapati on Sunday and Wednesday. The pratima should be placed on dharba for more positive results.

Directions for Deepam:

North - For success in all ventures undertaken. Most preferable direction to place and light a lamp.
East – For good health and peace of mind.
West – For freedom from debts and victory over enemies
South - Never light a lamp in the south direction. It is considered inauspicious.

Wicks for lighting Deepam:

Cotton Wicks (vottu in Telugu) are used. We must light a minimum of two wicks in the deepam, one to represent the woman and the other to represent the man, thus symbolizing the family unit which is fundamental in spirituality. The Significance of Wicks:
  • Single wick (Eka Mukha Deepam) for normal benefit.
  • Two wicks (Dwimukha deepam) brings harmony and peace in the family and relatives.
  • Three wicks (Trimukha Deepam) Blesses with progeny.
  • Four wicks (Chathurmukha deepam) brings allround prosperity and sumptuous food.
  • Five wicks (Panchamkukha deepam) showers akhanda aishwaryam or Wealth. 
  • Six wicks (Shanmukha deepam) blesses with Akhanda Gyana (Knowledge) & Vairagyam (Renunciation).
When to put deepam:

Simply light a deepam in pure ghee; preferably of cow’s milk; or in mustard oil ; and say whatever your prayers are; before it’s burning flame; every morning before you go out and every evening after you return home.


Deepam can be lighted with different oils:  
  • Cow's ghee - Ensures radiance and Heavenly bliss 
  • Ghee - Wealth, Health and Happiness
  • Gingely oil/Sesame oil - Removes unforeseen dangers, Inauspicious events
  • Castor oil - Fame, Happy family life, and to gain Spiritual intellect 
  • A lamp lit with til oil it is believed will keep the snakes away by it smell.
See the difference in your own behavior; after a couple of days; for every time you stand before the lamp and burn it; all the negative elements of negative energies which have surrounded you during the night and day time; are attracted and gravitated by the flame towards itself; for burning; and they get burned up; thereby rendering the whole atmosphere within and outside the body; pure and clear once again.

If this exercise is continued regularly for long; by all in the family; it will have such a miraculous effect; that not only the monthly bill on medicine and junk food shall come down to a very large extent; but also tensions in the minds of all shall be eased; and a sense and feel of free pure and natural happiness shall become to be realized by the self.

Scientific Reasons:

The light rays produces magnetic forces and change the atmosphere of the room and the air content in the room changes a lot, which penetrates through the skin of the human, activate the nerves penetrates thro the nerves and directly curing the blood. saligramas which will split the light in to several parts as Ultra violet, ultra red, Ultra blue, and produces ultra sound which takes the light rays in to the body. Turmeric, near those saligramas which will act as a preservative. The electromagnetic force that settles on the skin still works for three hours so that it penetrates in the body and encourages the blood cells. It also chases away the diseases.

The science of the modern day is doing a wonderful job; but it does not care to show ways of nature itself to mankind; for helping itself with; especially by giving knowledge, wisdom and intelligence of the full, complete and whole powers, strength and abilities of them.

Also Visit Deepam for more Information.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Dhoopam - The Holy Fragrant

Dhoopam is a form of smoke produced from a perfumed incense stick. As per Ayurveda, certain virus and bacteria gets removed from our body due to inhalation of smoke produced from certain herbs burning. It is very good for health.



Cultural Beliefs:
Deepam is offered to God with a saying.


It pleasures our senses with its perfumed smoke which vanishes quickly. Our sensory pleasures are taken in control by recognizing this offering to God. Dhoopam purifies the atmosphere by its fragrance properties of samidha –Wood and samagri –powder of fragrant wood. Its mixed with the herbs and ghee. According to brahmaprakash, the term Dhoop originated from Dhoop tree in eastern India this tree’s chip when burnt gives us good fragrance. Black colored putty, popular Dhoop is a mixture of ghee herbs and wood chips.

In ancient days people use to offer dhoopam by spreading Gugilam or dasangam on the burnt coal.Dasangam is made out from ten herb dust like sandalwood, Eagle wood, Aloe wood, Himalayan cedar, Indian Olibanum, Indian frankincense, white pall, etc..

Guggilam is made from resins of Guggul or Mukul myrrh tree. Burning these for releasing smoke is considered as a sacrificial offering to a god or deity.
Interesting Facts:
Dhoopam is one of the steps in shodasopachara Puja (16 steps of worship). Dhoopam is the next step after offering flowers. While offering dhoopam below mantra need to enchant.
 In this sixteen fold worship, offering sacred water in conch represents Jalam (water), offering sandalwood paste (Gandham) represents earth, offering flowers ( Pushpam) represents the sky (Akash) are offered first. Then, fragrant fumes (Dhoopam) represent air and the lighted lamp (Deepam) represents light or Thejas are offered next to them, followed by ringing of the bell.

Now a day’s people offering incense sticks (Agarbattis) which are waved around god three times in a clock wise direction and kept vertically in a stand.

Scientific Reasons:
  • Dhoopam power removes negative forces and it solves all spiritual problems by ensuring a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere and the humans benefit from its spiritual properties this is mainly used for purification of the environment.
  • Dhoopam which is scented cleans the environment and makes us divine. In part of this human treats even he is purified. He treats the basical and physical purification as a spiritual psychologically and transfers himself into a different world of meditation
  • . According to Ayurveda inhaling herbal smoke from burning certain resins and herbs will boost the health and gives a certain type of good sensation of mind and soul. It is a holy method of purifying surroundings.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Bali Peetam- Pedestal of sacrificial offerings

Bali Peetam:
Bali means sacrificing an animal and offering it to god. Bali peetam is a place where we offer the slaughtered animals to the deity .Bali symbolizes the destruction. Usually, we don’t kill animals in a temple but a research into our scriptures and by interacting with people gave the reason why we do this bali in temple and specially there is a place for this offering which is called bali peetam. now a days, devotees are offering rice and certain dishes to God on this sacrificial pedestrail as the custom continued.
Place of this sacrifical pedestrail
Every temple will have a seat of offerings which is placed in between flag pole (dwajastambam) and royal temple tower(Raja Gopuram) . After all the worship is finished, finally the offerings to god will be placed here.

Cultural Beliefs:
When we enter into a temple, first sight will be flag pole and second sight will be sacrificial pedestrail in front of dieties.All the preists will offer rice after performing worship. According Agama Vidhi Sastra this process id followed. Devotees leaving their ego and ill feelings, enter with a pure mind leaving all their bad thoughts offer at the Sacrificial pedestrail .They Completely surrender themselves to the Almighty with their minds filled of Lord’s pure thoughts. Sacrificial pedestrail is the symbol of dharma where priests offer food and devotees pray with humility and true devotion.

Sacrificial pedestrail is mainly for the Kshtrapalakas(Gaurding dieties of main god)protecting the temple. The offerings at the Sacrificial pedestrail is not for the main deities in the temple. For example, we do have Nandi or nandikeswar(Ox god) in shiva temple and we offer the food Sacrificial pedestrail to nandi but not to Lord Shiva.

Usually Sacrificial pedestrail will have lotus or foot prints sculptures of the diety. usually devotees offer red colored rice or food red in color. for example, At the time of dasara on the 9th day , we have a fest called kumba where we offer blood rice(vermillion powder mixed with rice treated as blood rice) to goddess.

Scientific reason:
Every human has got six qualities namely Kama(Lust),Krodha(Anger),Lobha(selfishness),Moha(love),Madha(Prestige),Matsarya and because of this qualities humans behave like animals. As mind is polluted because of these things, the entry to the temple is forbidden in order to cultivate an open mind reducing all these six qualities the temple authorities had taken major responsibility to preserve the sanctity of the temple by harming another creation of god like plants or animals and so they introduced this Sacrificial pedestrail in temples by enlightening devotees and asked them to refrain the animal sacrifice practices.


Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Dwajasthambam - Flag Pole


The Dwajasthambam is referred to as being a medium for the Heavens to be connected to the earth, which would refer to it being a spiritual connector between us earthlings, and the Supreme Being, God.The Sanskrit word for the flag is ‘dhvaja’ and it means whatever is raised. In the religious sense, whatever raises man to a higher level of understanding and activity is a ‘dhvaja.’ The flag also suggests hope and desire to overcome ignorance.

There is a widespread belief that the Dwajasthambam gives an idea to a devotee from a long distance about the idol installed in the temple. A Dwajasthambam usually represents the prosperity and pride of a temple. But some texts do suggest that the bottom of a flag post symbolizes Shiva, middle portion Brahma and the top portion Vishnu. 

Cultural Beliefs: 

It's really wonderful how our ancient Indian Hindus have incorporated this principle in order to safeguard the most important place of their social setting, the temples.

The top portion of the flag staff has three horizontal perches or three branches pointing towards the Sanctum. It symbolizes righteousness, reputation and propriety or the Trimurtis – Vishnu, Brahma and Shiva.
Initially, it was temporary and was primarily used to indicate the beginning of a festival or other auspicious days and occasions.

Some flags and banners hoisted in temples act as a message board and give an idea about the deity worshipped in the temple. It also suggests which particular incarnation or manifestation of the God is given importance in the temple.

Where Dwajasthambam is placed?

This is placed between the Rajagopuram and the main sanctum. Devatas representing "Sankam", "Chakram" and "Yupam” reside here. A special tree, fifteen feet in height, was brought from India, and has been placed and clad with brass decorations. Special flags will be raised during each of the festivals that will be conducted for Sri Lakshmi and other sanctums of the temple to mark the occasions. Daily pooja will also be performed for the Dwajasthambam.

Scientific Reasons:

Whenever lightning strikes, the metal arrestor (A device used to protect equipment from lightning, electrical storms, etc...), placed such that it is the highest point of the region, and induces the charge to conduct through it. The Arrestor then conducts the heavy electrical impulse directly to ground, thus preventing the building from getting damaged.

It can be noticed that the top of the DhwajaStambha is the highest point of the temple, and thus, whenever lightning would strike, the temple would be saved from the devastating damage that could have been caused. 

This is what could be meant from the explanation that it connects "Heaven to earth" (i.e.) it conducts the charges from the clouds above during lightning to earth or ground, which is the electrical term for a no-potential area.

Dwajastambham is a kind of Antenna like structure which receives the cosmic rays and brings it down to the premise of temple.

Interesting Facts: 

The following points are the Do's and Don’ts inside the Temple:
  1. Dwajastambham in temples are the places where you should prostrate before entering temples. Near Dwajastambham you are supposed to leave all your bad doshas, attitudes or karmas and purify yourself before entering inside the temple. When you enter inside, you become one with the god or goddess with your prayers and the transmutation of energy takes place.
  2. Dwajastambham which also symbolizes the spine or Back-Bone. Near the Dwajastambham in case of South Indian temples is the Bali Peetam. Rice and other anointments are offered here by the priests, who then progress to all other presiding deities around the temple and subsequently to the main deity. The significance of Garuda in the Dwajastambham is, that he is waiting eagerly to guide us to the lord.Garuda also removes any sarpadoshas in the body.
  3. If you have Navgrahas inside the temple, you have to do pradakshina and offerings and then enter the temple. In most of the temples there are rules put that you cannot prostrate inside the temple complex. You have to do namaskaram near the Dwajastambham and then enter the inside of the temple
  4. The temple complex is a sacred place where you can access the divine energy according to ones requirement. You can see Bhairavar at the entrance in some temples.He is the guardian of the temple. You have to take permission and then enter inside the temple. Likewise if Ganapathy is there at the entrance then you have to prostrate and then enter inside. If Hanuman or Garudan is in the entrance prostrate there and near Dwajastambham prostration is done before entering inside the temple. All these deities are placed according to the temples rules and regulation and there practices.
  5. The number of prostrations also varies and depends on the main deity or custom of the temple architecture. Before visiting the main deity (moolavar) inside generally pradakshina is done with number varying from 1, 3 5, etc. The broad significance of pradakshina in a clock wise direction is: By doing the pradakshina main deity is always in the center and we maintain equidistant from the center. The energy and grace which enters inside the human soul is immeasurable. When you do pradakshina you are faithfully and sincerely winding divinity around you. We are supposed to do the pradakshina of desired numbers and then enter inside to be with main deity. Of course all this is not possible in a temple like Tirupathi or in other crowded temples. In such case one has to be satisfied by doing atmapradakshina.
In case of Sivan Temple / sanadhi :
  1. First you pray to Nandi that is Rishabam.Rule number one before going inside the Shiva temple you should offer prayers to Nandi and chant Shiva mantra in Nandi’s (Rishabams) ear Right or left ear. The choice is yours. Suppose as you are telling that you want to chant in right ear of Nandi that is on the other side then , you must go from the Back side of Nandi only .Then touch Nandi’s feet and then pray in his ears and come back from back side of Nandi only. Generally you should not stand in between Nandi and Shiva lingam and pray. You can see Shiva lingam in between Nandi shorn . Again Kindly Note You are not supposed to stand in front of Nandi and pray to Shiva.
  2. Chandishwararsanadhi in many temples on the way to Gomuki you can find the Idol. This is the place where you clap your hands .The Significance of clapping hands in front of Chandishwarar is , you announce your presence by clapping and Lord Chandishwarar will acknowledge your presence in the temple
  3. Gomuki is the place where abhishekkam water comes out from Shiva lingam. After Praying to Chandishwarar you proceed towards the Gomuki .After praying near Gomuki you retrace your path and come back near Nandi .Note when you are praying near Gomuki you are not supposed to cross the Gomuki. In some old temples of Tamil Nadu they have constructed a wall so that you cannot go beyond gomuki.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Naivedyam - Offering of Food to God

Naivedyam (Offering of Food to God)

Naivedyam  is the Food offered to a Hindu deity as part of a worship ritual, before eating it. As such, tasting during preparation or eating the food before offering it to God is forbidden. The food is placed before a deity and prayers are offered. Then the food is consumed as a holy offering. The offerings may include cooked food, sugar canes, and fruits. Mostly, vegetarian food alone is offered to the deity and later distributed to the devotees who are present in the temple. Great care is taken when food is cooked for the deity.

Cultural Beliefs:

Hindus offer cooked food or some fruits to a picture or idol of a deity and later partake of it as prasaada ,a holy gift from the Lord. In our daily ritualistic worship (pooja) too we offer naivedyam (food) to the Lord.
Naivedhya is not necessarily a food offering to God and actually means 'offering to God' in the stricter sense of the words. It could be any offering, tangible or intangible. A resolution, a promise or even a willingness to do, perform or restrict from certain things can also be connoted as offering to God.
The food offered will naturally be pure and the best. We share what we get with others before consuming it. We do not demand, complain or criticize the quality of the food we get. We eat it with cheerful acceptance (prasaada buddhi).

Naivedyam Items:
  • Fruits like Grape, Mango, Coconut, Jack Fruit, Apple, Banana, Lemon Fruit, The Wood Apple,
  • Rose Apple, Indian Gooseberry, Red Date and Pomegranate.
  • Eatables like vadai, appam, murukku, butter, milk, ladoo and sweets.
  • Food Items like Curd rice, Pongal, Lemon rice, Milk rice, Sweet pongal, payasam and Ghee rice.


The food symbolically stands for our ignorant consciousness, which we place before god for spiritual enlightenment. After he suffuses it with knowledge and light and breathes a new life into our bodies, it makes us divine. When we share the prasad with others, we share the knowledge we thus gained with fellow beings.

Scientific Reasons:
  • The activity may be changed into sacrifice. This reminds us that food is not merely intended to appease our taste. This act also purifies the food.
  • food is digested through the gastric fire.
  • The life force within us as the five physiological functions like respiratory, excretory, circulatory, reversal and digestive systems are getting purified and best.
Interesting Facts:

Before we partake of our daily meals we first sprinkle water around the plate as an act of purification. Five morsels of food are placed on the side of the plate acknowledging the debt owed by us to the Divine forces (devta runa) for their benign grace and protection, our ancestors (pitru runa) for giving us their lineage and a family culture, the sages (rishi runa) as our religion and culture have been “realized”, maintained and handed down to us by them, our fellow beings (manushya runa) who constitute society without the support of which we could not live as we do and other living beings (bhuta runa) for serving us selflessly.

Learned people recite the following Gita verses while having meals so that this Thinking of God before taking food makes it a spiritual act.


Brahmarpanam Brahma havir brahmaagnou brahmanaayutham
Brahmaiva taena gantavyam Brahma karma samaadhina

The ladle is God , the oblation is God, it is offered by God in the fire, which is God.
God shall be attained by him who is absorbed in God as the act of such sacrifice.

Sprinkle water on the food, place a tulasi leaf and chant


Om bhoorbhuvassuvah amrutho(u)pasvaranamasi
Pranaya svaha apanaya svaha vyanaya svaha
Udanaya svaha samanaya svaha brahmane svaha

The three worlds are pervaded by the Lord, the creator.
I offer this to prana (respiratory system)
I offer this to apana (excretory system)
I offer this to vyana (circulatory system)
I offer this to udana (reversal system)
I offer this to samana (digestive system)


Aham vais(h)vaanaro bhoothvaa praaninaam daehamaas(h)rithah
Praanaapaana samaayukthah pachaamyannam chathurvidham

Becoming the fire of life in the bodies of living creatures and united with Prana (ingoing) and Apana (outgoing) breaths, I digest the four kinds of food. The four kinds of food are
1 – that which is chewed by teeth – rice, vegetables etc
2 – that which is swallowed – milk etc
3 – that which is sucked – mango, sugar cane. The immovable beings such as trees etc receive food this way.
4 – That which is licked – honey etc.