Sri Kuladevatha Prasanna
Reethi 'n' Rivaaz
In almost every Indian home a lamp is lit daily before the altar of the Lord. In some houses it is lit at dawn, in some, twice a day at dawn and dusk- and in a few it is maintained continuously . All auspicious functions and moments like daily worship, rituals and festivals and even many social occasions like inaugurations commence with the lighting of the lamp, which is often maintained right through the occasion.
Knowledge removes ignorance just as light removes darkness. Also knowledge is a lasting inner wealth by which all outer achievements can be accomplished. Hence we light the lamp to bow down to knowledge as the greatest of all forms of wealth. Knowledge backs all our actions whether good or bad. We therefore keep a lamp lit during all auspicious occasion as a witness to our thoughts and actions.
Why not light a bulb or tube light? That too would remove darkness. But the traditional oil lamp has a further spiritual significance. The oil or ghee in the lamp symbolizes our " vaasnas" or negative tendencies and the wick, the ego. When lit by spiritual knowledge, the " vaasnas" get slowly exhausted and the ego too finally perishes. The flame of a lamp always burns upwards. Similarly, we should acquire such knowledge as to take us towards higher ideals.
A kalash is a brass, mud or copper pot filled with water. Mango leaves are placed in the mouth of the pot and a coconut is placed over it. A red or white thread is tied around its neck or sometimes all around it in an intricate diamond-shaped pattern. The pot may be decorated with designs. When the pot is filled with water or rice, it is known as purnakumbha representing the inert body which when filled with the divine life force gains power to do all the wonderful things that makes life what it is.
A kalash is placed with due rituals on all important occassions like the traditional house warming ( grhapravesh), wedding, daily worship etc. It is placed near the entrance as a sign of welcome. It is also used in a traditional manner while receiving holy personages.
Before the creation came into being, Lord Vishnu was reclining on His snakebed in the milky ocean. From His navel emerged a lotus from which appeared Lord Brahma, the Creator, who thereafter created this world. The water in the kalash symbolises the primordial water from which the entire creation emerged. It is the giver of life to all and has the potential of creating innumerable names and forms, the inert objects and the sentient beings and all that is auspicious in the world from the energy behind the universe. The leaves and coconut represent creation. the thread represents the love that "binds" all in creation. The kalash is therefore considered auspicious and worshipped.
The waters from all the holy rivers, the knowledge of all the vedas and the blessings of all the deities are invoked in the kalash and its water is thereafter used for all the rituals, including the abhisheka. The consecration ( kumbhaabhisheka) of a temple is done in a grand manner with elaborate rituals including the pouring of one or more kalash of holy water on the top of the temple.
When the asurs and the devas churned the milky ocean, the Lord appeared bearing the pot of nectar which blessed one with everlasting life. Thus the kalash also symbolises immortality.
Men of wisdom are full and complete as they identify the infinite truth ( poornatvam. They are brim with joy and love and represent all that is auspicious. We greet them with a purnakumbha ("full pot") acknowledging their greatness and as a sign of respectful reverential welcome, with a "full heart".
Hindus greet each other with " namaste". The two palms are placed together in front of the chest and the head bows while saying the word " namaste". This greeting is for all - people younger than us, of our own age, those older than us, friends and even strangers.
Namaste could be just a casual or formal greeting, a cultural convention or an act of worship. However there is much more to it than meets the eye. In Sanskrit namah + te = namaste. It means - I bow to you - my greetings, salutations or prostration to you.
Namaha can also be literally interpreted as " na ma" (not mine). It has a spiritual significance of negating or reducing one's ego in the presence of another.
The real meeting between people is the meeting of their minds. When we greet another, we do so with namaste, which means, "may our minds meet" indicated by the folded palms placed before the chest. The bowing down of the head is a gracious form of extending friendship in love and humility.
The spiritual meaning is even deeper. The life force, the divinity, the Self or the Lord in me is the same in all. Recognizing this oneness with the meeting of the palms, we salute with head bowed the Divinity in the person we meet. That is why sometimes, we close our eyes as we say namaste to a revered person or the Lord as it to look within. The gesture is often accompanied by words like " Ram Ram", " Jai Shri Krishna", " Jai Siya Ram", " Om Shanti" etc. - indicating the recognition of this divinity. When we know this significance, our greeting does not remain just a superficial gesture or word but paves the way for a deeper communion with another in an atmosphere of love and respect.
Either in the front, back or central courtyard of most Indian homes there is a
tulsi-matham an altar bearing a
tulsi plant. In the present day apartments too, many maintain a potted
tulsi plant. The lady of the house lights a lamp, waters the plant, worships and circumambulates it. The stem, leaves, seeds, and even the soil,
which provides it a base are considered holy. A
tulsi leaf is always placed in the food offered to the Lord. It is also offered to the Lord during
poojas especially to Lord Vishnu and His incarnations.
tulanaa naasti athaiva tulsi - that which is incomparable (in its qualities) is the
tulsi. For Hindus, it is one of the most sacred plants. In fact it is known to be the only thing used in worship which, once used, can be washed
and reused in
pooja - as it is regarded so self-purifying.
As one story goes,
Tulsi was the devoted wife of Shankhachuda, celestial being. She believed that Lord Krishna tricked her into sinning. So she cursed Him to become
a stone (
shaaligraama). Seeing her devotion and adherence to righteousness, the Lord blessed her saying that she would become the worshipped plant,
tulsi that would adorn His head. Also that all offerings would be incomplete without the
tulsi leaf - hence the worship of
She also symbolises Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Vishnu. Those who wish to be
righteous and have a happy family worship the
Tulsi is married to the Lord with all pomp and joy as in any wedding. This is because according to another legend, the Lord blessed her to be His
Satyabhama once weighed Lord Krishna against all her legendary wealth. The scales did
not balance till a single
tulsi leaf was placed along with the wealth on the scale by Rukmini with devotion. Thus the
tulsi played the vital role of demonstrating to the world that even a small object offered with devotion means more to the Lord than all the
wealth in the world.
The tulsi leaf is a valuable herb and is used as medicine in Ayurveda system
Special occasions such as Wedding /Birthday /Anniversary/Upanayanam are celebrations with spiritual and religious significance in ones' family. These are the times for one to make yatra toKuladevatha temples and seek blessings (prasannatha) of family-deities i.e. Kuladevatha .This is the reason why it is customary to write at the top of the invitation cards "Om Shri Kuladevatha Prasanna "Present day jet- set life- pattern has compelled us to cut- short elaborate rituals and we conduct Shubh Karmas in a miniature form to save time and resources . Internet has come handy in this context and to our convenience we have this website of Sri Kuladevatha Mandir Complex Ambalamedu,Kochi where all our Kuladevathas are installed by our Parama Poojaneeya Guruvaryas according to Vedic rites. Then what do you wait for? Let us make Cyber- Yatra to Kuladevatha Temples and cyber celebrate our family special occasions at the web-sannidhi of www.kuladevatha.com
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