[Advaita-l] 16 upacAras

sri parasukhananda nadha sriparasukhanandanadha at rediffmail.com
Tue Oct 17 02:31:52 CDT 2006

>From :--  SrIparasuKAnandanAtha

date :-- October 17, 2006

Subject :-- ShODaSOpacara pUjA


Priya mahASayAh,


                   In my opinion, we must have
some understanding, why we should do any upacArAs in the name of any god or
deity.Otherwise it would be meaningless and, waste of time and energy too. Neither
any deity needs any upacArA nor this drop of water reaches that far off
distance.  It can`t be different from the
children`s play with his toys.  Actions
and speeches without any meaning will become some mad man`s guestures.  I wish to present you the way of my
understanding while performing each of the upacAra.  

I don’t say, all these are authentic and bear
only this meaning.  These  are some guidelines for the devotees, by which
they will be 

able to formulate their own interpretation.                                                                            


For any god or deity, we perform sixteen types of services (ShODaSOpacAras),
viz., 1.dhyAm, 2.asanam, 3.pAdyam,

4.arGyam, 5.AcamanIyam, 6.snAnam, 7.vastram, 8.yag~nopavItam
9.gandham 10. puShpam 11.dhUpam 12.dIpam 13.naivEdyam 

14.tambUlam 15.nIrajanam and 16.mantrapuShpam. The
meaning, how I interpret for myself is narrated hereunder.


1. dhyAnam and AvAhanam :-- We meditate upon the
deity which in reality has no form nor any name for it.. But we wish it should

some form as we  imagine it to be, and we
also apply a name for it also.  It is a
kind of monistic dualism. We know it is none else

our own self.  But we want to see it in a
form and in a name according to our needs and fancies, while being in gr^ihastha

   You are
meditating upon your own self  which is
glowing like a flame of light, bring it out through your left nostril into some

   in your
hand, put it on the idol you worship every day. 
The idol after acquiring your own life force (which is the most dearest
for you) 

becoming your most beloved and divine, worthy of receiving any services from
you.  You are simultaneously visualizing
your own 

prANaSakti both in your heart region (hr~idayam) and also out side of
you.  In this way you are practicing to
see your own self 

  in whole
of the universe.  “antar bahisca tat
sarvam vyApya nArayaNah sthitah”


2. Asanam :-- You are collecting all your senses
and blending them into one concentration with a feeling of  “aham brahmAsmi” to install your  

deity in it.


3. pAdyam :-- This is to wash the dirt on the
feet of the deity.  The dirt is nothing
but the feeling of difference with god.  If
we wash this 

   kind of
difference, the deity and your self will become one and the same. “dEvO BhUtwA
dEvam yajEt”, You should not worship any

without yourself becoming that god.


4. arGhyam :-- Water used for washing hands.  It is washing out the past karmas (deeds), and
reaching the state of pUrNa Ananda

bliss) having no wishes or desires, desist of every thing in mind.


5. Acamanam :-- This is an act of purification
of body and soul. It is bestowing the divine experience into your mortal soul
by acquiring 

knowledge of “SivOham”.  you are
experiencing your own soul as the self existent and uninterrupted illumination.


6. snAnam :-- 
This is to create nectarine stream from your brahma randhra, and make it
flow into all of your 72 thousand nAdis, You should

forget that you are meditating upon your own self which itself is the “ananta
kAla swarUpa paramAtma.


7. vastram :-- Enveloped with absolute bliss
after the experience of the flash of the cid rUpa paramAnanda Sakti.


8. yag~nOpavItam :-- Visualizing the 24 tattwas
having three knots (grandhis) within yourself. 
(suShumnA vikAsam)


9. Gandham :-- Perception of aroma of the “sat”.  The presiding seat of the olfactory senses is
‘buddhi’ (the intellect).  By offering

gandham (sanda paste) you are mitigating the ‘viShaya jaData’ (obtuseness in
recognizing paramAtma).


10. puSpam :-- It is just wrapping up and
concealing the image of the idol only to realize that that form is not your
target of devotion.

flower is belonging to “AkASa tattwam”, “Sabda tanmAtra prakr^itikam”, The
intellect is the presiding place for auditory senses.     

god actually requires the flowers bloomed in the sky, not in the plants. (try
to understand it please)


11. dhUpam :-- This is used as a drying agent.  We have to scorch up the muddy moisture of
our intellect, otherwise 

       called ‘avidya’.  dhUpam is sparSa tanmAtra prakr^itikam (touch
sense), The presiding place of this also is intellect.


12. dIpam :-- “cakSuradhyAtmam draShtavyam
adhiBhUtam Adityas tatrAdhi daivatam”.

does not need any artificial light.  It
is only for us to see god who resides inside of us and not out side.

viewer is yourself, object is god and the insight (antar dr^iSti) is Aditya the
divinity is the target.

have to see inside of you to see god.  Then
only you can become divine.  


13. naivEdyam :-- There are six places in the
tongue to recognize the six kinds of tastes. 
All of these six tastes

shelter in the intellect only.  Our life
style also is multitudinous.  But every
thing of it has to be merged 

in one object.  We have to submit every
thing of us for the god`s enjoyment. (ShadrasOpEtam BhOjanam).


14. tAmbUlam :-- The leaf, nut and the lime
chewed together creates a new red colour. 
“avasthA traya BhAva

aBhAva sAkShi caitanyam.”.  Meditating
upon  “turIya avastha”.  That is jIvanmukta avastha.


15. NIrAjanam :-- The camphor when lit, it is
consumed till the last entirety without leaving any residue.  This is

       “nirbija avastha”.  Within the fifteen moon phases, there is also
another phase which is concealed inside all of them.

its name is “AmA”.  It doesn’t
have any sequences of growth or decay.  This
is the candra kala which has received 

the award of honours by the lord paramEswara, by implanting it on the
top of his own head.

The luminescence of it is indescribable. 
We have to prostrate and surrender before that ‘durAdharsha’.


16. mantrapuShpam :-- Your hr^idayam itself is
the ‘punDarIka puShpam”.  “punDarIkam
akShNOtIti puNDarIkAkShah”.

Reflect deeply on that puNDarIkAkSha with that ‘puNDarIka puShpam’.


Then you are performing pradakShiNa namaskAram with an intention of
visualizing yourself as the consistence of 

own body as well as the whole universe of fourteen worlds as the virAt purusha

this exhilarating bliss of felicity you are offering the “rAjOpacArAs” and
“devOpacAras”, after submitting your 

of praNa Sakti and saying,  “I am you and
you are I”

“AnandO brahma”, “aKaNDaika rasOsmyaham”





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