Straight Angle™: Change!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008


Have you ever been to a temple and offered Puja to the deity? I mean the usual puja or archana as we call, where all your family members are spelt out and the God is invoked to bless you- or even the one where there is Sankalpa performed?

Last Prathosham I had been to the Bridgewater Balaji Temple and something that happened there, intrigued me. As part of Prathosha pujas, Rudram, Namakam etc are recited. Before they start reciting rudram, it is customary that the Sankalpam is performed, which goes something like the below:

dweethiya parardhe, shweta varaha kalpe, , Vaivaswatha manvanthare, ashta vimshathi thame, kali yuge, prathame padhe, Jamboo dweepe, Bharatha varshe , Bharatha Kande, Meroh dakshine parshwe, Shakabde Asmin vartamane , vyaavaharike prabhavaadheenam xxxxx samvatsaranaam madhye , xxxxx nama samvatstare, xxxx-yane, xxxx rithou, xxxx mase, xxxx pakshe, xxxx shubha tithou, xxxx vasara yukthayam, xxxxx nakshatra yukthayam, shubhayoga, shubha karana evam guna, viseshana visishtaayam, asyam vartamanayam xxxx shubha thithou.......

Here, in the above sankalp, all those parts marked would vary according to the year, month, day and time of the occasion- but what doesn't vary in all parts of India is the remaining part.

In the first part, I am not sure, if we really follow the Nakshatram and thithi the same way we follow it in India. But I know for sure, if you are performing the Sankalp in US, you cannot say "Bharatha Varshe", "Jamboo dweepe", "bharatha kande", "Meroh dakshine parshwe". US is definitely not in "Bharatha Varsha" or in "Jamboo dweepa" or in "Bharatha kanda" and most certainly not to the south of "Meru"!

The Sankalp is one of the most scientific and mathematically accurate component of the Hindu rituals. Shoud it not remain so- should we not accommodate our knowledge of what it means and rather than merely repeating the slokas as a machine, should we not improvise them to suit the realities? I mean if the days and month and year can be changed, sure the geographical coordinates too can be changed accordingly. If we say we can't change because it is against tradition, are we not doing a disservice? Sankalp is supposed to say where you are and what you are doing...if we continue to "be" in India while actually in a different place, are we not cheating God?

Just thinking loud- can't we create new coordinates- say south of Mt.Rushmore or north of Rushmore? Would that be asking for too much?

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Blogger த.ராஜசேகர் said...

This post enlightened me on two things...

a) the archanai is highly customisable... :-)

b) there are people, who listen to/understand what the priest is chanting ...

Good that u are thinking loud.

4/25/2008 12:23 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

@Rajasekar: It can be customised..not that many people do that..these days I do think aloud!![:D]

4/27/2008 9:08 PM  
Blogger Mouly said...

Hmm...Interesting question!
This is what Google (or rather the concerned website) has to say on this --
--"Apavitra----+ Sri Govinda Govinda Govinda, Adya Sri bhagavataha maha purushasya vishnor agnaya pravarthamanasya adhya brahmana dweethiya parardhe swetha varaha kalpe vaivasvatha manvanthare ashta vimsathi thame kali yuge prathame padhe jambu dweepe (For North America - Krauncha Dweepe)bharatha varshe (For North America - Ramanaka Varshe) bharatha khande (For North America - Iyndra Khande) meroho Dakshine parshwe (For North America - Paschime Parshwe) sakabdhe asminnu varthamane vyavaharike prabavadeenam sashtya samvatsaraNam madhye.."
Its a different sankalpam though but relevant.
Also --answering similar question somebody has this to say --
Some priests in the USA say the following instead of the above:
?krouncha dweepE, RamaNaka VarshE, Aindra KhaNDE, Prasaantha SaagarE,
Pushkara KshEtrE, Raakkee-Mickelnee ParvatayO: MadhyaPradEsE,
Missipi-missouri ithyaadhi anEka shOdasa jeeva nadheenaam sameepa sthitha,
samastha dEvataa gO braahmaNa, Hari-guru CharaNaaravinda Sannidhou, MerO:
UttarE PaarsvE?
This does not seem necessary because the whole Bhoo lOkam (of which USA is
only a part) lies South to the legendary Meru mountain.

But the second answer above raises another question - How come USA /Bhoolokam is south of legendary Meru mountain??!!

5/17/2008 12:21 AM  
Blogger Krish said...

@mouly: That is an interesting find. Hadn't come across that till now. Seems like a missippi-missouri specific sankalpam! ;)

I am really surprised about this and it is a very good sign of things going the way I think should go. I would have to dig in through to find the reasons for the use of those krouncha dweepam, Aindra KhaNDE n all..will do it. However, there is a thought that the Meru mountain is in the North pole- coz most of the scriptures say Maeru as the north most point of the world. Now, there is every possibility that it is referring to the Himalayas considering that the Vedas were from a period when people were restrained by geography- but it also bellies the thought that Vedas comes from people who crossed Himalayas into India and so, should know there is something beyond Himalayas.

Now, putting 1+1, we can see that the North Pole can be construed as being identified as the Maeru mountains and so, the entire earth is to the south of it. Thoughts worth pondering over.

5/18/2008 6:38 PM  

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