|The worship of Goddess Narayani Amman|
During my recent visit to Sri Narayani Amman Siddar Peetam in Ariyur near Vellore, I had the pleasure of watching the puja performed by the living Narayani Amman to the Goddess Narayani Amman. It is a long ceremony with many symbolic rituals more elaborate than I have ever seen performed before, in any temple. I wanted to understand the logic of this lengthy worship pattern, performed twice a day. After the puja, I was enlightened by the Narayani Amman on this subject as follows:
“You can ask me, when I am Amman, why I should perform puja to Amman? When I perform puja, I bring the entire universe into my body and my mind. This puja is performed on behalf of the universe. When one worships on behalf of the universe, the puja has to be long. It has to include all the elements. These rituals are also inspired from within. I do abhishekams (anointing) alankaras (decorating) and aartis (lighting of lamps) in a particular order with a corresponding objective which is as following:
Decorating and dressing the goddess with
Aartis (lighting of lamps and incense)
After this, tulsi (basal) leaves with vermilion are offered to the Goddess 108 times, while chanting her praise. Following which prasadam or neyvedhyam (food) made out of the following ingredients namely, cashew nut, almonds, pistachio, walnut, groundnut, wheat-flour, rice-flour and black gram is offered to the Goddess Narayani Amman. In the last part of the ceremony, I drink the Thirtham (holy water) nine times, while repeating my Sankalpa (vows) for the welfare of all.”
It was the most enchanting account I had ever heard and I was happy to share it with others.