The worship of Goddess Narayani Amman

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:

Abhishekams (anointing)

  1. Oil – to ward off evil
  2. Sheekakay – to stop troubles
  3. Turmeric – for good luck
  4. Kumkum – for valor
  5. Vibhuti – for wisdom
  6. Sandal wood paste – for wealth
  7. Rice flour – for peace
  8. Rose water – for fame
  9. Coconut water – for comfort
  10. Milk – for health
  11. Panchamratam (five nectars) – for destroying evil
  12. Honey – for knowledge
  13. Curd – for children
  14. Gold – for prosperity

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Alankarams (decorating)

Decorating and dressing the goddess with

  1. Costumes
  2. Jewellery
  3. Flowers

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Aartis (lighting of lamps and incense)

  1. Mahameru (great mountain) lamp – to say you are everywhere.
  2. Purna Kumba (the water filled pot) lamp – to say you are complete.
  3. Panchaarti (five lamps) – you are five elements
  4. One lamp – you are only one
  5. Two lamps – you are both male and female
  6. Three – you are creator, nurturer and the destroyer
  7. Four lamps – you are four Vedas (ancient books of celestial knowledge)
  8. Sun lamp
  9. Moon lamp – to show respect for celestial bodies
  10. Star lamp
  11. Snake lamp
  12. Swan lamp – to show respect for all beings
  13. Elephant lamp
  14. Lighting of samrani (incense)
  15. Lighting of ashtgandh podis (eight fragrant powders) namely, sandalwood, Akil wood, cardamom, musk, gorochan, musk turmeric, vettiver, saffron.
  16. Lighting of incense sticks
  17. Performing homam (making offering into the fire)
  18. Lamp made in cooked rice – Anna (food) aarti
  19. With powder of five grains – namely – wheat, corn, ragi, kambu, cholam
  20. With water lamp
  21. With banana lamp
  22. With flowers in a pot
  23. With Mangala Akshat (auspicious rice smeared with turmeric and vermilion)
  24. With Ven Chamru (the fans made out of the hair of the Musk deer)
  25. With fan made of peacock feathers

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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.

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