Author Topic: The Significance of Pradakshina  (Read 1904 times)

Subramanian.R

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The Significance of Pradakshina
« on: January 26, 2009, 11:29:44 AM »
Pradakshina is an age old devotional practice associated largely
with temple-visits. Before the devotees enter the inner shrine,
that houses the deity, they go around the shrine as a token of their
reverence and self surrender.  This is called pradakshina or
circumambulation.

Pradakshina is also practised around on other holy objects like Arunachala, Mount Kailas, Manasarovar, Mount Govardhan etc.,
and also around the fire during a Hindu wedding.

When the pradakshina route is long, such as that of Arunachala,
there is no need to complete it at a stertch.  People can take rest in beween by sitting on various mantapams etc., Since the period is
long, devotees chant mantras or do japa within the mouth, as a
mark of reverence to the deity. 

Pradakshina is viewed as a practice of duality, not pertaining to
strict Advaita. Whey then Bhagavan Ramana chooses to refer it
in Advaitic terms?

"After all, the proper pradakshina is going round the Self (Atma
Pradakshina)  or more accurately, to realize that we are the Self and that within us all the countless spheres revolve, going round and round."   But still Bhagavan Ramana recommended to everyone to go round the Hills and He was Himself doing it for long years.   He has clarified that moving within the Self, apparently standing still, one is not actually stationary, but moving in the Space, along with the earth,
as it moves round the sun and round itself! Just as we have no
objection in accepting the 'walking pradakshina' too as Atma Pradakshina.  He has also quoted Ribhu Gita verses where it is stated
that one is doing circumambulation of Brahman within, by staying still, in a thoughtless meditation.

We see here harmonization of two points of view, dvaita and advaita.   From the dvaita standpoint, the object of pradakshina
is held to be the temple outside, say inside the shrine. From the
advaita stand point, the object is held to be within oneself as one's
own Self.  That Bhagavan Ramana commends the latter view here
admits of a delighful explanation as follows:  (Talks No. 212)

When one wants to do pradakshina round God, who is actually the
unmanifest, the best way is to go round the entire universe, since
the universe is looked upon as His manifest aspect. But since such
a pradakshina is not practically feasible, one may consider the alternative of going round Arunachala.  Simpler than that is to
circumambulate the Arunachaleswara temple. The Atma Pradakshina is even more simple, and yet confers the same benefit as the Self
includes all.     

Quoting from Ribhu Gita, He says: "I remain fixed whereas innumerable universe becoming concepts within my mind, rotate
within me. This meditation is the highest circuit (pradakshina).

(Source: largely based on Mountain Path October-December 2008)

Arunachala Siva.