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AvaNi Avittam Related Queries !

From: V. Sadagopan (
Date: Tue Aug 12 1997 - 19:56:50 PDT

Dear Friends : There have been queries on why we do 
it and what is the sankalpam for the KaamOkArsheeth-
manyurakArsheeth manthra Japam on Monday , August 18 
and Gayathri Japam on Tuesday , August 19 . The July 1989
issue of Nrusimha PriyA and the Ahnika Grantham of 
the current Jeeyar , H.H. Sri NaarAyana Yathi srEshtar 
has discussed in detail all the saasthric details as 
coded by our purvALs . 

There have been requests for sankalpam and the meaning of 
the UpAkarmA and Japam . I have  sent copies of 
sankalpam  to those , who requested by Fax or mail . Perhaps , 
there is merit to post it on the net to reach a wider set of 
interested members . If there is a wider need for sankalpam ,
I will post it  .Others knowledgable in this area are
requested to complete any missing  details in the observances .

Like the annual pavithrOthsavam performed in the Temples to 
make amends to lapses in the proper way of worship prescribed by 
the aagamAs and to restore the saanidhyam of the Lord in 
ArchA murthys , we perform AvaNi avittam KaamOkaarsheeth 
japam and tarpaNam( khaanda Rishi tarpaNam ) for 
not performing Adhyayanam in the proper way and 
for other lapses in VedAdhyayanam iniitated after 
the sacred thread ceremony to qualify one
to be initiated in VedAdhyanam under the proper 
achAryA . In the old days , the BrahmachAris spent 
7 to 8 years to learn the Vedam of one saakhA ,
gave the vidhyA dhAnam to the AchAryA , did avabrutha 
snAnam , returned home to start grahasthAsramam .

The manthra japam appears to be a prAyascchittham
for lapses and prayer to the khAnda Rishis . Khaandam 
here refers to  a particular khAndam of the Vedam as 
indicated by the Taittireeya AraNyakam . There  are rishis 
for each of the nine khAndams . They are known as 
KhAnda rishis and we pray to them for 
forgivance against lapses and mistakes and aim to
please them ( tarpayAmi , Trupyatha --) . We explain to them 
the two basic  reasons , why such lapses happened and
identify them as the preventive factors that interfered (viz)., 
Kaamam and manyu (anger ) . By this japam , we imply 
that we will be mindful of these two obstacles during the 
coming year regarding VedAdhyananam in the established 
manner . The sankalpam specifically states ,
" adhyAyOthsarjanAkaraNa prAyascchitthArtham -- " .

We have three kinds of debts , Deva-Rishi-Pithru RuNams.
By performing YaagAs , the debt to the DevAs are paid up .
By VedAdhyayanam , the debt to the Rishis is covered .
By AmAvAsyai TarpaNam , Maasa Pirappu TarpaNam
and Ahnika SrArdham , the debts to Pithrus (manes )
are discharged . The AvaNi avitta UpAkarmA is for the 
Rishhis , KhAnda Rishis . The nine KhAnda Rishis 
invoked in this upAkarmam are :

PrajApathi , Soman , Agni , VisvAn DevA ,
Saamhitheer DevathA ( Upanishadam ) ,
Yaj~neekirdevathA ( upanishadam ) ,
VaaruNeerdevatha ( Upanishadam ) ,
BrahmANam svayambhu and sathasaspathi .

Gayathri Japam (1, 008 times ) is performed next day 
as PrAyascchittham for being involved with untruth
( opposite of sathyam )and other sins that are prohibited 
by the SaasthrAs . The sankalpam again specifically 
states " MithyAthitha prAyascchitthArtham --" . This japam(1,008) 
beyond the 108 per day or 10 is done for aathma Suddhi .
My maternal grand father used to do 1,008 gayathri japam 
every day before sunrise at NaatAru bank in Oppiliappan Koil .

There is a special Gayathri with four Paadhams ( quarters)
which are recited by very few . This is the most sacred one.
One needs to wear a third sacred thread for GrahasthAs to
have the adhikAram to perform this sacred chathur Paadha Gayathri . 
One needs to be initiated by a proper AchAryA for this anushtAnam.
The Gayathri manthram in vogue is known as tripAdha GAyathri
and starts with  "Tath savithur --" as the first of the three paadhams .
That is what is recited 1,008 times by most of us . The turIya GAyathri
is recited one tenth of the amount of the other and has a fourth paadham 
beyond ---PrachOdhayath and starts with " parO rajasE ---" .

The sacred meaning of Gayathri manthram has been revealed to 
us by Parasara Bhattar in Sri RangarAjasthavam and by Swami 
Desikan in Satha DhUshaNi ..