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The word PradhakshiNam and the performance of PradhakshiNa KriyA .

From: Sadagopan (sgopan_at_computer.net)
Date: Thu Oct 14 1999 - 17:32:29 PDT

Dear BhakthAs :
 
Let us look at both Pra and dakshiNam 
forming the word , PradakshiNam .
Pra  as an adjective means very much .
Pra can also come as a prefix to verbs and
take on the meaning of onward, forward. 

Onward to DakshiNam  or south is pradakshiNam .
When one does that , one's right side is facing 
the Moolavar inside the garbhagraham and 
the circumambulation is DakshiNAchAram 
or auspicous as recommended by the vedam .
Alternatives are VaamAchAram and are taantric 
in character. 

Unaadi soothrAs break up the word DakshiNa into
Daksh+iNan , meaning as being situated in the South .
Dakshina also means sincere, auspicious , dextrous
and the Southern sacred fire (DakshiNAgni , one of 
the three VaidhigAgnis ) used in Vedic sacrifices .
Although we can elaborately study the connections
of these different meanings to the auspicious act 
of PradkshiNam , we will focus on the Rg Vedic Usage 
of the word of pradakshiNam in its second KhANdam .

Yajn~yavalkya smruthi defines PradakshiNam as 
the act of circumambulation ,where one's right side 
is facing the object or person . PradakshiNam around
the fire in Vedic marraiges or PradakshiNam of a sacred
hill like Thirumalai or PerumAL's garbha graham follows
this rule to assure auspiciousness. The opposite is 
amangaLam .

Coming to the Rg Vedic verses (Rg: 2.42.3 and 2.43.1),
we can see the Vedic context of PradakshiNam .

Here Vedhic pasage equates the Jeevan sititng 
inside the cage of body  as the voice of 
inner consciousness and an auspicious one ( BhadravAdhI
sakunthE ). The entire Rk praying to that inner conscience
is (Rg Vedam -2.42.3):

ava krandha DAKSHINATHO gruhANaam SUMANGALO BhadravAdhI sakunthE
maa na: sthEna Eesatha maagasamsO bruhaddhEma vidhathE suveerA:

(Meaning ):" O Sacred Bird (the voice of inner conscience ) ,
the proclaimer of all that is good , benign and benovolent ,
may you cry(speak) from the right (or south ) of our dwellings 
(or hearts). May no thief , no evil doer, prevail against us.
May we , blessed with excellent decendents , worthily praise
you in this assembly of  devotees ".

The JeevAthmA going around the ParamAthmA in a mood of
reverential salutation and moving  from the right to left
and proceeding in a southerly direction is implied here .

The next Rk talks specifically about PradakshiNam :

PRADAKSHINIDHAPI gruNanthi kAravO 
vayO vadhantha rithuthA Sakunthaya:I
ubhE vAchou vadhathi SaamagA iva
Gaayathram cha thraishtubham chAnu rAjathi II..Rg Vedam 2.43.1

(meaning ):" May the bird of inner conscience guide us 
from time to time proclaiming the CIRCUMAMBULATIONS ,
according to circumstances ,like the chanter of hymns.
The conscience speaks out both the types of hymns like
a saman-singer , having a mastery over the Gaayathri ,
the UshNik , the Thrishtubh and the Jagathi songs ".

The pradakhiNam of the Supreme Lord with different 
Veda manthrams ( in different metres) and circumambulating 
Him in Aathma PradakshiNam and BhAhya PradakshiNams 
in a clockwise manner is indicated here.

The Vedic prayer as one circumambulates in the manner
prescribed by the VedAs is housed as Rg Veda manthram 3.14.2/

ayAmi thE NAMA UKTHIM Jushasva
rithAvasthubhyam chEthanE sahasva:I
vidhvAgum aa vakshi vidhushO ni 
shathsi madhya aa barhir uthayE yajathra II

(meaning):" To You Oh adorable Lord ,the sustainer
of eternal laws , I offer my reverential salutations.
Oh possessor of strength , expounder of ceremony ,may You 
accept them ; and wise as You are , may You bring men of
wisdom here. Oh Pious One ! May You enshrine hearts of 
devotees for (their) protection ".

" Nama Ukthi " here  is SaraNAgathi . With anjali mudrA ,
One performs pradakshiNam around the Lord with the face
and mind turned towards Him , while remembering His
strength , apAra KaaruNyam ,unfathomable dayA and 
beseech Him to bless us with Bhaagavatha sambhnadham .

The other rks of this section go on further to
describe the mind set of one offering salutations to
the Lord , while doing PradakshiNams :

" with uplifted hands , approaching You with 
reverence , we present to You today our deep
devotion....May You , Oh immortal Lord , cherish
and bless every one , who is worthily virtuous."

Subhamasthu ,Vedha PurushAya nama:
Daasan , V.Sadagopan