The Sanskrit term “circumambulation,” or walking around in a “circle,” is “Pradakshinam.” In Hindu ceremonies, this is a part of the worship. The devotee walks around the garbha griha, the temple deity’s innermost chamber in the shrine. A sacred fire (Agni), the Tulsi plant, and the Peepal tree are also used by Hindus. Parikrama is also a name for it.
Pradakshinam literally means “to the right” (dakshina means “right”). To keep the deity on our right side, we therefore perform Pradakshinam on our left side. Pradakshina is usually performed after traditional worship (pooja) and paying respects to the deity have been completed. Pradakshinam must be performed meditatively by devotees.
According to the Rig Vedic verses, the word “Pra” means “very much.” It also serves as a verb prefix and means “forward” or “onward.” Pradakshinam continues south to Dakshinam. Therefore, inside the garbha griha, one faces the deity on their right side. As a result, the circumambulation is Dakshinacharam, or fortunate.
The Skanda Purana says that “Pra” gets rid of sin, “Da” gives you what you want, “Ksi” gets rid of Karma, and “Na” gives you salvation.
When performing yajnas or poojas, Hindus circumnavigate the sanctum sanctorum of the temple and the deities at home in a clockwise direction. Our existence is centered on God. He is everywhere. As a result, when we practice Pradakshinam, we acknowledge that God is at the center of everything we do and think.
Regardless of the distance we travel during the Pradakshina, the center point remains constant. The eternal truth that God is the focal point of human existence and the center of gravity is brought to mind by this. Pradakshinam is based on this idea.
The distance between each point on a circle’s circumference and its center is the same. Therefore, we are all equally close to God, regardless of where we are or who we are. He extends his grace without favoritism or bias.
According to Adi Sankaracharya, real Pradakshinam is meditating on the fact that thousands of universes revolve around God, the unchanging center of all forms.
The sun is the center of the solar system, and the planets revolve around it. In a similar manner, God occupies the center of Pradakshinam. The Pradakshinam must be performed slowly and never hurriedly, and our thoughts and actions must be directed toward God. Because we believe that God is on our right side, Pradakshinam always moves in the opposite direction of the clock. We are reminded to live a righteous life by it.
Benefits of Pradakshinam
The first Pradakshinam gets rid of all sins, including the sin of killing Brahmins (Brahmahathya). The second Pradakshinam makes you an adhikaari, which means you are qualified for material and spiritual pursuits, and the third Pradakshinam helps you get naindra-sampaada, which are the pleasures of life that lead to salvation. The most beneficial dosage is 21 Pradakshinams per day. They can get rid of one’s ego, whether they are aware of it or not. The ability to let go of one’s ego is one important reason to visit temples.
There must be a center point in order to draw a circle. God is our life’s center, source, and essence. This is acknowledged by Pradakshinam. We carry out our daily tasks because we know that God is the center of our lives. The significance of Pradakshinam lies in this.
Legend behind Pradakshinam
The significance of Pradakshina is the subject of a well-known legend. One time, Shiva instructed his sons Muruga and Ganesha to travel the universe to acquire “worldly experience.” While Muruga rode his peacock around the world for many years, Ganesha only traveled around his parents once. He claimed that he had already circumvented the universe because his parents contained the entire universe!
Significance of Pradakshinam
One aspect of Hinduism’s Shodashopachara, or the sixteen-step worship of a deity, is Pradakshinam. Positive energies build up around the idol or temple because Veda Mantras are chanted frequently in the temple grounds. As a result, practicing Pradakshinam purifies the mind and allows one to absorb the divine aura and positive energy that surround the deity.
Pradakshinam is also a type of expansion called Prayaschitta. In a meditative state, one must perform it with complete humility and devotion and focus on the deity in question. Pradakshina is both a state of total surrender before the deity and a way to show respect and obeisance. It should be done slowly and with your hands folded.
Types of Pradakshinam
Atma Pradakshinam is the practice of circumambulating oneself and recognizing one’s own Atma. Giri Valam means to walk around a hill. Adi Pradakshinam: Walking very slowly around a city; When walking forward, one foot’s heel touches the other foot’s toes. Anga Pradakshinam: After bathing in the well or pond of the temple, one rolls around in wet clothes and chants the deity’s name. Poduthal Mutti: kneeling around the temple for the circumambulation.
The following are the main tenets of parikrama: Tulsi plant Peepal tree Sacred Cow (Gho Pradakshinam) The sacred fire (Agni, the fire God) Sometimes, the outermost parikrama path covers the entire village, town, or city. In the event that their prayers are granted, many devotees swear to carry out Pradakshinam. Therefore, individuals may perform 10, 108, or 1000 rounds following a successful wedding, childbirth, or surgery. Pradakshinams are said to remove sins from one’s present and past lives with each step. Temples are not necessary locations for the Pradakshina.