The infant Rama.
Today is a very special day. It is the Pran Pratishtha ceremony at Ayodhya, the birthplace of Rama. The deity is called Ram Lalla, which means the infant Rama. Pran Pratishtha means the establishment of life force. The ceremony permeates energy into the murti (statue) of Rama Lalla, transforming it into a deity. This bridges the gap between devotees and the object of their adoration and unites the divine with the material. The deity is now invited as a resident guest by invocations of hymns and mantras. And the deity’s eyes are opened for the first time. The deity is blindfolded until the ceremony and then the deity is all seeing.
Significance of the ceremony
Each step is important.
- Shobha yatra: A procession of the statue is taken through the temple’s neighborhood. The statue is greeted by onlookers and their devotion is believed to be transferred to the statue. It is the first step of transforming the statue into a deity.
- Rituals at mandap: A prayer at the mandap is held to awaken the statue and secure its preparedness to relinquish life if damaged. This ritual ensures the smooth transition of life from the damaged idol to a new one if necessary.
- Adivas: The ritual ‘adivas’ involves submerging the statue in water and grain. It has a dual significance—it is believed to heal injuries during crafting and identify defects or low—quality materials.
- Ritual bath and ‘Abhishek’: Post-adivas, a ritual bath is performed for the statue and the statues are given a sacred bath not only with water but also with fragrant flower essence, water from cow horns, sugarcane juice etc.
- Opening the deity’s eyes: During this ritual, kohl is applied around the eyes with a gold needle. This ritual is carried from the behind as it is believed that looking directly into the eyes of the divine maybe overwhelming.
I think of Swami Sivananda, who said, “Shree Ram Jai Ram, Jai Jai Ram,” was the most powerful mantra. This mantra will protect one from all evil.
Aim Hrim Klim