Once upon a time, in a land steeped in spirituality, there existed a profound tradition known as pradakshina—a mystical dance performed by devotees around deities in temples.
This captivating ritual held the key to unlocking the divine blessings and spiritual grace bestowed upon those who embarked on its sacred path.
Join me on a captivating journey as we unravel the secrets and stories behind the art of pradakshina.
Why is the “Pradakshina” important?
In the heart of the bustling town, stood a magnificent temple, home to a revered deity. Devotees flocked to the temple seeking solace, guidance, and a glimpse of the divine.
Among them was a curious soul named Ravi, whose heart yearned for a deeper connection with the deity. One day, as he approached the temple, a wise priest approached him with a gentle smile.
“Dear Ravi,” the priest began, “If you seek to receive the maximum benefit from your darshan, I encourage you to embark on the sacred journey of pradakshina.”
Intrigued, Ravi leaned in closer, eager to learn more about this mystical practice.
“To commence the pradakshina,” the priest explained, “begin by moving at a medium pace from the left side of the garbha-gruha, the sanctum sanctorum. Fold your hands in the Namaskar-mudra, a gesture of reverence, and chant the deity’s name. Let the rhythmic chants guide your steps as you begin your circumambulation.”
As Ravi absorbed the priest’s words, he couldn’t help but wonder about the significance of the number of pradakshinas to be performed.
The priest continued :
“The general rule is that for male deities, the number of pradakshinas should be in even numbers—0, 2, 4, 6—symbolizing the association with the divine creator, Brahman. On the other hand, for female deities, odd numbers—1, 3, 5, 7—are preferred, representing the primordial feminine energy, Maya, from which the universe emerged.”
Intrigued by the deep symbolism, Ravi realized that there was more to pradakshina than a simple act of walking around the deity. It was a harmonious dance between the physical and the spiritual realms, bridging the gap between devotees and the divine.
Ravi, suddenly remembered what his grandfather had told him, he quickly looked at the priest and asked, “Are their specific numbers of pradakshinas associated with the Saptadevtas? “(the seven deities revered across the land).
The priest was extremely pleased by Ravi’s knowledge, and with a twinkle in his eyes, the priest explained, “My dear Ravi, the number of pradakshinas may vary according to different schools of thought and the intention of the devotee. Each deity holds unique qualities and energies, and the numbers associated with their pradakshinas reflect those qualities.”
(For Saptdevatas numbers are specific, for other deities,
if god: even number, if goddess: odd number)
The priest then shared the prescribed numbers specific for the ” Saptadevatas”, as per their energies.
- Lord Shiva, the embodiment of the unmanifested nirgun energy, requires no pradakshinas.
- Goddess Durga, representing the manifest sagun energy (omen, luck, fortunate, auspicious moment), calls for one pradakshina.
- Srikrishna, the complete incarnation embodying iccha-shakti, kriya-shakti, and dnyan-shakti, is revered with three pradakshinas.
- Lord Rama, the ideal king, representing the four stages of life, is honoured with four pradakshinas.
- Hanuman, the epitome of devotion and the master of the Pancha-tattvas, demands five pradakshinas.
- Lord Dattatreya, the divine trinity of Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, inspires devotees to undertake seven pradakshinas.
- Sri Ganapati, the lord of all eight directions, receives homage with eight pradakshinas.
As Ravi listened to the priest’s explanations, he realized that numbers weren’t mere rituals; they represented profound spiritual connections and qualities associated with each deity.
It was as if the numbers themselves held a divine language, whispering messages of devotion and transformation.
Eager to embark on this sacred journey, Ravi stepped inside the temple and began his pradakshina. With each step, his heart grew lighter, and his mind quieted, as he surrendered himself to the divine presence.
The rhythmic chants of the deity’s name echoed in his soul, guiding his every move. As he completed his pradakshina, Ravi found himself standing before the deity, filled with a sense of peace and bliss.
He bowed his head in gratitude, knowing that he had embarked on a journey that transcended the physical realm.
The dance of pradakshina opened the doors to a deeper connection, where the divine and the devotee merged into one. From that day forward, Ravi continued to embrace the sacred practice of pradakshina, not merely as a ritual but as a profound spiritual experience.
He understood that it was a dance of devotion, a journey of the soul, and a testament to the eternal bond between humans and the divine.
And so, the tradition of pradakshina lived on, weaving its magic through generations, guiding countless seekers on the path of devotion, and whispering stories of love, reverence, and spiritual transformation to all who embarked on its sacred path.
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