woke up 4.30am today, to do Ganapathi Homam at Arasakesari Sivan Temple. We aren’t one of those families that do ubayam often, so was an experience.
Ganapathi/Vinayagar – or Elephant God as non-Hindus know Him – is one of the main Gods in Hinduism. Commonly thought as the One who removes obstacles. So Hindus pray to Vinayagar before they embark on any task.
Homam means creating a fire, in belief of divine presence. Homams are done within a square (as far as i know), and firewood, ghee, and other auspicious stuff are offered into the fire at specific instances during the prayers and its thought that these offerings will reach God and our prayers will be granted.
i read about the term ‘bootaagni’, but dont quite understand the technicalities, so i cant explain. but i understand that its supposed to be the fire within oneself, which can burn strongly if he overcomes desire, anger, greed, false prestige, jealousy and is full of compassion and devotion. but since that is difficult for most ppl, there’s the external fire in the form of homam which seeks to do the same.
and after a Homam, a person is said to be cleansed, and the internal fire burns better and will be able to achieve his tasks more effectively. especially meditation.
im no priest/brahmin, so i tried searching for explanations for the steps we/priest performed during the rituals. couldnt find any. like why he had to keep sprinking water on the coconut and what’s the significance of wearing that leaf ring, why place hand left over right for girls and right over left for guys (if i remember correctly), what all his hand gestures meant (aavaahani, samsthaapani, sannidhaapani, sannirodhini, avakunthana), etc……. if someone knows, i’d be glad to seek understanding what what i saw this morning.
here’s what i found though:
the beginning of the prayers, the priest does something with his fingers and nose. he’s actually doing praanayam – controlled breathing. breathes through his right while saying a mantram, holds his breath and says is again, releases his breath through his left nostril, breathes in through his left, holds his breath and releases through his right, all the time saying the mantram.
the placing of hands one over the other on the right lap is to declare your intentions for the homam. once done, you wash hands and light a lamp to signify the start of the ritual, i think.
i read that there’s supposed to be six lines below the homam container. i dont remember seeing that line, maybe it was.
then there’s a prayer done to the Fire God. Vinayagar in invoked into the fire. a few other stuff are done, and we are supposed to walk around the homam 3 times (which we didnt do). and then there’s the ending part.
all’s good in good faith.