Saturday 29 July 2023

The Story & Significance of Pradosha Puja As Per Shaiva Tantra


The sūkṣma āgama contain verses of mantras which describe the story and significance behind pradosha puja in the Shaivite tradition.

त्रयोदशि दिने सायं

शीराब्धि मधनोद्भवं

कपली कृतवान् रुद्रः

कालाग्नि सदृशं विषम्

trayodaśi dine sāyaṃ
śīrābdhi madhanodbhavaṃ
kapalī kṛtavān rudraḥ
kālāgni sadṛśaṃ viṣam

Meaning:

On the 13th day ( trayodaśi dine sāyam ), Lord Rudra consumes the poison resembling the destructive force of Kaalagni ( kālāgni sadṛśam viṣam ),  born out of the ocean of milk ( śīrābdhi ).


Why did He consume the poison?

देवानां च हितार्थाय
व्र्षम् आरुह्य सत्वरं
तस्मिन् कालये मया पीतं करलम्
लोक रक्षया

devānāṃ ca hitārthāya
vrṣam āruhya satvaraṃ
tasmin kālaye mayā pītaṃ karalam
loka rakṣayā

Meaning:

For the welfare of the devas ( devānām ca hitārthāya ), He thus consumed the poison. The lord then mounted ( āruhya ) Himself on the bull ( vrṣam ) quickly ( satvaram ).

In that moment ( tasmin kālaye ) , I ( mayaa ) drank ( piitam ) the terrible ( karalam ) poison, for the protection of the world ( loka rakShayaa ).


करोति पूजां यो भक्त्या सर्व पापैः प्रमुच्यते

karoti pūjāṃ yo bhaktyā sarva pāpaiḥ pramucyate

Meaning:

Anyone who performs ( karoti ) puja with bhakti during this time ( of pradosha ), is untied ( pramuchyate ) from all ( sarva ) sins ( paapaiH ).


Why is Pradosha Puja performed in the evening?

Saayam kaalam is also referred to as the samhaara kaala ( destruction ). Udaya Kaalam ( morning ) is referred to as srisHTi kaalam ( creation). This is when we wake up and prepare for work. It is a phase when we are in a productive mode ( mode of creation ). Madhyāhnam ( afternoon ) is referred to as sthiti kaalam ( preservation ). This is when we take meal and have rest to preserve the functionality of the body/ mind.

So Pradosha Puja happens during the samhaara kaalam because this is related to the mode of destruction personified by the poison born out of the milky ocean. Lord Shiva consumes the poison which would otherwise destroy the world.

सायं सम्हार काल त्वा 
सर्व दोष अपनुत्तये

sāyaṃ samhāra kāla tvā 
sarva doṣa apanuttaye

Meaning:

You are the dispeller ( apanuttaye ) of all sins ( sarva doSha ) during the period of samhaara kaala.


विश्व रक्षा करं धर्मं वृषभं प्रथमं यजेत्

viśva rakṣā karaṃ dharmaṃ vṛṣabhaṃ prathamaṃ yajet

Meaning:

Thus, we worship the bull first ( vR^iShabham prathamaM yajet ), for the welfare and protection of the Universe.

In Shaiva Agamas, the bull ( vR^iShabha ) is dharma devata. He is the form of dharma. As dharma, He protects the cosmos.

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