Saturday 13 January 2024

How To Do Achamana In Shaiva Tantra

ācamana is a tantric ritual which is performed for self purification. We will look at how this is done in Śaivism.

It comprises two components:

(1) Tīrtha praśna

(2) Aga sparśa

Tīrtha praśna

Sit comfortably with a Pañca pātra filled with clean water.

Using the gokarṇi mudra, place an udharaṇi( spoon ) of water at the centre of the palm, which is cupped.

Image: gokarṇi mudra, performed by slight flexion of the distal interphalangeal, middle phalangeal and metacarpophalangeal joints of the index finger. The middle, ring and little finger are slightly flexed at the metacarpophalangeal joints with extended proximal and distal interphalangeal joints. The thumb is in an adducted and flexed position.

Sip the water which you have placed at the middle part of the palm which is cupped. When you sip the water, you should not make a contact between the lips and your hand. You should just gracefully lift the hand upwards and let the water slip and drop into the mouth.

You do this thrice, but with some rules with it..

With each sip, you should recite the mantras :

(1) oṃ ātmatattvāya svadha

(2) oṃ vidyātattvāya svadha

(3) oṃ śivatattvāya svadha

These three mantras indicate the tattvas in Śaivism.

Also, you must rinse your hand after each sip. After every sip, just take an udharaṇi of water and rinse your hand with the recitation of

oṃ apa upaspṛśya

( translates to, '' thus I am touching the water'' )

So the general flow is 

(1) Sip with recitation of oṃ ātmatattvāya svadha

(2) Rinse with oṃ apa upaspṛśya

(3) Sip with oṃ vidyātattvāya svadha

(4) Rinse with oṃ apa upaspṛśya

(5) Sip with oṃ śivatattvāya svadha

(6) Rinse with oṃ apa upaspṛśya

Now, use the base of the thumb to wipe your lips from right to left, twice with the recitation of

oṃ astrāya phaṭ

Finally, pour some water and rinse both hands reciting

oṃ kavacāya iti apa upaspṛśya

It indicates the washing of hands using the kavaca mantra. This is followed by the Aṅga sparśa

Aṅga sparśa

This refers to the purification of the different parts of the body. Use the thumb to touch various parts of the body with the recitation of:

oṃ hṛdayāya namaḥ

or with addition of the bīja mantra:

oṃ hām hṛdayāya namaḥ

The 12 points to be touched, in sequence:

2.right nostril
3.left nostril
4.right eye
5.left eye
6.right ear
7.left ear
9.chest centre*
10.right shoulder
11.left shoulder

*Where do we specifically touch the chest at? Explained here

This will conclude the acamana process. 


  1. What are the mantras for other 12 points and their corresponding bījas?Thanks in advance!

  2. What are the mantras for other 12 points and their corresponding bījas?Thanks in advance!

  3. Does it matter if we do this or traditional Vishnu names?

    1. This article is specific to Shaiva Agama, as per Shaiva Paddhati. Please seek a Vaishnavite acharya to use Lord Vishnu's names for Achamana.