28 November 2007

Bharani Deepam

The below photographs are taken of the 10th day of Karthigai Deepam Festival.

"The chief priest has just finished a simple ritual called Bharani Deepam and now ceremoniously waves a huge camphor flame in the direction of nearby Arunachala mountain. Although he is chanting Sanskrit slokas, he cannot be heard amidst the deafening furor of devotion that surrounds him. Finally, he touches the flame he is holding to the wicks of five huge, earthen, ghee-filled pots, representing the sacred elements earth, air, fire, water and ether. As these five flames loom up with red-yellow light, the famous, one-day, South Indian festival of Krittika Deepam officially begins."

"A flame taken from the five earthen pots that were lit just after the early morning temple ceremony of Bharani Deepam is kept burning in the Temple throughout the day as a symbol of the merging of manifestation back into God, the one source of all."

The priest under the umbrella is now holding the Bharani Deepam that will be transferred into a protected container and then brought up the mountain by the fishermen and used to light the huge Deepam Cauldron in the evening.

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