25 November 2010

Bharani Deepam 2010

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At about 4:30 am on the day of Bharani Deepam, which this year fell on December 21st this is how the day started:

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. This single flame is referred to as the Bharani Deepam.

"There is immense significance in this first Krittika Deepam ceremony called Bharani Deepam. At this time, the universal Lord manifests as the five elements, which will later fully merge to become one when the Krittika Deepam flame is lit in the evening. From one to many and many to one. This is the whole essence of Saivism and the meaning of Krittika Deepam."

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