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NITAAI-Veda.nyf > All Scriptures By Acharyas > Deity Worship > Naimittika Kriyas

Naimittika Kriyas

 

Occasional activities of the vaishnava may be fortnightly (paksa krtya), as in the case of ekadashi and mahadvadasi; according to the month (masa krtya), as in the case of celebrations such as Janmastami or Ramanavami; or more occasional (kadacitka krtya), as in the case of installation of murtis, building temples, and samskaras. Hari Bhakti Vilasa deals with all except the samskaras, which are presented in another book Sat Kriya Sara Dipika by Shrila Gopala Bhatta Goswami.

 

After discussing the daily activities of the grhasta devotee, and describing in detail one of the daily activities-arcana or deity worship. Sanatana Goswami describes the paksa and masa krtyas, which are primary angas of bhakti.

 

These activities may be divided into three categories: upavasa, vrata and utsava. Upavasa means fasting, or abstinence from food and all sorts of sense enjoyment. According to the scriptures this means abstinence from all food for one day, with the exception of anukalpa, foods which may be taken without breaking the fast. Vrata may involve upavasa or full fasting, or may involve abstinence from certain items of food or taking only certain items of food such as milk, for one or more days, along with the performance of some special devotional activity, such as chanting more rounds, and offering extra puja to the deity. In the case of caturmasya vrata it lasts for four months. Utsava means festival, special service for and worship of the deity, and feasting, distribution of the Lord's remnants. Some vratas and upavasa may end in utsava, and some utsavas may be performed independently of any vrata or upavasa, such as Ratha Yatra, Rasa Utsava, and Dola Yatra.

 

Compulsory Upavasa:

 

Some days have been selected by the acarya as obligatory fast days. One of these is ekadashi (including mahadvadasi). Shri Chaitanya himself set the example in Puri. Others include Krishna Janmastami, the appearance day of Lord Krishna, and Gaura Purnima, the appearance day of Lord Chaitanya, which are also occasions for utsava. Lord Krishna and Lord Chaitanya are the worshipable deities of the sampradaya:

 

     One has to perform devotional service in full tapasya, austerity. One should fast on the two ekadashi days, which fall on the eleventh day of the waxing and waning moon, and on the birthday of Lord Krishna, Lord Rama and Chaitanya Mahaprabhu. There are many such fast days.

SB3.27.22

 

Any appearance day of an avatara of Vishnu may be observed as a fast day, and as an utsava, with special worship of the deity and distribution of prasadam on the day following the fast. If an appearance day of an avatara whom one is worshipping in one's temple occurs, usually one observes the fast as well as the utsava, as a gesture of surrender to one's worshippable deity. If one does not have a deity of the avatara in one's temple one may choose to simply observe the utsava, or special worship with distribution of prasadam, but one may choose to fast in this case as well. In either case the Lord in his avatara form should be given special worship. The avataras include Ramacandra, Nrsimha, Vamana, Varaha, Balarama, and Nityananda. In the case of Vamana and Varaha, vrata for their appearance is natural, for it is simultaneous with ekadashi vrata.

 

The utsava, or special worship on these appearance will consist of arcana of the avatara concerned, according to the pancaratrika rules outlined in the arcana manual. The arcana may be public with abhiseka using many items, offerings of raja upacara (service befitting royalty), and special bhoga offering and prasadam distribution. If there is no murti of the avatara, a special murti may be made and installed for the occasion, or worship may be performed on a salagrama, in a picture or ghata (water pot),by performing avahana as described in the arcana manual.

 

The appearance days of the consorts of the consorts of the Lord, such as Radharani and Sita devi are also observed, usually by utsava, as described above, though some devotees may fast as well.

 

Appearance and disappearance days of the associates of Lord Chaitanya and the Acaryas of the sampradaya are observed by utsava, which may include special worship of that personality in the case of Lord Chaitanya's associates, or special worship of the acarya concerned (eg. in vrndavana on Jiva Goswami's disappearance day scholars assemble at his samadhi and sit and read out loud his books) along with worship of the parampara acaryas, and distribtion of prasadam. The worship of the acarya should be performed to a murti, picture or shoes of the acarya, using five, ten or sixteen articles as outlined in the puja manual.

 

On the utsava days there must be glorification (kirtana) of the personality being worshipped and plenty of Hare Krishna kirtana.

 

A common form of worship of Lord Chaitanya's associates on their appearance or disappearance days, which is prevalent in Bengal, is the performance of Nama Yajna, sacrifice of the holy name, or worship through kirtana. In the same manner that Lord Chaitanya himself held long kirtanas at Shrivasa's house and many temples in Bengal, devotees may hold kirtanas lasting one or more days continuously, with kirtana groups changing every (prahara) three hours.

 

The Vaishnava Calaendar:

 

The system of reckoning day for celebrating festivals and observing vratas is based on the lunar calendar. The lunar calendar is based on the changing phases of the moon. Within the span of about twenty nine days, the moon decreases (waning phase or krishna paksa) from full shape (full moon or purnima) to darkness (new moon or amavasya) and then increases again (waxing phase or gaura paksa) to the full moon again. As these stages cannot be measured accurately with the naked eye, they are mathematically calculated by measuring the distance between the sun and the moon. At complete amavasya the distance is 0, and at purnima, the distance between the sun and the moon is maximum, 180 degrees. This distance is divided into fifteen equal parts of 12 degrees each. The duration of time that it takes the moon to move 12 degrees is calculated as one lunar day or tithi. There are thus fifteen lunar days or tithis in the waning phase and fifteen lunar days in the waxing phase of the moon, or thirty lunar days in one lunar month.

 

The lunar days however, are not of equal length, due to the complex movements of both the sun and the moon in relation to the earth, and thus do not corespond to the days and the nights of the solar calendar. A lunar day may end at any time of the day or night. Vratas and festivals however are observed according to the passing of day and night, the usual measurement by which we live. If a particular tithi occupies the sunrise, then that day is usually called by the tithi name, and whatever vrata is connected with it is observed on that day. As a tithi may cover two sunrises, it may therefore occupy two solar days; or it may not touch any sunrise, and therefore not appear as a calendar day.

 

Since the lunar year, made up of twelve lunar months, is eleven days shorter than the solar year, as the years pass, the lunar calendar runs ahead of the actual seasons by days and months. To halt this, every three years an extra month, called adhika masa or purusottama is added, to bring the calendar in line with the seasons again.

 

The traditional names of the lunar are as follows, starting from the first day: pratipat, dvitiya, tritiya, caturthi, pancami, sasthi, saptami, astami, navami, dasami, ekadashi, dvadasi, trayodasi, caturdasi, amavasya (waning phase), purnima (waning phase). The same names, except for amavasya and purnima, are used for both waning and waxing phases. To more clearly identify the lunar day, the phase is also mentioned. The waning phase is called Krishna paksa or dark fortnight, and the waxing phase is called sukla or gaura paksa or light fortnight. Thus gaura pratipat means the first lunar tithi of the waxing phase of the moon, the day following the purnima.

 

The names of the twelve months, starting with the first month of the year, are: vaisakha, jyaistha, asadha, sravana, bhadra, asvina, kartika, agrahayana or margasirsa, pausa, magha, phalguna, and caitra. Based on scriptual evidence, Shrila Bhaktisiddhanta Sarasvati Thakura has devised a lunar calendar using the names of visnu for the days of the month, the phases, the months, and the constellations. The most commonly used names are those of the months. Those corresponding to the previous list are as follows: madhusudana, trivikrama, vamana, shridhara, hrsikesa, padmanabha, damodara, kesava, narayana, madhava, govinda, visnu.

 

In this calendar however, the year does not begin with Vaisakha, but with the day following Lord Chaitanya's appearance on the phalguna purnima. Thus the first month of the Gaudiya vaishnava year is visnu (caitra). The years are also reckoned from the birth of Lord Chaitanya. Thus the year 1984 AD is 498 Chaitanya era.

 

Acarya Puja:

 

Celebration of the Appearance or Disappearance of Sampradaya Acarya:

 

On appearance (avirbhava tithi) one should invite vaishnavas and honour the acarya by praising his qualities. One should worship him as follows.

 

Panca Upacara:

 

Perform all purificatory rites (purvanga karma, such as bhuta suddhi) according to the puja manual).

 

Acarya Dhyana

 

Manasa Puja

 

Mantra:

 

One may use guru mula mantra (for one's own guru), om parama gurave namah (for one's guru's guru), om paratpara gurave namah (for the guru of one's guru's guru, grand guru), om maha gurave namah (great grand guru), om paramesthi gurave namah (for the great great grand guru) if the mantras aply, or use the name in the dative case with namah (or svaha) for other personalities.

 

esa gandhah + mula mantra

idam sa gandha puspam + mula mantra

esa dhupah + mula mantra

esa dipah + mula mantra

idam naivedyam + mula mantra

 

esa puspanjali + mula mantra (all assembled devotees may offer flowers and pranamas three times)

 

One should offer pranamas using the prayer of the Acarya:

 

eg.

     namah om visnu padaya krishnaya prsthaya bhutale

     shrimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

 

     namaste sarasvati devam gaura vani pracarine

     nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

 

     om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya

     caksur unmilitam yena tasmai shri gurave namah

 

One may also perform aratrika with nama kirtana:

 

     shri krishna chaitanya prabhu nityananda

     shri advaita gadadhara shrivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda

 

     hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare

     hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

 

or

Dasa Upacara (offering of ten items):

 

Dhyana

 

Manasa Puja

 

etat padyam + mula mantra

idam arghyam + mula mantra

idam acamaniyam + mula mantra

esa madhuparkah + mula mantra

idam acamaniyam + mula mantra

esa gandhah + mula mantra

idam sa gandha puspam + mula mantra

esa dhupah + mula mantra

esa dipah + mula mantra

idam naivedyam + mula mantra

esa puspanjali + mula mantra (all the assembled devotees may all offer flowers and pranamas three times)

 

pranama:

 

     namah om visnu padaya krishnaya prsthaya bhutale

     shrimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

 

     namaste sarasvati devam gaura vani pracarine

     nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

 

     om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya

     caksur unmilitam yena tasmai shri gurave namah

 

Aratrika and Kirtana:

 

shri krishna chaitanya prabhu nityananda

shri advaita gadadhara shrivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda

 

hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare

hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

 

or

 

Sodasa Upacara Puja (offering of sixteen items):

(the items in parentheses are additional)

 

Dhyanam

 

Manasa Puja

 

idam asanam + mula mantra

svagatam su svagatam + mula mantra

etat padyam + mula mantra

idam arghyam + mula mantra

idam acamaniyam + mula mantra

esa madhuparkah + mula mantra

idam acamaniyam + mula mantra

idam snaniyam + mula mantra

idam vastram + mula mantra

(idam tilakam) + mula mantra

idam abharanam + mula mantra

esa gandha + mula mantra

idam sagandha puspam + mula mantra

esa dhupah + mula mantra

esa dipah + mula mantra

idam naivedyam + mula mantra

(idam paniyam) + mula mantra

(idam acamaniyam) + mula mantra

(idam tambulam) + mula mantra

esa puspanjali + mula mantra (all assembled devotees may offer flowers and pranamas three times)

 

pranama:

 

     namah om visnu padaya krishnaya prsthaya bhutale

     shrimate bhaktivedanta swamin iti namine

 

     namaste sarasvati devam gaura vani pracarine

     nirvisesa sunyavadi pascatya desa tarine

 

     om ajnana timirandhasya jnananjana salakaya

     caksur unmilitam yena tasmai shri gurave namah

 

Aratrika and Kirtana:

 

     shri krishna chaitanya prabhu nityananda

     shri advaita gadadhara shrivasadi gaura bhakta vrnda

 

     hare krishna hare krishna krishna krishna hare hare

     hare rama hare rama rama rama hare hare

 

One should distribute sumptuous prasadam to all present.

 

If the appearance day of the acarya falls on a fast day such as ekadashi, then feasting is held on the next day.

 

Tirobhava (Disappearance days):

 

On the yearly disappearance day of an ordinary person, sraddha rites are held in which offerings are made to the ancestors and desceased and the brahmanas are fed. However, Vaishnavas should instead worship guru, Vishnu, then the parampara acaryas (the spiritual ancestors), and the acarya being commemorated. The acaryas should be offered Krishna prasadam. The acaryas may be called to be present in installed pots (ghats or kumbhas) and worshipped there with as many articles as possible (5, 10 or 16).

 

The personalities being worshipped may be grouped in fives as follows:

 

4 Kumaras and Visvaksena

 

4 sampradaya acaryas (Ramanuja, Madhva, Vishnuswami and Nimbarka)

 

4 Vishnus (Vasudeva, Sankarsana, Pradyumna and Aniruddha) and Krishna

 

4 Veda acaryas (Jaimini etc.) and Vedavyasa

 

4 previous gurus and acarya of the occasion

 

4 yugala murtis (Gaura Gadadhara and Radha Krishna) and Guru

 

Pancatattva

 

After worshipping with as many articles (upacaras as one can) and offering naivedyam, one should worship the acarya of the occasion with sixteen upacaras (as listed in the appearance day procedures)

and glorify him to the best of one's ability. All the assembled Vaishnavas may participate in the worship by offering puspanjali (handfuls of flowers) and pranamas with pranama prayers three times. Aratrika may then be held and the assembled Vaishnavas should be fed sumptuous mahaprasadam.

 

Welcome of an Acarya:

 

One can perform the same type of worship, presenting five, ten or sixteen upacaras when an acarya comes to one's house or temple, or simply carry out the acts of hospitality as described under reception of guests:

 

meeting the person

seating the person

washing his feet with cool water

offering a lamp or more elaborate worship, such as aratrika with seven items

offering food or water

offering garlands and candana

offering gifts

offering a place to rest

accompanying him out when he leaves

Purna Kumbha (Greeting with a full pot):

 

In the case of a sannyasi acarya one can welcome him in person with a mangala ghata (pot with coconut) and chanting of sannyasa sukta. When greeting a grhasta acarya one may chant from "Vedaham etam purusam mahantam to santi devah" or any vedic mantra ending in santih such as the invocations to the different upanisads.

 

Sannyasa Sukta:

 

na karmana na prajaya dhanena tyagenaike amrtatvam anasuh

parena nakam nihitam guhayam vibhrajate yad yatayo visanti

 

vedanta vijnana suniscatarthah sannyasa yogad yatayah suddha sattvah

te brahma loke tu paranta kale paramrtat parimucyanti sarve

 

dahram vipapamam paravesma bhutam yat pundarikam pura madhya samstham

tatrapi dahram gaganam visokas tasmin yad antas tad upasitavyam

 

yad vedadau svarah prokto vedante ca pratisthatah

tasya prkrti linasya yah parah sa mahesvarah

 

One can attain eternal life in association with the Lord, not by one's own pious activities (as recommended in the karma khanda section of the vedas), nor by the pious activities of one's sons, nor by accumulation of any type of wealth, but only by renunciation of all enjoyment for oneself and offering everything to the Supreme Lord. That state of perfection, which is attaind by the real sannyasis, is situated far beyond this world, and is difficult to reach for the ordinary man.

 

The sannyasis, having realized the actual conclusion of the Vedic statements, having given up personal sense enjoyment for engagement in the Lord's service, and being completely cleansed of the material modes, at the end of their lives become freed from the material world and enter the Vaikuntha realm.

 

There is a lotus situated within the body, in the middle of the heart, a place free from all suffering. It is the spiritual sky, free from all material contamination and lamentation. There resides the object of our worship.

 

Who is proclaimed at the begining of the Vedas, and is firmly established at the end of the Vedas, who stands beyond the material world, who is second to none, He is the Supreme Lord.