Dictionary Of Hindu Religion | Dictionary
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See also Graas in Hindu Scriptures
(1) Kush was the name of one of the two sons of Raam and Seetaa, the other was Lav.
(4) Kush or Kushaa - a kind of grass which is used by Hindu in their religious activities. Thee are three types of grass used by Hindu in their religious activities - Darbhaa grass, Kush grass, and Doorvaa grass. Although Darbhaa grass is considered very holy and it should be used where it is available; but when Darbhaa grass is not available one may use Kush or Kushaa grass; or when Kush grass is not available one may use Doorvaa (argumpill) grass, and if even Doorvaa grass is not available oe may use normal grass. Kush grass is considered holy because Garud Jee placed the Amrit Kalash on the blades of Kush grass when he brought it to free his mother Vinataa from the slavery of her sister Kadroo.
This grass is generally used in religious Hom (Yaga) and Pitri Karm. It is said that no sacred activity is sacred without this grass. Braahman always keep this grass with them, because it is used in many kinds of activities for purification. Kush in Sanskrit language means "sharp" in the sense of keen intelligence or Kushal (expert). Its blades grow in pairs along the tall stems are very sharp. So lie the sword it denotes the discriminatory power - wisdom. It is an age old tradition to cover the food with Kush grass during the Solar eclipse to protect them from harmful ultra violet rays. Its oil can be used in Summer for its cooling effect. Even Kush flavored Sharbat (syrup) is used for its cooling effect.
Puraan say that it was formed when the hairs on Koorm Avataar were loosened during the churning of Ocean and got washed away to the shore and became as Kush grass. Later when Amrit came out of the Ocean, some of its drops fell on this grass also, that is why it became more sacred. Kush grass is identified with Vishnu and is believed to have the power of purifying anything. It was used to make ritual seat (Aasan) as far as back to Ved period.
Excerpts from the book "The Great Hindu Tradition"
There are several types of grass that can be used such as Darbhaa, Vishwaamitra, Moonj, Sara etc. The botanical name of Darbhaa is "Poa Cynosuroides". Even modern researchers speak of its special characteristics and the power of its vibrations. Tradition avers that Brahmaa Jee resides at the roots of Kush grass, Keshav in the centre and Shankar in the tip; and other Gods in the four directions – as in the case of a Peepal tree. Great sages like Harit, Maarkandeya, Atri, Kaushik, Vyaas, Saataatapa, Yaagyavalkya, Ashwaalaayan and Aapastambh have eulogized Darbhaa. Though there are minor variations in the use ofKush in Dev Karm and Pitri Karm, there is unison among all the Rishi in underscoring the place of Kush in all rites and rituals. Our Ved talk about it, and there are many Pauranik stories woven around Kush grass.
(1) The Ved too speak specifically of the value of Kush : the Achchhidra section
of Krishn Yajur Ved Braahman is a case in point.
How to Wear this Grass
Generally one does not prepare Kush for oneself. It is either received from the family Purohit or a properly qualified elderly person. Of course if the Pavitram is not available from these sources one can prepare himself for oneself. The Kush has to be fresh and the Pavitram should be prepared just before the start of a ritual – it should not be stocked.
There are restrictions in the number of Kush leaves used to prepare the Pavitram. In Vaidik recitations, meditation and for Poojaa it is prepared from 2 leaves of the grass. In all ancestral worship like Shraaddh or Amaavasyaa libations 3 leaves are used. In death rites Kush is prepared with only one leaf of the grass. Though the number of leaves may change, the shape, size and method of preparing it do not change.
The Kartaa should first do Aachaman while taking the Pavitram from his Aachaarya, preparatory to the start of the ritual. Likewise, the performance should end again with an Aachaman. On both occasions (i.e. when Aachaman is done), the Pavitram is to be positioned over the right earlobe. At the commencement of the rite, the Kartaa will do the Aachaman, take the Pavitram from the ear and wear it on his finger as described above. At the conclusion of the rite, he has to remove the Pavitram from the ear, untie it and throw it in the Nirriti (south-west) direction and do the Aachaman. If the Kartaa has to drink water during the ritual or sip milk etc as part of the ceremony, he should not drink with the Pavitram on. He should lodge it over the right earlobe and then drink. The Pavitram should not be kept elsewhere or handed over to anyone. Similarly while doing Paad Prakshaalan (a ritual of washing another person’s feet) the Pavitram must be removed from the finger and placed above the right earlobe.
Other Uses of Kush Grass
Do’s and Don’ts
Kush grass purifies us, protects us from any mishaps during the ritual.
Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/06
Updated on 08/01/12