Vrat Festivals | Glossary


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Aachman is done to clean mouh before doing any worship (Poojaa). Normally in all Poojaa some water is kept along with other materials. The first thing in the Poojaa process is doing Aachaman to make one's mouth clean before pronouncing anything related to Bhagavaan's name. Normally this is don three times. In this one takes a little water (maybe one or two teaspoons) and drink it three times. The fourth time this water is thrwn away after washing hand.

Burning a lamp with Kapoor (camphor) in Aaratee is important. Camphor does not leave a trace after burning. Camphor represents our Vaasanaa (desires). So if we want to go in the shelter of Paramatmaa, we should burn our desires completely. On physical plane, camphor leaves a pleasant smell also after it is burnt, in the same way we should also spread our love and kindness throughout the world.

The thing on which somebody sits, it may be a mat, cloth piece, cushion, throne, stool etc anything.

Incense sticks

Baayanaa is a customary thing to worship and then to give anybody in in-law's house (except husband's younger brother's wife, because she gives that Baayanaa to you) - first right is of mother-in-law, second right is of elder sister-in-law (husband's brother's wife). Then come husband's elder brother and his children, younger brother and his children, elder sister and her children, younger sister and her children etc. This an be given to younger sister's daughter also.

In this some food is kept, some sweets and some money. This is original amount. But Baayanaa is not given only this much. Some more food, or more sweets is given along with it. Even clothes, jewelry etc is also given on special occasions. After given this to the person one touches his or her feet to get his or her blessings. One need not to touch feet of the children who are younger to one's age. The original Baayanaa is kept in  plate, then take the money and some water in your right hand and move it round the plate thee times and fold your hands to honor that Baayanaa.

In the absence of above said people, this Baayanaa can be given to other elder people whom you consider your respectable (not from your mother's side), are elder, and know about this tradition. Because the pot in which this Baayanaa is given, is never given back empty. Some sweets or anything else is kept in the pot for the good for the children of the Baayanaa giver. Naag Panchamee, Hariyaalee Teej, Karavaa Chauth, Ahoee Ashtamee etc are such festivals when this Baayanaa is taken out and given.

Repeated recitation of any word or group of words. Its speed may vary from the beginning to end. In the beginning it may be very slow and in the end it may go fast. Normally it is done loudly, in group and in public places like temples.

Dakshinaa is in kind or cash (mostly cash) given at the end of some Poojaa to the Braahman after he has completed it, or he has eaten food, or Daan (donation) given to him for any purpose. Such as when a Baahman comes to tell Satyanaaraayan Poojaa, After the Poojaa he is given some money as his fee. It is customary and can be very little amount, from 1 Dollar or 1 Rupee to thousands of Dollars and Rupees plus cow, clothes, land etc etc. There is no limit of Dakshinaa. Without giving Dakshinaa the Poojaa is not complete.

Deep or Diyaa means lamp. Deep may be of any kind - of metal (not iron unless prescribed - normally it is brass), of clay, of flour etc. Put some oil or Ghee in it and light it.

It comes in the market as a lump. A small piece is broken from it and rolled between the palms to look like a sick of approximately 1 1/2" - 2" long. Its base is made a little broader so that it can sand. This stick can be fixed on the ground, or in Poojaa plate. It is then lit. It takes a little more time than Agarbattee to light. After the flame has appeared, it is blown with a move of hand. Then it throws only fragrant smoke like Agarbattee.

A Lower garment, mad with good fine, not very fine, cloth, normally worn by men, in a specialized way. Now it is going out of fashion replaced with Pajaamaa.

Grahan. There are two eclipses - Solar eclipse, and Lunar eclipse. Solar eclipse occurs on Amaavasyaa New Moon day) and Lunar eclipse occurs on Poornimaa day (Full Moon day). It is believed that Raahu eats the Sun on Amaavasyaa that is why Solar eclipse occurs; and Ketu eats the Moon on Poornimaa that is why Lunar eclipse occurs. It is not necessary that any eclipse is seen all over the world, sometimes it is not seen by anybody.

Ghee is the clarified butter. It is made by boiling butter to the point that it all impurities are settled down and the clear liquid an be seen on the top.

Guru Dakshinaa      see also     Dakshinaa
In the same context, Guru Dakshinaa is the fees given to Guru in return of education a student received from him. The difference is that Guru Dakshinaa is not paid but is asked by a Guru, although Guru does not ask any impossible thing from his student, still he can ask anything. Some Guru feel so happy to teach a student that they do not ask any Guru Dakshinaa from their student, such as Parashuraam Jee did not ask any Guru Dakshinaa from Karn; while Guru Saanddepan Jee asked Krishn to bring back his dead son to him.

Jap or Jaap
To recite a Mantra certain number of times at home, by the help of Maalaa or without Maalaa, is called Jap or Jaap. Normally people do it in the morning after taking bath. 1, 5, 7, or 11 etc number of Maalaa are recited. If somebody has to do larger Jap (millions in number), he does that both in the morning and evening, maybe 3-4-5 hours at each time. It can be regular part of Poojaa, as well as to propitiate or pacify any Graha or Deity also.

Kumkum is different from Sindoor. It can be equated with Rolee. It is used to put Tilak on the forehead of Bhagavaan.

An upper garment with full loose sleeves without shirt type collar, normally worn by men with Dhotee or Pajaamaa.

Mantra is one word or a group of words to be recited a certain number of times, normally daily, maybe but not necessarily at a particular time at home. Gaayatree Mantra, Mrityunjaya Mantra, Om Mantra are some of them.

The food offered to Deity or Bhagavaan. Later it is distributed to the attendees as a part of blessings from the Deity. Different types of food are offered to Deity at different occasions, but mostly it is sweets or dry fruits (especially in North India), but in South India it may be savory rice, sweet rice etc etc.

A lower garment, like western sleeping Pyjama suit's Pyjama, sewn from long cloth or poplin (now with any cloth matched with Kurataa)

Pushp, or Flowers

The food after being offered to Deity or Bhagavaan, is normally distributed to the attendees - that is called Prasaad. One must not come from a temple without taking Prasaad because it is a blessing from God. If one does not give you Prasaad, you should never be shy to ask for it. Prasaad like Dakshinaa can be anything from a sip of water to a full meal. Whatever it is, one should accept it as a blessing from the Deity by touching it with one's head. It must be taken in one's right hand, never in left hand.

Recitation may be only once, twice or many times, normally according to definite numbers, like one Maalaa (108 times) or several Maalaa. This is done in a low voice, or in one's heart, and normally in homes; although one can go to temple also to do his Poojaa and recite some Maalaa of any Mantra recitation, but often people do it at home. They take a Mantra (one word or group of words) and recite it sitting at one place, normally in some special position (Aasan), before their Devtaa or without their Devtaa (sitting at an place).

Role is a red powder, like vermillion, and is used to worship gods' idols.

Those days when Soorya enters in a Zodiac Sign, normally on 13th, 14th or 15th of every solar month.

The woman who is married and her husband is alive is called Suhaagin. In Hindu people, Suhaagin woman has her own special importance. She always wants to die as a Suhaagin. It is said that when a woman dies she goes on the shoulders of her husband and her son gives fire to her pyre. She is always blessed as "Saubhaagyavatee and Putravatee".

Teekaa or Tilak
This is the mark put on the forehead in sandalwood paste, vermillion or Haldee. Different materials are used for different purposes. Although these Tilak vary in shapes, normally they mean the same thing - the third eye in which we believe.

Ugaadi   see    Yugaadi Tithi

Vishuv Tithi
Those days when Soorya is on Equator - in April and September

Yugaadi Tithi
Those Tithi on which Yug starts. They are special.



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Created by Sushma Gupta on 3/15/05
Updated on 09/30/13