Very loong email – PLEASE READ!
Unfortunately, a person like, who has absolutely no qualification is writing about a very holy and divine topic, which typically should be done by authorities in this field. My apologies to begin with!
We do not need epics, history or scriptures but a simple conversation with our elders in the house would reveal that there were times that Shiva puja was the center-piece in every Smartha household in India. This worship varies from household to household in terms of the magnitude. Nevertheless , the worship went on for centuries/yugas ….Such a Shiva worship alone helped us the entire humanity. Needless to say, unfortunately, this great yagnam stopped in the middle when vedic culture took a big hit and brahmins shied away from aidheeka dharma and went to loukeeka. In Tamilnadu, now there are hardly few households where this tradition goes on. Shiva bakthi is lot more stronger in northern states even today. Strictly speaking all smarthas are expected to do this daily. Periyava says the same thing – “ஒவ்வொரு குடும்பத்திலும் ஈசுவர பூஜை நடக்க வேண்டும்.”
Panchayathana means literally 5 types of different stones without any particular shape without any formatted figures. It should be taken for the puja as it is, as we get it naturally. These five stones are taken from five different rivers . According to one custom, this puja involves Lord Siva (baana linga) in the centre, Sun God (spatika) in the southeast, Lord Ganesha (sonapatra or red stone) in the southwest, Ambal (kareeya) in the northwest, and Lord Vishnu (saalagrama) in the northeast. Adi Shankara added Lord Subrahmanya in this puja. Many keep “vel” to represent Lord Muruga.
A paragraph from “Sankara’s Teachings’ by Sri Atmananda of Sri Ramakrishna Mutt on the subject:
“Sankara instituted the worship of all these five Gods, Sun, Ambika, Vishnu, Ganapati and Shiva all on the same pedestal. This emphasized the idea that these are not five different Gods, but they are the one God worshipped in five different forms in different parts of India. Some wrongly think Sankara taught only Jnana and had no place for Karma. Sankara held that the place of Jnana was all-important but he knew equally well that many could not give up Karma and so they should be taught the most beneficial forms of Karma. Thus it is that the Panchayatana Puja (the worship of five Gods) came into vogue in Smartha homes. The other name for this is Siva-Puja.’’
There are 1000s of thevara pathigams that talks the shiva mahimais. One of them goes like this
புவனியில் போய் பிறவாமையில் நாள் நாம்
போக்குகின்றோம் அவமே இந்தப் பூமி
சிவன் உய்யக் கொள்கின்றவாறென்று நோக்கி
அவன் விருப்பெய்தவும் மலரவன் ஆசைப்படவும்
நின்னலர்ந்த மெய்க்கருணையும் நீயும்
அவனியிற் புகுந்தெமை ஆட்கொள்ள வல்லாய்
In order to revive this yagnam, Sri Kanchi Matam is organizing an event on August 15, 2014 where “Panchayathana” set will be offered to the eligible 108 couples, individually one set, blessed by our Kanchi Acharyal. This is not a first-come-first-serve option. There will be some guidelines and several pre-requirements and conditions for enrolment/registration, details.
Please contact the following individuals for more details::
Sri Jaya Kumar – +91-96770-78562
Sri Shankar – +91-99529-68604
Sri Bharanidharan – +91-87544-81488
I request all of you to spread the word – particularly to the younger generation to take advantage of this golden opportunity to receive panchayathana set from our Kanchi acharyas and continue this yagnam for generations.
Periyava had mentioned in Deivathin Kural Volume 1 (link) on how simple this is to do – even when someone is traveling.We know that Lord Krishna was doing Shiva puja throughout in His avataram. When Kings like Janaka, Dasaradha, Ravana were able to do nithya shiva puja despite having lots of responsibilities as emperors, we can do it. When our Acharyas despite their 20+ hours of commitment can do, we can do it. When other religions can pray for 5 times a day, we can do this. Truth is not that we aren’t capable of doing it – rather in the list of our priorities, this greatest responsibility does not even get a place! How sad!
Let Shiva bakthi magnifies in all our household – let us pray that “pithan” to save us from this maya and bless us with knowledge, wisdom and gnana.
We all need to feel blessed to be devotees of Kanchi Matam and our namaskarams to our acharyas.
Om Nama Shivaya!
Thanks to Brahmasri Sarma Sastrigal for sharing about this event with me…