This was my post on prAna prathisthA. Here is a summary of it.
idol to mUrti
mUrti’ is not just an idol. mUrta is that which has settled into a form or shape. mUrti means embodiment or manifestation of something.
When scultpors carve or painters paint or we create, idol is created. prAna prathistha is the process by which we make the idol into an embodiment or manifestation or mUrti of a divinity.
Unless an idol or picture has gone through prAna prathisthA it is not an embodiment or manifestation. In all pUjas, we do prAna prathisthA to make that idol or picture into an embodiment or manifestation.
For eg. in Ganapati pUja, we invoke the Ganapati in the Idol. In Sarasvati Puja we invoke the sarasvati in the idol. We make the idols/pictures embodiment or manifestation of the divinity that we invoke.
if we believe ‘aham brahma -asmi’, that we have the brahman/evolution in us, we are giving that evolutionary power to the idol and make it an embodiment of a divinity that we are invoking. That’s the concept.
Steps of prAna prathisthA
1. RSayadi nyAsa
2. Kara nyAsa
3. hrdayAdi nyAsa
4. dhyAna mantra
5. prAna prathisthA mantra
6. Offering to mUrti
7. Seeking the return
What does brahman, the evolution do..? It invokes the originators of Universe, Brahma, Vishnu, Maheswara (which I translate as spacetime, mass, energy).
From them it invokes the Rk, Yaju, sAma (which I translate as quantum, classical and biological). This invocation when done by us on the idol, by reciting the mantras is called RSyAdi nyAsa.
Then comes Kara nyAsa. It appears at the outset as certain hand gestures through which energy is given to the idol. Brahman, the evolution progresses the biological evolution through evolution of signaling system that regulates biological functioning.
In humans it is through endocrine system. Our hands (notably the digit ratio) represents the influences of pre-natal endocrine. Hence we use the fingers of our hand to symbolically evolve that chemical messenger system in the idol. That is the kara nyAsa.
Then comes hrdyAdi nyAsa. Again it appears as if we are invoking energy in the idol through our heart, brain and other parts of our body. There are different organ systems for a living body. They are central and peripheral nervous (siras and shikha), circulatory (hrdaya), integumentary (kavasa), respiration, digestion, excretion (tri-netra) and locomotor (astra). We symbolically invoke these organ systems in the idol to make it a living body. This is the hrdyAdi nyAsa.
Then comes the pancha-prAna dhyAna mantra. Here panch-prAna is visualized as one ‘devi’ (the property of the idol) present in five different organ systems, with five weapons and three eyes. This pancha-prAna devi is invoked in the idol.
The five organ systems invoked are 1. raktam bodhi sta (awakened in the blood, circulatory) 2. poTa ullas (excretory) 3. sad aruNa (seated in digestive fire) 4. sarah ja (born in the movement, respiratory) 5. adhiruda karabjai (in the brain, nervous system). The three eyes by which she is recognized are sRsti, sthithi and samhAra. This pancha-prAna in us is meditated upon or invoked in the idol as prAna shakti that comes into the idol from us.
prAna prathisthA mantra
Then comes the prAna prathista mantra. This is in the form of 10 sounds followed by words ‘Hamsa soham soham Hamsa”. Then we invoke the ten indriyas in the idol and say life (jiva) has come into this idol making it a mUrthi, the embodiment. Then we pray to this mUrti and give some offerings to the mUrti.
Following the signaling system, the other organ systems being invoked in the idol, the five core functions are meditated upon and invoked in the idol, we invoke the ten indriyas (as in us) in the idol with ten different sounds. Then we recite aHam sa sa aham; sa aham aHam sa. This invokes the ‘self’ (aham) in us in the idol.
The aham in us is the Brahman, the evolution. We invoke this Brahman in us, in the idol, which already has all biological functions and the indriyas. This invocation of aham sa sa aham in the idol invokes the brahman, gives it the ‘jiva’, the life. Thus the idol has become a mUrti, the embodiment of the devata.
Seeking the Return
Then we make some offerings to the mUrti.
Then we seek the return of our ‘aham’, ‘indriyas’, ‘prAna’ which we invoked in the idol, back to us, so that we enjoy this body of ours.
Essentially the mUrti we worship is an embodiment of the divinity, which is invoked with our power, by us.
More posts by this author:
- tat tvam asi – What does it mean..?
- The Rg Veda Ganapati
- The Mantra Tantras of Sandhya Vandanam – Samarpana and Raksha
- The Mantra-Tantras of SandhyaVandanam – Finishing the Bath
- Brhadaranyaka Upanishad – Sloka 1.4.1