tIrthAbhiSekam saphalam (was Re: Potalaka)

Mon Dec 1 17:08:47 UTC 1997

At 10:15 AM 12/1/97 +0100, Dominique.Thillaud writes:
>At 18:14 +0100 30/11/97, DEVARAKONDA VENKATA NARAYANA SARMA wrote:
>>As far as I know abhiSEka to an idol is done with water, milk, clarified
>>(ghee), honey, curds, sometimes cocoanut water etc. being poured on the
>>Usually a waist cloath is tied to a male idol and female idol is fully
>>covered during abhiSEka. abhiSEka is done to ziva linga every day. The
>>saying is
>>`alankAra priyO viSNur abhiSEka priyO zivah'.
>>Even rAjyAbhiSEka for kings is not done with a few drops because purANAs
>>describe that water from the holy rivers is brought with kalazAs.
>        I thank you for this precisions but it seems that was not the
>unique form of the abhiSEka. See MBh I, 206 where YudhiSThira is going to
>the 'puNyAni tIrthAni' of Hardwar. It is said (v.11):
>abhiSekAya kaunteyo gangAm avatatAra ha
>and, immediatly after:
>tatra abhiSekam kRtvA sa ...
>        Is it impossible to understand from the use of ava-tR- that he goes
>himself in the GangA's water ?
>        And the mahezvara's declaration (MBh XIII, 18, 36) I've used for
>the subject seems to going towards the same interpretation.
>        I was perhaps misoriented by the English word 'bath' (in French,
>the 'bain' suppose an immersion of the body in the water, not just a
>superficial cleaning) but my question is:
>        in ANCIENT Indian religion, the ritual performed at places such
>saras or tIrtha:
>        - can suppose complete immersion ?

What one does in a tIrtha is snAna. One immerses his whole body including
head under water. In current usage(?) this is not called abhiSEka. abhiSEka
is usally performed by some body else to the person who is undergoing it.
It is snapana rather than snAna. But the slokas you have quoted from MBh
about arjuna (not ydhiSThira) have to be carefully gone into. It looks as
though the word abhiSEka has been used for snAna. But the following slokas
from a slightly earlier chapter clarify what I am saying. ( I am not giving
chapter and verse because I do not have the critical edition)

dhRtarASTra uvAcha
abhiSEkasya sambhArAn kSattarAnaya mA chiram
abhiSiktam kariSyAmi adya vai kurunandanam
aSTottarasahasram tu brAhmNAdhiSTitA gajAh
jAhnavIsalilam zIghramAnayantu purOhitaih
abhiSEkOdakaklinnam sarvAbharaNabhUSitam
dRsTvA kuntIsutam jyESThamAjamIDham yudhiSThiram
prItAh prItEna manasA prazansantu purE janAh.

>        - can be named abhiSeka ?

See above.

>        - can be used for statues of Goddesses as it happens in ancient
>Greece ?

I am not wellversed in the Greek religion. I cannot say.


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