Sani Pradosam
Saturday Evening

Introduction: By Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

Saturday evening was a fateful day, when the world of beings were on the brink of Total Annihilation. Siva saved the day and all beings. It is the day for clebration. 

Saṉi Pradoṣam (Saturday evening) is the twilight period, when Siva took the hālahāla poison from the Milk Ocean (regenerative ocean) to save devas and all beings.  Hindus have Saturday Evening, while Catholics have Ash Wednessday.

When the Milk Ocean was churned by Suras (gods) and Asuras (the cousins of gods = the bad dudes or demons) to obtain Ambrosia or Nectar of Immortality, there emerged beings, some objects and some by-products, of which one is hālahāla poison.

 

Why did the ocean generate both Nectar and poison. Think of it this way. we have compounds that are sterioisomers. Think of your hands. See the palms in front of your eyes. The right palm is the mirror image of the left palm. The sterioismers are mirror images: one is right handed and the other is left handed. The right-handed isomer is Dextro Isomer and the left-handed is Levo Isomer. When the pharmaceutical company makes drugs, they get both isomers in one product. If they don't care to purify the one from the other, we get for example side effects from the Levo form and benefits from the Dextro form.  Now you know why both Ambrosia and Poison came out of the generative ocean. The Hindus knew if there is light, there is darkness, if there are Suras, there are Asuras, if there is a Dexto, there is a Levo...

 

There are other oceans too as described in Hindu mythology: Yogurt Ocean, Ghee Ocean. We live in this world surrounded by Salt Ocean.

Saṉi Pradoṣam = Saturday Evening.

பிரதோஷம் piratōṣam n. < pra-dōṣa. 1. Evening, 3¾ nāḷikai

Evening = the time between noon and sunset, including the afternoon and twilight.

Saṉi Pradoṣam is the most important of Viratams (Vows) for Siva, particularly the one that comes on a Saturday. The Saṉi Pradoṣams that fall in the months of Cittirai, Vaikāsi, Aippasi and Kārttikai (சித்திரை, வைகாசி, ஐப்பசி & கார்த்திகை) are distinguished as Saṉi Mahā Pradoṣams (Great Saturday Evenings).

Cittirai = Mid-April to Mid-May.

Vaikāsi = Mid-May to Mid-June.

Aippasi = Mid-October to Mid-November.

Kārttikai = Mid-November to Mid-December.

Of all months, Kārttikai Sani Pradoṣam (KSP) is of utmost importance.

Observance of KSP guarantees wedding, progeny, prosperity, good health, success in all endeavors...

Pradoa Time is the twilight between before-sunset and after-sunset.  Its time zone is between 4 p.m. to 7:30 p.m..  The precise timings are as follows: 3.75 Naikai before sunset and 3.75 Nāikai after sunset.

நாழி nāḻikai. Indian hour = 24 minutes = நாழிகை

One Naikai = 24 minutes. 3.75 Naikai = 90 minutes. That is 90 minutes before sunset and 90 minutes after sunset. That is the auspicious time. That falls in the twilight zone.

During Pradoa period, all gods assemble in Śivālaya (Śiva Temple); you can't see them, but they are there. There are a lot of things that are present but we don't see: Example, Air. There is no darśana of other deities in the temple and yet the devotees obtain the grace and benefits from all gods.

Among Siva-centric ritual worships, Śivarātri and Pradoa are important. Śiva having taken the poison to save gods and humanity, remained awake that night: That is Śivarātri, the night of Siva. Siva performed a dance in the space between the horns of the sacred Bull (Nandi), as witnessed by Devas. The moment he took the poison is Pradosam: the twilight period.
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The Translation from Tamil

On the Pradoa day, the observer takes a shower or bath, applies the sacred ashes, chants Namasivaya Mantra, goes on fast, observes Pradosam in the twilight hour, eat the Prasadam (sacrament) and complete the Viratam (vow). Observance of 11 Pradoams helps attain Siva's Grace.

 

 

 

Wanting immortality, Asuras and Devas churned the Milk Ocean and Hālahāla poison surfaced. Siva gathered the poison and drank it to prevent destruction of the world.  Knowing its ill effects and panicking, Parvati in her attempt to prevent further descent of the poison into the stomach pressed the neck. That caused Siva’s neck (adjoining and including the throat) become blue in color, earning him the name Tirunīlakaṇṭar (=tiru-nīla-kaṇṭa =The Lord with blue throat).

ஆலகாலம்¹ ālakālam, n. < hālahāla. Deadly poison produced during the churning of the ocean

http://img.vikatan.com/sakthi/2016/11/zdfjmz/images/p8a.jpg

 The credit for this image goes to Sakti Vikatan November 2016 issue in Tamil.

அண்டபகிரண்டம் aṇṭa-pakir-aṇṭam.=  This world and the world beyond this sphere

ஆனந்ததாண்டவம் āṉanta-tāṇṭavam. =  Ecstatic dance of Šiva, as exhibited in the shrine at Chidambaram

பிரதோஷகாலம் = பிரதோஷம் piratōṣam  = pra-dōṣa. 1. Evening 2.  before and after sunset.

 

Herein continued the Dance of Grace of Siva the Supreme Being (சிவப்பரம்பொருள்).  As if overtaken by Transcendent Exhaustion, Sivanār went to bed.  Ādi śakti, the world and beyond were perturbed. Siva, to remove the dread woke up with a quick eye and performed the Ecstatic Dance after sunset.

Parameśvara ingested the poison on the 11th day. On the sacred 12th day, he went to bed as if he was tired. To make people prosper, he performed the Sandhyā Dance on the auspicious 13th day (Triodasi) at the evening twilight hour between day and night, traditionally called cantiyā-Kālam (= Sandhyā Kālam). சந்தியாகாலம் cantiyā-kālam = sandhyā kālam. 


At this auspicious hour in consideration of prado
a period, people perform Siva pūjā and rejoice.  Puranas assert those who do orderly performance of yearly Siva worship for 14 years on the Pradoa day will attain sārūpa state (sārūpya)and become Siva-Gaas. Sai Pradoam falling on a Saturday is very auspicious. Siva, having ingested the poison, slept and woken up on a Saturday evening, performed his first Sandhya Dance; for that reason, people observe and celebrate with great fanfare, Pradoam falling on a Saturday

சாரூப்பியம் cārūppiyam, n. < sārūpya. (Šaiva.) A blissful condition in which a devotee obtains a form similar to God's, one of four patavi,

 

If we read the sacred account of what happened in Ujjain, we will understand clearly the greatness of Sai-p- Pradoam

Sai-p-Pradoa, praised by Anjaneya.

Ujjain’s ruler, king Chandrasean had a great Bhakti to Ujjain’s Īśvara Vīramāhāḷar. Sivagaanāthar, a lapidarist visited with the king in the palace and gifted him Cintāmai gem. 

சிந்தாமணி cintā-mai =  A mythical gem believed to yield to its possessor everything that is desired


 That gem carries extraordinary greatness (powers).  The neighboring kings knowing its uniqueness, cautioned (threatened) the king with prospect of war, if
Chandrasean did not leave it to their ownership. The king ignored their warning.
.

The neighborhood kings became angry and laid Ujjain in seize.  There was a danger of war at any moment.

Despite the imminence of war, Chandrasean entertained no worries.  The brave king went to temple, performed worship according to injunctions and meditated with his mind and soul on Siva, the three-city-burner.  A Yādava boy watched the king throughout the ceremony.  It rose in his mind he should also engage in a similar worship, and returned home.

It was dawn next day. The youngster started his Śiva Pūjā. He took a rock and stood it like the Liñga. He took mud and leaves as the accouterments for Puja. He partitioned the mud and the leaves as Sandalwood paste, garland, ablution (Ganges) water, incense, lamp, sacred cloth… He offered worship with love and care to Ara (Śiva). At the conclusion of the worship, he went into meditation.

http://img.vikatan.com/sakthi/2016/11/zdfjmz/images/p8b.jpg

The credit for this image goes to Sakti Vikatan November 2016 Issue

It was night. His mother called him for supper. He in meditation did not answer her repeated calls. She came in a fit of anger. She beat him up and toppled and threw the Siva-liṅga-stone and went home to retire for the night.

Seeing the devastation by his mother, he cried, “My mother threw away my deity.” and fainted.  In three-quarters of an hour, he woke up free from his faintness. He got up gingerly. He could not believe his eyes. There was a scattering of gems and gold all over the house. The stone lingam thrown by his mother shone like a gem.  The youngster was immersed in transcendent happiness.  The youngster’s mother woke up suddenly. She was wonder-struck seeing the house become a repository of gems and gold.

The news spread to the king.  He left his palace for the cowherd neighborhood and paid homage to the resident deity and circumambulated it.  He embraced the Yādava youth. The townspeople raised an adulatory panegyric uttering the name of Siva.

The kings lying in wait hearing of the happiness, hustle and bustle of the townspeople, were astounded. Learning the cause from their spies, the kings in a state of horripilation wondered about the grace of Siva.  The kings in wait sent their soldiers back to their respective countries, entered the town, sought forgiveness from the king under seize, worshipped the rocky stand-in for Siva Lingam and expressed rapture over the auspicious event. At that moment, Anjaneya walked in. Chandraseṉan offered worship to him with respect and adulation.

Anjaneya embraced the youth and said, “O kings! Hear ye, hear ye. Have you not seen the Dharsan given by grace-giving and pleased Sivaperuman in response to this innocent youth’s worship? This youth performed Siva Pūjā, emulating Chandraseṉa in worship of Siva Peruman on the day of Sani Pradoam. The fruits of Sani Pradoṣam worship and Dharsan do not have any limitations and do not stop.

In this youth’s lineage, eighth in line will be the Avatara of Mahavishnu as Krishna.  To raise him, the king of cowherds Nandan will appear to increase the pride of this family.  From today, call this youth Śrīdhara. Anjaneya instructed the youth on the intricacies of Siva Puja and took leave.

For performing Sani pradoṣa, there are benefits. Think of Vrata Puja: how much more benefits will they acquire? Can you measure it?

We know now of the greatness of Sani Pradoṣa. Let us learn the procedures in the worship of Nandi-yemperuman on the day of pradoṣa.

 

Nandi Dharsan!

At the time of pradoṣa, there is a special greatness for Nandi. On this occasion, we should worship and obtain Dharsan of Siva-Liñga by looking at it from the space between the two horns of Nandi-Yemperuman (the Sacred Bull, anthropomorphic Siva).

Having ingested the poison, gone to sleep, awakened and performed such divine acts, he made an appearance to Ambika and performed the Sandhya Dance.  Nandi Deva (the divine Bull), having seen the dance, expanded in size in a state of bliss. Kailas was hidden from view by this expansion.  The devas had a rapturous experience by watching the Dance of Siva from the space between the two horns of Nandi.

On this occasion the grass-garland should be applied to Nandi.  Bael leaves, Southernwood, Jasmine flowers can be used for decoration.

அறுகம்புல் aukam-pul = Harialli grass, Cynodon dactylon

On this occasion, we should pay homage to Nandi with a garland of grass. Bilva leaves,

வில்வம் = Bael. Aegle Marmelos= வில்வமரம்

மருக்கொழுந்து = Southernwood.  மல்லிகை = Jasmine flowers.

 


நந்திக்குக் காப்பரிசி எதற்கு?

Why should we celebrate kāpparici?

காப்பரிசி kāpparici, n. < காப்பு +. 1. Rice mixed with treacle generally distributed on the occasion when a new-born baby is provided with bangle

When Devas and Asuras feared the effects of ālakālam poison (hālahāla), came to Kailas and appealed to Siva for protection, he assured them not to fear. He called on Nandikesvara and ordered the poison brought to him.

Having paid homage to Isa, Nandibhagavan walked towards the poison. Its heat has ‘changed’ and he brought it to Siva. Isa drank the poison. Ambika remaining by his side touched his neck softly; that poison stagnated in the neck.  Seeing it Nandibhagavan smiled mockingly.  In a mocking tone of voice, he said, “Is that poison so fierce? Does this poison, carried by me, have such power to kill?”

 

எகத்தாளம் ekattāḷam , n. < K. egatāḷa. See எகத்தாளி. எகத்தாளி ekattāḷi , n. < T. egatāḷi. [K. egataḷi.] Mockery, jest, ridicule; பரிகாசம்.

Immediately Siva Peruman summoned Nandi to his presence opening his palm that held the poison while he ate it and said, “Here is my palm, smell it.” Nandibhagavan smelled Siva’s palm. In that second, he lost his consciousness, fell down, got up, cried, laughed, committed a few mischievous acts as if he was mad, and just wandered around.  The mother of all living beings of the world, on seeing Nandi was saddened and pleaded with Siva saying, “Swamy, how could you deal such punishment to Nandi? Enough. Please forgive him.”

Siva spoke to Ambika, saying, “Uma Devi, He spoke in an egoistic manner.  To subdue him, we did such a deed.  He suffered this much by smelling the poison. Imagine the trouble he would have had if he drank it.  We did it this way to point it out to him. Mix rice flour with jaggery and give the mixture to him. He will regain his balance and come back to his senses as before.

Ambika carried out Siva’s instructions.  Nandi, eating the rice-jaggery mixture, regained his normal senses (his usual self).  From that day onwards, on every Pradoṣa day, Kāpparici Naivēdya (= காப்பரிசி நைவேத்தியம் = offerings of rice flour and jaggery) is offered.

The saying of Tirugnanasambandar goes like this: Nandi takes the lead in offering boons and Dharsan (sight). Nandi’s name Namasivaya.  Nandi means growth.  It is common to call Nandi those who are supreme in Jñāna and Gua (wisdom and quality).  We need God’s grace in improving quality of life and wisdom.  Nandi Dharsan helps us in that effort. This 2016 November (12th to 26th) it is our good fortune to have Sani pradoṣa. On those days, it is imperative to visit the Siva temple at the appropriate time for worship. Besides, we should pay homage to Nandi so that through him we obtain boons from Siva and live happily.  Let us get anticipatory guidance and  special knowledge of Nandi and the temples to obtain his grace in full measure and live happily.

Credits and Reference.

The original author: சொல்லின் செல்வன் பி.என்.பரசுராமன். Language Tamil. as published in Sakti Vikatan.

Translator: Veeraswamy Krishnaraj

 This article is based on publication in Sakti Vikatan, current Issue November 22, 2016