Purascarana

This form of sadhana consists in the repetition (after certain preparations and under certain conditions) of a mantra a large number of times. The ritual (1) deals with the time and place of performance, the measurements and decorations of the mandapa, or pandal, and of the altar and similar matters. There are certain rules as to food both prior to, and during, its performance.

The sadhaka should eat havisyanna,(2) or alternatively boiled milk (ksira), fruits, or Indian vegetables, or anything obtained by begging, and avoid all food calculated to influence the passions. Certain conditions and practices are enjoined for the destruction of sin, such as continence, bathing, japa (q. v.) of the Savitri-mantra 5008, 3008, or 1008 times, the entertainment of Brahmanas, and so forth.

Three days before puja there is worship of Ganesa and Ksetra-pala, Lord of the Place. Panca-gavya,(3) or the five products of the cow, are eaten. The Sun, Moon, and Devas, are invoked. Then follows the sarhkalpa.(4) The ghata or kalasa (jar), is then placed into which the Devi is to be invoked. A mandala or figure of a particular design is marked on the ground, and on it the ghata is placed.

Then the five or nine gems are placed on the kalasa, which is painted with red and covered with leaves. The ritual then prescribes for the tying of the crown lock (sikha), the posture (asana) of the sadhaka, japa (q.v.), nyasa (q.v.), and the mantra ritual or process. There is meditation, as directed. “Kulluka” is said and the mantra “awakened” (mantracaitanya), and recited the number of times for which the vow has been taken.

1. For a short account, see Purascarana-bodhini, by Hara-kumara Tagore (1895) and see Tantrasllra, p. 71.
2. See ante.
3. Milk, curd, ghee, urine and dung, the two last (except in the case of the pious) jn smaller quantity.
4. See ante.