Last Saturday my family and I were invited to a Shivaachaarya Abishekam for the main temple iyer in Sri Nagapoosani Amman Aalayam in Aabenraa. I’ve been to several other Shivaachaarya Abishekam, as my family have a close friendship to many “iyer-families” – probably because we’re so much in to temple stuff and is a highly religious family. Manye people think what this “Shivaachaarya Abishekam” is, so let me explain ;)
Basically everyone’s born as a “ordinary hindu”, and those people are actually not allowed to wear the thiruneeru (viboothi) as the thiripundaram (the wellknown 3 lines on the forehead). So what should you do become a “real” saivite?
In Hinduism, or rather said Saivism, you can get Deekshai. The word Deekshai (or Deeksha) means “to destroy the ego and give wisdom”, and this is actually a kind of ritual where a guru performs some specific religious rituals after which the guru teaches the disciple the specific mantras and other chores that should be perform every day.
Who can receive Deekshai?
Everyone without any gender and age differences (though over 7 years old) can receive Deekshai. This is because children will not be able to perform the religious chores. My brothe and I got the first deekshai (samaya deekshai) at the age of 10.
Deekshai can be divided into 4 steps:
- Samaya Deekshai: The first kind of deekshai. After getting this the disciple will now be a “samayi” or a true saivite, and he/she is now allowed to say the “Thiruvainthezhuththu”; Namashivaaya/Shivaayanama (Na-ma-shi-vaa-ya = holy 5 letters). After receiving this samaya deekshai one should wear the thiruneeru as 3 lines on the forehead.
- Visheda Deekshai: The 2nd step that includes Shivalinga poojai on a daily basis additionally to the daily religious routines received at the first deekshai. After getting this one should completely avoid eating flesh, alcohol etc., and it’s actually forbidden to eat at “meat-eaters’”.
- Nirvana Deekshai: This deekshai includes some specific techniques to control one’s mind and to focus on getting complete wisdom through worship (and meditation).
- Aachaarya Abishekam:After getting the 3 deekshai above one will be able to get the Aachaarya Abishekam (as long as you meet some criteria). After getting this abishekam the disciple now becomes a Shivaachaarya – a saivite guru – also called a “kurukkal” in tamil. The one who’s got this last deekshai will be able to perform specific poojas/kriyas and to give deekshai to other hindus. To complete Shivaachaarya Abishekam, you should:
- Be married.
- Physically and mentally purified (being “clean” in person).
- Be well educated and decent/disciplined.
- Be routined in the 4-staged saiva path (sariyai, kiriyai, yoga and nyana).
- Able to teach discipline and decent living, veda aagamas, thirumurai and other saiva knowledge.
- Be under 70 years old.
In addition, these 4 deekshai are further divided into 7 smaller varieties with the Aachaarya Abishekam as the 8th.
Here are some few (important) pictures from the Aacharya Abishekam that was held last Saturday. These pictures are of the “Panchalinga saalai” (or more common as Yaaga Saalai), with this setup in the middle. This represents the world with its 4 corners, and also the 4 vedas.
The 5 colours represents the 5 colours of Lord Shivas Jyothi (sheen), as how the spiritually exalted devotees (the religious ancestors including 64 naayanmars) saw the Lord when reaching moksha/nirvana:
- Top – Dhabala Ishaana Vadhana (Dhabala varna – gold)
- West – Brahma Lingam (Shweta varna – white)
- North – Narayana Lingam (Raththa varna – red)
- South – Rudhra Lingam (Agora Varna – black)
- East – Ishwara Lingam (Thatpurusha varna – golden yellow)
There will be performed special kiriyas at the Yaaga Saalai, and the symbolic colour representing setup will ne used for describing the new Shivaachaarya’s quality due to the colour he gets (the colour will be decided by throwing a flower on the table).
This ritual took place on the second day – as the whole Shivaachaarya Abisheka vaibhavam lasts 3 days. On the first day the introductory kiriyas, including (Maha) Ganapathi Homam are performed. On the second day, further kiriyas will take place and on the last day the main aachaarya abishekam with poojas are performed.
It was indeed a blessing to be a part of this kiriya, and I got to meet the great Dr. Somaskanda Kurukkal, who lives in Canada. This was the third time I got to meet him, and I was surprised he still remembers me - I last met him during the Kumbabishekam of Sri Siththi Vinyagar Aalayam in Herning back in 2013. Of course, he and my dad has known each other for ages! He is indeed a wise man, but very funny and young in person too! I received his and other great Shivaachaaryas’ blessing, and even took this selfie with him :P
An unforgettable day. Felt very blessed ;)