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Hindu Rituals and Practices

Why do we do pradakshina (circumambulate)?

We cannot draw a circle without a centre point. The Lord is the centre, source and essence of our lives. Recognising Him as the focal point in our lives, we go about doing our daily chores. This is the significance of pradakshina. Also every point on the circumference of a circle is equidistant from the centre. This means that wherever or whoever we may be, we are equally close to the Lord.

His grace flows towards us without partiality.

Why is pradakshina done only in a clockwise manner?

The reason is not, as a person said, to avoid a traffic jam! As we do pradakshina, the Lord is always on our right. In India the right side symbolises auspiciousness. So as we circumambulate the sanctum sanctorum we remind ourselves to lead an auspicious life of righteousness, with the Lord who is the indispensable source of help and strength, as our guide the "right hand". Indian scriptures enjoin matrudevo bhava, pitrudevo bhava, acharyadevo bhava. May you consider your parents and teachers as you would the Lord. With this in mind we also do pradakshina around our parents and divine personages. After the completion of traditional worship (pooja), we customarily do pradakshina around ourselves. In this way we recognise and remember the supreme divinity within us, which alone is idolised in the form of the Lord that we worship outside.

       

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