Srivaishnavam Parambaryam, Traditions & The Culture that stands Class apart from othersEssence of Srivaishnavam Practices – Abdapoorthi, Ayush Sooktha Homam
Abda Poorthi, Ayush Homam
The purpose, benefits that one gets by performing the Ayush Homam
Homam (also known as Havan in Hindi) is a religious ritual performed by Hindus in general and Brahmins in particular, to invoke the blessings of specific Gods and Goddesses. It begins with the performer known as Karta (devotee) invoking Agni (God of fire) and inviting him to carry the offerings into the fire, to the concerned deity. The Gods, pleased with the offerings grant the wishes of the devotees in the form of benefits like longevity, good health, wealth, success in business, ward off evils, get rid of enemity, gain prosperity, progeny etc., etl. In fact, the invoking of Fire God is (i.e. Agni) is traditionally considered as the carrier of our prayers and offerings to the concerned deity/devatha. It is said that since these devathas are so powerful, they are not easily reachable to the ordinary man. The Agni acts as an easy and approachable intermediary who can pass on our devotion and prayer to the devathas. The Agni along with his two brothers, takes our offerings to the Gods, through the powerful Vedic recitals of specific Mantra, given for each ritual.
The Ayush Homam is one such, performed on the completion of first year of birth Nakshatra (note – not as per birth date, but the day of constellation that falls on the same Indian Calender month in the following year of birth). Primarily to pray for longevity and prosperity of life this Homam is performed. Ayush = meaning age or tenure of life, and Homam, the invocation of the deity through a consecrated fire. Though it is usually performed on the First birthday (Star-wise) of the baby. it can even be performed anytime later during one’s lifetime.
After the purification of the place where the Ayush Homam is held, i.e. Graha Suddhi Punyahavachanam, the priests are invited to invoke the Lord Brahma, through their prayers. The recitals are at least with three such priests, chanting the Ayush Sooktham in unison. Then, the Lords of birth Nakshatra, Family Diety (Kula Devatha) are invoked. Basically, this starts with the Kumbam known as Khalash and then the same is repeated again with the Holy Fire. This can be compared to the respect with which we treat our guests and ensure they feel special. Similarly, the God is also treated in a special way. The perform sits facing east, where the Agni Kundam is kept in front of him in the centre.
The purpose of performing Aayush Homam is that, when a child is born, the possibilities of having the vibrations of previous birth and might identify the previous birth’s contacts. To remove that from the present body, they apply certain herbal sticks, that will heat the body and mind, which will remove the poorva jenma karma, and make the child fit to live this generation. In The Holy fire they offer cooked rice, ghee made out of cow’s milk and some samithu known as wooden sticks of smaller size. While offering these, they recite and chant the Ayush Sooktham for a minimum three times, that contain 8 stanzas.
Ayushya Homam is Dedicated to the Life God to enhance longevity – Ayush – i.e. life. Homam is explained by the sage Bodhayana in the Bodhayana sutras. According to Bodhayana, if a child is constantly ill, this Homam could be performed on a monthly basis till the child attains good health. But in general practice, this is performed only at the first year of birth only i.e. day of the star in which the child is born. This Homam is performed on the day the child completes one year of age. In case one is unable to perform it on this day, it can be done on the consecutive month. It may be done even on a monthly basis. By performing the Ayush Homam the evil effects caused by day of the fortnight (Thithi), day of the week (Vara) & the constellation (nakshatra -star) are eradicated. It bestows longevity, prosperity and good health. It is experienced that even some of the common ailments, which cannot be diagnosed through mainstream medicines, are cured by the performance of this Homam.
After the Homam, the child is given the remainder cooked rice as a Prasadam, added wtih sugar. Then, the child’s head is tonsured to get rid of the dirts, that associated while in mother’s womb. After giving bath, the ear piercing takes place to complete the function. The general sequences for this ritual is:
1. Changing Holy thread by the performer, (2) Purifying the Home (suddhi punyahavachanam), (3) Anugjam, (4) Sankalpam (5) Vishwakshena Aradhanam (6) Ayurdevatha, Kula Devatha, Ishta Devatha & Nakshatra Devatha aavaahanam in the Kumbam (7) Archanam (8) Recitals of Ayush Sooktham and other Devatha Mantram – Japam (9) Agni Avaahanam (10) Pradhana Ayush Homam – depending on the number of priests/Bruhaspati, the number can vary from 28 to 108 ahuthis. (11) Nakshatra Devatha, Purusha/Sri Sooktha Homam & (12) Jayathi Homam. And finally the Maha Aseervatham – the blessings of Brahmins with Vedic recitals specific for the function, after offering their due sambavana/Dakshina. Kula Devatha/Perumal/Thayar & Acharyan Sambavana. At The end of the function, Mangala Aarathi is taken.
The Ayush Homam is also performed during completion of the 60th, 80th & 100th year. Srivaishnavites perform Sri Sooktha, Purusha Sooktha & Sudarsana Homam ttogether with Ayush Homam. Shivites used perform, starting it Ganapathy & Navagraha pooja, then with Ganapathi Homam & Navagraha Homam. However, for both, after the Ayush Homam & Poorna Ahuthi, a sacrifice known as Jayathi Homam is performed at the end. The Jayathi Homam is, in fact, to be performed at the end of each auspicious Havan known as Homam; this is for all the sect of Brahmins.
List of Items required for Ayush Homam – List given in Tamil & English.
மஞ்சள்/Turmeric Roots & Powder
வெற்றிலை – பாக்கு/Betel Leaves & betalnuts
புஷ்பம் – கதம்பம்/Flowers
குழந்தைக்கு ஏற்ப சிறிய மாலை/small garland for the child
அக்னி குண்டம் அல்லது ஆறு செங்கல்/6 Bricks or AgniKundam for Holy fire
சாதம் 200-மில்லி/Cooked Rice 200 ml
வாழை இலை/Banana Leaves 4
கும்பம்/கலஸத்திற்கு ஒரு டவல் அல்லது வேஷ்டி உத்ரீயம்/A Towel or Dhoti for Khalas
மாவிலைக்கொத்து/Mango Bunch leaves
அனுக்ஞத்திற்கு சில்லரை தக்ஷிணை/Coins
அரிசி/Rice 1 Kg
சொம்பு, டம்ப்ளர், ஸ்தாலி, உத்திருணி, தாம்பாளம், ட்ரே, கலஸத்திற்கு குடம் அல்லது சொம்பு
/Water vessels, Tumbler, spoon, Trays & Plates etc.
(வரட்டி, சமிது, பூணல் இத்யாதிகளை வாத்தியார் கொண்டு வரலாம்)/
Cowdung cakes, Yagnjopaveetham, firesticks etc. can be brought by the Bruhaspathi himself.
Hope this article and the list help the visitors to plan their ward’s Ayush Sooktha Homam in an arranged manner.
Recommended Gift Items for the child: Toys, Dress, Gold items of Chain/Ring etc, or still better a Gift Cheque to be deposited in a minor account for the child’s future usage.
மாதா, பிதா, சிசு தீர்க்காயுஷ்யமஸ்து.
(I am planning to publish the entire Ayushya Sooktha scripts soon. Please visit again to check)
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There are many persons asking me to give an invitation draft for the Ayush Homam function. It is not possible for me to give each and every single person’s needs so I am giving hereunder the sketch from which one can get the cue. It is meant for Sri Ahobila mutt followers. However, the same can be used for all other sub-sect followers (Andavan Ashsram, Parakala Mutt, Thenkalai different Acharyan disciples)- just simply changing the Thiruman/Sloka for their respective Acharyan / mutt. However, for Sashtiyabtha poorthi and other functions, the format changes and varies from the following script. You can change the following name of father of the child and can replace with grandparents names that also can be mentioned.
Born on Makara Uthiradam star, native of Mukkur and brought up in Ladavaram village near Arcot and now well settled in Mumbai for over five decades. Presently, at 70, trying to run this website without any commercial expectations or profit motive, just for the sake of our future generations to understand about Sanatana Dharma & Srivaishnavam sampradayam.Within my limited knowledge that I put it here, what I learnt from the world.