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R V Venkiteswaran (Venky)

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SUCHITHWAM & ASUCHITHWAM - Purity & Impurity

By Author: R.V.Venkiteswaran, Dubai : 20-11-1998

Preface

I am glad to share with you some of the insight realities of our customs. We don’t need to shy away from our customs, which was created by our ancients for our own good. Customs are never old nor new; as the time getting older and older (approaching peak Kali Yuga) people are not interested in following the same. Even after following all these critical and complicated issues ancient people are not failed in achieving what they want in life, whereas today our life is full of confusion and complication. All our spiritual philosophy said that whether we create or maintain closeness with the ‘Brahman’ or not; ‘Brahman’ is already in association with us. Basically, the Soul is a resident of our mortal body. Do you know the Soul carry the body not viz-versa. Why I say these points in this juncture is that every soul when it enters or depart from a human body as its routine job, it create certain vibration among the close blood relatives. That is why those old emperors of life realized these hidden changes in us suggested to follow certain observance at the time of birth & death in a family.

Many of the opinion that during the affliction period you should not be worshiping God, nor participate in social welfare events etc. Let me clarify this portion little more in depth. You are most welcome to do worship of your personal God except physically visiting a temple or meeting a great soul or mingling with people engaged in social welfare, because you will forget the event that shocked you with happiness or sorrow. Perhaps the purpose of this observance or theme behind this event may be totally ignored. Since the desire of God is to initiate realization in us (Aathma Gnaana), God himself set forth these customs through Masters called Gurus. It all depend on you how you want place yourself – but don’t forget ‘society’ is much stronger to an individual. Every normal human would expect his/her house or villa to be kept clean, neat and tidy as well full of fresh flower’s fragrance spreading around etc. The same way the ‘Soul’ is also expecting its human body to kept clean & neat at all times. No vibrations are acceptable to that. As and when we are more and more pure we become ‘that’ that ‘Brahman’. The ‘’Brahman’ alone is a absolute pure in its all. Therefore, as along as we live in a family life we are instructed to follow ‘Asaucham & Soothakam’ to retain its original purity of the ‘Soul’ from the shocks.

Basically, As we talk more and more we consume more breathe and end life fast. Therefore, during such situations a person will be forced to observe calmness with this reason start thinking about the following questions in his/her mind that ‘why did he/she born, why did he/she died, what will happen to the person who died, what are the shortcomings to be experienced by this new born baby; is he/she going to follow my family traditional rituals or destroy the whole dynasty etc., are the some of important concerns. These types of questions are endless. Therefore, every human being should realize the ultimate truth during their lives and this is a wonderful chance for that. For some people it is not always happy or sad when some body born or die in a family such as great souls, sanyaasis etc. That is why when a Sanyaasi dies there is no observance of impurity. It is evident that, those realized souls do not fall under any such customs. Customs are meant for literal mortals.

It is physically good, if we follow and observe atleast the minimum level of impurity at the time of birth and death of a close blood relative.

I know current era do not allow us to follow these customs due to so many reasons. But believe me it is not ignorance it is a reality. At least think this much that you don’t want pay a homage to your near and dear. (Relatives are expected to be near & dear. I am not responsible if they are not).

I have carefully compiled this small book at least to follow what is possible in the current era. There are thousands of other rules are there in the “Asaucha Kanda”, but I have minimized to what is possible in today’s life. Hope you all will enjoy reading this book and try to do justice for yourself. With my best wishes to every reader of this book, let us enter the chapter.

Detailed Notes:

ASAUCHAM & SOOTHAKAM


Explanation Notes

ASAUCHAM :
Observance of impurity afflicted on the death of a member. (Also known as Pula or Pilai)

SOOTHAKAM :
Observance of impurity afflicted on the birth of a baby in the family. (Also known as Baalama)

DAAYAATI :
Members of family on father’s side for 7 generations, races, clan. (Also known as Sapinder or Pangali)

JNAATHY : Father and married brothers

KANYA STRI : Girl before the puberty age, i.e. virgin, chaste girl.

PANCHAGAVYAM : 5 cow products (Milk, Curd, Ghee, Cow’s Urine and Cow Dung).
PUNYAAHAM : To make oneself or day or the place punya (pure, free from sins, clean, auspicious) by sipping of or by spinkling sacred or sancitified water in a specific manner.

SANDHYA VANDAN : Daily prayers.

SNAANAM : Bath (by dipping in water) especially in river or pond.

VATU : Cronic Brahmachaari (boy who has received Brahmopadesam during his Upanayana ceremony)

SRAARDHAM : Death anniversary (Pithru day)

This is not part of ignorance.

Chapter 1 : Saucha-Asaucham Overview
(Observance during afflication of impurity)

Asaucha Kaanda has described in detail the various steps to be observed by family mambers, when they are afflicted with impurity on the death of the near and dear ones in their family as well as by the birth of a new child in the family.

For the sake of people who are keen in following these traditional valuable rules (Aachaaras), an attempt has been made to high-light some of the important rules mentioned in the Asaucha Kaanda. There are so many rules such as the followings. In reality, during the current iron age many of those aacharas cannot be possible to follow due to the devirsified life style and migration.

Broadly, these subtle impurities are known as “SOOTHAKAM or BAALAMA” arising on the birth of a child in the family, and “ASAUCHAM or PULA” arising on the death of a family member.

It is said that these subtle impurities affect 7 races (clan). However, for practical purposes, these are applicable to the family members for at least 4 generations, i.e. grand-father, father, self, and sons’ family mambers.

Even while observing the priod of impurity, all members can take daily snaanam (bath) and male members are allowed to perform their Sandhyaavandanam (daily prayer), but do not perform any rituals/poojas, make any house visits, invite any guests, attend any marriage or auspicious cermonies, and abstain from all cultural and social activities or gathering.

However, if Sraadham (Pithru day) either monthly or yearly, falls during this period, it should be postponed till Punyaaham day and performed on the respective Thithi falling immediately after the purification day.


Chapter 2 (a) : Soothakam


In the case of a male child born then;
10 days for all the dhaayathees
30 days from date of delivery for mother of the new born

In the case of a female child born then;
10 days for all the members of own family only
40 days from date of delivery for mother of the new born
Note: The mother observe in advance an additional 10 days impurity, asuming that the baby girl’s death takes place after her marriage. Due to which she is not allowed to observe impurity on account of her daughter’s death after her marriage. Because at the time of marriage all rights (mother daughter relationship) were transferred to another family.

3 days for the delivered woman’s parents
1 day for the delivered house (Soothika Griham)
10 days for Dhaayathees - i.e. (Male relatives and unmarried ladies on Father’s side):
a: Sibling - blood related brothers & their wives, and unmarried sisters
b: Father’s blood related brothers and their wives, and Father’s 2nd wife’s children, if any.
c: Grand father’s own & cousin brothers and their wives.

On the completion of the Soothakam, Punyaaham to be conducted and the sancitified water is sprinkled all over the place to make the place pure, and also sipped to make oneself pure.

The delivered mother will have to change her Mangalya Suthra on the 31st or 41st day as the case may be, and also sip “Panchagavya” to have 100% purity for ‘Bhaanda-Sparsa Karma’.

Note: All Brahmacharies, Kanyakaas and married sisters need not observe Soothakam.


Chapter 2 (b) : Asaucham

10 days of Asaucham to be observed on the death of a;

Jnaathy : By all Dhaayaathies
Brahmachary (irrespective of his age) : By all Dhaayaathies
Male child of 7 and above : By all Dhaayaathies
Male child between 10 days and 6 years : By Mother, Father & Siblings only.
Female child after 10 days & before marriage : By Mother, Father & Cousins only.

3 days Asaucham applicable to the following persons when a male Jnaathy die:
His - Maternal grand parents, uncle, aunt, wife’s parents, Parent’s Sisters, Sister’s children/nephews.
3 days Asaucham applicale to any married woman when the followings die:
Her - Own brother, newphew, own sister’s male child, step mother.

Note: Whenever husband is under the influence of impurity it automatically effect the wife, whereas wife’s all impurity does not effect husband.

Chapter 3 : Impurity vs Impurity

Since Asaucham is superior to Soothakam, it is said that while observing Soothakam if an Asaucham arise then Soothakam should be observed.

While observing one Asaucham (impurity) another impurity arises within 4 days (out of 10 days existing impurity) then no need to observe the later.

If a Brahmachaari has conducted Pithru Karmam then he will have to observe Asaucham.


Chapter 4 : General Impurity Rules

Suppose a person knowingly happen to have his food from a house already under the influence of Asaucham should observe one day Asaucham

Last day of the Asaucham, person should take bath only after 08:30 morning.

2 times bath is must if a person who visits semitary or carry deadbody.

If birth, death, or menses happens before 4 1/2 hours from Sun rise, then the first day of the impurity to be counted from next day only.

If a Sanyaasi die, nobody will have Asaucham.

In the case of son-in-law’s death, there is no Asaucham for girl’s parents. Only one time bath is a required.

When a Dur-Maranam (Suicide) takes place, then the relatives should wait for 6 months to initiate post marana karmam. Suicide on purpose did not deserve any Asaucham or Tharpanam. The most suitable post marana karma recommended as “Naraayana Bali’.

Person who has converted to another cast or inter-cast marriage do not deserve any Manthrocharana while cremation ceremony.


Chapter 5 : Impurity Through Menses

After her delivery, although it has been proved that until the mother stops breast feeding to the baby, she will not have menses. Nowadays everything is irregular. Regaining purification from the menses as follows:

· She should take bath in a pond or river. It should be only after 08:30 am (Sangava Kaalam)
· At one breath she should dip here whole body in the water for 23 times (Is it possible today?)
· She is not allowed to take bath before or during sun rise.
· She is allowed to participate in Pithru Karma only after 5 days from mensus.

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4 comments:

  1. I need answer to the following question

    How many days should the woman follow aashucham if her parents die after she is married for several years. please clarify

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hello Viswanathan
    Thanks. Actually no days to observe however 3 days are generally followed as a matter of respect and please public. In reality she has already changed her Gothram and came into your Gothram.
    Regards/venky

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hello Sir, We consider lord shiva as the destroyer who also governs the nava graha and yama loka. However I find it very strange that we never pray shiva during Sandhya Vandhanam nor during any of the ASUCHITHWAM rituals. Why is this so ?

    ReplyDelete
  4. What is your view on Marriage ? Are two souls bound for eternity or only for a lifetime ?

    ReplyDelete