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Importance of ANGARA and AKSHATA

– By Sri Raghavendra Acharya Rachuri

Any religious practice, to be valid, should be backed by a valid scripture or an authentic sampradAya. For, what is enjoined in the scriptures or adhered to by the sampradAya becomes important and relevant. Apart from this, in these modern times, we also feel a need for some scientific explanation or background for all our religious practices, for everyone to practice them with conviction.

Today, we find reference to some of our practices in our scriptures such as gopichandana UrdhvapunDra dhAraNa, mudrA dhAraNa, angAra dhAraNa etc. But, for some practices such as akshata, there is no specific scriptural evidence available so far. But we learn that this is as authentic as gopichandana and angAra dhAraNa as it was practiced by great stalwarts of Madhva philosophy.

All these practices may or may not have an explanation in terms of modern science. But there must be scientific explanation for everything and these practices must also have some traditional scientific reason. But, our scriptures, for some reason, don’t reveal the traditional scientific reasons for such practices. Therefore, these basic questions though they look simple, become very difficult to answer with authority.

Presented below is what little the author knows about the practices of angAra and akshata.

Importance and relevance of angAra

There is a quote available from padma purANa which says

na bhayam vidyate tasya divi bhaumAntarikshajam
viShNordhUpasya sheSheNa yasyAngam ca vilepitam

There will be no fear on earth, sky or antariksha who has applied the dhUpa sheSha of viShNu (angAra) on his body.

bhavanti sampadastasya nApadastasya dehinaH
harerdattAvasheSheNa dhUpena parimArjati

One who applies the angAra after offering it to Shri Hari, will be blessed with wealth and will be free from adversities.

pishAchato bhayam nAsti na chorAdi bhayam kvachit
shechayitvA harerdhUpam nirmAlyam pAdayorjalam
deepam neerAjanam kRutvA devadevasya chakriNaH
varShakoTi shatam sAgram viShNorloke maheeyate
There will be no fear of devils and thieves to one who offers deepa and neerAjana, applies angAra and wears the nirmAlya of Shri Hari.

Preparation of angAra

AngAra, basically is a burning charcoal, which is red hot. First, dhUpa should be offered to viShNu by sprinkling dashAngam etc. on the red hot charcoal during pooja. Later it is cooled by putting it in water. It should be kept aside for applying after the completion of pooja.

Where to apply

It is applied at all places where gopichandana is applied.

When to apply and when not to

Should be applied everyday without fail even on ekadashi’s and even during ashaucha.

Akshata

As mentioned earlier, there is no specific reference to this practice in the scriptures available to us today. But our rich sampradaya stands as a proof to this practice.

Importance and relevance of Akshata

As we have no scriptural evidence available today for this practice we cannot give specific details on its importance or relevance.

Preparation

The basic ingredients of akshata are

  1. turmeric root
  2. powder ash of burnt plantain flower

The steps to prepare akshata are as follows

  1. The covering of the plantain flower (baaLe hoovina sippe) should be dried and burnt and the ash collected.
  2. A turmeric root should be ground on a stone slab (shaaNe kallu) adding small quantities of water to make a soft paste
  3. Mix sufficient quantity of the ash from step 1
  4. The paste will turn maroon in color.
  5. Offer it to viShNu during pooja and to other deities. Keep it aside for applying after the completion of the pooja

When to use and when not to?

According to the sampradaya, akshata is not applied during ekadashis and ashaucha (due to death of some near relative)

Where to apply

On the forehead at the root of angAra

9 Responses to Importance of ANGARA and AKSHATA

  1. Ramesh V Bhat

    The learned scholar is right in mentioning that there is no no scriptural evidence available today for the practice of Akshata. Perhaps because of this reason HH Vibhudesh Teertha of Admar Mutt used to say that it is only for “Alankara”.Whether Akshata should be joined with angaraka, depends on which Mutt one follows.

  2. Dr.Guruprasad

    Actually the usage of Angara & Akshata is symbolic representation that the person belongs to Madhwa category…!!!NO special reason for that.The scriptures say only URDHWA PUNDRA has to be used to stimulate the chakras in different region…

    The usage of Angara & Akshata was started by NArahari tirtha a Shishya of MAsdhwacharya ..But the now a days people to put NAAMA (Angara akshata) to MAshwacharya’s photo also…..GATANU GATIKO LOKAHA NA LOKAHA PAARAMARTHIKAHA…….

  3. Dr. DNR Rao

    Sri Hari Vaayu Gurubhyo namah,

    If the statement of Dr. Guruprasad is correct, can some one throw light on it, with authenticity ?
    Also request some comments from regarding Madhwacharya wearing/not wearing angara akshathe by Sri Raghavendra Acharya Rachuri (Sri Uttaradi Mutt – Bengaluru.
    With great regards and respect to scholars.
    Dr. Rao

  4. Vijayeendra L Acharya

    Hari Sarvotthama…. Vaayu Jevotthama

    Completely not acceptable statement from Dr.Gurupasad. One should see the Sumadhwa Vijaya Grantha and then should come to conclution. Becoz our own god-Lord Sri Vedhavyasa Maharshi, himself is applied with Akshathe and Angara. Its been clearly quoted in Sumadwavijaya, in the time of explaining about Badri Vasa: Lord Sri Vedhavyasa Maharshi. I would like to ask Sri Vidhyaprasanna teertha swamiji to put light on this quote.

    Sri Krishnaarpana masthu

  5. Sriram

    As you all know Vaishnavas’ aim is to attain the holy feet of Vishnu. Every bhakti school of vedanta has their own ways to attain the holy feet of the Ultimate. Madhwas too have their philosophy leveraged from the teaching of Sri Sri Anandathirtha. While Sri Vaishnava sampradhaya iterates Mahalakshmi, the universal mother’s love and affection as the easient way to attain Lord, they display Sri sharanam – saffron line (denotes Shree – Lakshmi) in beetween the two white namas – that denotes Lord Narayana’s holy padas – feets.

    According to Madhwa sampradaya the karya karma anushtanas are responsible for liberation and to attain the immortal refugee in Lord’s feet. So Angara – which marks the completion of deepa aradhana and Askshata which marks the completion of the saligrama puja are put up in the forehead between the gopi chandana namas that denotes the holy feet of Sriman Narayana.

  6. krishna upadhyaya

    First of all why is this article of written by someone belonging uttardi mut being published in shivalli Brahmins website which is no way related to us. My dear moderator we would like to listen more from our people and swamijis.Please help us with articles in English Sanskrit and also Tulu written by our shivalli brahmins intended for us so that we can keep our culture and sampradaya in full swing. As shivallibrahmins are spread across the globe it would be helpful to know our sampradaya and rituals with this fantastic and beautiful website. Please add more articles indented for shivalli brahmins

  7. Balachandra

    namaskAra shree Krishna Upadhyaya,

    First of all, it is not correct to brush aside some good thing written by a Madhwa scholar just because he does not belong to the Shivalli sect. Right knowledge has to be accepted from wherever it comes. We published this article because good number of Shivalli Madhwa Brahmins also apply Angara and Akshata on their forehead, and we received some queries regarding the same.

    Even we are eager to publish articles written by Shivalli scholars about our culture and sampradaya, and we have done that in the past. But they are not coming regularly! In such a case we have no other option but to catch hold of some good articles made available to us through forwarded emails and blogs, and publish the same in our website.

    I take this opportunity to request you (Mr. Krishna Upadhyaya and others who are reading this comment) to please write and send good articles for publishing.

    dhanyavAdagaLu

  8. krishna upadhyaya

    Dear Balachandra

    I thank you very much for you reply and will also contribute as much as possible.Eagrly waiting for articles Shivalli scholars.

    Masth upakara

    Krishna

  9. Krishnamurthy

    Hare Namaha,

    See first of all , try not to find scientific reasons to every ritual made by our ancestors. whatever they made is correct for our prosperity. By practice, we can have the result of rituals. Only hearing do not give result. reasons are several , but belief comes according to our vision and practice. Stop asking ans start practicing.

    Comedy is intolerance between madhwas like shivalli brahmins/UM/RM. first stop that attitude and start representing yourself as a true madhwa.

    thank you
    Krishna , Bangalore

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