SASHTIABDHAPOORTHI

As Event Managers people tend to think that only weddings have a great amount of work involved for us. That is not so. Every event has to  be planned with a difference. As event planners that is what is foremost in our mind when we take up an assignment.

As wedding planners we go by the traditions followed by the respective families of the bride and groom. Same applies to life events like Sashtiabdhapoorthi. Each coupe involved in the celebrations has a different idea about going about the rituals.

While some like to make it a socio – religious event, some others prefer to have exclusively as a religious function at a  temple  with just the close family members.

Either way it is an event that requires a lot of planning by us in coordination with the client as it involves elaborate rituals.

Shashtiabdhapoorthi is a Sanskrit word {Shashti = 60; Abdha = Years; Poorthi = Completion} that signifies the completion of 60 years in a person’s life.

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Although it has taken up the connotation of a socio – religious ceremony in recent times, the term as such has deep significance.

According to the Vedas the life span of a man is supposed to be 120 years and completion of 60 years is considered a milestone – completing 50% of his lifetime.

The Hindu calendar also follows the 60 year cycle [ Interestingly the Chinese Calendar too has the 60 year cycle] So on this day all celestial bodies are said to be in alignment just the way they were at the time of the person’s birth.

The rituals undertaken at this time is said to rejuvenate and bring good health and happiness to the couple celebrating the occasion.

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Elaborate homams are performed at the end of which the couple reaffirms their marriage wows with the re-enactment of the wedding rituals especially the Maangalya Dhaaranam.

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The general itinerary begins with the Ganapathi Homam, followed by the Sankalpam, Nandhee Shradham [invoking the blessings of the ancestors] punyaham, Mangalasnaanam and Mangalya dhaaranam.

An important aspect of the proceedings is the Kalasa Sthaapanam. The number of Kalasaas used can vary from 60, 33 or 12.Various Vedic mantras are chanted a particular number of times and the water in the Kalasaas are thus charged with positive energy.

The water from these kalasas are then poured on the couple during the Mangala Snaanam and it is said to energize and endow the couple with good health hence.

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Various homams like the Ayush Homam, Navagraha Homam, Dhanvantrii Homam, Maha Mrithyunjaya Homam and Jayaathi Homam are performed. All these are performed to bless the couple with good health, longevity & prosperity.

No ceremony of this nature is complete without the ‘Dhaanams’.

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10 types of Dhaanam or offerings are given away by the couple to be blessed with happiness and prosperity. This is known as Dasa Dhaanam. Dasa = Ten.

  1. Cow or ‘Gho’ Dhaanam: Cow is scared to the Hindus and Gho Dhaanam is said to bring about peace and good fortune. Nowadays in lieu of it, Gho Mooplya [price of the cow] or even Coconut can be offered to get the same effect.
  2. Gold or Hiranya Dhaanam is supposed to free the giver from all sins.
  3. Bhoo Dhaanam or Offering Land: This is now completed with the offering of a sandal wood log in lieu of land.
  4. Vasthra Dhaanam or Cloth offerings
  5. Jaggery is offered as Dhaanam to appease Goddess Lakshmi for prosperity
  6. Salt is offered in charity to appease Lord Rudra for good Health
  7. Food Grains are offered as Dhaanam
  8. Silver is offered in charity to please our ‘pithrus’ or ancestors and Lord Vishnu as well.
  9. Ghee Dhaanam is given in a bronze vessel and is said to purify and free the soul. Offering Ghee is said to please all Devathas.
  10. Sesame is offered in an iron or copper vessel. It helps the giver to wash away all his sins and enjoy a renewed life.

Besides these the Pancha or Five Dhaanams are also offered by many.

These Include:

A religious book

Vasthram or clothes

Deepam.

Udhaka Kumbam [water taken in a brass or copper vessel]

Bell

Finally the Phala dhaanam and the Bhoori Dhakshina are done to seek the blessings of all the scholars present and participating there.

It ends with the Maha Aashirwaadham.

As you can see the poojas are held on two different days and as event planners we normally recommend the first day’s poojas to be performed amidst close family at home. Day 2 is made elaborate due to the presence of extended family and relatives who look forward to the chance of blessing and being blessed by the couple.