Friday, February 1, 2008
Puttrukku paal theLitthal (offer of milk to snakes)
THE RATIONALE OF OFFERING MILK TO THE SNAKES
Pouring milk in the small mounds where snakes are believed to live
is a regular practice among Hindus.
This is a must on Fridays for most Hindu women.
This is also a practice which is considered as the most superstitious one
because snakes do not drink milk.
If one knows why this practice was sanctioned,
one will understand the rationale of this.
The milk- sprinkiling (puttrukku paal theLitthal)
is a remedy told by sage Parashara in his treatise on astrology,
Brihat Parashara Hora Sashthra (BPHS)
Those afflicted with the curse of the snakes (sarpa dOsha)
are advised to offer milk to the EARTH, which is said to rest on ADI-SESHA, the snake.
As per BPHS,
" The snakes (nagas) are in the category of minor gods who take care of the household affairs.
The curse of the snakes is likely when someone lives in a building
in which the Vasthu purusha was not properly worshipped
or if someone dissatisfies Bhumi Devi (the deity of the Earth).
Therefore the upaaya (remedy) should
consist of worshipping Sri Ananatadeva and Prithivi Devi,
and donating land, cows, sesame seeds and gold."
The curse arises if some one has defaced the earth by some means.
The defacement happens in many ways.
All such acts that result in polluting the earth
attracts the curse of the snakes (sarpa dOsham - or dOsham by RAhu and KEtu)
Even acts such as urinating in a field, in water ways and pouring wastes into the earth
amount to sin that attracts this dOsham.
The rationale is that the earth is a sacred one that has enabled life to grow and sustain.
Any act that spoils the sacredness of the earth must be compensated by
an act that symbolises a purification of the earth.
Since this massive earth is symbolically said to be resting on the Adi-sesha,
the purification ceremony is done at the place where the snakes live.
The purification is done by milk.
BPHS recommends the offer of milk as "arghya" to the earth,
as a remedial act to remove the sarpa dOsham.
The BPHS recommends a mantra
while sprinkling the milk on the earth
which runs thus:-
oà atra tiñöhanti ye nägä bhümiñöhä bhümi-pälakäù
apasarpantu te sarve gåhänärghyaà dharitri me
hiraëyagarbhe vasudhe çeñasya pariñäyiné
vasämy ahaà tava påñöhe gåhänärghyaà dharitri me.
"May all snakes leave this place.
O earth, please accept this arghya, resting on the Sesha, O HiraNya garbha,
I reside on your back.
O Earth please acept this arghya"
Puttrukku paal theLitthal, must be accompanied
by a feeling of awareness that
one should not spoil the earth any longer.
The sacredness of the Earth and other Elements of Nature is such that
any act done to enhance or glorify the nature of the Element
will be rewarded with a place in Swarga loka (Heaven)
and any act to belittle or spoil it
will result in untold misery
as indicated by Sarpa dOsha.
In recent memory,
the only act which can be considered as a loftier one,
that will result in blessing the one who had done it,
with Swarga lOka padhavi (place in the heavens)
RAIN WATER HARVESTING.
I felt a necessity to write about this in my blog,
because the assault on Bhoo matha
and her water resources
is going on unabated.
Our people must become more responsible to the
Nature that sustains them.
Let everyone, including
the surging crowds at the temples to feed milk to the snake hill,
they have a responsibility towards mother Earth
and this offer of milk as a remedy
comes with a repentance as well as a pledge
that the earth will no longer be polluted by them
and if they don't stick to this pledge,
the surge to do this remedy will
become a permanent feature
in all their future births to come,
- if they are blessed to be born in this country!!