Pradakshina – (Circumambulation)    

Pradakshina at Thirumuttam: (inside Nalambalam) Walk outside the Balikals (Balivattom). Since the kshetram is a yagasala, one is not supposed to cross the water outlet (The outlet through which the liquids will pass out after Abhishekam ie pouring oil, milk, water, etc). So after ¾ of the circumambulation, retrace your path.

Since the original temples were that of Siva, in Kerala, in all Siva temples this practice is carried out even now. Since the water outlet (Ovuchal) is always north to south in Siva temple, it is a magnetic line of force, which may have been the source of the rule not to cross this line. This practice is not followed outside Kerala. However in the famous Somanatha temple of Gujarat this practice is followed.

At Thirumuttam, you have to do only one Pradakshina.

Pradakshina outside Nalambalam: Here also the circumambulation has to be outside the Balikals(These represent Bhootha Prethas).The minimum number of Pradakshinas here is stipulated as given below.

Ganapathy  - 1; Surya – 2; Siva – 3; All Devis and Vishnu – 4; Banyan tree – 7

Pradakshinam is prohibited for Banyan tree in the evenings, maybe due to the darkness around it.

For Sastha,Subrahmanya, Vettekaran, Nagas 3 pradakshinas each ( like Siva).

There are four rules for Pradakshina –
1. Walk slowly.
2. Do not move your hands in the air. If possible, keep your hands folded.
3. Recite the name or names of god silently
4. Most important is that you have to think of God while you do Pradakshina.

Do not use the temple as a meeting place. If you need to talk, do so outside the temple walls without disturbing the devotees.

The maximum benefits of Pradakshinam are obtained in the early morning, especially if there are plenty of trees inside the temple. In the morning the trees, specially the Banyan tree, gives out a rich mixture of oxygen and ozone. Pradakshinam of Banyan tree in the evening is thus not very important. Also the fruits of Banyan tree contain antiseptics, and regular contact with them is good to develop resistance against diseases.

How to prostrate in front of the deity

Sashtanganamaskaram - This is Namaskaram with 8 parts of the body. 1.Chest 2. Brow 3.Knee 4.Feet 5.Words 6.Mind 7.Anjali 8.Eyes. When you prostrate, the big toes of both the feet, the knees, the chest and the forehead have to touch the ground. The hands are to be stretched in front. You have to recite words of the Deity while doing Namaskaram. With your eyes you see the Deity and do Dhyana by the mind.

This type of prostration is not prescribed for women. It is mainly because of fear of damage to the uterus. For women the prescribed style is of kneeling on one's knees and touching the ground with the forehead.

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