ritual of the dikpalas

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ImageAssuming that majority of the readers are Hindus, how many of your really pay attention  to the muttering of the priest.

They perform this ritual called the Lokapaala whatever, in theater parlance, we call it the dikpala puja or the worshipping of the keepers of the cardinal directions. For quite a few years i slept through all these mantras, which were muttered without any explaination, and if one did ask for an explanation one did not recieve it.

Anyway, when I was deciphering parts of natyashastra I discovered that the cardinal signs were assigned guardians.  Their symbolism was exquist.

Morning prayers of the priests of egypt, the shaman’s of the American and Asian enthic people begin with the prayer to the sun god, facing the east. The sun the sustainer of all life, his gentle rays can nourish he holds the memories of the good and bad of all living creatues, he who is impartial and bestows his blessings with all equanimity.

The pantheon does honour his facing east, and reminding ourselves that he is the center of the existance, he is the truth, we may choose to call him surya or just rah.  The God who really is the guardian of the east is Indra. I would like to say like Horus being the pharaoh but Indra falls short of the yard stick.

The south is guarded by Yama the God of destruction, call him the eternal truth for he is Yama the God of death the only undeniable permanancy of life. South is the direction from which India faced destructive rains, and resulting floods, hence the keeper of the south is also the god of death.

The unfathomable depths of ocean, that also dwells in human existance as the mind, soul, lies in the west. From the west came the trade, and wealth, saraswati the omnipotent river, the nourisher, also in the west, hence the Lord of water Varuna is honored there.

Finally the north, Kubera the keeper of the coffers of the Gods, the Lord of Yakshas the forest wealth, the rider of the human ambition which translates to abundance, he is naravahana the Lord of the North.

The honoring of the dikpala’s is reminding us of our strenghts and our weakness and from they are sourced.

The earth that we stand on, and the sun that shines, nature worship has been sucked into mainstream rituals.


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Purva ranga is the prelude to every performance.
The chapters 2,3 and 5 of natyashastra refer to purva ranga.
It begins onstage with curtains closed the musical instruments are arranged. The steps are as follows:
Ritual Procedure Dedication
Pratyahara The opening Nagas and rakshasas
Avatarna Singers follow Apsaras
Arambha The vocal musical exercise Gandhara
Asravana Tuning of instruments Dhanava
Vaktrapani The performing technique Dhanava
Parighattana The setting of strined instruments Rakshasas
Samoghatana Setting of rhythm Guhyakas
Margasarita Blending of string instruments with drums Yaksha
Asarita Rhythms are set
Gitividhi Honor of the gods.

This proves that it is not just a sacral procedure. It is an unique form of worship. Once the curtain is raised we have
Ritual dedication
Madraka or vardhamanaka With an accompanying dance is the song and dance praising rudra.
Uttapana Sings in the praise of jarjara the weapon of indra.
Parivartana Is in the praise of Lokapalas
Nandi To the Brahmins and kings
Suskaprakrsta Jarjara and pitru
Rangadwara Vishnu
Cari Uma
Mahacari Rudra
Trigata Conversation between the sutradara and his assistants
Prarocana Is the hint of the drama.

Moolata brahma rupaya Madhyatho Vishnu toopena
Agratha siva roopaya vrksha raajayathe namah.

The tree is analgous to the Arbour Mundi.
• Brahma on the top
• Shankara in the second.
• Vishnu in the branches
• Skanda in the 4th
• Nagas in the 5th – which is the base.
• Sanskrit drama in performance
• Drama and rituals of early Hinduism