Thursday, July 14, 2016

851. Tapta Mudra Dharana and Chaturmasa.

In Vaishnava Sampradaya (those who believe Sri Hari is Supreme) more predominantly in Madhva sect Mudra Dharana is a common feature. Mudra Dharana is a ritual wherein the believer sports the Mudras which are Shankha, Chakra, Gada & Padma the four attributes of Sri Hari.  

Mudra Dharana is of two types Shitala and Tapta. Shitala Mudra Dharana is applying the mudras with copper mudras by using Gopichandana. Tapta Mudra Dharana is done using heated copper moulds. The reason behind applying the daily mudras with Gopichandana is to denote that this Stula Deha (Gross Body) belongs to Sri Hari. And this ritual keeps the body cool as Gopichandana is clay got from Dwaraka. Tapta Mudra Dharana is applied on Aashada Shuddha Ekadaahi which is the start of Chaturmasa.
Vaishnavas consider Chaturmasya (four months pertaining to rainy season) as auspicious and observed from Ashada Shukla Ekadashi (today) to Kartika Shukla Ekadashi

During this period scriptures prescribe giving up certain types of food items like vegetables, curds, milk and grains. In the first month all vegetables are given up to please Sri Sridhara, the 
niyamaka (controller) for Ashada-Sravana month and in second month all items of curd are given up to get blessings from Sri Hrishikesha, the 

niyamaka of Sravana-Badrapada month. Milk and milk products are forbidden on the Badrapada-Ashvija month when Sri Padmanabha is the niyamaka deva. In the fourth month Ashvija-Kartika grains are shunned to get the grace of Sri Damodhara. 

This is the period when Maha Vishnu is in Yoga Nidra annually that is known as Ayana Nidra. He is in Cosmic Sleep and is the threshold of Samadhi state. It is not the regular sleep which gives relaxation to mind and body, but it is Blissful relaxation for the inner Self. Tapta Mudra is done by His devotees is to bring them to awake state by getting stamped by hot copper moulds of Wheel representing Sudarshana Chakra and Conch representing Paanchajanya Shankha on the shoulders.

This ritual is also called “Vaishnava Deekshe” (proclaiming I am a Vaishnava).  Vaishnava Deekshe has two components Bahya which is outwardly and the other is Antarya. The Antarya is to know Sri Hari as Sarvottama (Best of all), Svatantra (Independent), Sarvashakta (Omnipotent), Sarvajna (Omniscient), Sarvavyapta (Omnipresent), and everything is under His control in all times and places. The Bahya is of stamping mudras which demonstrate the steadfast faith one has on Him.

Tapta Mudradhaarana is an act to purify the body before commencement of any divine austerity.  It a Vedic tradition that also has therapeutic values as it is believed to stimulate the nervous system and provide immunity to the body. In remote villages Jaundice (Hepatitis) is treated by stamping from a heated copper bar on the body. Our ancients knew that effect of heated copper when stamped on the human body would cure disease. Copper has got the inherent property to kill bacteria. Our ancients were advising us to use copper we neglected them, now an Irish hospitals is using copper door knobs and handles to fight infection in the hospital.  

During Mudra Dharana mantras are chanted which roughly mean  “May the radiance of Sudharashana Chakra remove ignorance and the sound of Paanchanjanya shankha destroy accumulated sins so that Vishnu Marga (Path towards Vishnu) be our grace.”  

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