This is part IV of tantra series. Performing purascharana is a precondition laid down by tantra scriptures (in vedic mantras also this procedure is prescribed) to establish contact with the concerned deity. Purascharana consists of mantra japa, homa, marjana, tarpana and bhojana. Let us assume that recitation of 10,000 times for a mantra is prescribed for a deity. As soon as 10,000 mantras are recited, the sadhaka has to perform homa of 1000 oblations. Ingredients for oblations have been prescribed. The entire homa is to be performed by the sadhaka himself, without any assistance. Once the fire rituals are over, the sadhaka has to perform 100 tarpanas and 10 marjanas and has to feed one person. (The details of tarpana and marjana have been given in the previous posting.) This is called ‘dasamsam’, that is 10% of the earlier ritual. Suppose recitation of 100,000 times is fixed for a mantra, then homa should be performed with 10000 oblations, followed by 1000 tarpanas, 100 marjanas and feeding 10 persons.

The selection of persons for feeding is important. They should be persons of clean habits. It is better to choose those persons who recite the same mantra. The basic requirement is that the concerned persons should at least be performing daily pooja and rituals. The important component of a fire oblation is the sacrifice. For example, in the case of performing purascharana for Panchadasi mantra the sacrifice mantra goes like this. Om –atma bija- Panchadasi mantra- namaha-Lalithambigai idam- na mama. The significance is that the oblation is for the Goddess Lalithambigai and not for the self. The effect accruing on account of these oblations is surrendered to the Goddess herself. Once all the rituals are over, the sadhaka should sleep in the mandapa where the entire rituals were performed. On the night of completing all the rituals, the deity of the mantra appears before the sadhaka and grants him boons. But, in most of the cases the concerned deity may not appear in person and instead appear in his dream. In some cases, the sadhaka may have auspicious dreams connected with the deity. In such cases, the guru of the sadhaka will give interpretations for the dream. If none of these things happen, the sadhaka may have to repeat the entire process again.

The main reason for non-fructification of mantras could be either the rituals are not performed with sincerity or some mistakes could have crept in while performing such rites. Once the sadhaka’s rituals are approved by the deity concerned, to implement the boons granted by the concerned deity, the sadhaka has to perform certain other rituals. Certain prescribed rituals are really terrible. For example sitting on a dead body and meditating on the goddess, meditating on the goddess in the dead of the night in the burial ground, sitting on top of a tree and meditating on the deity, sitting before a fire altar consecutively for a number of days etc. There are certain other practices, which are not worth discussing here. We will take up for discussion one or two rituals. (to be continued)

Further Readings:

Introduction to Tantra Sastra

Tantric Initiation

The Second Initiation

Tantra and Five Elements