Dharma Shastra Achamana Vidhi
Sometimes transliterated as: Āchamanaṃ, Aachamanam, Achaman, Aachaman
Sandhyā snānaṃ japō hōmō dēvatānāṃca pūjanaṃ| ātithyaṃ vaiśvadēvaṃca ṣaṭ karmāṇi dinē dinē||
According to this śloka from parāśara smṛutiḥ we can understand that there are some duties/karma which are expected to be fulfilled daily. These are called 'Nitya Karma'. These activities are Sandhyāvandanaṃ, snānam and hōmaḥ. The karma which is performed against a valid reason is called 'Naimittika Karma', like taking a bath at the time of eclipse/grahaṇaṃ, performing Śrādhdhakarma on the date when our ancestors die etc.
Yat kiṃchit phalamuddiśya, yagṅa dāna japādikaṃ| Kriyatē kāyikaṃ yacca, tatkāmyaṃ parikīrtitaṃ||
The karma which is performed against a wish is called 'Kāmyakarma'. According to Dharma śāstra many rituals are prescribed to fulfill one's wishes. For e.g. 'putrakāmēśṭī' is prescribed for pregnancy, 'sūryārādhanaṃ' for good health etc.
For every type of karma/anuṣṭānaṃ there are some unique set of actions, which are used repeatedly. Āchamanaṃ is an essential part of it. In general, Āchamanaṃ is sipping the water thrice using our right palm. The palm is to be folded like an ear of a cow. The measurement of the water should be apt. While performing this action one is prescribed to chant certain mantraṃ according to the context.
General Rules to perform Āchamanaṃ
Nācāmēt āsanasthāghriḥ, na badhdhāsana ēva vaa| na prasārita pādō vā, bahirjānukarōpi vā||
One should understand that in every karma/anuṣṭānaṃ the performer sits on a higher platform than the ground level. It is called Āsanaṃ. In the above mentioned śloka, rules regarding the position of legs and hands are described.
- When the Anuṣṭātā is sitting on a Āsanaṃ at the time of Āchamanaṃ, one should rest his foot on the ground and not on the Āsanaṃ itself.
- The Anuṣṭātā should also not perform complicated yogic postures like padmapsanaṃ, vajrāsanaṃ etc at the time of Āchamanaṃ.
- The Anuṣṭātā should bend his legs i.e., He should not straighten his legs at the time of Āchamanaṃ.
- As the Ācamana pātraṃ is placed in front of the folded legs of the person performing, one should make sure that his hands do not go outside the breadth of his two legs.
Types of Ācamanaṃ
There are four types of Ācamanaṃ, which are to be performed in different types of karma/anuṣṭānaṃ.
Dēvyāḥ pādaiḥ tribhīḥ pītvā, abliṃgaiḥ navabhiḥ spṛśēt| saptavyāhṛti saṃyuktā, gāyatrī tripadā śiraḥ||
Śrautaṃ means the karma which is related to Śrutiḥ. Śrutiḥ means Vedas. The Ācamanaṃ, which is done while performing Śrautakarma is Śautācamanaṃ. In all the karma/anuśṭānaṃ 'Gāyatrī mantraṃ' is considered to be very sacred. The main deity described in the mantraṃ is savitā/Sun God, but the mantraṃ got its name according to the name of its meter i.e. Gāyatrī. There are three lines in the Gāyatrī mantraṃ and at the end of pronouncing each line one should offer the water which is situated in our palm at once.
There are some 'Mārjana mantraḥ', which praise the Abdēvatā/Water God. These are divided into nine parts. At the end of pronouncing each part, one should touch different parts of our body. Again by adjoining sapta vyāhṛtayaḥ with gāyatrī mantraṃ, one should sprinkle water on different body parts as prescribed.
Trirācāmēt| Dviḥ parimṛjya, sakṛdupaspṛśya| Savyaṃ pāṇiṃ pādau prōkśati| Śiraścakṣuṣī nāsikē śrōtrē||
According to our tradition the text known as 'The Vedas', are not written by anyone just heard by Ṛśiḥ/Sādhakaḥ. That's how Vedas are called Śrutiḥ which means that which is heard. These Vedas are divided into three parts
In the Āraṇyakaṃ part of Veda, a unique method of Ācamanaṃ is stated called as Śrutyācamanaṃ.
Smṛtiḥ is the literature derived from the Śrutiḥ/Veda. So the Ācamanaṃ stated in Smṛtiḥ is Smṛtyācamanaṃ/Smārtācamanaṃ. There are two traditions followed in this section.
- Āpastaṃba sūtrōktaṃ
Śaunakamataṃ : Gōkarṇākṛti hastēna, Māṣamātraṃ jalaṃ pibēt| Tannyūnamadhikaṃ vāpi, Surāpāna samaṃ bhavēt||
The palm is to be folded like an ear of a cow. The measurement of the water should be apt like the water which is taken in the palm should drown a seed of black gram. It should not be less or more.
Āpastaṃba sūtrōktaṃ : Tiṣṭannācāmēt, prahvōvā āsnaḥ| Trirācāmēt, hṛyaṃgamābhiḥ adbhiḥ| Triroṣṭau parimṛjēt, sakṛdupaspṛśēt||
One should be in a sitting position while performing Ācamanaṃ. One should also take the water thrice assuming as if it is reaching the heart. One should also wipe the lips thrice. It is necessary that one does not touch the lips with three fingers.
Kēśavādyaiḥ tribhiḥ pītvā, dvābhyāṃ prakṣalayēt karau| dvābhyāṃ ōṣṭau ca sammṛjya, dvābhyāṃ unmārjanaṃ tathā||
There are 28 names of Śrī mahā viṣṇuḥ stated in the Purāṇaṃ. Each name is chanted significantly while touching different body parts.
The names mentioned below are used to chant while sipping water.
- Kēśavāya svāhā
- Nārāyaṇāya svāhā
- Mādhavāya svāhā
The names mentioned below are used to wipe the hands.
- Gōvindāya namaḥ
- Viṣṇavē namaḥ
The names used to wipe the lips are:
- Madhusūdanāya namaḥ
- Trivikramāya namaḥ
The names mentioned below are used to sprinkle the water on head.
- Vāmanāya namaḥ
- Śrīdharāya namaḥ
The names used to touch the nostrils are:
- Vāsudēvāya namaḥ
- Pradyumnāya namaḥ
The below mentioned names are uttered while touching the eyes.
- Aniridhdhāya namaḥ
- Puruṣōttamāya namaḥ
The names used for chanting while touching two ears are:
- Adhōkṣajāya namaḥ
- Nārasṃhāya namaḥ
The name used to wipe the left palm is
- Hṛṣīkeśāya namaḥ
The name used for chanting for sprinkling the water on legs are:
- Padmanābhāya namaḥ
The name uttered while sprinkling the water on head again is
- Dāmodarāya namaḥ
The name chanted while touching the chin is
- Saṃkarṣaṇāya namaḥ
- We have at least three junctions in a day, which is called sandhyā. The time(around 6am IST) between night and day is called prātaḥ sandhyā, the time(around 12noon IST) between day and noon is called mādhyāhnika sandhyā and the time(around 6pm IST) between noon and night is called sāyaṃ sandhyā.
- Originally it is pronounced as japaḥ. Chanting a certain sequence of words prescribed in a very low sound. These words are called mantraḥ.
- Originally it is pronounced as hōmaḥ. Sacred offerings given to the god of fire/ agnidēvaḥ. The material offered may differ, at times it may be Cow ghee/ghrutaṃ, sacred twig/samit etc.
- Respecting gods in a prescribed format
- Respecting the unintimated/ unknown guests, who visit our house.
- A sacred set of action, which also includes offering given to agnidēvaḥ. This is exclusively performed to get rid of the sins we get by committing mistakes towards nature.
- Parāśara smrutiḥ 1-38
- nimittāt āgataṃ
- A special offering given to the god of fire/agnidēvaḥ.
- Originally it is pronounced as dānaṃ
- kāmanātaḥ kriyatē iti kāmyaṃ
- The water which is taken in the palm should drown a seed of black gram
- This raised platform is made of wood and other materials according to the place
- One who performs karma/anuṣṭānaṃ
- The container of water for Āchamanaṃ.
- Śrutēḥ idaṃ
- Prayōga samavēta artha smārakāḥ mantrāḥ, a set of verses which describe the subjects of the karma/anuśṭānaṃ.
- 1.ōm bhūḥ, 2.ōm bhuvaḥ, 3.ōm suvaḥ, 4.ōm mahaḥ, 5.ōm janaḥ, 6.ōm tapaḥ, 7.ōm satyaṃ
- It means what we recollect.