Abhishekam is a Sanskrit word meaning “sprinkling” or “wetting”. It refers to the Hindu ritual of pouring water or other sacred substances on a statue of a deity while also chanting mantras corresponding to that deity. It is another form of ‘puja’ (worship).
Abhishekam allows us to surrender to, honor and connect with the deity of your choice and the energy and power it exudes, and also to attain its blessings.
You can create a abhishekam ritual ceremony for numerous purposes such as strengthening planets, balancing karma, prosperity, blessings for a cause, removal of inner/outer negativity, relationships and more.
The ritual of pouring or sprinkling on the statue is a form of cleansing and purification of our own minds. As you wash the statue, you are also being washed of any planetary doshas, limitations, and karmic hindrances.
Aside from water, other purifying liquids such as ghee (clarified butter), honey, curd (yogurt), milk, sesame oil, coconut water and rose water, along with sandalwood and sugar are used, each representing one of the five elements of water, earth, fire, air and ether. By offering the substances that represent the elements, it is a request to the deity to also purify these elements within ourselves.
A sweet liquid concoction also used in prayer rituals is Panchamrit – a sacred mix of five ingredients, milk, honey, yogurt, sugar and ghee and is a combination of two words, Pancha (five) and Amrut (divine nectar of Gods, immortality).
According to Hindu mythology, the gods gained immortality by drinking panchamrit and it is believed to have health benefits such as improving brain function, nourishing the skin and purifying the body.
Panchamrit ingredients have specific symbolic meanings
- Milk – represents purity and piousness
- Honey – produced by bees with absolute dedication and cooperation symbolises sweet speech and unity
- Sugar – is about being blissful and happy
- Yogurt/curd – represents prosperity
- Ghee – represents strength and victory.
How to make Panchamrit – the milk of Gods – to use for Abhishekam
Combine 4-5 tsp cow’s milk, 1tsp sugar, 1tsp honey, 1tsp yogurt, 2tsp ghee in a bowl and stir well.
How to perform Abhishekam at home
- Make sure you have bathed yourself and your face, hands and feet are clean.
- Find an uncluttered area of your home to arrange a small table or you can do it on your nightstand, which serves as the platform for the ritual. If you wish you can cover the table with a special cloth.
- Put your statue or lingham (the abstract representation of Lord Shiva) on the table and make it face east (you can use a compass on your phone to determine the correct direction).
- Place a clean shallow bowl underneath the statue to collect the liquid offering.
- Pour either water or your panchamrit sacred mixture slowly over the statue or lingam.
- As you pour the liquid on the statue or lingam you can chant a mantra connected to the deity, for example for Lord Shiva, the simple Aum Namah Shivaya chant, or have the Sri Rudram chant playing.
- Give your 100% to the ritual, so the mind is focused rather than wandering.
- If you use any liquid other than water, then gently pour water over the statue at the end to clean it from any residue liquids.
- Take a clean cloth and wipe the statue or lingam.
- Additionally: Light some incense if you wish at the start of the ritual to cleanse and purify the atmosphere. After you have wiped the statue/lingam you can decorate it by offering flowers and apply a vibhuti(holy ash)/sandalwood/kumkum (vermilion) tilaka on the forehead and the feet of the statue or the side of the lingam. This honors the earth element which is important for sustenance.
- If you have used panchamrit for the ritual, you can pour the liquid from the shallow bowl into a glass and drink the sacred mix with awareness and gratitude, as “prasadam”, a gift shared by the deity to you after the offering.
When should you do the ritual?
On the align27 app we do the calculations for you and give you a heads up on when to perform them. So use the app to guide you or you can of course conduct this ritual at any time that works for you.
In the meantime, here are a couple of generic days you can perform Abhishekam:
Lord Shiva was said to have swallowed poison emanating from the churning of the ocean, after which he put the Moon on his head to cool it, so it is auspicious to do this ritual on Moon-ruled Mondays.
You can also do Abhishekam on Pradosham days. Pradosha or Pradosham is a bimonthly occasion on the thirteenth day of every fortnight in the Hindu calendar. Trayodashi (“thirteen”) refers to the thirteenth day in a lunar phase or fortnight of the Hindu calendar. Each month has two Trayodashi days, falling on the thirteenth day of the moon’s ‘bright phase’ and ‘dark phase,’ respectively.
Pradosh refers to the twilight period, just before sunset and immediately after sunset, when it is believed that Lord Shiva is in his most cheerful mood and most likely to give of his energies.