Hindu Of Universe

“God’s light is within you, It never leaves you.”

Achamanam is a ritual in Hinduism to purify our minds and bodies.

The purification process includes sipping water from our right hand with the recitation of different mantras.

These mantras are known to invoke power and energy when we correctly chant them.

There are different types of Achamanam performed in Hindu culture based on which we can classify them into three.

They are- 1. Srautacamanam – It follows the instructions for performing Achamana as per the Vedas.

Here, you may sip water thrice by reciting the three Pathas of the Gayathri mantra in succession.

You may begin by chanting ‘Om Achutaya Namaha’ to the water in your right hand.

It can energize the water.

You can then continue doing the same twice by chanting, Om Anantaya Namaha’ and ‘Om Govindaya Namaha.’

In the second half of Srautacamanam, you have to touch twelve parts of the body while chanting the nine Abhilingas and the seven Vyahutis.

2. Smrtyacamanam – It follows the Dharmasutras and bases itself on the Smritis.

Here, a devotee may sip the water thrice, with the recitation of ‘Svaha.’

Then, you may touch the nine parts of your body with the utterance of the Sutras.

3. Puranacamanam – A devotee performs it by chanting the 24 names of Lord Vishnu.

Here, you may hold the water in your right hand (chant Om Aarchamyaa), sip it thrice while chanting Om Keshavaya Svaha, Om Narayanaya Svaha, and Om Madhavaya Svaha.

For the next two recitations, Om Govindaya Namaha and Om Vishnave Namaha, you may wash your hands.

For the following nineteen names, you have to touch different body parts with your right hand.

Puranancamanam is a process that aids in the purification of physical and mental impurities.

The performance of Achamanm at the beginning of all Vedic rituals and pujas can induce energy and provide us with internal as well as external purification.

Significance of performing Achamanam:

Different Paramparas have distinct methods of performing Achamanams.

For instance, Goudi Vaishnavas are known to perform Achamanams as taught in Pachartra Prabudha.

Similarly, Achamanams have different religious and scientific significances of practicing it.

Religious significance:

Achamanam is a purification process done with the aid of water.

The water used for Achamanam has to be pure without any odor.

You can use Panchaptra with a spoon to pour water into your right hand.

The recitation of mantras is a necessary factor while performing Achamanams.

They can foster your spiritual enrichment.

Let us look at Achamanam in a religious dimension based on scriptures and epics.

  1. In Ramayana, Lord Rama performed Achamanam thrice by chanting Adhithya Hrudhya mantra before he eliminated Ravana.

The chanting of the mantra gave him the power to remove Ravana.

2. In the eleventh Skandha of Devi Bhagavata, drinking water from the right palm curved in the shape of a spoon is auspicious.

The water in your hands must be able to cover a green-gram seed.

Our palm, little finger, and thumb must not come in contact with other fingers.

You can support your right hand with your left hand while performing Achamanam.

It can purify your body of any impurities.

3. In Sivapurana, Achamanam is a way of worshipping the phallic image.

4. In Natyashastra, the performance of Achamanam at the end of the day can ward off the hardships and evil forces from our lives.

It also facilitates the installation of god.

5. As per Santana Dharma, the performance of Achamanam can provide internal and external purification.

It can stimulate the mind to remove evil forces from within.

6. Performance of Achamanam before applying Tilaka and having Prasada can enhance our spiritual growth.

Scientific significance:

There are five main elements or Panchabhootas in our bodies.

They include air, water, wind, fire, earth, and ether or space.

Their balanced existence aids in the proper flow of bio-electricity through our bodies.

Each of our fingertips is associated with one element (thumb-fire, index finger-wind, middle finger-ether, ring finger- earth, and little finger-water).

The performance of Achamana invokes the vitalities of these elements through our fingertips.

The asana of practicing Achamanam is Kukutasana.

Here, we put pressure on the toes, which aids in the proper functioning of the thyroid, the pituitary, and the adrenal gland.

When can you perform Achamanam?

You can perform Achamanam preliminary to daily rituals like Brahmayagyam, mantra chanting, Sandhya Vandhanam.

You can also practice them –

✿ after the acceptance or giving of alms

✿before and after crossing a river

✿before and after taking a bath

✿ soon after waking up

✿ after brushing your teeth

✿ before and after a meal

A devotee has to perform Achamananam in a clean place facing East or North.

One has to sip water through Brahma Theertha and don’t make any sound while drinking the water as it is disrespectful.

When not to perform Achamanam?

There are different instances when you are not supposed to perform Achamanam.

Here, we will be discussing some of the situations when you cannot perform Achamanam.

They are –

❀when the Shika is not tied

❀when you have your head covered

❀when you are wearing footwear

❀when you are standing

❀when you are wearing dirty clothes

❀when you are wearing a Pavitram

❀ when you have just taken Prasaham or sipped Teertha

You don’t have to perform Achamanam if you have had betel leaf, soma pana, sugarcane piece, or mango.

You have to perform Achamanam with complete devotion.

The practice of Achamanam can enhance you physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

It facilitates the balancing of the five elements in our bodies, which can improve the flow of bio-electricity.

The performance of Achamanam with the recitation of mantras can empower you spiritually.

How to do Achamanam mantra, step-by-step

What is Achamanam

Achamanam, or achamana, is a mantra or mudra that represents purification.

There is the superficial external purification of taking water in your hand as you say the mantra.

 But the mantra itself removes the internal impurity of ignorance of our non-duality with the divine.

When to do Achamanam

Achamanam is performed in the beginning of all vedic pujas and rituals like Ganesh Chaturthi, Satyanarayan Puja etc).

How to do Achamanam

The achamanam mantra (or achamana mudra) has two parts.

Before you begin, keep a tumbler of water and a spoon on a plate.

First, do the Shruti Achamanam.

Pour water into your cupped palm and sip it thrice,

while saying these mantras:

 Om Achyutaaya Namaha;

Om Anantaaya namaha: Om Govindaaya namaha.

Second, do the Purana Achamanam.

This has 25 steps, where you touch various parts of your body with the fingers and palm of your right hand, while chanting the holy names of Vishnu.

 Recite the mantras listed in italics while performing the actions associated with each:

  1. Om Aarchamyaa: Pour a spoon of water on your right hand palm and let it pass through your fingers on to the plate
  2. Om Keshavaya Svaaha: Sip water from right hand
  3. Om Narayanaya Svaaha: Sip water from right hand
  4. Om Madhavaya Svaaha: Sip water from right hand
  5. Om Govindaya Namaha: Pour a spoon of water on your right hand palm and let it pass through your fingers on to the plate
  6. Om Vishnave Namaha: Pass right hand fingers over mouth from right hand side
  7. Om Madhusoodhanaya Namaha: Rub palms with right palm on top
  8. Om Trivikramaaya namaha: Rub palms with left palm on top
  9. Om Vaamanaaya Namaha: Pour a spoon of water on your right hand palm and let it pass through your fingers on to the plate
  10. Om Shridharaya namaha: Clasp hands (like in prayer)
  11. Om Hrishikeshaaya Namaha: Touch right knee with right hand
  12. Om Padmanabhaya Namaha: Touch left knee with right hand
  13. Om Daamodharaya Namaha: Touch chin with right hand
  14. Om Sankarshanaaya Namaha: Touch under nose with right hand
  15. Om Vaasudevaaya Namaha: Touch right side nostril with right hand
  16. Om Pradyumnaaya Namaha: Touch left side nostril with right hand
  17. Om Anirudhaaya Namaha: Touch right eye with right hand
  18. Om Purushotamaaya Namaha: Touch left eye with right hand
  19. Om Adhokshajaaya Namaha: Touch right ear with right hand
  20. Om Naarasimhaaya Namaha: Touch left ear with right hand
  21. Om Achutaaya Namaha: Touch stomach and navel with right hand
  22. Om Janaardhanaya Namaha: Touch chest and heart with right hand
  23. Om Upendraya Namaha: Touch the head with the right hand
  24. Om Haraye Namaha: Touch right shoulder with right hand
  25. Om Shri Krishnaaya Namaha:Touch left shoulder with right hand

Significance of Achamana

Moisten Your Mouth – Significance of Achamana

While praying or worshipping continuously, our mouth becomes dry.

Lack of water can further result in various other diseases.

Therefore, to prevent us from several other problems and moisten our dry mouths, the persist or mother provides us with water before and after the prayer.

Clarity of Speech – Significance of Achamana

While reciting mantras or worshipping, vibrations produced in the voice box are responsible for speech. Hold your tongue with your hand and try pronouncing anything. Isn’t it difficult?

It is the main element of speech.

With the Tongue getting dry, it is extremely tough to pronounce words, hence would result in disorganized speech.

To maximize clarity of speech, we get water from time to time in between the prayer.

Therefore clarity of speech is another sign of achamana.

Optimizes Energy

Water is a significant resource.

When you are tired and sleepy, aren’t you told to drink some water?

Do you know why?

Water helps in gaining the lost energy.

It provides oxygen to various parts of the body and helps us gain awareness.

 So, to prevent you from sleeping in between the mantras, your mother offers you some water.

This is another sign of Achamana.

God’s Gift

If you have noticed clearly, the cup of water during worshipping, contains TULASI leaves.

TULASI is God’s gift.

It has various health and mental benefits, starting from curing cancer to reducing stress.

After praying to your idol god, you get God’s return gift, that is, a spoon of water.

So these were some of the significance of Achamana.

Achamana Ritual before Hindu Pujas – Achamanam Mantra

Achamana is the act of purifying one’s body by thrice sipping water and touching several parts of the body with it.

It is performed before Hindu ceremonies and rituals.

The mantra that is to be chanted during Achamanam is given in the Taittiriya Brahmana of the Krishna Yajur Veda.

Achamana is to be performed with the face towards the east.

While performing the Achamana the palm is to be contracted and the thumb placed behind the forefinger and the other fingers kept straight – something like a cow’s ear.

A small quantity of water is taken in the particular palm and it is sipped thrice so that the water so drunk may reach the region of the heart.

The lips then touch the tip of the Achamana fingers.

The nose is to be touched by the thumb and the ears and eyes are touched with the ring finger.

The navel is touched with the little finger. Finally the Achamana palm is used to touch the heart.

The fingers are then released and they touch the head.

The English translation of the Achamana Mantra is as follows –

Om the gods who know the ins and outs of sacrifice,

Enter this yajna with the almighty God,

The guardian of our mind, from the region of mind

And let the sacrifice go on without hindrance

Please note that the above said the general rule – different communities might have slight variations. 

Sipping Water for Purification (vaishnava-Achamana)

Always perform Achamana before entering the Deity room to worship the Lord.

Sit on a proper sitting place (äsana).

* (If there is no äsana, kneel with your right knee touching the floor and your left foot flat on the floor.)

With an ächamana-pätra filled with water clean both hands by sprinkling them with water; holding the ächamana spoon in your left hand, pour a few drops into the right palm.

* While looking at the water chant the appropriate mantra and then silently sip the water from the base of the right thumb (the brähma-tirtha).

The procedure for basic ächamana consists of the first three steps below.

If time and circumstances permit, you may perform the complete ächamana:

• Chant om keshaväya namah and sip water from the brähma-tértha of your right hand

• Chant om näräyanäya namah and sip water from the brähma-tértha of your right hand.

• Chant om mädhaväya namah and sip water from the brähma-tértha of your right hand.

• Chant om govindäya namah and sprinkle water on your right hand.

• Chant om vishñave namah and sprinkle water on your left hand.

• Chant om madhusüdanäya namah and touch your right cheek with fingers of your right hand.

• Chant om trivikramäya namah and touch your left cheek with the fingers of your right hand.

• Chant om vämanäya namah and wipe above your upper lip with the base of your right thumb.

• Chant om sridharäya namah and wipe below your lower lip with base of your right thumb.

• Chant om hrshikesäya namah and sprinkle water on both hands.

• Chant om padmanäbhäya namah and sprinkle water on your feet.

• Chant om dämodaräya namah and sprinkle water on the top of your head.

While chanting the following mantras, perform the hand motions:

• Chant om väsudeväya namah and touch your upper and lower lips with the tips of the fingers of your right hand.

• Chant om sankarsanaya namah and touch your right nostril with your right thumb and middle finger.

• Chant om pradyumnäya namah and touch left nostril with right thumb and middle finger.

• Chant om aniruddhäya namah and touch right eye with your right thumb and ring finger.

• Chant om purushottamäya namah and touch left eye with your right thumb and ring finger.

• Chant om adhokshajäya namah and touch your right ear with your right thumb and forefinger.

• Chant om nrsimhaya namah and touch your left ear with your right thumb and forefinger.

• Chant om achyutäya namah and touch your navel with your right thumb and little finger.

• Chant om janärdanäya namah and touch your heart with the palm of your right hand.

• Chant om upendräya namah and touch your head with all the finger tips of your right hand.

• Chant om haraye namah and touch your right upper arm with the fingertips of your left hand.

• Chant om krshnaya namah and touch left upper arm with the fingertips of your right hand.

Now chant the following mantra from the Åg Veda while showing the pranaama-mudrä (palms together in front of your heart):