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Meaning of Pariseshanam

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Namaskaram All,

Can any one tell the meaning of pariseshanam mantra that we tell before and after eating.


பரமாத்மாவின் பிரத்யட்ச வடிவான உன்னை ஜீவாத்மாவின் அன்பெனும் நீரால் சுற்றி ஈரமாக்குகிறேன். ஜீவதாரமாகிய உன்னை பரமாத்மாவின் க்ருபை என்னும் நீரால் சுற்றி ஈரமாக்குகிறேன்.
அமுதமாகிய அன்னத்திற்கு நீ கீழ் விரிப்பு ஆவாய்.
ப்ரானாயச்வாஹா ... பிரமனேச்வாஹா.
பிரமத்திடம் எனது ஆத்மா பேரின்பத்தை பெருவதற்காஹ் இது பொருந்தட்டும்.
அமுதத்திற்கு நீ மேல் மூடி ஆவாய்.

This is the meaning rendered by "Shri Anna" of Ramakrishna Mutt. He is unfortunately no more with us.
There must have been a practical reason for this in those days when tiled, spartekked floors were not there. The parisheshanam prevented ants and other insects to come on to your leaf on which food was served.
Namaskaram All,

Can any one tell the meaning of pariseshanam mantra that we tell before and after eating.


Food and securing of food were the most important objectives of life in those early days when the wordly life had very few wants, especially for the brahmana whose sole life-aim was (supposed to be) the attainment of a knowledge of "Brahman" as this word was interpreted in each era. When food was perpared and served (hot) on the plate or leaf and a person was about to eat it, it was considered unavoidable that this most vital activity of man must also be dedicated (as is now the fashion in many tv programmes:)) to that Brahman.

The mantras prescribed and followed (by the brahmins who know the relevant mantras and their meanings and also follow the practice of pariṣecanam, instead of merely a "showy" act) are as under:—

om̐ bhūrbhuvassuvaḥ = ஓம், இந்த பூமி, பூமிக்கும் சுவர்க்கத்திர்க்கும் ந்டுவிலுள்ள புவர்லோகம், சுவர்க்க லோகம்
deva savita: prasuvaḥ = ஸவிதா என்ற தேவன் ஜன்மம் கொடுத்த (தந்த) (உன்னை)
satyam tvā ṛtena pariṣñcāmi = ஸத்யம் ஆகின்ற உன்னை ருதம் ஆகின்ற ஜலத்தால் (நான்) பரிஷேசனம் பண்ணுகிறேன். (பரிஷேசனம் = ஜலத்தால் ப்ரோக்ஷிப்பது, ஜலத்தை துள்ளி துள்ளியாக வீழ்த்துவது)

  • Some people say the entire गायत्री should be recited instead of stopping with "om̐ bhūrbhuvassuvaḥ"; both have little connection to food as such, imho.
  • When taking meals at night, i.e., aftersunset, the mantra has to be changed slightly, as ṛtaṃ tvā satyena pariṣiñcāmi (ருதம் ஆகின்ற உன்னை ஸத்யம் ஆகின்ற ஜலத்தால் ப்ரோக்ஷிக்கின்றேன்.)
amṛta upastaraṇaṃ asi (amṛtopastaraṇamasi) = நீ அம்ருதம் ஆக (இங்கு) பரப்பப்பட்டிருக்கிறாய்.
prāṇāya svāhā
apānāya svāhā
vyānāya svāhā
udānāya svāhā
samānāya svāhā
brahmaṇe svāhā

svāhā என்றால் ஸு +ஆஹா, அதாவது நல்ல விதமாக அழைக்கிறோம், என்றர்த்தம். welcome என்று வேணுமானால் சொல்லலாம்.

ப்ராணன், அபானன், வ்யானன், உதானன், ஸமானன் என்கின்ற ஐந்து வாயுக்களையும் அழைத்து ஒவ்வொரு பருக்கை சாப்பிட்டு அந்த ஐந்து வாயுக்களையும் ஒவ்வொன்றாக திருப்திப்படுத்திய பிறகு இநத ஐந்து வாயுக்களால் இயங்கும் சரீரத்தில் இருக்கும் ப்ரஹ்மனையும் அழைத்து ஒரு பருக்கையால் திருப்திப்படுத்தும் மந்திரங்கள் இவை.

prANa is the principal breath coursing through our nostrils and lungs; you can use it to control and regulate your mind and thoughts.

• apAna is responsible for the excretory activity.

• samAna circulates around the navel and plays a vital role in digestion.

• vyAna is diffused through the body and is responsible for circulatory activity.

• udAna is the wind that goes upward in respiration.
(Hindu SamskAra Regulations - Page 5 - Hindu Dharma Forums)

Ordinarily, most people recite only this much. But the full prescription is that one should then recite "brahmaṇi ma ātmā amṛtatvāya" (my soul or ātmā is in brahman, for immortality). Chanting this one line, one shoud pour a few drops of water to the left side of the leaf/plate (from which food is eaten) and then touch this with the left ring finger and touch one's chest with that water.

Note : A brahmin who is supposed to say "brahmaivāhamasmi" three times daily during his sandhyāvandanams, saying "brahmaṇi ma ātmā" looks incongruous because here by saying "my soul or ātmā" one is trying to identify himself as the body, or at any rate, something different from "me". If the justification is that the food is only for the physical body and not for the "ātmā", then the āhuti for brahman by saying brahmaṇe svāhā becomes meaningless, imo.

Eating commences after this. At the end, a little water is poured into the right (eating) palm and sipped with the mantra "amṛtāpidhānamasi (amṛta apidhānam asi)"—this is a lid, covering by nectar (for the eaten plate/leaf); some websites give this wrongly as again amṛtopastaraṇamasi, once again.

There is also an additional practice of vaideekas once again circling the leaf with water saying "annadātā sukhī bhavet" (may those who provide food - and this includes not only the gṛhasta who served the meals, but right from sunlight to earth to farmer to all those whose contribution was there in the meals, to be rejoiced
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