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When doing Upakarma

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In Villivakkam, Chennai - 600049., The brahmins do the Upakarma in Kamakoti Kalyana Mandapam, on the Sadhas, that is facing East, where the Couples use to sit facing East, The prohit sits facing East. The upakarma was navigated by the prohit, he is facing East and the brahmins change the sacred thread facing west., we do tharpana facing west. The prohit never admits his mistake and say "just follow what I said!". I need the scholars advice.
You are right Sir, one has to face east while doing upakarma.

Changing sacred thread, Tarpanam etc should be done facing east.

In Villivakkam, Chennai - 600049., The brahmins do the Upakarma in Kamakoti Kalyana Mandapam, on the Sadhas, that is facing East, where the Couples use to sit facing East, The prohit sits facing East. The upakarma was navigated by the prohit, he is facing East and the brahmins change the sacred thread facing west., we do tharpana facing west. The prohit never admits his mistake and say "just follow what I said!". I need the scholars advice.

May be hall is not sufficient to accommodate the people to face towards East.

Aachamanam can be done either facing towards East or North, not towards South and West.
Similarly, Abhivadhanam should not be done in the following cases :
a) While Worshiping God
b) While performing Namaskarams to Saints (Yathis)
c) While performing Namaskarams to Ladies like Mother or elderly persons
d) While performing Namaskarams to a Group of Elders

a) One should not worship elders in the Temple premises
b) One should not worship people who are lying down or wearing Wet Cloths
c) If a person observes Vruthi, Shayam i.e. Theetu, One should not prostrate to such people
d) One should not prostrate to Youngsters

General rule - One should not eat without performing Parisheshanam both in the day
and during night.

Villivakkam talk ia local paper in circulation and its edition datd 5 to 11th Aug 2012, it printed a photo in the front page by K.Vijay Anand., in this the Prohit siting on Medai, so that he is visible to others, and brahmins facing west does Tharpana on Upkarma day. All the Brahmins under the guidance of a prohit changed their sacred thread facing west only. This is happening for last several years. Before that when the same rites were performed at Sivan Temple several years before the same thing happened. Will this mistake done by prohit is forgivable?

I wish some one to instruct the prohit to follow or give up his profession since he didn't know the basic. Or let him undergo a refresher course in a paatasalaa
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May be hall is not sufficient to accommodate the people to face towards East.

Aachamanam can be done either facing towards East or North, not towards South and West.
One does not do Achamanam and other good things facing the South except doing 'yama vandanam'. What is the particular reason for not doing Achamanam facing the West?
I have heard learned elders saying that if there is a sannidhi and a moorthy, then by an overriding rule we have to assume that the moorthy is facing east and accordingly adjust all our directions even if the geographic directions are just the opposite. Please check up whether there is any sannidhi there in the mantapam.

There are places where moorthy faces south. Adi Sankara when he was traveling somewhere in Kerala just taking nap in a temple premises. The temple keeper went running up to him and told him not to keep his legs towards the moorthy/deity. Adi Sankara turned to rest his legs in another direction but the moorthy appeared there,too. But we cannot follow him; compass' are available at stationery stores. East is the most preferred direction to face while performing poojas, etc.

The methods of doing Achamanam

One has to sit in Kukustana with hands between legs. There are certain instructions
with regard to doing Achamanam. Achanaman to be performed in the following instances
according to Hindu rituals.

Immediately after waking up in the morning
After urination and other forms of excretion

After brushing one's teeth

Before and after a bath

After wearing clothes

Before and after a meal

Before and after giving or accepting alms or donation

After sneezing, shedding tears or blood

Upon association or contact with ritually "impure" substances such as blood,
semen, human hair, fire, cows, cats, mice, refuse, etc.

After sexual contact with women.

Achamanam, that is, sipping of the water with the mantras, one sipping
for each mantra, will remove all the ills of the body-and mind.
This is calledNamatrayividya or the worship with the three names,
which will cure all diseases, physical and mental. There is a well-known
sloka to the effect that the medicine constituting the repetition of the three
names of the Lord Achyuta, Ananta and Govinda will certainly cure all diseases.

I think the priest should explain why it is not wrong to face the "west" while doing upakarma. The problem with the priests are that they don't want to provide explanation. They think it is none of our business to know. That's what creates problem. Hope someone asks a learnt vedic scholar and get the explanation.
It is mentioned in in some of the books that an Achamanam is just a simplest
form of Vaidika Karmas, yet it has its own importance. Its significance can be well realised
when one notes that it preludes to all rituals. One would have noticed that no vaidika karma without
starts without an Achamanam. One may get a doubt why simple act? Its main function is
to purify the body and the mind. Further one may raise a question normally before starting
any ritual act, one takes bathe well, wears a pure washed cloth (Madi), and then applys
Vibhuthi in the forehead and at (eleven) other places in the body. Then what else is required
for a fresh purification act, though it appears short or simple? In fact an answer to this
query lies in an analysis of the ritual of Achamanam. The act consists of sipping water in
a cupped palm thrice, with the chanting of mantras “Achutaya namaha:, Anantaya namaha:
and GovindAya namha:, with the PraNava preceding these Namas, and thereafter touching
twelve parts of the body with various fingers of the right hand and the palm,
chanting twelve holy names of the Lord, all the while keeping the mind fixed on Him.
Simple as it may sound, there are many do’s and don’ts relating to this function, some
of which are enumerated here. Achamanam in not to be done standing up, but always in
the Kukkut Asanam or a hen-like posture, sitting down with the soles of the feet firmly
planted on the ground, keeping the hands between the knees. Achamanam is not
to be done facing the west or the south, but always facing the east or the north.
Achamanam should not be done with impure water. While doing this in a
river or tank, the left hand should be touching the floating or the stagnating water.

Generally, it should not be performed casually, while talking or gossiping to others,
wearing a shirt or footwear or with a covered head with hat or a cloth, with laughter etc.,
but soley with devotion and with the consciousness with one uttering the holy names
of the Almighty, which not only purify's but also protects. It should not be done while
wearing a Pavithram. While doing an achamanam, the Pavithram should be kept in
the gap between the right ear lobe and the head. This is perhaps meant to avoid
the sharp ends of the Pavithram hurting the eyes.

Achamanam is a purificatory process (both internal and external). Therefore,
it is performed in all vedic rites both in the beginning and at the end.

As regards why it should not be done sitting towards West, I shall answer the querry
in a day or two, as I am going through the relevant books.

  • Further, it is added that Achanamanam should not be done using hot water, or with water having
  • bubbles or froth, mixed with mud or sand, with a foul-smell, that emanating from dirty sources,
  • discoloured water, water perfumed with the addition of cardamom, sandalwood paste, etc.,
  • water left over after washing the feet, after Agni karyam, etc., salty or bitter water, etc.
  • Nor should Achamanam be done with seawater, because the Shruti prohibits drinking of the same.
  • .tasmAt samudrasya na pibanti..

A question arises whether Achamanam prescribed for the ladies. Yes, it is permissible.
The difference between the regular achamanam and that is to be performed by the ladies is
that the latter is to be done without the pranava and the chaturtthi. That is, the water is to
be sipped thrice, once each with .Achuta, Ananta, and Govinda. only and not .AchyutAya Namaha.
.etc. Only these three namas are to be chanted and not the other twelve beginning with .
Kesavaya Namaha:.


Gayathri Manthram is to be chanted facing "East" in the morning in standing posture.
The count can be kept with the fingers and the usage of Mala can be avoided. If the
Mala cannot be avoided, then it is advised to avoid the index finger and instead the
ring finger may be used. The sacred thread (Poonal) has to be kept near to one's
mouth in the Morning.

The Gayathri is to be chanted facing "North" in the noon while doing Madhyahnikam.
The hands are to be kept near to one's chest. The standing posture is advised
during Madhyahnikam.

The Gayathri is to be chanted facing "West" in the evening. The hands are to be
kept near to one's stomach. The sitting posture is suggested during Sayam Sandhyavandanam.


Some persons were asking can we do Sandhya Vandanam in the Office
as Muslims do prayers wherever they are, whether in the Office or in the train, etc.
Some say. Yes, mentally through Bhava one can purify himself and offer Arghya
mentally manaseekamaga. Chanting has to be be restricted to mental chanting only.
In this connection, one can notice an event from Mahabharatha. While Duryodhana
insists on continuing the War even after the sunset on the 14[SUP]th[/SUP] day of Mahabaratha war
even when Bhishma and Dronacharya advise him to stop it for Sandhyavandhanam.

Yudhishtira, having no other go, offers the sand of the battle field as Arghyam to the
setting sun. It thus portrays the importance of doing Sandhya Vandhanam even in the
battle field and that even sand is offered as Arghyam. Therefore, it is very important
and unavoidable to do Sandhavandhanam, wherever one is.


Dear Balasubramanian,

I have a doubt. Could you please clear it after referring to the book, if necessary. The doubt is this:

You take a small amount of water into your mouth with each of the three "namaha". Is it necessary to swallow this water three times along with each namaha chanting or is it enough if you take all the water and swallow it just once after the Govindaya namaha. I would like to know the answer and the reasons for that as well.

Thanks and cheers.
The point to be discussed is the tharpana shall we offer tharpana, upakarama tharmana, Tharpayaami tharpayaami tharpayaami facing west? In Villivakkam, the temple EO doesn't permit as some acharya said tharpanam should not be done in Temple using Tila/ EL.
Shall we offer Tharpana that too for Deva rishi ghanda rishi tharpanam facing west. Is it a big mistake or not?? Shall we change/ replace poonal facing west??

Please reply for this!
The book states that water which is just sufficient to soak a grain of black gram,
three times in the right hand and take it with the following manthra in the following
Om Achyuthaya Namaha - swallow the water
Om Ananthaya Namaha - swallow the water
Om Govindaya Namaha - swallow the water
After that then

Touch with thumb both cheeks chanting Kesava - Narayana
Touch with ring finger both eyes chanting Madhava – Govinda
Touch with the first finger both sides of nose chanting Vishnoo - Madhusoodana
Touch with little finger both ears chanting Trivikrama - Vamana
Touch with the middle finger both shoulders chanting Sreedhara - Hrishikesa
Touch with all fingers the belly button chanting Padmanabha
Touch with all fingers the head chanting Damodara

There is a story about the importance of Gayathri Japam, which actually happened once in India.

We all know that when Akbar was ruling India, Birbal was his minister Akbar and Birbal normally go
around their territory to gather first hand information about the actual happenings in his kingdom. Like that,
while the King was going round, he found a brahmin going begging from house to house . Immediately, the
King Akbar, showed that to his Minister Birbal . Birbal noticed the beggar and kept silent. After he reached
home, he sent a word through his men to the brahmin to immediately meet him.

When the brahmin person came to Birbal, he told, Oh ! Brahmin - Hereafter, you collect your daily
requirements through begging from me every day. I suggest that instead of begging by going to houses
you may please chant Gayatri Japam daily three times i.e. Morning, Afternoon and Evening i.e. Sandhya periods
108 times everyday. The brahmin immediately agreed to the suggestion of the Minister and after collecting
the money from Birbal , started chanting Gayatri Mantra Japam 108 times daily. After a few days , he thought , why
not increase the chanting to 1008 times , as he had a lot of time with him. On seeing this, the people of
the Kingdom started extending him Charity in the form of food and cash . Once he started getting sufficient
food and cash, the brahmin stopped going to Birbal's house for begging . His daily routine meditation earned the
Brahmin, the power to acquire knowledge , attractive personality and also soon he transformed into a good expounder
of knowledge. The brahmin became well known personality as many people started coming to his house. The
Minister Birbal heard about this . Subsequently, Birbal visited the brahmin's house suddenly and asked him
as to why he had stopped coming to his house . The brahmin profusely thanked Birbal for for directing him on
to the right path by guiding him at the right time. The Minister mentioned this to the King and the King was
very happy and appreciated the intelligence of his Minister.


Generally Amavasya and Upakarma Tharpanam has to be done facing east only.
Gunda/Guzhi Tharpanam- this tharpanam is done during the first ten days of death facing south.

Brahma Yagna Tharpanam - This is the oblation supposed to be done daily to the Devas, Rishis and Pithrus.

Parheni Tharpanam - This Tharpanam, which is supposed to be done on the next day after annual Srarddham
However, this is being mostly done immediately after Srarddham on the same day
perhaps the Sastrigal does not have time to come on the next day. In this connection,
the Tharpanam is done only to Pithru Vargam .i.e. Paternal side
Regular Tharpanam is to be done on all amavasyas. Normally, Tharpanam is also done in the beginning
of certain months i.e. Mesha, Karkidaga, Thula and Makara and eclipses. Some people do every month.

Besides above all that Mahalaya Tharpanam is also done.

Some of the guidelines towards Tharpanam are given hereunder:
On the day of tharpanam, till tharpanam is completed we are not supposed to drink/eat anything.

On the day of tharpanam, the daily rituals like Sandhya vandhana have to be performed first.
Secondly, before tharpanam, Madhyanikam is to be performed.
If one is employed and required to go office very early, Madhyanikam can be done immediately
after Prathasandhya and later perform tharpanam

One has to be careful that wet cloth is not worn while performing tharpanam
Similarly one should not wear 4 Muzham Veshti, preferably 8 Muzham with Panchakatcham.
Better to tie uthareeyam or thundu or towel around the Waist above the Veshti so that it is firm.
eclipse tharpanams are to be done according to eclipse timings.
Normally tharpanam is not done before 6 AM.

Tharpanam has to be done with hand full of water and not drops or spoon full of water.
The water should be poured out using the space between the thumb and the four fingers
of right hand by tilting the hand to right side.
For example, pithru tharpanam the water should fall on the koorcham through right hand thumb.

Every time a pinch of black til has to be taken.
Adequate care has to be taken not to take it using the thumb and the index finger.
Pithru tharpanam should always be done with Poonal hanging from the right shoulder to the left side
i.e. left side (Pracheena vithi) of the body.

While carrying out tharpanam, one has to place two durbhai at the place
where we are going to sit i.e. underneath folded legs.
People can use Utensils according to their convenience viz. Silver, Copper or Brass
but not Stainless Steel. Tharpanam has to be
done facing east.
Some people follow their own convenience in public places or holy places
including sea-shore or river side.

If Amavasya and the first of the month in which tharpanam has to be performed
coincides on the same day, then tharpanam is done on the same day.


Mr Balasubramanian
Reg # no 3 I feel when we do namaskaram to mother (and other ladies) we have to say abivandanam .
Reg.#13 you say that til should not be picked up with using thumb & index fingers. Then which fingers to use.
Prostration before elders, Parents and Saints is our Indian culture besides before the God
at home and also at temples. These days, some teach the children to touch the feet of the
In accordance with the Indian tradition when elders feet are being touched,
they are supposed to extend their blessing hand by touching the head of the younger ones
with the Aashirvadam. According to our cultures, blessings of elders are highly valued during
prostration. Good wishes and blessings of elders.

Further an important thing to be noted is that one should not do namaskarams to any person
in Deiva Sannidhanam that is in the temple premises. Even if one's Guru is present in the
Sannidhanam, doing namaskaram is not permissible.

Shaastaanga namaskaram brings positive energy when a person prostrate's with humility
and respect. It is advisable to have complete prostration and not in the standing posture,
which would enable the entire body to receive the energy. Further, while touching the feet
in prostration, it shows a sign of respect for maturity and nobility. This activity also reflects
the strong bond of relationship between the family members.

Generally one should not do namaskarams to the persons who is younger than him - But this rule
does not apply if the person is doing namaskarams to his Guru or a Sanyasi. A Guru may be much much
younger than the Sishya. But his position (as a Guru) is the important factor here.

It is also said that those who have taken Guru padhuka Deeksha. they are not supposed to
do namaskarams generally to anyone else other than Guru and the God.

Abhivaadhayai or Abivandhanam

In some cases, Abivandhanam is not chanted. for e.g. after doing Namaskaram,
one must keep the palms over ears, and then announce his Rishi lineage, gotram , suthram,

DevAn nadIn sabhAM vRukShAn agnikAryaM tathA yatim |
DaNDavat praNamet bhUmau na abhivAdana mAchret ||

While a person performs Namaskaram before i.e.

• before Devatas
• to a Sabhaa (group of people),
• to the Trees such as Peepul or Palasam,
• before the Agni
• before the Saints or Sannyaasis

In all these occasions, Abhivaadanam is not chanted. Similarly, while
doing namaskaarams at temples at home Abhivaadanam is not be chanted. Further,
no abhivaadhanam is mentioned while doing namaskaarams to elderly Ladies.
but, I am told there is an exception in case of one's own mother, one can do abhivaadhanam.
This point, I am yet to clarify.

If one wants to do Abhivaadanam when a group of people are available, one
has to do by one by one and not for a whole group.

During performance of Karmas like Sandhya Vandanam, Abivandanam is allowed.

Through the usage of various fingers, different Mudras are formed and they are
used while doing Puja, Homam, etc. Combination of Index finger with Thumb is
considered as Rakshasa Mudra, i.e. the sign of Demons. Hence not practiced.


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dear friends....am ramakrishnan now in pune...
.i do sandyavandhanam in sitting position...is it correct? or how it has to b done

Normally, while doing Sandhyavandhanam, kindly sit on your legs, but keeping
the legs inside. If you buy a book, a posture picture will be there over the outer

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