(Last Updated on : 16/12/2008)
This method of mental preparation must be omitted before any religious ceremony of the Brahmins. When the sam-kalpa has been performed with due meditation, everything that they undertake succeeds. But its omission is alone sufficient to transform all the ceremonies that follow into so many acts of sacrilege, which will not pass unpunished. The Brahmin must meditate preliminarily on the following points. He must think of the following things, which can be mentioned as follows.
He must think of Vishnu, meditating upon him as the ruler and preserver of this vast universe, as the author and giver of all good things, and as he who brings all undertakings to a successful issue. With these thoughts in his mind he repeats thrice the name of Vishnu, and worships him.
He must think of Brahma. He must remember that there are nine Brahmas, who created the eight million four hundred thousand kinds of living creatures, of which the most important is man. It is the first of these Bahamas who is ruling at the present time. Again he will live for a hundred years of the gods, that his life is divided into four parts, of which the first and half the second are already gone. He must then worship him.
He must thank of the Avatar, or incarnation, of Vishnu in the form of a white pig, which was the shape in which that deity slew the giant Hirannyaksha. After having thoroughly realized the idea that this Avatara is the most celebrated of all in the Kali-yuga, he worships the pig god.
He must think of Manu. He reminds himself that there are fourteen Manus, of which the names are Svarochisha, Tamasa, Svayambhuva, Raivata, Sec, and that they reign over the fourteen worlds during the hundred gods' years that Brahma's life will last. As Vaivaswata Manu is now in power in the Kali-yuga, in which the Hindus are living at this present time, he offers him worship.
He must think of the Kali-yuga. He must recollect that we are at present in the early part of this yuga.
He must think of Jambu-Dwipa. This is the continent in which India is situated. He pictures it to himself as surrounded by a sea of salt water, having in the centre a mountain of gold sixteen thousand yojanas high, called Mahameru, on the thousand summits of which the gods have fixed their abode. He must remember that at the foot of this mountain on the east side grows the Jambu-vruksha, a tree which is a thousand yojanas high and as many in circumference, that the juice of the fruits of this tree, which fall of their own accord when ripe, forms a large river which flows towards the west, where it mingles its waters with those of the sea. The water of this river possesses the power of converting everything it touches into gold, for which reason it has been called the Bangaru-nadi or Golden River. The Brahmin must not omit to think of this sacred tree, nor yet of the continent of Jambu-Dwipa, where it is situated.
He must think of the great king Bharata, who at one time governed Jambu-Dwipa and whose reign forms one of the Hindu eras.
He must think of the side of the Mahameru which faces him, that is to say, of the west side of this sacred fountain, if he lives to the west of it, of the east, if he lives to the east of it, etc.
He must think of the corner of the world called Agnidiku, or the Corner of Fire, over which the god Agni-Iswara presides, and which is that part of the world in which India is situated.
He must think of the Dravida country, where the Tamil or Arava language is spoken.
He must think of the moon's pathway, and the change of one moon to another.
He must think of the year of the cycle in which he is living. The Hindu cycle is composed of sixty years, each of which has its own particular name. And he must say aloud the name of the particular year of the cycle in which he is living.
He must think of the ayana in which he is. There are two ayanas in the year, each of which lasts six months one called the dakshina-ayana or southern ayana, which includes the time during which the sun is south of the equinoctial line, and the other called uttara-ayana or northern ayana, which comprises the rest of the year, during which the sun is north of this line. He must pronounce the name of the ayana which is then going on.
He must think of the ritu or season of the year. There are six rutus in the year, each of which lasts two months. He must pronounce the name of the rutu in which he is performing the sam-kalpa.
He must think of the moon. Each moon is divided into two equal parts, one of which is called Sukla-paksha and the other Krishna-paksha. Each of these divisions lasts fourteen days, and each day has its own special name. He must call to mind the division and day of the moon, and pronounce their names.
He must think of the day of the week and pronounce the name.
He must think of the star of the day. There are twenty-seven in each lunar month, each of which has a name. He must pronounce the name of the one which is in the ascendant on that day.
He must think of the yoga of the day. There are twenty-seven of these, corresponding to the twenty-seven stars, each with its own name. He must pronounce the name of the yoga, as also that of the star.
He must think of the karana, of which there are eleven in each lunar month, each with its own name. The same formality must be gone through as with the star and the yoga.
All these diverse objects to which the Brahmin must turn his thoughts when performing the sam-kalpa are so many personifications of Vishnu, or rather are Vishnu himself under different names. Besides this ordinary sam-kalpa, there is another more elaborate one, which is reserved for grand occasions, and which will be described further on. This pious introduction to all their ceremonies averts, by virtue of its merits, every obstacle, which the evil spirits and giants would put in the way. The name of Vishnu alone, it is true, is sufficient to put them to flight, but nothing can resist the power of the sam-kalpa.