Pavitrotsavam is an yearly ritual in the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Pavitrotsava is derived from the combination of two words Pavitra (holy) and utsava (festival).
History of Pavitrotsavam
Pavitrotsavam in Tirumala Venkateswara Temple dates back to 1463. The stone inscription found on the northern wall of the Vagapadi verandah in the first Prakaara of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple gives a very detailed account. The festival of Pavitrotsavam was instituted by Saluva Malliah Deva Raja during the time of Saluva Narasimha. The inscription refers even to the items of expenditure to be incurred in connection with the celebration of Pavitra Tirunal. Pavitrotsavam in Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is believed to have been conducted till 1562, after which the ritual was stopped.
Objectives in Pavitrotsavam
Pavitrotsavam is penitential as well as propitiatory and its main object is to get rid of the evil that might have been caused due to omissions and commissions in the performance of various rituals throughout the year. The festival is also known as Dosha Nivaarana or Sarva Yajna Phalapradha.
Dedication to the God
The Jayakhya Samhita explains that pavitra protects one from evil. The Puranas prescribe Pavitra Aaropana, as an integral part of the rituals during the worship of Lord Vishnu.
Pavitrotsavam in Agni Purana
The Agni Purana specifies that the first day of a lunar fortnight either in the beginning of the month of Aashada or the end of the Krithika should be chosen for performing pavitrotsava. The Garuda Purana says that Pavitrotsavam should be done on the 12th day of the dark or bright fortnight. In Tirumala, the Pavitrotsavam ritual is conducted on Sravana shuddha dashami day.
Procedure to Perform Pavitrotsavam
Ankurarpanam or the sowing of nine types of holy seeds in earthen containers is undertaken on the day preceding the festival. Pavitrotsavam signifies the beginning of festival in Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. This is followed by recital of Vedas in a ritual called Mritsangrahana.
Ankurarpana and Mritsangrahana in Pavitrotsavam
The Ankurarpana and Mritsangrahana rituals are identical to those performed during Brahmotsava. Veda recitation is started after the Mritsangrahana ritual and this recitation of the Vedas concludes on the third day. Through the chanting of the vedas, Aavahana (Invoking) is done for Lord Vishnu in the Pradhana Kumbha (first of the holy container).
Kumbhas in Pavitrotsavam
There are 16 other Kumbhas surrounding this Pradhana Kumbha and it is believed that the various mantras which are recited infuse voice vibrations that have great religious and spiritual force. Pradhana khumba is taken to the main deity or the idol on the concluding day and the augmented spiritual power is believed to be transmitted to the presiding deity. The rituals on the three days include the prayer to sacrificial fire to the main deity as well as primary idols of Lord Venkateswara.
Garlands used in Pavitrotsavam
Pavitras are the garlands made from special thread are taken in a procession and used to decorate Lord Malayappa Swami and his consorts on the second day. In the evening of the second day, the idols of the temples are taken on a procession around the four mada streets.
Rituals in Pavitrotsavam
During the three day festival, Arjitha Sevas like Kalyanotsavam, Arjitha Brahmotsavam, Arjitha Vasanothsavam, Sahasara Deepalankarana Seva, Dolotsavam are cancelled while the morning rituals are held.
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