Kannada Article by: Tarodi Suresha
English Rendering by: K Mukundan
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We normally assume that Thirtha signifies that sacred water used during Abhisheka in Puja or that pertaining to the Lord. We also worship Rivers such as Ganga as sacrosanct. Likewise we treat the offerings to the Lord as a symbol of His Blessing.
As an example Copra shredding with sugar, Coconut, Rice is being treated as Prasaad after offering it to the Deity. Flowers offered during archana are also considered sacred. Elders were addressed as *Thirtharupa" (meaning reverential) in letters about a decade back.
Interestingly, during purchase from a shop, we term it as coconut. During performance of Puja it is treated as an offering to the Deity worshipped. Earlier it was water. After Puja it assumes the form of sacred water. However Chemistry continues to treat it as H2O (variant) before and after the Puja. Accordingly we also don't find any difference before and after offering it to the Deity during worship.
Thirtha is a Sanskrit word evolving from the Dhatu 'thr'. It conveys the meaning 'Crossing' or 'Helping to Cross'. Thirtha is that which helps one to cross from one place/state to another.
Then where are we supposed to reach-which is our destination? Against this confusion Seers advise that we should shed our ignorance and gain knowledge, renounce darkness to bask in the divine Light. We should get immersed in the divine Light of Self- realisation rather than getting lost in worldly pleasures. The Seers have declared with their unique experience, that the Bliss obtained in the platform beyond the sensory level, is unparalleled and is far superior in comparison with the insignificant worldly pleasures. That which is able to transcend us from the ignorant domain of earthly pleasures to the domain of self-realisation is termed Thirtha.
Why are we not able to comprehend the sanctity in sacred water? This is a logical question. A certain disciplined attitude with adequate sense of perception is required for this purpose. Our body mechanism is required to be pro-active. If we contract cold we lose the sense of smell. We cannot taste, if ridden with fever. In the same way, if our evil attributes block the centres capable of sensing divinity, we will not be able to comprehend the principle behind the transformation of the water as Thirtha. If we undergo the necessary treatment to overcome this handicap, we will also be able to experience the divinity imbibed in a Thirtha.
Note: The Kannada version of this article can be viewed at AYVM blogs.
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